Good GEM mechanic in Phoenix?

I made the mistake of buying a 2000 GEM “golf cart” with new batteries. It worked great for a couple days and then on about hole 14 it crapped out on me. It will run for about 60 yards then stop. I let it sit for a few minutes between shots and it will run for 60 yards and stop.

I am not mechanical and after reading this forum, realized I did not really buy a golf cart but a true electric first generation car.

I don’t have all the meters and tools folks in this community have and even if I did, not sure how I could even use them. So, any good mechanics in Phoenix??

First thing that will be needed is a multi meter, you can pick one up from harbor freight or Amazon for less than $10. What does the battery display on the dash say is left for charge?

Thanks….I will find out….I left it at the club house (a few blocks away) and will slowly tow it back to my garage ……I will order the meter from Amazon

I went to pick it up….tried it…it ran for 20 seconds and died. I slowly towed it back and put it on my charger. One of the battery brackets was missing in the front. Maybe got loose and fell out on the golf course? Anyway, it did not show me a charge amount left. Not sure why. It showed a wrench sign on the far right of the display. I put it on my charger and it is charging blinking green with the fan running. . Also, how do I tell what kind of charger I have? There is nothing obvious to me that tells me. The previous owner also had a radio installed that was on and it was not obvious how to shut it off so I removed the cover and disconnected the radio box from the base which should disconnect it from power.

I really appreciate any thoughts.

My first response to this would be to “up your game” a bit so it doesn’t take you a couple of days to get to hole 14. Do you bring stuff and camp out?
(Actually, that sounds like it might be a new twist on the game. Wilderness Golf? Adventure Golf?)

Back to your problem…

It worked great for a couple days

Are you charging it every time you bring it home? If so, verify that the charger is working.
You need to take some readings on the state of your pack. Grab a meter and a pad of paper. Check the V at each battery and write down the number, then go across the whole pack to get pack V.

A flashing green LED means the charger timed out in it’s cycle and may not have finished. Unplug the car for a few seconds and plug it back in and note if the LED does something different. Let it do it’s thing.

Look for one or two batteries that may be lower than the others. Watch those. Then give it a good charge and see if it goes up. If any batteries continue to be drastically lower, stick them individually on a car battery charger and see if it/they will come up by to the same level of the others. This is called balancing the pack.

When fully charged, Note the topped voltages and run it around the block to see how far they all drop off and id they all do it evenly.

Having a lower battery means this is the first battery that will go below the lower threshold as you are driving around. Every time it goes below that level it takes a little life off the battery. Since this car is new to you, there is no idea how the pack was abused.

I left it at the club house (a few blocks away)

Next time see if they will let you plug it in overnight.

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Thank you!! I ordered my meter and will do this when I get it tomorrow!! I would much rather work on my golf game (which really needs it) than a golf cart! This advice has been very helpful to me.

I did leave it plugged in and the light went from flashing green to solid green. In the mean time, I will take it for a spin and see what happens……

Thank you

Stock charger on the 2000 was the Schott. 2002-ish they changed to the Zivan NG1. Both are fan cooled. Located under the dash, around the center. Schott is aluminum (silver), Zivan is black plastic and says ZIVAN in big letters. They both will work with the pod led charge indicator light. The most common replacement chargers (Delta Q, Quick Charge / R4F) did not use fan cooling and didn’t use the tri-color led.

The schott charger only works with flooded batteries & some AGM. It’ll murder a set of gel batteries in 6 months.

Careful flat towing a gem. It turns the motor into a generator. Old GEMs don’t really deal with this well.

Thanks for the advice. I will try not to tow it ever !! If possible.

I did not remove the dash at all yet to see what I have. Also I am not sure what kind of batteries they replaced I hope not GEL.

Hopefully you wont get stranded again so you won’t need to. If you trailer, make sure the GEM is facing forward on the trailer, the windshields can pop out at highway speeds when trailered backwards. Also remove the bench seat bottom and any other removable seat cushions, they tend to go flying at highway speeds.

Just look at the batteries under the hood. Takes 10 seconds. Google the model number. If they are gel, and you have a schott, you’ll need to get a new charger. There are a couple options to consider at that point.

I figured a golf cart is a golf cart. Little did I know. Oh well let’s hope it turns out to be a good one

GEMs are more like super-golf carts. Street licensable in all 50 states, faster and more upgradeable. Of course, this might be more than you wanted or needed.

Took it out….battery showed 100 percent

It did have a -04 error code on it…seemed to run good. Top speed 24 mph

Plugged it back in the charger when I got back
When I get the meter I will test the batteries individually

Will charge it and try it for golf again today later this afternoon…

-04 is parking brake lockout. Means you are trying to drive with the parking brake set.

If the brake is down and the error is still up, the switch is bad. You shouldn’t be able to drive though with a -04 on the display.

The early GEMs had a recall on the parking brake switch, along with a few other recalls. The 12v DC converter was one of the others, the recalled converters have started a few fires. Run your VIN here:

Then call your local Polaris dealer if your GEM is showing any unapplied recall services.

Still haven’t posted what type of batteries you have though.

It’s strange I cannot see a brand name of the batteries.

There is a 65 in blue on top and they look like this. Can you tell by looking at them?

Indeed odd. No reason to remove the sticker unless by accident or trying to hide something.
Maybe there is some info or a sticker on the front or side.
The 65 is probably something the shop wrote on there.

See what the others look like.

If they all look the same, maybe these weren’t new. The 65 was the price. Stickers were removed to hide something.

They appear to possibly be Deka flooded lead-acid batteries from the look of the cell caps, top cover and handle design. Deka deep cycle batteries have posts too (dual terminal), as do most deep cycles. These might be starting batteries.

If you can’t find any info on the batteries, look for a burned in letter-number combo on the side, around the seam. That’s a date code.

I will try to search some more. Maybe I remove one and see if there is any indication brand name and will check as you suggested

Thank you again

Well at least I know they are lead acid batteries. I cannot find any date codes or any other indication on them.

I sent a note to the guy I purchased it from asking him for the name of the shop who installed these “new” batteries. We shall see if he gets back to me. I doubt it.

I might be screwed to live with these until I need a new battery pack and charger.

Keep eye on the water levels then. Those caps will be a pain to open if they are still factory tightened. A regular screwdriver will tear them up, use a large flat washer held by vice grips.

Always fill after the batteries are fully charged, fill to the bottom of the funnel w/ distilled water. In your area, I’d guess check them monthly to start. Get a feel for how long between fills.

Or don’t, and then you can get that new battery pack and charger sooner. :wink:

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Thank you for all the advisory council!

I live in the Phoenix area and might be able to help you. I have owned two GEM’s, a 2000 and 2012. Let me know where you are located, I am out in Buckeye.