Yeah...I noticed that too.
Oh well, I don't blame the owner
for getting rid of that Catera. It
might possibly be the absolute biggest
piece of shit that GM has ever put
together. If someone "gave" me one,
I'd sell it the next day.
At least that car was still basically a J-car. Sure they
were little shit boxes...but fairly easy to work on.
The Catera is a nasty piece of European work. GM's
"world" engine that they stick in there is the worst
engine I've seen as far as design and being able to
work on the thing. Just to replace the thermostat is
a job that involves having to remove the upper, middle,
and lower intakes. And then it gets fun from there.
It's not a good engine. It has timing belt problems,
(actually timing belt tensioner and idler pulley
problems)....it's an interference engine, it leaks
from the water valve, the head gaskets, the oil
cooler which is located in the most ridiculous
It's such a good engine that GM is finally
phasing them right out. At least in the
Cadillac line...the 3.6 VVT is taking it's
place. Hopefully they never stick that
belt driven piece of junk in any other
GM vehicle. Ahhhh, the Saturns use
them, but we don't work on them.
It actually is a fairly decent engine- the timing belt
tensioner, idler ,and water pump problems were
fixed by a general recall by GM. As for belt-driven
interference engines, may I refer you to almost
every Honda ever built??
You are certainly welcome to your opinion
on this engine. It's hard to imagine that you
actually work on this engine for a living if you
think it's a good engine....but stranger things
have happened. I don't mind working on it,
but it's not what I would consider a "good"
engine. It's poorly designed as far as being
able to work on....and it's not particularly powerful,
or smooth, or quiet. The car would have
probably been better off with a 3800 stuffed
under the hood.
Who really cares what Honda is doing. I
happen to think that running an interference
engine with belts is a bad idea. When I worked
at a Chrysler dealership for a while, I saw the
results of this design in the Eagle Talon cars
with the Mitsubishi 2.0 DOHC engine. One
foolishly designed belt tensioner gives up the
ghost and depending on what RPM it throws
the belt at....instant 10K dollar engine job.
For whatever reason, General Motors decided
to take the route of not building or designing
any "domestically" built engine that was both
interference and runs a belt. Good for them, it
saved customers a lot of grief. The one dark
blemish in the GM record was the plastic toothed
gears in the 3800 engines. These engines are
interference engines and when all the plastic
teeth disintegrated off the cam sprocket, there
were more then a few of these engines that
sustained valve/piston damage.
I'm not an engineer, but I believe that it's quite
often necessary in order to be able to use the valve timing,
lift and compression ratio's that most DOHC high
performance engines need to run.
Which is why GM uses chains now on any of
their late model engines. Plus, it's pretty much
a must with the variable valve timing engines.
The Northstar is now VVT, the new 3.6 is
VVT, the inline engines in the trailblazers/colorados
are all VVT (only exhaust cam on the inlines)
Ian (Northstar is VVT in the XLR only, I believe)
No you are clearly not an engineer- you appear
to be an auto mechanic whose main object in life is to moan
and piss about the Catera's engine. What is your point???
If you don't like to work on them, then refuse the job, it is just
that simple. I suspect you are an employee, however, so why don't
you just shut up and get on with whatever job your boss
orders you to do?
Yeah it appears to be a cramped engine compartment- ever
tried working on a Jaguar XJ-12?? I have, plenty, and the
Catera can't hold a candle to the Jag as far as difficulty of access
to important components (starter for example), or for availability
of replacement parts, or the price of those parts.
Catera in my personal experience is a well made car. You and the
other poster appear as if by magic every time the Catera is mentioned,
always with completely negative comments.
I notice you chose not to reply to the fact that these engines were
subject to a general recall to fix the problems with the water pump,
tensioner, and idler ( the belts were replaced as well ). I notice
further that you "don't care" about what Honda does, even though
Honda has built a world-class reputation for reliabilty and longevity
using belt-driven interference engines the whole while.
In short, you and Rutger ALWAYS get your (biased for whatever
reason) digs in whenever the Catera is mentioned.
I'll get my own comments in whenever necessary to contradict
the constant bullshit posted by you two.
Right....it would be very easy to prove or disprove that
the main object in life for me is to say disparaging things
about the Catera engine. Have a look in the newsgroup
archives and see how many times I talk about the Catera
motor as opposed to all the other items that I talk about.
I am an employee, but it doesn't work that way in our
shop. The boss doesn't "order" me to do anything. They
are actually quite glad to have me around as I'm one of
the few techs who can work on a shitbox like the Catera
and be both productive and do good work at the same time.
The rest of the car appears to be fairly well made, but
the actual driving experience is terrible. This is just
my personal opinion, as are all the things that I say
about the Catera. You are welcome to take it or leave
it. Anyone who actually owns and drives one of these
cars quickly discovers what a shitbox they are. We have
Catera owners trading them in all the time.
Why discuss something that I'm quite familiar with. I believe
I've done approximately 30 of these recalls. And you've
performed how many of them? What....do you think that
because a "recall" is performed, everything is "all better now"?
The belt and idler issue is only one of the problems with
Yes, and they will have nasty things happen too when
the belt breaks or jumps. I do agree with you about Honda,
I've been looking at one for my wife. Great cars.
>I'll get my own comments in whenever necessary to contradict
Ian, how come you aren't looking for a GM car for your wife? I know that GM
cars aren't the most dependable but at least you have lots of experience
with them and you have access to cheaper priced parts at the dealership.
Plus, if you had to choose one GM car what would it be in terms of
dependablity and performance.
I'm actually torn between a GM car and a Honda. It's getting
to the point with new vehicles that it's very hard to do a lot
of the work on the vehicle unless you have access to special
tools and the factory scan tools. I would prefer a GM vehicle,
other then the lousy reliability. I probably would pick an
Impala with a 3800 engine. I liked the Intrigues too. It
would have to be 4 door, otherwise the Monte is a nice
I suppose I could always try a Catera....(grin)
It obviously doesnt take an engineer to recognize a bad design. Should
everyone bend over backwards because some "engineer" one day thinks an
engine doesnt need to be easily and quickly serviced? Thats basically
what your view amounts to. Lets let the engineers get off scott free and
not hold "them" responsible for bad designs.
Lets hope people that work on GM cars never become as complacent as you
or GM might actually become as bad as Jaguar.
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