2002 Gem E825 Noise Issue

Hi All,

2002 E825 Gem 4-Seater
I believe 8,000 miles from the speedometer
Upgraded blue motor
I bought this cart 6 days ago so I do not know much of its history.

There is a clicking sound coming from the front when reversing or decelerating. I originally thought this would be due to bad CV joints since both boots are ripped and no longer hold grease.

I have attached pictures of the motor and videos of the sound below.

This is definitely not what mine does with a mushy engine shaft rubber bumper. Miine will clunk only once when you take off or once when you back up.

Probably want to jack up the front end and see if you can locate it and hopefully it’s not in the transmission.

Holy cow! That almost sounds like a couple of teeth are missing out of one of your gears.
And it does not make this noise in forward?
Only in Reverse and decel?

Seriously- Use the wooden dowel suggestion and place it around various spots on the motor. You will home in on the area. Place your thumb knuckle over the end of the dowell and place your knuckle right into your earlobe(closing it off).

Further inspection- Jack the car up a bit and crawl under the front end. On the bottom of the diff cover you will see a big rubber plug. Put a catch pan under there with you and pop that plug out with a screwdriver. Maybe(hopefully) some oil will dribble out. If not, stick your finger in there and see if you can fish a bit of oil out off the bottom. Inspect it, looking for metal chunks/shavings/flakes in oil.

I doubt it is your CV as it is not turning near the speed of that noise.

But - here is another way you can check for a CV or wheel bearing.
Again, it involves jacking it up and running it slowly in forward (or backwards, whichever makes the noise).

Note the frequency of this noise as both wheels are moving, then drag your foot on one wheel and actually stop it. The other wheel will be now going twice as fast. Did the noise change?

Then go over and drag the other wheel to stop. Did the noise change again?

It also looks like you will be needing a set of rack and pinion boots.

Yes, I am planning to buy 2 additional steering rubber boots from NEVA, unless there’s somewhere cheaper to buy from.

I will attempt to identify any issues via your methods. Unfortunately I do not own a jack and am in desperate need for a Gem mechanic (outside of DeepCycleBattery’s mobile repair and legal advice for $150/hr) since I lack the expertise.

The cart doesn’t have to be perfect but want to make sure it isn’t a liability for anyone who drives it.

when checking the tranny oil level I don’t think you want to jack the car up at all and actually want it on a flat ground. Should be able to put a blacket/towel down and reach under or get to it with the front opened.
IIRC there is a gear oil drain on it and that rubber plug would be where it is filled and it is supposed to be filled to the bottom of the plug opening. That’s why he said if you’re lucky a bit will dribble out when you pull the plug as it means there was a full tranny. If nothing flows out and you stick a finger in there and still don’t get any gear oil on your finger then it could also be a bearing inside failed.

These are all diagnostic tips, you don’t really want to be paying a mechanic to do things you can pretty easily do. Otherwise you would just put the thing on a UHaul flat trailer and tow it up to CartMart in Vista and hand them your wallet.

Boy am I glad I found this forum…

I will take a stab at the tranny oil tomorrow/this weekend to start the troubleshooting process. I will come back with my findings!

I just took the cart for a spin to get its tires filled up and did notice one thing…

When at high speeds, I cannot hear the clicking sound when decelerating (my assumption is the centrifugal force keeping whatever’s loose inside of the tranny pushed against its walls until I’m going slow enough to let it bounce around).

We need @Old_Houseboater . Seems in his wheelhouse.

I’ve got a 8:1 gearbox out of my 2000 sitting in my garage if you want to swap them. It’s a couple hour job… but if this is the car you’re swapping the 1/2 shafts on, you’re most of the way there to pulling the gearbox.

Y- I was just figuring there wasn’t much room under there to work. He doesn’t have a jack anyway. Now I remember the early cars have the trans rotated back and the pan is accessible from the front. Is the pan flipped around so the rubber plug is still the fill?

Yup… it’s on at 60ish degree angle. Oil pan forward, top towards the back

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Any recommendation for the best Gem cart tranny fluid? I haven’t read the owner’s manual yet so unsure if there’s any specification.

Watching the raised crimp on the CV boot go through a full rotation, I think I’m counting 6 ka-dunks at a very predictable interval. Can’t think of what else it be besides from the gearcase…

2002’s were 10.35:1 . Thinking it might be a trashed bearing or one of the intermediate gears.

Original spec on the gearcase lube was 30W or 5-30W, I forget. I’ve been told that, allegedly, this was done to squeeze a few extra miles range out of the vehicle as the gearcase is splash lubricated and the lighter oil was less load on the motor as the bull gear plowed though it. It left the gears noisy though. Possibly also less than adequately protected too.

Most of the regulars here, myself included, seem to generally be running 75-90W gear oil. IMO, no need spend the money for for synthetic in the gearcase, it doesn’t have that kind of pressure or heat going on. Just plain old dinosaur bones house brand oil from the auto parts store is fine.

You don’t need much either. A 1qt bottle is plenty and you won’t even use it all.

To drain the old oil, you have to crack the pan seal (bad idea, almost guaranteed to leak forever after if you do) or suck it out through the fill plug. A $10 mini hand pump from Hazard Fraught Tools is more than adequate. Or you can suck it out with a wet & dry vacuum. The Home Depot 5 gallon bucket head vacs are great for this.

Local GC shop here even says he always puts in a 50/50 mix of 90wt and Lucas Motor Honey. “It quiets those things right up!”

Is this a necessary fix in terms of liability to riders and/or cause of additional deterioration of the cart?

I feel that question is kind of like asking me “I just found this wax sealed old bottle with a label that reads RAT POISON CONTAINS CYANIDE … Should I drink it?”

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Amazon or fleaBay. Look for ones that will fit a Polaris Ranger. I think I paid like $14 delivered for a pair last time. Nice silicone ones too.

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Great analogy. Final Answer: No.