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Discussion Starter #1
I am working on my niece's 2000 Catera. I have determined that there is a mechanical failure in cylinder #4. I don't know if it is the head gasket or a bad valve or cracked head, or what the specific problem is, but it doesn't have compression.

I can get a running engine with half the miles of the current engine for $650.

I can get a rebuilt cylinder head, haskets, etc... for about $450-$500.

The cost is close enough to be basically the same either way. The issue is which is easier. I have lots of experience working on cars, but this is my first Catera and Opel 3.0 motor.

What do more experienced Catera mechanics say? Replace the head on the 182,000 mile motor? Or spend a little more and get a 112,000 mile engine? Which is overall easier?

Thanks.
 

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1991 Cadillac Sedan DeVille, 1993 Cadillac Sedan DeVille Special Edition
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Taking the engine out is more difficult than just one head. Considering your options are 182k and 112k miles, it's not worth it to replace the bad engine with a slightly less ruined engine. If you could get something low mileage, I'd say go for it.

The head would be cheaper and better at this point and in the long run.
 

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'98 Catera '04 Cadillac CTS 3.2l v6 6 speed maual '04 Cadillac CTS-V 5.7L 6 speed man
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I would have to say that with the miles on that engine and since the heat exchanger failed and leak coolant in the oil causing the oil to break down which then has burned up all the bearings making engine to get to hot so now head warped with blown head gasket. Probably seems to run good when cold but when that aluminium head gets hot it will start running like beat horse. I say replace it.
 

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1997 Professional Chassis Raised Roof Presidential Limousine
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since the heat exchanger failed and leak coolant in the oil causing the oil to break down which then has burned up all the bearings making engine to get to hot so now head warped with blown head gasket.
Where did he say that? OP, a blown head gasket or cracked head would still give SOME compression. Zero compression sounds like a valve not opening or stuck open, assuming it didn't throw a rod or have a hole in the piston. Take the plug out and stick a dowel in the hole and touch the piston. Turn the engine over by hand to see if the piston goes up and down. If ok, take the valve cover off and take a look at the cam followers and lifters. My guess the problem is there.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
To be clear- I never did a compression check, I just know that cylinder #4 is misfiring and not providing any power. It feels like a "dead hole" with little or no compression. The engine still has plenty of oil pressure, but new spark plugs, a new coil pack, and new injectors did not solve the misfire.

I had the valve cover off to replace the gasket and did not see any obvious problems like a wiped out cam lobe.

This is really a moot point anyway since the car is now for sale for $800. Check the Catera classifieds section.
 

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Catera 2000 & Catera 2001
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Get the camera from harbor freight, take the plug out, inspect the walls and the piston. If that looks good, just buy used head, and replace it. That gonna be much cheaper than having it rebuilt and you never know if there is a crack, will cost even more. If walls are scratched and piston look bad, you need another motor. They are pretty reliable engines, but who knows what happened, only good inspection will help you to decide where to go with it.
If you replace engine, get 3.2 from cts. It will improve your specs and they also long running ones, and you might find it cheaper since there are plenty cts's available.

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