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Catera 97
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Discussion Starter #1
Having just completed the timing belt replacement on my 1997 catera and having had the misfortune of a cam locking tool falling out and releasing the #1 & 2 cams, fear not because you can be back up and OK in just a couple of minutes.

Firstly, (as the old belt was already off) I backed the crankshaft (anticlockwise - shortest distance) to 60 deg before TDC. This is, the manual says, a safe position to avoid valve piston contact. Then I actually released cams 3 & 4 as well as I thought I would do everything from scratch. In releasing the cams they spring back or forward to a neutral position.
Next, with the help of a pair of padded grips on the cam gear bolts, I turned cams 1 & 2 (clockwise) to line up with the notches on the rear timing cover. On the 97 and I presume later years, the cam cogs are notched. Cams 1 & 2 (those are the two left ones when looking from the front) have two notches (12 o'clock & 7 o'clock) but under one of the notches will be a 1 for cam 1 and a 2 on cam 2. These are the notches to use to line up with the notches on the rear timing cover. There is quite a bit of tension on the cams because of the valve springs, but I found them fairly easy to rotate using the padded grips. They also seemed to hold their position at the timing marks so that I could slip in the cam locker again.
Next do the same thing for cams 3 & 4. The notches on the 97 are only about 1" apart and both cams had 3 and 4 stamped on them. So I lined cam 3 up with the left hand notch (over the 3) and cam 4 with the right hand notch (over the 4) and zapped in the locker.
Lastly rotate (clockwise) and lock the crank back to TDC.
Bingo you are back to putting the new belt on.

I did the tensioner and pulleys and the water pump at the same time and bingo after a couple of sets crank rotation and adjustments, she's running very sweetly.

NOTES

I removed all the spark plugs I could reach easily to reduce compression to turn the crank easier
I especially removed #1 cyc plug so I could check I was at TDC and not 180 deg out.
I only drained the rad using the drain plug and found out that when you remove the water pump the same amount drains out again via the damn water pump hole!! So beware
The V6 timing kit from the UK does not include a crank hub tork socket (J42098) nor a timing belt pulley tension adjustment spanner so be prepare to find substitutes.
Be sure to mark all the pulleys you remove especially the crankshaft balancer so as to get them back on the right way. I used white tire crayon.
I had to bend the secondary air pipe down to be able to get a socket on the upper serpentine belt tensioner bolt.
I also removed the air filter box as it made working around that side of the engine easier (manual doesn't tell you that).
I also removed the secondary air cutoff vac solenoid unit and slung it back on top of the engine. Easier to reach pipes and pulleys on right of engine.
Other than that it's a bitch of a job, but doable, as Sean Connery would say.
 

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Catera 97
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Discussion Starter #4
miles on 97 Cat

Mines done 115,000 miles in 10 years. It had the belt recall done @ approx 40,000 so i got 75,000 on that belt - and it hardly looked used at all!
 

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Catera 97
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Discussion Starter #6
It depends.
What year is it?
Has it had the belt/tensioner recall done on it (you may need to check with a caddy dealer for this - unless there's a sticker under the hood somewhere).
Is it used in "Canadian winters" - i.e. cold climate - worse situation
For the 97 & 98, GM recommends a change at 60,000m - Gates says 100,000. I'd aim at no more than 70,000
If your doing it (or a dealer or other mech) you should also change the tensioner, pulleys and water pump at the same time. I got a Gates timing kit from Rockauto for $156US and a water pimp for $50. Caddy in Canada wanted $1140 (+tax) just for the timing kit!
Hope this helps
 

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It's a 98 and i live in houston texas, in which the weather is steaming right now. I have had the recall done and thank you for the information
 
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