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Ask Jerry Newton Your Own Question
Jerry Newton
Jerry Newton, Cadillac Technician
Category: Cadillac
Satisfied Customers: 4413
Experience:  ASE Master Technician, L1, Master GM Technician. Over 20 years of bumper to bumper GM experience.
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I have 97 cadillac catera we brought to get fixed because

Customer Question

i have 97 cadillac catera we brought to get fixed because the light didnt work some of the dash gauges didnt work and we had to jump start it sometimes even after new batery, we drove it to the repair drives very nice once running .that it was electrical repair said it started right up for them drove into shop looked at some stuff then could not get it to run again and could not find the problem we had to tow it home it turns over like it want to start but doesnt and im guessing the other problems i first stated are still wrong any ideas
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cadillac
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the head lights didnt work
Expert:  Jerry Newton replied 1 year ago.

These cars are very different than anything else GM sold in America, and that's because they are a rebadged European car, so lots of repair shops and even Cadillac dealer techs don't like or want to work on them.

Having said that, hopefully you understand how complicated this car is with regard to the electrical systems. Especially the early ones 97-98, they had a host of electrical issues that were hard to solve.

If this were in my shop, I'd start with a scan tool, and I'd want to see whether the engine computer is communicating, and if so, I'd want to see if the tool registers RPM when cranking. After that, I would be testing fuel pressure. Do you know if any of these tests have been performed?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
im sure it is electrical the mechanic could not do a diagnostic test because he could not get the car started again said it had to be running. what is the most likely problem that acures with this cars electrical and average cost to repair
Expert:  Jerry Newton replied 1 year ago.

It doesn't have to be running to use a scan tool on it, and even if it's not running, scan data can be very useful to determine WHY it's not running.

The common issues with the electrical system are the relays, they are junky for some reason whether for the headlights, blower, or whatever. There are also a couple of known areas where wiring chafes and shorts out.

In your case, however, I would start with basics, as always. Test fuel pressure, test to see if there is spark. Fuel pumps are fairly common failure, and so are ignition modules, so either of these things would cause the car to not start. If the scan data reveals 0 rpm when cranking, you'd need to look at the crank position sensor, another fairly common failure.

Good diagnostics are what is needed here, despite the fact that Catera is a different kind of animal, all of the same basic rules apply: fuel, spark, and air.