2002 e825 (4 Seat) upgrade path?

So we just picked up a new (To Us) 2002 Gem e825 four seat and, though it looks like its in great condition, wanted to see what you guys (In your infinite wisdom and hindsight) would upgrade and in what order.

I have the title and bill of sale for the the batteries which are gel from the Polaris dealer in 2015 ($1800+). It makes it to 26mph ((at least on the readout) on flat ground (Will have to GPS verify soon). and seems to have the stock motor. haven’t looked at the charger or controller yet (Where are those on a 2002?). I’m interested in lithium batteries and and AC motor for range (and boost in speed is never a bad thing:-)).and, if i’m going to have to start replacing things, might as well do it right the first time.


Get a magic magnet , It should increase your speed to 30 mph . Stock motor is good for 40 mph with lithium and bigger tire/wheels . Where are you located ? how will it be used ?

California. Flat, ugly, cow country, San Joaquin Valley, California. Using it to commute the four blocks to my kids school and three more to Work. Smallish town so i hope i can reach most of it while putting about.

Grew up on R/C cars (real, racing caliber stuff) so soldering batteries, commutator lathes, ESC.s, developing battery tech, and charging techniques are nothing new… just doing them at scale now.

I’m in the "not because you NEED to, but because you CAN group (Money permitting, of course.)

Magic Magnet seemed like a easy start and I’ve been trying to read up as i click through this forum gaining knowledge.

I have a coupe of these, a 4seater looking to sell as well as a 2 seater - daily driver if weather is nice. I am in Los Angeles.

I have done the following:

Disc brake upgrade, a must IMO. The drums never felt like it’s gonna stop, discs solve that.

Bigger wheels and tires (necessary to fit discs)

Both of mine have an upgraded motor, the Ride 4 Fun blue (I think 7.5 hp).

Both have had @Inwo green LiFePO4 lithium pack upgrades, and they run great with no maintenance. As DC motors, it’s all about volts, going from 72v to about 85v makes a world of difference. I can do 24 miles easily on one charge.

Depending nun your charger (it’s under gray dash, two bolts on front side, Velcro around the back, passenger side) and it’s setting you may need to either change out, upgrade or change algorithm to match batteries. If Polaris installed, guessing they handled, but if you go to Lithium it needs to be addressed. I am most familiar with Delta QuikQ chargers, original were Zivan.

Finally run your VIN through the NHTSA.gov recall check, on my most recent GEM (a 2002), Polaris replaced the parking brake as well as the DC-DC converter in my driveway. I have had Mercedes replace the Turbo on 28 yo car under recall. Definitely worth the time to check.

You have found a wonderful community here, full of helpful and knowledgeable people. Best of luck on your adventure.

Thanks @Reddevil. Yeah i was patiently doing research when my wife found this for a good deal and did the impulse buy. I would have preferred to pay a bit more for yours and have the LiPo done already. I guess hindsight is 20/20. Also see the need for disks for sure. How much modification is necessary to make the bigger wheels/tires fit?

Sorry, Left this off… is there a simple way to decrease turning radius? Pretty poor for this size vehicle.

No mods just need a dished wheel to clear the discs. Check out NEV Accessories In Arizona, just bought and installed a set this month.

Both of mine came with upgraded wheels/tires, 14" I believe. Search the forum for others wheel advice.

Turning radius is the reason I bought a 2 seater, no way to fix I am aware of. The dump truck syspension is also something people on the forum have been talking about, a problem with the earlier (99-2004) models. Ride is good with 4 adults on board, with myself I drive like I am on a horse, sit up straight and keep my back off the seat. :wink:

I’m a native SoCal boy , In Fl. now . Get dave’s adjustable MM so when you get the extra power from lithium you can change the switches to go faster .

so MM and stock batteries , low 30’s . But depends on tire diameter .

MM with lithium 40’s . But depends on how high you go with voltage and tire size .

All with stock motor .

FYI brakes on a 2002 suck . So the faster speeds and bigger tires are going to become a bigger problem . You can do disc brake and or reprogram your controller for high regeneration and let the controller slow you down . I have mine on high and hardly use the brakes .

Do I need to worry about the stock (18yo) motor? Especially with any/all of the mods? Love the idea of a swap out for a more efficient AC drive-train, but don’t really have time to tinker too much right now with my job. Wish there was a more “drop in” solution. Don’t really need all the crazy HP that the systems @Inwo and the boys have been working on. Would be happy with a reasonably priced motor/controller combo that gives 10-15HP and efficiency gains if it just fit/worked.

Of the upgrades I’ve done on my '02 cauck (CArt-trUCK), the one I should have done first was…

wait for it…

…the headlights. Good god the stock headlights absolutely sucked ass.
Followed by the taillights, those needed LED too.

I bought mid priced Chinesium LED headlights that would fit the existing holes and they are better than stock, but lets just say I’m either ripping them out or adding some 7" light bars this weekend. Tail lights, on the other hand, I have the truck model, so I tested a number of the different ovals, the Grote brand (most expensive, US made I believe). just leaps and bounds above the others. Front turn signals, I still haven’t totally figured out. Peterson, who made the OEM ones, has some LEDs that are the same size, just need to fiberglass in a spot and drill a new hole for the mount.

Tried the MM, worked great. Eventually got a programmer though because I wanted to change some other settings and how I used the turf/road switch. Once you have a programmer, you don’t need the MM. The programmer is really easy to use there are only like 20-something settings on the T2 and of those it’s an even smaller number that you probably mess with. I would put the programmer as the 2nd best upgrade after the LEDs.

The GE motors are pretty tough. What will kill them though is if you have a leaking shaft seal on the transmission and you start building up oil in the motor.

What ended up killing my GE motor was stupidity of the former owners. The previous operators (a UC bus transit department) had not used two wrenches (one on the jamb nut / one on the nut holding the lead) when taking the power leads off and twisted one of the lugs around. After I took it off a few times, just disturbing the lug caused the wire to snap.

Bought a new 7.5hp blue motor from R4F, I’m happy with it, plus with the same red paint job as yours, I now have a red nosed cauck with a big blue thing hanging below it.

Don’t have lithium batteries yet - well not the main ones anyway. Running a lithium 7th battery (4s lifepo4) in a modified version of @Old_Houseboater 's hack. If you’re curious, there’s a whole thread on my ̶e̶x̶t̶r̶e̶m̶e̶ ̶s̶t̶u̶p̶i̶d̶i̶t̶y̶ highly scientific experiments that Dave @Inwo came up with to make this pack add on work. Maybe someday I’ll go to full lithium, I dunno. I’ll figure it out in a few years.

I never had much luck with the stock Zivan charger. When it finally died, Dave hooked me up with a used SCO QuickCharge that was re-branded by R4F, and that thing is great, I love that thing - but it’s not the right charger for lithium. If you stay on lead batteries, totally worth it. SCO even has an 84v model, could do a 7th battery hack, get a shunt and an 84v charger and all 7 batteries charge at once. I might just do that in a few years.

Had to get new shocks for the front, not really any options there right now, bought them from NEV Accessories like everyone else, made the thing ride even more like a piledriver. Apparently the NEVA shocks use a stiffer spring than stock. Yay.

Oh, and brakes, yeah, the stock brakes on an 02 are just a chit sandwich. Had 2/3 of a pallet of kegs on the back once (about 800lbs) and needed to go from 30-ish to 0 in a hurry. The whole time I was wondering if I was going to stop before I crossed the county line…

@jrjava where do you get a motor controller programmer? Lights seem like an easy/cheap upgrade. But for performance seems like that would bypass the need for the magic magnet and give me more flexibility in the future. Plus, I like the idea of adding regen braking to supplement the crappy brakes ‘till I upgrade those.

I bought mine from another member on the forum when he put it up for sale. He had a Ford Think which also uses the T2 motor controller.

There are two types of programmers, I have the GE Sentry software one that runs on any windows notebook. Uses a USB to serial converter (I have the Hawking brand) and then a serial cable to the battery / spedo / odo display port on the controller. I think Dave @Inwo might sell these, or at least the data cable. If not, you can get it from Forklift Electronics

There is also the GE LX handheld programmer. i don’t really know anything about it other than what is mentioned in the manuals and a picture of it. AFAIK, they both do the same thing.

Best to verify that your cart does in fact have the T2 controller before ordering. It’s under the dash by the steering column. If you look at the forklift electronics link, it shows what the connectors should look like.

It’s a T2 for sure. Strangely enough, I just bought a server based PC that actually has a serial (RS 232) port on it… (it’s made to be compatible with older legacy hardware) so I may just be able to plug up if I can connect that PC in the garage. I WOULD need the first cable that connects the controller to serial cable… and the software (which I would be supprised to find floating around on the internet somewhere. This might be easier than I thought.

good news , somebody upgraded your charger to a DeltaQ

@LithiumGods Looks like it. However, if I put the model number in it says it came with some GEM’s as OEM. Any way to determine this? Is the DC/DC converter built in or a separate unit? Trying to see what i can add… USB charging port or other accessories perhaps…

I have never seen a 2002 with a DeltaQ .
plus yours has the black dot (programable) pretty sure those weren’t even made in 2002.
You should have a finned black box under the dash on the passenger side . That is dc to dc converter .

Do a search . one of the non used fuse slots is constant on . Years ago I put a 12v outlet on it . the converter puts out 30a on constant side and 30a on swithched side . Plenty of power to run everything on a Gem plus stereo amp , usb etc.

Good to know! I’m still making a list of upgrades, but realized already that I need tunes and a phone charger so that will make things simpler.

Kyle, DC-DC that kinghappy is talking about is in the bottom right on this photo.

Zivan (left) was the OEM charger starting in 2002 (or was it 2001?).

My 02 (late December 2002 mfg) already had radio wires under the dash pulled from the factory. Violet / green maybe? Or was it slate? I can’t remember the color for certain. Poke around with a 12V test light and check every open spade connector, if they are there, you’ll find them.

Just did this upgrade on my 02 longback. What a massive difference.
(funny how a bad wheel bearing turned into new brakes…)

I went with the wheel spacers and still have the stock 12" rims because I just bought 2 new tires a month before… It pushes the wheels out a bit from stock location, at which point I quickly discovered that my suspension bushings on the frame to arms are shot, because when I try to turn in reverse the tires now strike the fiberglass.

Always something on these older ones.