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I have 2001 Catera, my wife was driving it yesterday and put the AC on.
The temp gauge went up into the red, she said she turned off the AC and then it was fine.

It may have been because she was in stop and go traffic, but it still should not do it.

The radiator had a leak, so I pulled it out and had it repaired, much cheaper then a new one. The guy steam cleaned it, so it should be cooling better.

The voltage gauge seemed lower then usual so I checked the voltage across the battery terminals with the car running, and came up with 13.5, seems kind of low to me.

My son works at an Autozone so we took it there and put on their tester, the tester said the alternator was putting out 12.99 volts.

I was thinking of pulling the alternator and getting it checked. What should the alternator be putting out?

Would it be wise to get the AC checked by a shop?

Thanks for the help, I appreciate it!

Don
 

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2000 Catera Sport
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I am having this exact same problem right now. I'm still trying to figure it out. But it seems related to the voltage in the battery. Meaning, when my voltage drops below the 1/4 mark on the battery gauge, the car's temp goes to the red. This only happens when I turn on the A/C. As soon as I turn it off, the car returns to normal operating temp. I just replaced my alternator and my battery is less than a year old. The new alternator didnt solve the prob. If I charge my battery for a few hours on low, the problem goes away for a few days till the battery drains and then it starts all over again. When I hook a voltage meter to the battery, I am getting about 13 volts when the alternator is charging. Another person mentioned that his positive battery cable had a few inches of corrosion on it under the red shielding and that by splicing on new wire at the end and replacing the connector, his battery problems were fixed.

It seems to me that the alternator cant charge the battery enough (maybe due to a bad battery cable which increases the resistance) to cope with the power needed to run the a/c fans. This in turn causes the cooling fan to spin to slow to properly cool the engine. Which is why you only see problems when running the A/C. Also if I make a lot of stops where I have to turn the car on and off while running my A/C, my battery eventually drains so much that it needs a jump to start. This is my theory so far. I need to figure out a way to test the resistance in my positive battery cable to see if thats where the problem is.

As a side note, when autozone tested my alternator while it was in the car, it tested bad (Putting out About 12 Volts). When I replaced it I had em test the old one on their test machine and it tested 100% fine.

Also, replacing the battery only fixed the problem until it finally wore down enough to do the same thing. I really think its that there isnt enough charge returning to the battery. Just gotta pinpoint exactly why that is.

my thread on this:
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-catera-cimarron-forum/167774-car-overheats-when-running-c.html

The bad battery cable thread:
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-catera-cimarron-forum/168529-you-suffering-dead-batteries.html
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Catera00 thanks for the reply, I got home to day and checked the cables, I suspected the positive but the negative was very bad a large portion that is bare so first I shall replace the neg and see what happens then.

Don
 

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'97 Catera (Ocean)
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Before you guys start splicing in new cables, have you tried cleaning the connectors with a wire brush until you can see the copper? My battery was having issues and it ended up being the case for me, engine dust and all that stuff got in between battery post and connector causing a poor connection. Thankfully my issue was not as severe as some people have had with battery/charging issues, but its a good place to start.
 

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I have 2001 Catera, my wife was driving it yesterday and put the AC on.

The radiator had a leak, so I pulled it out and had it repaired, much cheaper then a new one. The guy steam cleaned it, so it should be cooling better.



Don

Just wondering, was your leak in the plastic part or the aluminum? I have a leak in the plastic where the intake hose comes in. From my reading, trying to fix the leak in the plastic will not work.

Question - was it hard to pull out the radiator? About how long does it take?

Thank you,

Barry
 

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2 1997 Cateras: black&ocean green
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Mine was cracked at the elbow that connects the top hose to thermostat. I just replaced it, because i got it for around $170 or so
 

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Discussion Starter #7
investor74
Mine was cracked on the top of the end cap where the upper rad hose entered.
I guess that is a common place for them to creak/leak.
I brought my radiator into a repair shop, and he replaced the end cap.
He cleaned the radiator inside and out, pressure tested it for $90.
He's repaired about 5 or 6 Catera radiators this year

I thought the job was kind of difficult, but then I am so used to working on my Saturns I'm spoiled. Things are just so tight not much room to slide it out. It probably took me 5 hours, I'm slow. Just work slow, keep track of your parts and it will work out okay.

The guy had my radiator for two hours

Now I just hope my motor is okay, I think my wife ran it quite hot for a while, so I will just hope and pray the heads are okay
 

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Catera00 thanks for the reply, I got home to day and checked the cables, I suspected the positive but the negative was very bad a large portion that is bare so first I shall replace the neg and see what happens then.

Don
please let us know if that helps. Its such a pain in the butt problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It did help replacing the negative battery cable. I now get 13.9 to 14.1 volts.
I need to check it again though after the cars heats up, thats when the 'voltage drop' if that's the correct term was more apparent.
My neg cable was in bad shape there was nearly 2 inches of the sheathing gone.

I do want to replace the pos cable but that really looks to be a pain.

I am really kind of fed up with this Catera a right now. First it was the front struts, coils springs, mounts along with tie rod ends, then it was the front brakes, then the rear brakes, then the radiator, then the heater control valve (again), now the charging system. The cooling system is still not quite right there is still some small leak somewhere that I have not found yet.

I better quit whining.

Don
 

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Unfortunately, suspension, and braking components inevitably will need to be changed, especially on a vehicle thats at least 8 years old. What really gets me about this car is the things that you normally never have to do on another car, whether its poor engineering or something else. I think Elvin said it best, if you're looking for a car that you can abuse and skip maintenence appointments, look for another car. If you want a car that requires a little extra TLC like all thurough breds, the Catera might be for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
O course there's really no comparison but my Saturn has 200k on it and it still has the original clutch, struts, tie rods, and ball joints. My Catera has had new l tie rods ends twice, new struts, mounts, and springs with only 125k. One thing in the Catera's favor though is it burns or uses no oil .. not drop
 
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