Flooded on Sanibel

Oh yeah… When I bought my 2016 back in 2021, George backed it off the trailer, I heard…whoosh, whoosh of water in the frame.

Since I was the first owner from the dealer (in St Louis) it was still under warranty (still is until March 2023) so I sent it to the San Diego dealer to clean up and fix anything that was wrong. They didn’t know what to do with the water, I sent them grant’s video!

I could have drilled it myself easily… But wanted the dealer to do it in case there were any issues down the road.


Did you ever figure out how the water got in there?
If it was a common occurrence hopefully it generated a TSB or an assembly line procedure that put drain holes in all the future cars.

Or maybe the Drain Hole guy went on vacation that week?

That’s depending how high the water level was, I’ve seen gems with corroded wires and even at the beginning I thought it was only the terminals the wires were all black inside the resistance was so high that the aux battery was not receiving full voltage from dc dc converter,

Other than that, a deep clean including motor disassemble made it go back to the street, this car had clean title from a client so fixing it makes sense, fixing a COD car makes no sense

Grant they won’t. There is no way around a Certificate of Destruction in the US. In any state. COD is a death sentence for a vehicle. For starters, you will not get a title on the COD vehicle. Only a BOS. You could go to the DMV and file for a lost title. But they will ask you the last state the car was titled in, and the tag of the vehicle. They may issue a temporary plate for your COD vehicle until the title is retreived from the previous state. But alais the state will inform the DMV the cart cannot be titled because there is no title. Once temporary plate expires, you can no longer drive it legally on the street. My only explanation for why COD carts commanded $$$ at auction is that people are uninformed. Or they live off grid and don’t need tags. Or they want to dismantel cart to fix another, or sell parts.

Ok well good to know. I met a guy who used to buy flood damage cars in other states. They were like new cars that had sat in water and the dealerships were able to clear the lots and get insurance $ for all the damaged cars. These cars were shipped all over the us. The guy I knew could some how get the car with a Water Damage title. And California doesn’t recognize a Water Damage title so it would default to Clean and the guy would sell it as that.

Grant, people say lots of things sometimes not true. But I know you as a man of science and logic. There is no way to clean a COD in the US. Everything goes through the NMVTIS, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information system. And you can be sure that these auctions and the insurance companies that pay the losses report to the NMVTIS. Its the law. With that said, you could imagine ways around that. For example, you could have another GEM wreck same year and style but the loss never reported to the insurance company and never reported to NMVTIS. You could derivet the VIN plate from the front, and put it on another COD cart, scrape the VIN label from the rear roof and grind off the number on the motor. So it is possible but unlikely to get plates. And BTW that is a federal crime.
A simple way for us to check a VIN is the Polaris VIN lookup.

I get what you’re Saying. Thanks for the info I never knew about COD. Good info

Mine was issued as a salvage and not a COD. Wonder what determines if it is one or the other.

That is a most interesting question! It was tough to see so many GEMS and Mokes new or near new with low water line, completely functional with no obvious damage get labelled with a “Certificate of Destruction”. The 2 that I got with salvage title were less cherry than many others with lower waterlines that were labelled as COD. Who determines COD vs Salvage? It turns out to be the insurance company. My conclusion is that with a stroke of the pen without any particular reasoning they make this determination. Once a loss occurs, the insurance company decides total loss, writes a check to the owner or lendors bank and the insurance company becomes the title holder. The titles I recieved have the name of “Chubb” which was the insurance company that paid the loss.
There is a liabilty that the insurance company takes to authorize placing these vehicles back on the road. If they go back on the road and for some reason burst into flames or cause an injury, the insurance company that determined it restorable could be at fault. There is no liability to slap on a COD. So I think it is a no brainer for Insurance companies to release all liability and call it a COD. Of all the Gems (around 30 2016+ so far from Ian) only 3 have been listed with a salvage title. And in a way the salvage titles haven’t really been worth more than the CODs at auctions. So if they can’t get more for the GEM why bother labeling them as salvage and have them back on the road at a risk? And of course Insurance companies know the DMVs who evaluate Salvage cars before putting them back on the road may not be thorough. Well we all know how DMVs go right?
If you follow the auctions like I have, you will see a very poor effort to determine the value of the cart. They don’t know the options, the conditions, the value of the cart, the cost to restore. Insurance companies just took the loss and moved on. (expect premiums to rise!)
Why was lithiumGods determined to be salvage vs COD? The insurance company was happy for someone else to take the liability out of their hands. They pay some cash and the original owner takes over. And we all know that LG is miticulous about his Gems. (I’d buy a GEM from him) But once his cart is back on the road the Insurance company may think twice about insuring a salvage title.
It’s really sad for me to see all these beautiful GEMS and Mokes get labelled as COD. I rescued 2, but many more are destined to be used off road or with illegal tags.

If they are any good offroad then I can see there being a big market for them in SoCA. People here throw tens of thousands for side-by-sides but it would depend on the costs of the COD vehicle, getting it running and then upgrading for offroad use.

A GEM isn’t going to be very good off road, being front drive
Having to back up every time it gets slippery or the hill steep is not optimal
Are there examples of adding a golf cart motor & differential to a GEM?
Maybe combine 2 GEM for four wheel drive & steering? Probably require some encoders [tone ring] to synchronize, front to back
Maybe a sprag clutch on the input shafts

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Wasn’t there’s someone on here talking about building a 4x4 gem. :thinking:. Handle starts with assyreq…

Off topic . . . Thanks for pointing me to LithiumGod, got the Delta-Q replaced, only to discover that my front hub bearings are shot. She likes her TLC. I’ve replied to a 2019 topic on hubs and can use a nudge in the right direction. I’m OK with pulling the knuckles, might get stuck at the half-shafts, and will probably have NAPA or somebody source and press in the replacement bearings. Any numbers, topic links, or advice is golden.


There are some places that have almost no requirement for golf carts to roam the city. Dunedin FL, home of Ron Desantis, is one. No plates required. So a COD GEM can just have fun acting like a golf cart. But go too far and get into Clearwater you will be fined, towed, imprisoned maybe shot for driving with out tags, insurance, and armed guard in a spotter car. Ok, I jest but a COD can run around in a few areas without tags, title, insurance. Not really off road. I have a E2 in Clearwater. It was hell getting it legal. Thanks to this forum for finding me insurance!! And the DMV only took 4 visits for them to transfer my Texas title to Florida.

You have to fill out an Application for Golf Cart Operator Permit in Dunedin each year and that requires the vin number so who knows if they would approve it with COD vin or if they would even consider a Gem a golf cart since they’re an LSV. Also, you’re limited to 20 mph on 30 mph or less roads. Not allowed on state roads either. Dunedin is already a tiny town and with all those restrictions it wouldn’t be worth it to me even if you could get away with it.