: Overheating issue



grantii
04-16-06, 09:49 PM
Hi,
I'm relatively new to this site. I own a '98 Catera. I've recently had nearly $5000 of work done to the engine, cooling systems and suspension - and the car is still not right. The latest thing is this, when the car has been sitting for a while upon turning it over there is a very loud fan noise that goes off and stays on for about 1 good minute. it'll shut itself off, then come back on again for a few more seconds then go off. It sounds like the fan you'd hear when you car is getting hot. The second thing I'm noticing is that the car will routinely stay above 1/2 mark on the temperature. It gets up to the mark between 1/2 and 3/4 and then it'll start to cool, but only if I'm driving faster than 40 mph. If I'm doing under that, it will sometimes get up to the 3/4 mark before it cools. I am not used to a car getting that hot before it cools. My last car was a chrysler, and it never made it to 1/2, it always stayed at the 1/4 mark. Cadillac is saying that this is normal for the car to get that hot before cooling. Is this true, for those who own a catera. I've never known a car to heat that hot before it decided to cool off.

One last thing, when it gets that hot and I've reached my destination and turn the car off, there is a whining noise emminating from the hood, sounding like something is caught in some fan, like there should be a fan on, but the pully that works it is just spinning on the belt and the belt isn't moving kinda noise. It will do this anywhere from a minute up to three minutes before it finally dies out. Cadillac again is saying that this is normal. I don't buy it, but in the city I'm in, no other mechanic wants to deal with the engine on this car, citing that it's too complicated to repair or diagnose.

Has anyone experienced this? If you have or haven't do you know what might be causing this? What should I be looking for? What under the hood is getting ready to fail?

Please help me try to nip this in the bud before it escalates into something major or rest my mind on this issue to say that its truly normal - which i just cant fathom.

Please email me at grantger@msu.edu or use the instant messenger icons above to give me your opinions of what's going on.

Thank you!!

AllenPacla
04-16-06, 11:18 PM
Well from my experience with the car, all the things you mentioned are normal for the car. The noise that you hear when you do a cold start is the air compressor of the Secondary Air Injection system of the car, you can search on this forum on what this system is for. And about the heat the car is generating, it's normal for the car but many of us here believe that it's a flaw causing a lot of other problems like electrical problems, which the car has a ton of. I have just installed an external oil cooler to add to the OEM system and my car is a lot cooler now compared to before. And the last thing you mentioned, I don't know for sure, but I hear that noise as well after shutting off the car. I thought that it could be the fan extending its function to cool the car. The car has a control on how long a delay you want before the car completely shuts off power to the car. It's a dial on the switch for the fog lights. I don't know if you notice, but there is a delay before the headlights shuts off when you turn the ignition to off. You can set this to turn off immediately or up to three minutes if I am not mistaken. I guess it has something to do with the noise you're saying which stays on for three minutes. I could be wrong on this last one though, I guess somebody else could confirm on this.

guardian
04-17-06, 07:40 AM
The gauge action you describe says this to me:

Replace the thermostat.

This might help and it might not. But it's not an expensive fix to try.

And after the old 'stat is out, check it to see if it's the right one for the car. It might not be, or it might just be "tired".

Good luck.:)

And remember, when trying to fix a car or anything else, always attack the simple stuff first. Then work your way up in complexity, but only if you must.

AllenPacla
04-17-06, 04:47 PM
I don't think that the reading that he gets from his temperature gauge warrants a replacement. Because, from my experience, when the temperature gets to 3/4, the fan will start to run at full speed, thus the lowering of the temperature you notice. The fan just run at half speed if I am not mistaken when the temperature gets past the half way mark. That's why in my car right now that it has the added external cooler, even half speed of the fan is more than enough to keep the temperature at bay.

AllenPacla
04-17-06, 04:49 PM
And when you are driving faster than 40mph, naturally, you are getting natural air being blown into the radiator keeping the temperature from reaching the 3/4 level in the gauge. And just like you said, once it hits 3/4 it starts to cool down suddenly, and again, that's the fan running at full speed causing the falling of the temperature.

grantii
04-17-06, 06:48 PM
I'm sorry if I sound paranoid, but this car has cut really deeply into my savings account and i'm trying to catch things before they die. I'm almost to the point where I get physically sick when I have to take this car back to cadillac for yet another repair. Now I've had the oil cooler replaced on this car and the coolant lines - something to that nature. It's all a blur, but I remember the price tag being over $2000! I know that I'm over my head with this car, but i'm at the point I don't have money to buy another, so I gotta keep this one on the road as much as possible.

As far as the external oil cooler....where should I look for one of those, and how much are those? Also, I have considered changing the thermostat on this car, but advance auto wants nearly $50 for the damn thing. My chrysler was barely 10 for it's 'stat. But it's ok....this car is prepping me for when I finally buy a foreign car...so i'm not trippin too hard. Where is the 'stat on this car and how difficult is it to change? Same with the oil cooler....how and where does that get installed?

Thanks for all your help!

guardian
04-17-06, 07:16 PM
I'm really sorry to hear of the extraordinary problems you have had to endure.

In light of what you just wrote, full disclosure is obviously called for here:

While I continue to believe the thermostat could be problematic, I, too, would NEVER have guessed it is a fifty dollar fix. I honestly had no clue. And while I do not question your statement of the cost, I am astonished!

Bottom line you need wiser, more able, counsel on this problem than I can offer. You need real expertise.

I truly wish you every success with your Catera, and better fortune in the future than you have had in the past.

Elo
04-18-06, 01:49 PM
Though I will say this...

When my Catera gets warmed up (2000 non-sport model), the temp. gauge sits at 50%... No more, no less...

And when I shut the car off, the fans continue to spin for about a minute... Then they shut off... So that's normal...

-Elo

SgtDriggs
04-18-06, 02:11 PM
I have a 98 with 70,000 miles and the temp gauge has never went above the half way point. Maybe I'm just lucky. The only thing that I have noticed temp wise is when I start from a cold start. The rpm soar pretty high before switching gears but that is only temporarily until the engine warms up. I wish I could be of some help but I too have only learned about this car from the repairs that I have had (coolant sensor which replaced the whole reservoir, power steering reservoir, oil pan gasket, strut bushings, tires because of inner wear in the front). I do know that my car was serviced for some recalls which the GM dealership has noted. During the recall the timing belt was changed as this was included. I would suggest anyone to take their catera and get the free work done if not already. Atleast you get a free timing belt.:highfive:

guardian
04-18-06, 04:23 PM
Though I will say this...

When my Catera gets warmed up (2000 non-sport model), the temp. gauge sits at 50%... No more, no less...

And when I shut the car off, the fans continue to spin for about a minute... Then they shut off... So that's normal...

-Elo

Elo, thanks. That's pretty much what I would expect and tends to confirm my thinking a little.

When a 'stat sticks it opens late and wide and there is a RUSH of cold water from the radiator which takes the high needle down relatively abruptly. You appear not to be seeing this action.

When the 'stat is operating correctly it opens more gradually and the needle does not overshoot and then undershoot . . . . it just slowly rises until equilibrium is reached at the thermostat's setpoint.

This is pretty much what you seem to be reporting, if I've understood you correctly . . . . . but this is not what the OP was reporting.

Elo
04-19-06, 09:35 AM
Elo, thanks. That's pretty much what I would expect and tends to confirm my thinking a little.

When a 'stat sticks it opens late and wide and there is a RUSH of cold water from the radiator which takes the high needle down relatively abruptly. You appear not to be seeing this action.

When the 'stat is operating correctly it opens more gradually and the needle does not overshoot and then undershoot . . . . it just slowly rises until equilibrium is reached at the thermostat's setpoint.

This is pretty much what you seem to be reporting, if I've understood you correctly . . . . . but this is not what the OP was reporting.

Exactly... And I would agree with you about the thermostat... I would check that before anything else, even if it is a $50.00 part...

-Elo

AllenPacla
04-19-06, 03:05 PM
Elo,

When you say that your gauge just stays at half the temp gauge, as I understood it, you are not driving the car at all, it's just sitting there. What happens if you are driving the car, with a little stop and go on a typical sunny day. What temperature reading are you getting?

Elo
04-19-06, 04:17 PM
Elo,

When you say that your gauge just stays at half the temp gauge, as I understood it, you are not driving the car at all, it's just sitting there. What happens if you are driving the car, with a little stop and go on a typical sunny day. What temperature reading are you getting?

I guess I should have phrased that a little bit better...

When my car gets up to temperature, be it on the highway or stop and go "city" traffic... The temp gauge never goes above 50%... The gauge works perfectly fine (when I turn it on after a cold start, I watch it slowly increase as the car warms up, and when I turn the car off, it resets like all the other gauges to nothing)...

The only issue(s) I'm having with my cat are the fated leaking valve cover issue and an issue with the AC (my fault entirely on that one)...

Sorry for the confusion...

-Elo

grantii
04-19-06, 05:46 PM
I'm really sorry to hear of the extraordinary problems you have had to endure.

In light of what you just wrote, full disclosure is obviously called for here:

While I continue to believe the thermostat could be problematic, I, too, would NEVER have guessed it is a fifty dollar fix. I honestly had no clue. And while I do not question your statement of the cost, I am astonished!

Bottom line you need wiser, more able, counsel on this problem than I can offer. You need real expertise.

I truly wish you every success with your Catera, and better fortune in the future than you have had in the past.



See the whole problem is that I went to what I thought was an expert - CADILLAC themselves. Their quoting that this car naturally gets this hot. I don't buy it for a minute....but how can I dispute it without being shot in the wallet, because anything they do is going to cost be at least 100!

My next resort is going to Detroit and having some shade tree mechanic take a gander at it and put one in for 2 ham sandwiches and a box of newport's.

I think what is soo frustrating is that Cadillac can never replicate what I tell them. The car always works within specs when it's in the shop - but they still charge $85 to diagnose - nothing! And because I live in a 1/2 horse town, no other person knows how to work on this engine and don't wanna get near it. I'm finding that damn near every part on this car is only sold at cadillac. lt is a pain when this car is not acting right. Now i need new struts because they are squeaking when I come to stops.....if it's not one thing, it surely is another.

Do any of you have suggestions on making it run cooler, even after the 'stat is changed?

97cateraowner
04-20-06, 12:14 AM
My wifes Catera heated up (not over heated) once since we bought it in 97.
Turned AC off to bring temp down and drove it home. I found dead bugs covering evaporator in front of radiator. Pulled grill off and sprayed them off with a garden house. This is now a yearly maintenance item. Problem has not returned. 270K miles on it now with the original thermostat!

carnut
04-28-06, 12:43 PM
Temp gauge reads high or red temp lite comes on. 1997 thru 2001. GM states its related to a large number of internally shorted coolant gauge sensors that enterd the GM parts pipeline. The BUM sensors are stamped SPAIN on one of the brass flats with a small rectangle just above it. An improved sensor part no. 3439088 is now available. The new sensor has VDO stamped on it. Hard to replace must remove intake plenum and intake manifold!This info is from MOTOR magazine April 06.

guardian
04-28-06, 03:27 PM
See the whole problem is that I went to what I thought was an expert - CADILLAC. . . . . .

OK, a couple of things. First, the two posters just before me are offering you really good advice. You should heed their counsel. What they wrote is more important than what I am about to write.

But I heard you on the 1/2 horse comment and on what you wrote, as quoted above.

It is so important you bear in mind not all Caddy dealers offer equivalent service capability. This is ESPECIALLY true for the Catera. I've written this here many times, and now once again for you:

Not all Caddy dealers even SOLD the Catera. Those that didn't never sent their techs to Cat school. But they will NOT necessarly tell you this; they are under no obligation to do so.

And that's just for starters, in terms of the lack of equivalent capability, I mean.

Bottom line, it's like going to the doctor:

If you are sick and one doctor fails to help you, you seek another opinion; you seek out the services of another physician. You do this with the hope the new doctor will have knowledge and experience not possessed by the doc who couldn't help you.

Same with your car. Half horse town or not, you need to seek out a Caddy dealer with Catera-trained techs; this holds regardless of venue. Yeah, sorry, you might have to travel.

And any new dealer you might try is not for certain going to be able to assist you.

But if you stay with your present dealer's service, all you will do is increase the width of his watermellon smile, each time you enter his service area. Do you honestly think he will volunteer that he lacks Catera expertise, and then send you to his competitor ten miles distant!

Get serious, you know better.

YOU are the one who must grasp this bull firmly by its horns and wrestle it to the ground. The bull is not going to roll over on its back and surrender voluntarily.

Find a dealer, regardless of venue, who SOLD the Catera and who continues to employ on their service staff the techs who received special Cat training. It is important, too, to seek service from a Caddy dealer that routinely works on the Cat and welcomes Catera repairs. MANY Caddy dealers actually are hesitant about Catera work and would prefer not to have Cateras in their shop. For techs who do not understand Catera and who never received special training, the cars can be problematic and frustrating.

How do you discover all this stuff? You MUST ask, inquire, and discuss these things with the service manager. If you are good reading people, you will sense quickly the manager's level of comfort with Catera. The manager might not come right out and admit to hesitancy, but the signals probably will be there.

If you have trouble "reading" people, ask if he has techs on staff who attended Cat school back starting around 1996. Ask if he has full Catera documentaion, service manuals, and service updates. You must discover if his service operation is inside the Catera loop. If he claims to have Cat-trained techs, ask for permission to interview the techs. Ask 'em when they went to Cat school. Ask 'em how many Cateras they work on each week.

Hey, it's your money and it's big money. You deserve these answers!!

If you sense problems or encounter resistance, or if you are uncertain, GO ELSEWHERE for service.

The Cadillac marque has been around for many tens of years. But how many other Cadillac models can you name that were made in Germany? Working on Detroit Caddys is not a great way to learn about how to repair Cateras. A better way is actually to work on Cateras - and the longer the better.

All this JMHO, of course. Good luck.

grantii
05-13-06, 09:27 PM
Sorry it took me a while to get back to this forum....dealing with finals.

Nonetheless, I will be traveling to Detroit to have this car reviewed and I'm going to look into that coolant sensor thing. I may just have them replace it altogether and just suffer the cost. I'll go to caddy on monday and find out what they want for the part and i'll hunt around to see who can put it in.

Thanks for all your assistance.

A Urenda
06-01-06, 06:52 PM
Sounds like my 99. It has alway ran hot well at least I think its hot. The proplem is that we do not know how the gauge is calibrated since it has no numbers so it may not realy be hot. It is not the therostate because I had mine go out and even with the new one it did not run any "cooler". I did have both aux water pumps go out and they do help with the cooling. If the one on the right fender well goes out it takes out your radio too. To replace the thomostate is a big job. Its under the intake and there is one scew that holds the tube comming out of the thermostat neck that is a bear to take out. If you do replace the thermostat get the one from the dealer. I first bought the on from an auto parts store that had the wong angle on the neck and it did not fit. Use rtv on it because they leak. I had my intake on and off three times. Hope this helps.

badmafia
07-18-06, 09:50 PM
I'm new to the Catara scene. I just purchased a 98 w/ 87K miles on it, and I drove it for the first time all day today, and i never seen the termostat get higher than 3/4 it always cooled back down to just above the half mark, and anyways I was showing my friend my new car, and he noticed white smoke from under the hood and it was over heating, although the gauge never told me? Any suggestions? I'm trying to read up as much as I can about these cars.

inconnu
07-19-06, 08:20 AM
White smoke under the hood is classic symptom of valve cover gaskets,before changing them,try to tighten the bolts when car is hot,it helped me so might help you as well.