: A little help please...

03-13-05, 12:37 PM
Good day, all! O.K. So I've owned a Lincoln Continental & other Ford products for most of my life & therefore can do just about anything to them in my sleep. But I just bought a '98 Catera & I'm liking it so far...But, I pumped almost $800.00 into it to fix oil leaks at the valve covers and the oil cooler. In any case, I have a few questions:

1. I can hear what is definitely a vacuum leak & it appears to be coming from the front of the black plastic "vacuum distributor" on the top center of the upper intake plenum. It looks like there are 2 short tubes/fittings going into holes in the front of the plenum. These tubes are coated in black RTV, in what looks like an unsuccessful attempt to stop the leak. How do I remove and repair this? I don't see any type of fastener holding it down, yet it doesn't just lift off either.

2. The bulbs illuminating the main part (Temp & Fuel guages, Speedo & Tach) of the dashboard don't light. How does one remove this to get at the bulbs? Again, it appears to go behind the vents on either side, but I don't see any fasteners and was only willing to pull so hard.

3. How in the heck does one aim the headlamps?? I've turned the adjusters until the bubble is at the "UP" end of the level, but it seems as though they still point at the ground right in front of the car.

Thanks in advance to all that offer assistance. I'm just looking to fix some things without paying through the nose because the obvious isn't quite so obvious.


03-13-05, 09:48 PM
1. You need to pry the plastic cover from the sides to see the actual bolt that holding the entire assembly on the plenum first. Then remove it carefully as you'll be seeing several openings with "o" rings and filters attached to it as well as hoses.
2. Please don't just pull it, there are screws at the top and sides as well.
3. Headlamps have been a big problem with Cateras. All internal parts tend to break and you end up having no control over it. I used some springs to adjust them from the bulb openings. I removed the headlamps to do that and took some time to fine adjust it but sure beats $360 an assembly at the dealer.

I had a repair shop manual for my Catera and it's been a great help. It can be found on ebay for $30-$40.

Good luck & welcome to the club :o)

03-14-05, 06:06 PM
How to remove the instrument panel: http://www.angelfire.com/tx2/mannyyy/ipwriteup.html

03-16-05, 07:13 AM
Thanks again for the help, especially the picture book on guage removal!! I NEVER would have figured that out!!