: 99 Catera problem(s)

01-17-06, 11:56 PM
Hi all. I'm new here, obviously, and was looking for some place to post and ask questions about a 99 Catera other than the stupid MSN TV newsgroups, even though I've already posted there. Aside from that, about a month and a half ago, the Catera of my friend's was acting like it didn't wanna go. We figured out the problem (being from the coal fields in West Virginia, the cold does things to vehicles) was the emergency brake was stuck to the driveshaft. That cleared up. Well, our new problem is the trans light came on again the other day and even though it's gone now, my friend's husband seems to think it's the throttle body sensoe because of the way it acts like it doesn't wanna pick up speed. Also, the emission control (aka the CHECK ENGINE) light goes on and off occasionally (right now, though, it's at a steady "on" position) but the other night it flashed about 5 times, twice. I'm not for sure what she should do about it, but supposedly she's going to go get it fixed soon. She also has a problem with that burnt smell coming from the motor area. I'm not for sure how long ago, but she had the oil changed at a local town-and-country garage and she had her own oil she wanted used. Well, the guy who changed her oil (the sucky part about the Catera {I'm not for sure if ALL new Cadillacs have this} is that the transmission is sealed) used some of their oil they had and forgot about her having her own and then flushed the old oil out and put hers in. We're thinking he flooded the oil filter and that's why it's causing the burnt smell. I guess that's it. I didn't mean to ramble on, but it's kinda hard to explain problems for someone such as myself (I like to give as much detail as possible) in an online forum while trying to explain the whole situation. Any help would be appreciated. If anyone cares to, add me to your MSN Messenger at BurchDawgs@webtv.net or send me a private e-mail. I'd be super appreciative if you would do this. Thanks!

01-18-06, 03:32 AM
ok I guess I will try to help you the best I can first the transmission problem have no clue what to tell you there so go to an auto zone have them pull all the codes and then post them here so we can help you better. now for the car acting like it don't want to go again need the codes for it but I will say it might be related to the transmission problem or it could be the mass air flow sensor or a ton of other things. now the burnt smell from the motor is it oil smell or other. now i laughed a little when you said flooded the oil filter because your oil filter is always full of oil. so really we need to know what codes the engine is throwing out like I said an autozone will do it for free.

01-18-06, 01:24 PM
The way I read this, she has 3 seperate problems. Shifting issues, burning smell, and a check engine light.

So, when you say it doesn't want to pick up speed, is this all the time, or only after you start it cold? If it's the latter, it may be due the Catera's cold shift pattern. If you don't allow the car to warm up for a few minutes, it will not shift into second gear. When it does it will often feel sluggish. The trans light on our '99 will even come on after about ten minutes. This is especially true in cold weather. Our procedure now is to let it warm up for two full minutes before driving. We haven't had the problem in well over a year.

The burning smell could be a lot of things. These cars are notrious for antifreeze and oil leaks. Or the guy who changed the oil spilled some on the exaust manifold or the pipes underneath when draining the oil. The sealed transmission has nothing to do with changing the engine oil. It's actually a pretty easy task to change oil on a Catera. I change mine myself. You'll need a competant mechanic to track down the leaks if that is indeed what is causing your burning smell. Judging from your description though, I suspect it was the sloppy oil change guy.

For the check engine light, as bengsxr said, take it to Auto Zone and ask them to read the codes. You can post them here and one of the very knowledgeable people here will be able to help you interpret them.

I sort of get the impression that your friend bought this Catera recently. This is one of the most wonderful cars to drive. Be aware that it's also very high maintenance, and often expensive to repair. It becomes a love/hate relationship for most owners. We've had ours for 18 months and have only had one major problem. The alternator went at 84k. Far too early in my opinion. It also ate my new battery in the process. That was covered under the new battery warranty, but the alternator cost me over $400 (for a rebuilt). I can't imagine what the labor would have been had I taken it to a shop. We've had our share of antifreeze leaks and other quirks as well. As agrivating as it is to own, every time I drive it, I forget about all the problems. It's just sheer driving pleasure.

01-20-06, 01:45 AM
Hey... thanks for the help you both have given me with this. Judging from your replies, yes, I do think the guy ****ed up the oil in it and that's what was causing the burnt smell. But also, the other day I was driving it and it had such a STRONG burning smell... I don't know if it was the oil or the antifreeze (I don't think you can smell that burning... can you?) one. I agree with you, there, Timeload. This car is gorgeous, inside and out, and it IS sheer fun to drive (first time driving a Cadillac of any kind, but not the first time riding in one) and the Sport Mode is the shizzazz:P Actually, she bought the car in January of 2002 at a place called Moses here in Huntington (I think) West Virginia. She has a 1997 Ford Crown Vic she wants to bring back to life (the only real problem with it is some gasket covers I think, and she needs a new back tire for the driver's side). She paid over $300 about a month or so ago at that town and country place I mentioned. She had the um... oh, hell, I forget now, but it'll probably come back to me when I'm done typing this (that's usually how it goes). Me, though, I want the XLR-V Series, as you can tell, but I may wait for the Sixteen. Someone posted on a newsgroup here on MSN TV about a Cadillac coming out with the name Cien. That thing looks HOT! Also, to answer your other question, no, it's not only on cold days. Yesterday it was 60 here, and it was still sluggish. Another problem is the torque button (below the gearshift lever) likes to stick (well, not stick, so much as somehow edge its way upward) and you have to press it back down in order to get the car out of PARK. It sucks, I know (any info on this?). I guess that's all the problems I know of for now. I read the manual last night and went outside and did what it told me on page 6-29. It described the Electronic Throttle Control. It says for you to turn the ignition on RUN (wtf is "RUN?" Is that, like, the "ON" position (II) or something? Anyway, it says to leave it on "RUN" for 3 minutes, at least, in order for he control to cycle and re-learn its home position. Then it says to turn the ignition OFF (which, when I did all this, I didn't read that part... I just thought you turned the damn thing on) and then start it and let it sit for 30 seconds with the engine on. I don't know if it fixed it or not, but I'm hoping it did (although I'm kinda doubtful that it did since I didn't follow the instructions exactly, but I could be wrong). Ok, I've talked again too much. Thanks for the help again. If it's not too inconvenient to do so again, please help me out. Oh, one more problem. Someone sent me an e-mail telling me how I could do a self-diagnostics check... is this possible? And does the 99 model have a Digital or Analog displayl?