Should I buy or not buy? 2002 GEM E825

Hello everyone total noob here! I have come across a 2002 GEM E825. I think it’s really cool looking and after reading so many topics on this forum I am interested. The seller has been very helpful and knowledge on the unit. He said he has put in new lead battery’s as well as a controller. I plan to go test drive it this weekend and maybe make a purchase. Before I do I wanted to get the opinion from current owners. What should I look for? What is a good price? It does appear to have custom work. We will be primarily using it for our camping trips at RV parks. One park we do go to is near a river and does have one steep incline. As well as some loose river rock. I have used a regular electric golf cart and it had no issues. Also would this last me the day of casual driving around?

It all depends on what upgrades it has had and the 2002’s need plenty. It’s usually better to look for a 2013-2015

Thank you David. I have searched and searched and I don’t think GEMs are a big thing in my area. What would you say I good price for this one would be and do you think I would be good for what I am wanting to use it for. I don’t plan on using it for anything more than cruising around rv parks.

No way to price a nice custom Gem. Could be $2k to $12k . It’s worth what it’s worth to you. IMO :slight_smile:
Front wheel drive may have trouble on the hill, but early models have lead up front which may help some.

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Asking price is 5k I really like it, I just wanted some advice before I knew what I was getting into. The park I we frequently visit, has carts everywhere. We usually rent an regular non lifted standard electric golf cart and it does just fine does slow down a bit going up the big hill. Do these compare to about the same power as one of those?

While this one could be in great condition underneath, I’d be concerned that this one might be lipstick on a pig.

As David stated, the old ones, 00-04 need a lot of upgrades and there are a lot of things to look for.

I see an R4F blue under there, which probably means the controller was reprogrammed so it can go faster at the cost of range. If it has a “new” controller, programming could be anyone’s guess.

Looks like stock front brake drums which are garbage. At speed or heavily loaded, they don’t inspire confidence that you will actually stop. The large tires aren’t going to do you any favors either.

If those are original shocks, the rubber in eyelets could be deteriorated. This will
give you problems with steering, alignment and tire wear.

Stock headlights also junk.

Listen for barking on deceleration = bad resilient bumper. $1 part, 2 hours of work to change. Listen for growling up by the motor/transmission - possible the input shaft is worn out. $150, 2 hours. Check for oil leaks at the transmission to motor, this is the input shaft seal. They don’t make that bearing anymore, you’ll have to retrofit. Rodney sells the parts.

Check the brake fluid, see if it’s been changed in this century. I think most GEMs out there are probably still running on the factory fill…

Check the suspension bushings, at 18 years, they are probably deteriorated. There are 2 on each front lower swing arm and 3 on the rear trailing arm (aka: subframe). You’ll need a shop to fix these, they are pressed in hard.

Carefully check the rear trailing arm for cracks. Look for @grantwest 's post on “cracked rear subframe” for pictures (I think that is what the post is called)

Check the shitty little weld that holds up the entire steering column. You’ll have to pull the dash. If you need a visual, I posted some photos of it after mine broke.

Run the VIN number through NTSB’s checker, there are two or three recalls on the older ones. The DC-DC converter is the most important - the old ones tended to catch fire. If you see an open circuit board under the dash in front of the passenger seat, it’s the old board. Polaris will change them out for free, you just have to get the vehicle to them.

Front wheel bearings and hubs can go out. You’ll hear grating or clicking when you turn.

It will steer stiff, that’s just the nature of the older ones, but it should be smooth. If it’s not - you’ve got problems with the rack or the tie rod ends. These are often neglected on GEMs.

Probably a million more things to check that I’m forgetting right now…

Oh, and If you get it, it’ll need to be trailered. You can’t flat tow these. Take the removable seat cushions out or you might loose them at highway speeds and don’t tow it backwards, the windshields have a tendency to pop out when you do.

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Golf carts are typically RWD. GEMs are FWD, they like to burry themselves on sand and soft dirt. Also depends on the hills, the '02 was a 10.35 gearbox, good for for flats, ehh on steep hills. That lift and big tires won’t do you any favors on the torque either.

We have an e825, and one of the reasons we are selling it is that it lacks traction going up a dirt/gravel road. I’ve tried swapping out tires for a more aggressive tread, but it just boils down to not enough weight over the drive wheels.

Love my GEM but no good; on hills, sand, or loose gravel . You should consider Yamaha gas cart.

Rodney

Well- crap. This is not good to read. I was wondering about this.
Looks like I will be backing up the driveway until I build the 4wd super cart.