1999 Catera head gaskets

Asked by Feb 02, 2008 at 12:05 PM about the 1998 Cadillac Catera 4 Dr STD Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Does anyone know if the heads can be pulled on this vehicle without removing the engine?  I've got water in my oil and think the head gasket(s)may be the problem. I really don't want to pull the engine unless absolutely necessary.  I'm wondering if I should replace anything else while I've got it apart. I've heard this engine has lots of problems especially with the overhead valve system. Not sure if this engine has a belt or chain timing drive for the cams?  Any comments would be appreciated.

7 Answers


http://www.carsurvey.org/ try this site and read what other Catera owners are saying, I know that ths Catera is problematic. But you my have to pull the engine and you might want to have a good look over and replace anything that looks "bad", I find the biggest thing most people forget to do is send the heads out to be "Magnafluxed" (spelling is not spot on) They "bath" the heads and x-ray them and mesure them. If they are "warpped" by a little you wont know but if you get this done you will know for sure if the heads are good. Nothing is as worse as doing a great job and having the same issue, just because the head it self is bad. Hope this helps and best of luck. Cheers

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I believe you can remove the heads on this vehicle without pulling the engine. This has been a problematic vehicle since it was built. I believe it does use a timing chain but I am not 100% certain on that.

thankyou for your feedback. I really appreciate it. Russ

Heads can be pulled with engine block in car. Catera does not use a timing chain but rather 2 timing belts which were a REAL problem issue (recalled in Canada). Belt tensioners would fail, valves would hit pistons, goodbye engine. GM came up with a fix, belts supposedly good for 160,000 km. now


I believe that all models use a timing belt, a design for which the Germans are famous for. Because they are supposed to be replaced about every 65,000 miles. I know mine need to be replaced. In AZ the repair at an independant shor is about 600$ because they replace the water pump at the same time.


I was just wondering the Catera seems to have the same problem the Northstar has, the bolts let go in the aluminum block and headgasket failure is the outcome. The shop who created a fix for the northstar is using the sam type of fix on the catera. for information on his company go to www.expertengines.com He worked on hundreds of Northstar engines and perfected the fix.


It looks like you should be able to remove the head without pulling the engine , however you will have to pull the intake out of the way first. You can't even lift the valve covers because the intake sits right above it. I believe the recall for the timing belt pulleys was for the 97- 99 cars.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions

  • Problen with cooling system on Catera 5 answers

    Had this car almost new. Started with it at 14,000 miles, it's now at 92K. This car always has run hot even after Caddilac said that the temp gage had to be reset because the gage made it appear it wa...

    1998 Cadillac Catera 4 Dr STD Sedan


    Maintenance & Repair

  • 2001 Cadillac Catera radiator change. 1 answer

    My 2001 Catera seemee to have transmission fluid inside the radiator, thought it was a blown head gasket but fortunately it wasn't. Drained the radiator and now I'm hoping with the installation of...

    2001 Cadillac Catera 4 Dr STD Sedan


    Maintenance & Repair

  • 1998 Cadillac Catera, Brown antifreeze 3 answers

    Replaced lower waterhose... noticed after adding new antifreeze that it turned dark brown. Also noticed a slight white oily coating on the underside of the cap. I suspect a slight head-gasket leak. Do...

    1998 Cadillac Catera 4 Dr STD Sedan


    Maintenance & Repair

  • running hot should I flush the radiator 7 answers

    the just started to run hot. looks like the over flow has a sludge like substance. I that the problem.

    1999 Cadillac Catera


    Maintenance & Repair

  • My Mothers 2000 Catera is occasionally running hot (Usually with in-town driving) and will sometimes stall altogether. 6 answers

    My Mothers 2000 Catera is occasionally running hot (Usually with in-town driving) and will sometimes stall altogether. After waiting a few minutes, (so far), the car will restart and go a bit further ...

    2000 Cadillac Catera 4 Dr STD Sedan


    Maintenance & Repair


Looking for a Used Catera in your area?

CarGurus has 36 nationwide Catera listings starting at $3,988.


Search Cadillac Catera Questions

Cadillac Catera Experts

#1 Diamond009
Reputation 280
#2 Tom Demyan
Tom Demyan
Reputation 180
#3 engineer1701
Reputation 170
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Chevrolet Camaro
148 Great Deals out of 32,804 listings starting at $1,995
Used Ford Mustang
390 Great Deals out of 47,148 listings starting at $1,999
Used Toyota Camry
816 Great Deals out of 90,825 listings starting at $850
Used Ford Taurus
238 Great Deals out of 20,401 listings starting at $1,100
Used Cadillac DeVille
8 Great Deals out of 1,620 listings starting at $2,200
Used Honda Accord
781 Great Deals out of 87,947 listings starting at $1,150
Used Nissan Altima
860 Great Deals out of 79,899 listings starting at $1,800
Used Cadillac Escalade
241 Great Deals out of 10,972 listings starting at $3,000
Used Chevrolet Corvette
97 Great Deals out of 20,436 listings starting at $3,495
Used Jeep Wrangler
282 Great Deals out of 18,673 listings starting at $2,995