Electrical Trouble, I think.............

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Electrical Trouble, I think.............

Post by Crtfd Ace on 5/25/2011, 00:13

I have a 1998 Catera with 135,000 miles and for the past couple of months now, My Catera has developed a couple issues I hope some of you might be able to shed some light on, or a solution to my problems.

Number 1. Sometimes when I turn my wipers on, they don't turn off. The speed works but the delay seems to be non-existent and when you put it back to the off position, it just keeps going. It happened for so long that it began to eat away at my wipers, and the sound and the movement just became unbearable, so I turned off the car and pulled the fuse. That was the only way to get it to stop. So now when it rains I have to put the fuse back and pull it again when its done raining.

Number 2. Yesterday, My Leveling light came on as soon as I started my car. I found it a bit odd that it came on and started flashing within 2 seconds of starting the car since it would usually take a while if there was a leak. I recently changed my struts in the front from OEM to KYB GR-2 and the OEM rear shocks to the Monroe Max-Air. While I was under there, I lowered the car with some Vogtland Lowering Springs and repaired the leak in the air lines. The Leveling light hasn't come up since that change a month and a half ago until now. The funny thing is I know for a fact my compressor isn't faulty because I hear it start and stop soon after starting my car, and I know I don't have a leak because usually if you have a leak, it takes a while for the Leveling light to come on after starting the ignition since the compressor stays running with no change in height. In my case, my rear shocks are stuck in the up position all the time now, and the Leveling light is having a field day on my dashboard with the sporadic flashes. It turns off sometimes, and is right back on within a minute. I'm figuring its the Leveling sensor located in the rear passenger side just after the wheels, but I'm not completely sure. If it is, am I going to have to replace it completely, or is this a common occurrence with a quick fix? I'm usually the only one in the car since I'm so busy, and I hardly carry extra weight, but I do want the Leveling feature functional since I go out with friends on a regular, and I'm usually the one driving. My car already has some rear camber in the rear that I'm still trying to fix, so I don't need the new rear shocks bottoming out and ruining them.

Number 3. My key fob remote stopped working today. I'm hoping its just the battery on the remote, but I'm not sure because I used it earlier this morning when I was leaving for school and by the time I got to school I noticed it wouldn't open my trunk. I tested all the other buttons and none of them were working either. The remote hasn't worked for the rest of the day. I've been trying it on and off, here and there all day long. I'm concerned it might not be the batteries because if batteries are dying, then the range might be affected, but they usually don't stop working completely, do they? Are the IR sensors/receivers on this car known to have issues? If they are, what steps am I going to have to take to get my remote functions back to normal again? Am I going to have to re-program the remote? If so, can I do this myself or am I going to have to suck it up and take it to a dealer?

I was thinking, is this the start of the infamous electrical problems that has been plaguing other Catera owners. I love this car, but its been one problem after another ever since I got it. After getting everything fixed, I feel like it just decides to develop more problems for me to throw my hard earned cash at. I have been fixing problems back to back with this car since last September non-stop, including an engine swap from a 97, after I had the infamous oil cooler, and gasket problems with the oil in the coolant ruining my engine. Suspension wise, I've changed everything under the car from control arms with ball joints to tie rods to struts, you name it, it been done. I think I might have to change the idler arm since I have like an inch and a half of play in my steering, but I'm not completely sure if that's the cause, but everything else is new and that's one of the few things that hasn't been replaced.

If this is the start of new problems, then it's in my best interest to sell the car and drive something else. I LOVE this car and if I wasn't in school and was making enough money, I would probably park it until I've made all the repairs, but my patience and my money is running out. PLEASE HELP!!! Selling the car is really the last thing I want to do since you hardly see any of them on the road anymore, but its not giving me any reason to think otherwise. If anyone can shed any light or has a solution to any or all of my problems please respond/reply as soon as you can, it will be much appreciated. Thanks!

Crtfd Ace

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Re: Electrical Trouble, I think.............

Post by yomincarr on 5/28/2011, 22:18

ill try and shed some light on this...first of all theres some things you can do for free to try and narrow down the problems. First regarding the remote, stop by Auto Zone and try the remote on the little tester next to the parts counter. That should tell you if its the battery, they arent that expensive only a few bucks.

regarding the leveling system...Mine did the same thing about a year ago, the light would blink for a long time and never stop. I knew my compressor was good because i had just replaced my shocks (they were completely trashed!) and i could hear the compressor keeping them level at start up. then all of a sudden after blinking for the longest time, the light came on steady. I never heard the compressor again but the shocks were stuck in the up position like yours. I assumed it was the sensor as well and got one from the UK, i put it in and no change...so long story short i stopped trying to fix it. Its fine and will stay in the up position...even if you lowered it, you shouldnt have a problem with it bottoming out. I was driving around on the freeway with busted shocks over pot holes and the car never bottomed out on me. My mechanic told me that if i would have left the sensor in they can check it to see if it was working or not...you can do that yourself by jacking up the back of the car and moving the little rod thats connected to the control arm up and down. honestly i wouldnt even worry about it...just disconnect it and it will stay up and the light will go off.

finally, i dont know whats going on with your other electrical issues and wipers, but there is a multifunction relay on this car that is well known for giving owners a huge problem...usually it ties in with several other things though. Id say double check your fog lights and your trunk and gas door. those were the tell tale signs for me. also when theres a large draw on the battery, eg. lights on etc. the radio will tend to drop out. the relay itself is a little grey box under the dash over by the parking brake pedal. they are relatively cheap (70$) and you can get them from several places.

hopefully all this helps...
derek
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Re: Electrical Trouble, I think.............

Post by Crtfd Ace on 5/29/2011, 01:28

Thanks for the reply yomincarr, I appreciate it. Let me update you so far with what I've discovered. I went to Auto Zone two days ago to check if my remote batteries were dead. I was praying to God, to let that be the issue so I wouldn't have to shed out money to fix it. When I got there, I changed the batteries, tested it on the IR/RF sensor located in the store and it was working just fine. I brought it back to my car, pressed all the buttons and still there was no change. I asked one of the associates in the store if he knew if you had to get the remote reprogrammed to the car just because of a battery change, and he said to his knowledge no. I left the store upset because the last thing I want to do is visit a Cadillac dealership because in my opinion, all dealers are thieves. When i got home, I remembered reading somewhere in the owners manual that the transmitter would stop working if it was pressed over five hundred time with the vehicle out of range. It gave directions on how to reset the transmitter/sensor. I followed the directions and my remote functions were restored. What I don't understand is how the code fell out, or why the receiver stopped responding until it was reset, but I'm glad that's over because locking and unlocking the door using the key quickly became bothersome and inconvenient.

As for the leveling system, I'm still confused. That same day, i decided to get to the root of the problem by going under the car myself and playing with the Leveling sensor. I popped out one of the joints, started my car and moved the L shaped lever up and down. What I noticed was that the sensor would pump air into the shocks when I moved the lever up, but when moved it down, the was no response. I didn't hear the compressor releasing any air, it just stayed like that and at this point, the shocks were up really high. I refused to drive around like that and since the compressor wasn't releasing any of the air, I decided to do it myself. I disconnected the line connected to one of the shocks, and the shocks released all the air and dropped the car back down to normal height. I made all the connections again and started the car to see what would happen. At first the Leveling light went of, and I thought the problem was solved, but then when I got back on the road again, the same issue repeated its-self. The light began to flash again and the back raised again. I remember posts saying that lowering the car would mess with the leveling system, but my car has been lowered for some time now with no issues, why start now and not from the first day. I want to fix the issue because its taking away from the original look and handling performance of the car from after the drop. The rear fender used to sit right on the tire, but now, there is a inch and a half gap. the front of the car is still sitting low, so now it looks like my car is on an incline from front to back. I'm not sure where to begin with this problem because I don't know if it the compressor's fault for not releasing the air, or is it the Leveling sensor fault for feeding incorrect signals and readings to the compressor, so it thinks it doesn't need to release the air. If anyone has anymore information about how to fix this issue please post a reply.

As for the wipers, my mechanic thinks its the wiper control module that is faulty, or that there is a relay somewhere that keeps sticking open. He also things it has something to do with the parking feature because the wiper doesn't park quite as low as it used to before. It now sit a little higher when it does stop.

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Re: Electrical Trouble, I think.............

Post by yomincarr on 6/1/2011, 16:31

Ok well i would go with what a mechanic says if hes reliable...as i said before if thats the only problem youre having is with the wipers then its not the multifunction relay. Its good that you got the remote fixed, I read the manual cover to cover and I dont remember seeing anything about how it could get reset. I got my car from an impound auction so I had the keys and remote made...Had to be done by a dealer, no locksmiths to do it. That was expensive, about 300 bucks for all of it...programming, labor, parts.

With the suspension, it sounds to me like your sensor is working fine. when i messed with mine it didnt do anything. And since its airing up but not releasing, sounds like a stuck check valve/solenoid. Not sure where that is tho, youll have to get the shop manual and find out. Or trace each of the air lines till you find it. it could also be built into the compressor tho. Ill do some resarch and see what i can find.
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