: A few thoughts

04-02-06, 09:30 PM
I recently disconnected the oil cooler on my '97 Catera. Runs cool as a cucumber with an aftermarket cooler. Forget about oil and antifreeze mixing. Part numbers and website if anyone is interested.

The door seals are made of soft, porous rubber. Try using an Armor All type of coating to prevent the door and seal from freezing together.

My windshield washer hose was placed between the windshield and its seal which crimped the hose and greatly diminished the flow of the spray. I guess it was a prank. Rerouted in the designed manner and works as it should work.

Forget the K&N filter. It doesn't provide any real significant benefit when you compare the very probable side effects that it causes ( check engine lights, oxygen sensors, transmission trouble, which may be damaging,..)

You can buy a NEW engine for ~$1,500. Why bother with a $600 timing belt replacement, a $550 valve cover gasket replacement, .... and have the same high mileage engine. Drive the car.

04-03-06, 12:30 PM
I think I'm leaning towards an aftermarket oil cooler also; I just got my Cat late last summer - it always ran hot. The hot weather is returning - if a coolant flush doesn't help, I'll be looking more into this.

Good tip on the door seals - they often get neglected until they leak.

My windshield washer hose broke when I opened my snow/ice covered hood - I repaired it with electrical tape and heat-shrink tubing.

I've had a K&N for about 4 or 5 months and all is fine.

Can you have a "NEW" engine installed for $1500??? Is that new, or rebuilt? There's no way I would attempt to replace the engine in my Cat, but I'm pretty confident that I could replace the timing belt/tensioners and valve cover gaskets myself - and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't cost me $1150. Not too sure I could agree with you on this one unless the engine had 160K+ miles.

04-03-06, 09:36 PM
Where did you get the oil cooler and please include part number. Thanks

04-03-06, 10:47 PM
Thanks to Omermurat, the number for the oil cooler is: DER15502. I bought it at White's Pit Stop in Illinois for about $60. I think I am going to change the cooler to another type. I might connect the cooler directly to the oil cooler lines used for the OEM cooler.
I completely disconnected the OEM oil cooler. You can NOT plug the openings when you remove the oil cooler lines. You will not have any oil pressure. The oil pump is directly connected to these inlet/outlet openings. You either need to directly connect the aftermarket oil cooler to these openings or connect the two openings together and place your oil cooler on the car via a sandwich connector at the oil filter.
You can put the cooler between the radiator and the A/C condensor. NO, the car will not overheat. The radiator gets plenty of air. The temp is lowered to a safer level. Go slow, think it through and have patience. It works fine. You won't find the correct high pressure fittings you need very easy. I have part numbers in the garage but, for now you can go to www.fluidsystemseng.com (http://www.fluidsystemseng.com) and look at Earls Fittings. This site also has oil coolers and hose with pressure fittings at each end. I will provide you with the numbers tomorrow.
You can also go to www.derale.com (http://www.derale.com) for additional oil cooler choices. You will need to go to Fluid Systems Engineering for the high pressure fittings regardless.

If you don't have your battery insulated--DO IT!
The hotter the battery becomes the lower the voltage output in the electrical system. Prolonged low voltage ruins electrical components. THIS is probably one of the main culprits to many electrical problems this car has. Also, insulate the radiator hose next to the battery. I used a hot water pipe insulator for hot water lines in a home.

The sunroof seems to have problems when it is cold because of excess condensation in and around the switch. Leave the temperature on auto regardless of your desired temp so the A/C stays on which will remove humidity inside the cabin. A quick run through the programming usually helps to clear the problem too.

And yes, you can buy a brand new engine for ~$1,500. This is for the engine only. A good mechanic will put it in for about $600

04-04-06, 04:07 PM

Reading your reply and explanation, i am thinking the best way is to connect the two OEM openings together to get oil pressure and just use a sandwich filter adapter to create a bypass to the external oil cooler. I believe that most of these adapters come with built in thermostat that senses how hot the oil is and I guess they close when the oil is not warm enough and opens when the oil is too hot. That way, the oil won't be too cold for optimum performance(which i guess is not going to happen with a Catera). Anyway, if you don't mind, which way is the best way to access the oil cooler lines and I am hoping that you can post some kind of illustration where it is exactly on a Catera so I won't be guessing. I'll definitely be going to do the job myself because i believe that it's not that hard so any assistance will help a lot. Thanks a lot.

04-04-06, 05:18 PM
This is re changing out the Catera's factory-installed heat exchanger in favor of an aftermarket oil cooler. Hope the following is helpful:

http://f4.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/UN4yRORt6mB_1XAxwGbI1zmZXI0aKE4GMB1LH2aME6yNUQFJGs WYs0J9bxdyvoAB7W7cUvgwWo1bNSWmI20_61z0gQ/External%20Oil%20Cooler%20Install.doc

Good luck! (more)

Uh-Oh! I think you might need a Yahoo identity to access the above download, a Yahoo cookie. If so, please forgive and just ignore.


04-04-06, 08:42 PM
The above link doesn't work for me but, I'm interested. If you look at the design in a manual it is a simple vehicle to transfer heat submerged within coolant. That's it. It is not this mysterious, complex system to be afraid of. The oil pump is directly connected to the cooler lines to ensure that there is enough force generated to circulate oil up against gravity through metal tubing. If the cooler is partially plugged with sludge from inadequate oil maintenance the pressure will decrease at idle. This will cause you to increase the oil viscosity so the oil pump can force the oil through the cooler when the engine temp is high. Regardless of how indespensible information may be to the contrary there is one indisputable fact--the car runs hot. The engineers are asking the small radiator to cool the coolant and the oil. They use three fans to try to cool the coolant. This is proof of the problem. This extra voltage draw in the summer along with the lower voltage from the hot engine compartment and battery cause further problems with the electrical system. I have asked the radiator to take care of the coolant. American engineers have designed cars without oil coolers--almost all of them. That is my proof that this car will do just fine. I have driven the car at 80mph on the freeway, sat at idle in traffic and it is fine. I have oil pressure. I now use 10W30 as recommended with expected results.

I currently have the cooler lines connected. If you disconnect them from each other you will not have any oil pressure. The upper opening is the outflow. It is to the right of the filter at about 1 o'clock. The inlet is at about 5 o'clock and this provides suction. The connections are not passive. There is active pumping outflow and suction to assist in drainage to the cooler. When the oil cooler lines are disconnected, you will need a part like #991956 to screw into the engine. You add part #800106ERL to each end of high pressure rubber tubing covered with a metal mesh. You will need 1 ft of the tubing. Use the tubing to connect the two fittings. You now have disconnected your oil cooler and have oil pressure. If you want to remove heat use an aftermarket cooler which will do the exact same thing as the OEM cooler did which was cool the oil. The engine operating range isn't compromised if that is a concern. At certain ambient temps this is where the engines temps reside anyway.
You can also directly connect an aftermarket cooler directly to the original lines.
This is my experience. I thought it might be interesting to the group.

04-05-06, 12:26 AM
The above link doesn't work for me but, I'm interested.

Sorry you had a problem.

The link I provided is to a writeup done by another individual who already did exactly what you are doing. It describes in detail the actions he took and the modifications he made to his Catera.

To access the link you need a Yahoo username and password. This is free if you go over to Yahoo and sign up. The same Yahoo username and password will get you into the Yahoo Catera group which is a VERY active group of Catera enthusiasts.

The link itself is to a Word document. I do not have Microsoft Word installed on my computer, but I will try to provide below an IMPAIRED, incomplete (no photos) version of the document, just so you can get the flavor.

Repeating for _emphasis_, the version below is impaired and _incomplete_. If you want the actual document you will have to obtain a Yahoo credential, a username and password, which is free. If I could provide you the actual document I would do so. I cannot.

Please see below for the best I can do:


I used B&M RACING 70261 Import Engine Oil Cooler kit from www.summitracing.com. Kit comes with ten feet of hose and NPT brass nipples. It also has remote filter mount that I did not use. Street elbows Female pipe x male from ACE hardware $3.95 each, adapt nipples to oil cooler. Hoses route to driver side of car between radiator and frame. Keep pushing the hose in and it will easily route itself through engine mount bracket and come out right next to oil filter. I removed factory oil cooler lines and cut them up to make two short nipples that screw in the engine block. Then got tube x female pipe compression fitting (ACE hardware) that adapts NPT brass nipples in kit to fabricated nipple in engine block. Cooler mount racket is made from x x .040 angle (ACE Hardware). Cut and gas welded bracket together. It attaches to underside of front bumper with 3/16 pop rivets and to existing holes in radiator support with self tapping hex head bolt (ACE Hardware). Cooler mounts to bracket -20 bolts and Nyloc nuts. I completely removed factory oil cooler from engine. I drilled out holes in oil cooler cover to accept NPT pipe plugs. Drill size is 55/64 (.921). You could also enlarge holes with a Dermal tool. Go very easy with tap as cover is very thin. Installed plugs and sealed them from engine side with epoxy steel (JB Weld). It took about five or six iterations of pulling front bumper fascia off to make sure everything fit, but well worth it. Car runs cooler and peace of mind that Im not going have oil and coolant leaks in future. Cooler is visible just behind front fascia where license plate use to be. Oil system volume increased slightly to almost seven quarts.

04-05-06, 07:02 PM
I have been thinking about this project and I thought that since my oem oil cooler doesn't have the problem of the coolant and oil mixing together, then i might as well keep it functioning and just add an external oil cooler to make the cooling of the oil more efficient. So, I'm going for the Derale kit that uses a sandwich type adapter which has a built in thermostat and would only open when the oil is too hot. I am getting the kit tomorrow and hopefully I can install it tomorrow as well. Thanks for all the input.

04-06-06, 08:23 AM
Allen, can you report back on your experience installing this... it's is something I am considering also.

04-06-06, 08:23 PM
Well, I'm done with the install. As adviced by Ikarukeion, I squeezed it in between the radiator and the AC condenser. And so far, I didn't have any leak after a test drive. I can't wait for the summer to come to really put it to test. I didn't notice any difference in the temperature reading. I am thinking that it probably have something to do with the adapter having a thermostat. I just don't know at what temperature does it actually opens. I tried getting the car some slight stop and go after the car has run about half an hour, and i noticed that when the car reaches about a line after half of the gauge, then it will slowly go down. Unlike before that it will get to 3/4 of the gauge before actually going down. I am guessing that at that temperature, the sandwich adapter is opening up letting some of the oil go through the cooler thus the lowering of the temperature. But i still have to test the car through some hard driving this summer and see what difference will there be. I'll keep you guys posted. As long as you have enough tools, there should be no problem during the installation.

04-06-06, 09:11 PM
Well done Allen. Now if you want your temp below half all the time disconnect the two oil lines and add that tube with two pressure fittings. It is simple.

04-06-06, 10:05 PM
I'm actually thinking of taking off the thermostat of the sandwich adaptor instead. That way, the oil will just flow continuous into the external oil cooler and to the regular oil cooler as well. What do you think?

04-07-06, 06:09 PM
I'm actually thinking of taking off the thermostat of the sandwich adaptor instead. That way, the oil will just flow continuous into the external oil cooler and to the regular oil cooler as well. What do you think?

Please read final three posts here:


The answer to your question lies with the type of oil you run and with the extent to which you might be concerned regarding lubrication of the engine PRIOR to its having reached operating temperature.

If you decide to stay with the thermostat in your aftermarket oil cooler, the oil will come up to operating temperature more quickly following a cold start.

04-07-06, 07:04 PM
Well, a cold start isn't a problem, I give ample time to the car to warm up before running anyway. My problem is the heat the car is generating and the effect it has on the voltage that i am getting on the gauges once the car starts heating up. I live here in NY and during the summer it can get really hot. I have just finished ripping off the thermostat (sort of). I twisted and pull until all that is left won't block the hole that leads to the other side of the filter. I am giving it a test drive later. Modern cars don't really need a long time of warm up before running. And the Catera being naturally hot, won't need that as well. I hope my project serves me well in the long run.

04-07-06, 09:07 PM
I wouldn't have removed the tang for the oil cooler thermostat. It opened at 180 degrees.
The OEM cooler takes the main engine oil pressure. The cooler you installed gets whatever is remaining. You had to install the cooler so the flow of oil went upward, if you put it between the radiator and condenser. This will take more pressure. It probably works better while driving rather than at an idle. You probably have three options. 1) My recommendation. Remove the oil cooler lines and connect the two together. This will give you the pressure needed to overcome gravity and send the oil up to cool the engine. If you try, I'll watch the site for questions. 2) Buy an oil cooler with pressure fittings and connect the engine directly to the aftermarket cooler. This is what I'm going to do in a few weeks. 3) Try to move the cooler lower and place the cooler in a horizontal position.

There is no magic to the OEM cooler. You simply loosen and remove the oil line fitting and with a little effort move the line to the side and connect the two together. You do not have to permanently cut or remove the OEM lines.


Move the cooler lower in the engine compartment, but I don't know where. I wouldn't remove the air box. The car needs cool/cold air for performance.

04-08-06, 12:50 AM
I don't think I'm ready to do option 2 and waste the kit that i just bought. I will give the 3rd option a try tomorrow, though I know that it will be a pain in the butt. I just don't think that the pressure that goes through the oil filter is not enough to get the oil to circulate the cooler. I am imagining how the thermostat was designed and before installation, it's actually in the open position. So, I was thinking that the pressure that is generated closes it, and when the oil gets warm it coils up to the open position. I don't know if there is any other way the thermostat functions.

04-09-06, 12:05 PM
I have not changed the position of the cooler yet but found something out, if i turn on the AC, be it heater or cooler, the oil cooler benefits from the condenser's fan keeping the oil cooler cool thus helping a lot in the whole process, the gauge never got close to half, just remained at a line before the half even at hard driving. When in the past, I would always be at half and then shoots up when i go slow after a hard drive or go to a stop. But this time, all it reached was half and a hair over half of the gauge. Over all I am just happy with the result. The next test would be a traffic jam where in the past, the car would just get so hot you can practically fry an egg while waiting for the car in the front to move causing a drastic dip in the voltage to almost critical level.

04-09-06, 09:02 PM
You're right. You should always have the temp on auto. This leaves the A/C on to regulate the temp inside the cabin. The fans are on with the A/C which will lower the temp of the coolant. This will also keep the compressor seals lubricated and prevent leaks from lack of use and dried shrunken seals.

I put the adapter in boiling water before I installed it to see how the tang worked. The tang closes or covers the hole, when hot, to force the oil through the hoses and subsequently to the cooler. It stays open when cold so most of the oil recirculates to the engine until it gets hot enough.

Have the engine flushed and new coolant put in to ensure the system is ready for the summer.

04-09-06, 09:28 PM
I am quite confused about how the tang worked as you describe it because I actually am getting better performance now that I removed the tang. I don't know what is actually happening now that is causing the system to seem to work better. I wonder how is the oil's pathway into the filter and then back into the engine. Hmmmm....

04-09-06, 09:47 PM
I just went to Derale's site and looked at how the thermostat works and it says "Bi-metallic spring diverts oil from cooler until it reaches operating temperature". Which means that if you remove the metallic spring, oil will not be diverted from the cooler, instead will go through the cooler immediately

04-11-06, 05:48 PM
The fans that turn on when you turn on the A/C or put the temp on Auto are cooling the radiator. That is the difference. The tang covers the hole to prevent circulation when the oil is hot. When I put the adapter in boiling water the tang closed/covered the hole.

04-11-06, 07:12 PM
I believe that you should go to Derale's site to confirm this. And besides, I drove the car again without the AC or the heater on and it's the same difference in performance. In fact, my car took a while to really get to what I normally see. And now, the car won't go to even half the gauge. Which means that the oil is circulating into the cooler immediately. And besides, it was explained in the Derale's site that the thermostat is deviced to prevent over cooling the car and getting the car to reach operating temperature before activating and actually letting the oil through the cooler. I am not inventing this information. It's in Derale's website. I myself can't explain the mechanism of action of the tang and that hole in relation to how it prevents the passing of the oil into the cooler, but for whatever reason, I am happier now that i removed the tang because, my car is not heating up anymore than it used to be. And i noticed that because of the reduction in heat, the pick up in acceleration doesn't suffer anymore specially after a long while of driving. And of course, the voltage is more stable than it used to. Summer here in NY is yet to come, so there is even more test to come. But even so, I can still remember one last summer when I was worried that my car would die in the middle of the road because of excessive heat and low voltage and I had my AC on that i was prompted to turn it off to lessen the engine's work. Now that the AC will actually be helping me instead, then that is even more good news.

04-12-06, 06:23 PM
Allen if you could please post the pics of the new oil cooler on the car,i am thinking of putting a oil cooler in my car too,like you said summer is around the corner. Thanks

04-12-06, 10:25 PM
Well, simply put, the cooler is in between the radiator and the AC condenser. I had it vertically installed in the passenger side of the radiator simply because it's the only place i can install it without having to remove anything. The cooler was installed vertical because the tubings run on one side of the cooler and installing it vertically with the hoses at the bottom, makes it easier. And if you will do a visual inspection of the radiator's passenger side, it's exposed well that you can easily get the ties that came with the kit. That way, you won't need any screw or any other tool except for a cutter to cut excess tie. The cooler is practically touching the radiator which i thought would help cool the cooler at the same time benefitting from the fan that cools the radiator.Anyway, the hoses was run under the radiator and just tried to pass it under and to the oil filter. And as mentioned earlier in this post, you will have to file a side of the adapter to give it more room so you can easily squeeze in the hoses once the adapter is installed. You will have to file the side that is close to the sensor which is beside the oil filter. From my experience there is only one way to install the adapter and still be able to get the hoses in and still, it would require a little bit of filing a side of the adapter just like i described. In my case, i used a grinder to make the job faster and easier. If you like a better looking set up, you can probably just buy the adapter from Derale, and then get a high performance cooler that uses threaded connections instead of the one that cooler in the kit uses (clamps). You can buy reinforced hoses instead of the ordinary hose that came with the kit. Derale's website has all the hardware to choose from. In my case, since i already bought the kit, I wouldn't go and upgrade it, i will wait till it needs replacement. Because right now, I am just a satisfied customer. I advice that you remove the Tang before installing the adapter. Our car runs very hot unfortunately, and I don't see any harm running the oil cooler set up continuously without control of the thermostat. The car gets warm easily, the most important thing is to control that temperature to not get crazy during hard driving and stop and go situation. Just like I said, i have yet to try the car in a very hot situation. From my recent test drives, I am very pleased with the temp readings I'm getting compared to what i used to get before. I couldn't believe my eyes that i was like glancing at the gauge every moment taking a look at how my driving would affect the performance, but bottom line, the car runs a lot cooler now than before. Come summer time, if I need to, i'll try installing the cooler at a lower level as adviced by one of the posters here citing pressure being less since the bulk of the pressure is directed to the OEM cooler. I was kinda wary about this observation because, I'm thinking that if oil pressure going to the filter is less, then how is the whole filtration process going to be effective in filtering out impurities if only 10% of the oil is going to pass through the filter every time. All the while, I thought that oil passes through the filter and then goes back to the circulation everytime all the time, which means to me that pressure inside the oil filter could also be high. I am not a mechanic in any sense, so anyone out there could probably shed some light on this. Bottom line, I took the risk of modifying the set up and got better performance, I'm happy.