2002 gem won't charge

first time poster, long time reader of others. hopefully someone can help me. I live in upstate ny, I bought a 2002 e4 with brand new batteries from a gentleman out of Hudson valley ny area, the thing worked GREAT for me and my family all around…charging, driving, batteries, etc. I just sold it to a guy in las vegas. he shipped it open freight to las vegas. the gem ran, charged and worked 110% when it left. upon arrival the buyer says that when he plugs it in, the charger sounds like it starts up, the charging fan goes and everything and it goes through “the cycle” of charging with the led light system…red, then yellow, then green and then stops. all sounds great…EXCEPT, when it is done charging the batteries have not charged and are at the same level it was before it went through the cycle? so if it’s at 79% when he plugs it in, after the cycle it will be right at 79% again? I had him test each battery and he did and they are 100% good. any thoughts on what this could be? I want to make sure no matter what this buyer has a good experience with gems and the one I sold him cause I really enjoyed it. sounds like he is a handy type of guy, but maybe not an overly handy guy if that makes sense so I don’t know if the advice I get here will be able to help him fix it, but at the very least give me an idea of what you all think it may be before we call a tech in vegas. I feel like the minute he takes it to a dealer or service tech blind in las vegas the bill is going to be outrageous. any help would be appreciated. buyer is traveling between England and US for business so I am posting in an attempt to try to figure this out for him. also looking for a good referral of someone in las vegas who works on gems? thanks

Couple of questions:
Are the batteries FLA, GEL, AGM, etc?

How did he test each battery to determine it was “good”? Voltmeter (before/after charging and use), specific gravity, load testing?

How old are the batteries?

I assume it was shipped w/ master switch off - is it switched on now?

How long did the GEM sit before trying to recharge? If it’s been several months, I’ve found my GEM needs to run through a few charge/use cycles in the spring after sitting all winter on the charger before the batteries respond adequately and charge full up. He might need to charge several times to get them fully charged.


the batteries were purchase from walmart in june or july of this year. ever start maxx group size 29dc , 845 mca. i sent the receipt with the vehicle so the new owner has the receipt for the batteries. they have a 2 year warrantee on them. I check the water level and made sure to top off any that looked like they needed topping off with distilled water prior to it leaving. the water levels were high to begin with so everything there looked good. it was at 91% charged prior to leaving. I think it was just a little below that when arriving in las vegas 5 days later.

they pulled it off the truck, everything ran fine, but when he went to charge it, it would not increase the charge reading when done?

the truck driver would not let me turn off the master power switch prior to leaving because he said “just in case I have to move it I don’t want to have to mess with anything electrical”

the buyer said that he and his father-in-law would “load test” the batteries with a volt meter. (i don’t know how to do this myself) but after he and his father-in-law tested the batteries he said the batteries were good

the new buyer is obviously wanting to replace the charger, i don’t blame him, but if the whole charging process was PERFECT before it left. could it be the charger? or a ground or something simple like that?

the original seller of the gem that i bought it from also hooked up some blue led lights underneath and put them on a simple switch on the dash so at night, i used to flip those on and ride around at night. was a lot of fun and got a lot of looks, but the new owner says those do not work either now?

i emailed the original seller that i bought it from to ask him all of this as well. hoping to hear back.

the ONLY THING i did deferent from the time i took it out of my garage to the time i loaded it that was different was when i was doing my once-twice-three times over to ship it i checked under the back seat and the front hood, under it and all over to make sure everything was secure. when i was checking under the front hood there was a “black thick wire with what looked like a little weight on the end of it” that was hanging free off to the right under the rubber water protective flap under the passenger side of the front hood. I TOOK THAT WIRE AND TUCKED IT INBETWEEN THE TWO BATTERIES in the front engine compartment hoping that would secure it, i had never seen that before.
after shipping i looked in page 30 of the parts manual and it turns out that that was listed as the “ASSY, HARNESS - CHARGER LIGHT / HEAT SENSOR (ZIVAN)”

is there any way that maybe with that sensor being tucked in-between the batteries while they begin to charge the sensor is “telling the charger” to stop charging because it is sensing some sort of current or heat from the batteries?

the buyer said he would give me a call today or tomorrow. i will go over any question that you are asking me and report back.

THANK YOU for responding. i feel like i could track it down with someone’s help cause i am good at taking things apart and following instructions, but i am in upstate ny and the buyer is in vegas

Frankly unless you bought industrial deep cycle (but NOT marine deep cycle) when you replaced the batteries, I wouldn’t expect the batteries to last very long at all. Car batteries simply aren’t up to the task of powering a GEM; they’re designed for a different purpose (high amps but very short duration - think starting car on a cold winter morning) and have a power curve that won’t cut it with a high amp, continuous drain system like a GEM. Even “deep cycle marine” batteries aren’t really adequate for use w/ a GEM IMO.

I’d also strongly suggest testing the specific gravity of each cell in every battery using an inexpensive hydrometer available at any auto parts store. My bet is he will find a couple of cells that are dead or very weak. Using a voltmeter isn’t very indicative of overall battery health UNLESS you test after charging but before using (the high point) and then again after using “to run down the battery” (the low point). A [B]drastic[/B] dropoff of power on one battery will indicate a bad battery in a string. Normally all six batteries should be within a few tenths of a volt of one another. If one is “off” more than a few tenths, it’s suspect.

My advice is to save yourself a LOT of aggravation and buy industrial (think electric forklift) batteries for your GEM. I personally use Trojan batteries. They’re expensive at $120+/each but will save you a lot of headache and aggravation over the long haul. There are other brands mentioned in this group that might work as well but I’ve had the best luck with the Trojans.


Have you checked to make sure they are using a dedicated outlet with the proper amperage going to it? It almost sounds like things start up ok, but maybe a garage fridge or something is on the same circuit and is kicking on after they walk away, and that would cause the charger to stop working due to not enough amperage.

Also, like ARandall said, unless they are industrial deep cycle batteries, I wouldn’t expect them to last very long.