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'97 Catera PROBLEMS! Help please!

10416 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  elvin315
I bought a 1997 Cadillac Catera about three weeks ago...While I do love the car, it just started overheating and boiling water and antifreeze.

What I really need to know is where I would find the procedures for changing the water pump, the thermostat, and the "internal timing belt." (?)

The Cadillac mechanic wants $900 for the water pump and $800 for the thermostat...Plus he said even if I replace those, the heads could be cracked and it wouldn't matter...

Can someone help me find these procedures? Or hook me up with some directives? Thansk so much!
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Did this mechanic run any tests or did he just try to scare you away? Before you begin throwing money at the problem try a few things.

1.) Run the engine with the coolant tank's cap off and peer down into it. Are there any bubbles? Maybe a blown head gasket. Which side? That will involve testing each cylinder for compression or leakdown.

2.) While peering, was the coolant reddish pink? Have you topped it off with good old green antifreeze or did you use the recquired Dexcool? Mixing the two will create a gooey gel that will clog the radiator and maybe the heater core if you've used the heating system.

3.) If the coolant tank has a light brownish milky colored residue floating around inside you may have a leaking oil cooler. The cooler is submerged in a coolant passage within the engine block, under the intake plenum. Remove the oil fill cap and dipstick, They may also show signs of this creamy junk. This stuff will clog the radiator too.

4.) Loosen the radiator hose and pull it off. Start the engine. Does coolant flow? No? Could be a water pump. The Catera has three. One engine driven pump, one electric auxiliary pump behind the radiator, and another for the heater core.

They should be enough to start you in the right direction. Never walk up to a mechanic without knowing a little about the problem. "It's a sign of weakness."

Read these threads. They cover some of what Lakesidedrive did to his Catera to solve his overheating problem. Use the search engine to find more info.

Main Water Pump Replacement

Aux Water Pump

Cooling system
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:worship::thumbsup:Thanks for the help!
Can anyone send me some directives to change the thermostat and timing belt? I've got the instructions for the water pump now...Thanks Elvin!
The timing belt should be replaced every 40k - 45k miles. If it breaks those 6 pistons will crash into the 24 valves. It means a rebuild or a new engine. When you replace the belt you must also replace the tensioner and idler pulleys. If not, the bearing may seize causing the timing belt to break. Noise is usually the first symptom of a tensioner or idler pulley bearing that is failing. There's a kit that includes all the necessary parts from These kits contain the updated parts from GM TSB #02041. RockAuto lists 3 kits but this is the most reasonably priced.

GATES Part # TCK285A {4 Components (1 Belt, 1 Tensioner, 2 Idlers)}

These links should help with the replacement:
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