02-17-06, 11:35 PM
I was wanting to know if it is possible to change the timing belt on a 1997 Cadillac Catera without the timing belt alignment kit. I would appriciate a few different opinions. I was also wondering if there are any common problems with the fog lights not working.
02-18-06, 09:16 AM
Sure, it can be done without the kit, at least that's apparently what GM says:
Of course the words "or something equivalent" leave a lot to the imagination. My gut says use the kit, and especially with an interference engine like this.
Try to borrow a kit. It might not have to be from a Caddy dealer. I know Caddy service managers, some of 'em, have a little "attitude" where Cateras and Catera owners are concerned. I will not speculate about the reasons for that!
But other cars use our engine:
You might get a more friendly reception if you try to sweet talk a Saturn service manager, for example. If smooth talk fails to do the trick, offer to leave a FAT deposit and/or offer to pay a modest rental fee.
I can't say for certain a kit for Saturn or the other cars will time Catera cams. This is something on which you would have to check, just to be sure.
Then there's the service interval on this belt: 60,000 miles. Heck, there are probably quite a few owners here, and/or in the Yahoo Catera forum, in the same boat as you. They know if the belt fails in service the engine is toast. And replacement engines can cost circa two grand or more. So, yeah, there is fear out there. You are not alone. And these belts don't sound a warning alarm before they fail, either. This is one of the many joys of Catera ownership.
Why not consider SHARING a kit. The new kits can be had for circa three hundred bucks, here:
Maybe you can get five or six fellow sufferers together and all go in on one kit. It's not the kind of thing you use every day; so a kit could readily be shared. But when you need the kit you REALLY need the damn kit. So sharing makes sense.
Heck, when you are staring at $2K for a new engine, the kit looks cheap even if you go it alone and sail first cabin at $300.
Another approach to sharing, BTW, is preagreed sequential ownership. Get your group together and one guy agrees to go first and pay the $300. He uses the kit and then "sells" to the next guy for say, $250, or whatever depending on the number of persons in the group. You go along like that, discounting as you go. Even ONE USE of the kit is worth fifty bucks, at least IMHO, because it facilitates and ensures correct cam timing.
Also, if you get a good group of guys together, you can share more than just the kit. A few words of counsel from the person ahead of you could be almost as valuable as the kit itself, if you get into trouble.
Another approach would be to forget a formal group and just buy and use the kit, taking good care of it. When your car is up and running OK, post word here and put the kit up on eBay with, say, a $250 minimum. I think you might get a buyer, even if it's not prearranged.
Whatever approach you decide to take, for goodness sake get the cams timed precisely right.