2008 E4 GEM won't drive. Emergency Brake light won't shut off

2008 GEM E4

I drove my GEM this morning, got home went to go out for an errand and the car won’t drive. I get power to dash, turn signals, work, brake lights work, window washer works. No burnt fuses. My master cyclinder has enough fluid in it. (I believe this can set off the e-brake light on dash if fluid is low). Batteries are fully charged. Also, no error messaged being thrown.

I have the new replaced emergency brake from the recall installed. It has two wires and they are still connected at the hand brake. The only time I get the e-brake beep is when the ebrake is down and the key is off, which is what it should do. The e-brake light does not go off on the dash when the brake is lowered in off position. Can the ebake light on mean that the ebrake switch is overriding and not allowing power to the engine?

If my ebrake switch was bad, would it still allow the car to beep when brake is off and key is off? Because that still works.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance


Take the two wires off the switch and jumper them. See what happens

I did bypass the switch and jumped the wires. It beeps and the e-brake light still stays on the screen. Is there anything besides the ebrake switch or the master cylinder oil sensor that could cause the ebrake light to stay on the dash? I assume that is what is blocking the power to the motor but that is just a guess. Thx


Yes, the e braske alarm will lock out power to the main solenoid. Aside from a short in the wiring harness or a bad controller, I don’t think there is anything else that would throw the e brake alarm.

To.me a controller failure on just that one circuit seems unlikely. I suspect this is much simpler than that.

The electrical prints are in the back of the shop manual, I just can’t bring it up on my phone nor post screenshots from it for you with the phone. I’ll check in a few hours or maybe someone else near a computer will wander by.

(^ one of the most methodical trouble shooters on here)

Thank you. I guess my next step is to take the dash apart and see if I can find a short in the wiring. It’s odd that it is able to send a signal to beep when the brake is off and power off but not signal the dash to remove the ebake light.

With key (OFF) and lowering e-brake you getting the beep means the switch is functioning properly. Also verified by jumping the two leads at the e-brake switch with key (OFF)- Getting beep. This is good. Those wires need to be closed to GO.

BUT you kinda verified key function by cycling through all of your keyed accessories so the key is turning on the DC/DC accessories. This is good.

JUST to make sure you aren’t chasing the odd brake light problem, Find the fluid level sensor Lift the locking tab, pull the plug and see if it kills the light. The low fluid level sensor won’t stop the car from running, but it would keep us from continuing to chase that rabbit if it goes out.

Odd thought - If your pod display fully lights up, take note of any other lights that may be on. Note what Gear/Speed/Direction it thinks it is in. Give your selector a quick flip back and forth to verify that it is communicating with the controller.

Then give the GO pedal a series of rapid sucessive taps(not full down) and be listening for the -clunk- of the main contactor. Be ready for it to take off just in case.

Report back your findings.

one of the most methodical trouble shooters on here

Ha! Thanks, but I more/less trip over the occasional solution.

So i tested jumping the e-brake wires again this morning, and it only beeps when brake off and key off so that is good.

Gear selecton toggles on dash between H/L/Rev looks good. So when I go to the brake fluid resovoir I have pulled off the sensor cable in picture and light stays on. You can see the float is all the way at the top showinf full.

See if you have a wire in P13 of 23p connector. This, if used. is the pin that is brought low by the parking brake switch.

Brake fluid?

Ok, Do you have the top of the dash off?

Brake light-
There are two cube relays up by the windshield on passenger side. They are both related to the e-brake switch.

Normally, (On mine) the right one feeds the PSDM and beeper, and the left feeds the light on the pod. With brake lever dropped and Key (ON) the relay is energized and light (OFF) to go. Pull the left one and the light will go (ON). Looking at the wiring diagram, this relay brings the target wire to ground so the relay NEEDS to be there (removing this is just a test).

Verify that the relay is good. as you wiggle it up and out you might feel a click when it loses power. If not, try pulling the other relay out and plugging that one into the left base. You might feel a click as it goes in, and verify that your light goes out

I need to study these relays more. The left one seems to be more important as it will not pull in main contactor without it being in place. The right one will deactivate the beeper(key (OFF) and brake down(OFF)). when it is pulled, but the main contactor will still “klack” if it is missing.

Note- I now revise my previous belief that the beep sounds when Key(ON) and Brake (UP/ON). This is not true. Don’t expect it. The contactor just doesn’t pull in.

Thanks Inwo. I will check the relays. and see if I see issues.

Thanks for jumping in @Inwo. I was going there next. (Just coming in backwards).
I never traced out where the other end of P13 came from. I thought it came from the PSDM, but now it looks like it comes from this relay.

Nailed it. It was the relay. Pulled them both and contacts were corroded. Left does effect the dash Ebrake light and the right aligns to the BEEP alert. Cleaned contacts and I am good to go. Thank you both!