Electrical/ignition issue

I just bought a used 2002 Gem car and I am having a few issues with it. (For a little background, I purchased 6 new batteries, dc-dc converter recall was fixed in 2014, when I open the dash, there are quite a few wires disconnected, and it looks like someone swapped out chargers for the QuiQ charger):

Issue 1: It appears someone has replaced the ignition switch. The Gem car didn’t come with a key so I bought the NAPA replacement switch, and when I opened up the steering wheel to install, there were only two wires connected to the old switch. I read on this forum that there should be three wires, but you only use two. So I hooked up the only two wires I saw, but now the car is always on. No matter whether I turn the key on or off, the car is always on and can drive (same with the old ignition). The car drives and everything but it is constantly drawing power. Also, I can’t get the horn, lights, blinkers, etc to work.

Issue 2: I get error code -04. When I put the parking break off, I can hear the main contactor click, and the error code goes away and I just see either the battery percent or 000. I have read on hear that if the ignition is turned off and you release the parking break, you should hear a sound, which I don’t, (probably related to my issue above with the ignition). I also see a red dot above the wrench icon.

Does anyone have any ideas on what my issue might be?

It also appears that I can’t get it to charge to more than 85%. I don’t know if this is because it is drawing power from somewhere and the charger can’t keep up.

Also, forgot to mention it’s a 4 seater.

Sounds like you’ve got a bit of a mess. If you don’t have a copy of the service manual FOR THAT MODEL I would start with that. The docs are available from folks here or for a few bucks on line. The schematics are pretty good and include wire colors, but I have found little data on actual control logic. Some switch closures feed only into the controller, some are just hard wired, some both. I’m working on a logic table for my GEM 2008 es. Mine is pretty much stock - no loose wires - but this is my first GEM/LSV so I’m learning the basics as I go.

The oem ignition switch is a single pole double throw, but only the normally open side is used. There are three wires on the switch but only the normally open pair is used. The NAPA switch mentioned elsewhere is a SPST NO and should work fine.

Mine has a T4 controller, the docs don,t list a -04 error code -can’t help you there.

With batteries above 68 volts, master on, E brake off, key on - the master solenoid should engage with a thud. If you don’t apply the accelerator within 20 -30 secs, the controller will drop the master solenoid (not so loud thud) and go to standby.

The accessories run off 12 vdc from the DC/DC converter and should be available with the 72 vdc master switch on. Should be power to the 12 vdc fuse block with the master switch on .

Not much help.

I’ve got some motor issues and am converting batteries to Lithium Ion - so mine is spread out all over the shop right now!
good luck

Yeah, as soon as I release the e-brake I hear the “thud” because my ignition is constantly turned on. I have access to the service manual, and will try and see if I can figure out where my issue is. Thanks.

I would get that ignition loop straighten out first.

Then go after the 12 vdc side of things.

Charger interlock next

If you running flooded batteries - don’t trust anything but Specific Gravity of the cells for state of charge. Calibrate from that. If something else - open circuit voltage.

If they are not actually charging to 90% - you got a charger problem - may need program adjustment. Check all connections are clean and tight - measure for voltage drop across connections - obviously should be zero - but hidden rust can be a problem.

On a 2002 there are only two wires to the key, it supply’s -72 volts to the charger interlock when the key is on.

The -04 mean’s the car still thinks the parking brake is engaged, you may have a bad micro switch at the PB or a bad wire.

So it appears that I must have a ground wire not connected someplace. When I put my voltmeter on one of the batteries and then on the metal frame, I get 0. I should be getting 72V correct??

No the frame is floating. Not connected to battery.
The charger sends B- (-72v) to the key.

The parking brake switch fails a lot on that year it seems reading through this. I have a 2002 4 seater and had to pulll the switch out and clean it up, didn’t need to replace it thankfully though I would just bypass it personally. Random safety things like that and charger interlock annoy me and are more failure points to introduce safety controls for things I wouldn’t do anyway.