Things to look for, looking at a 2001 GEM

Hello GEM people

Are there suggested things to look for (and listen for) when checking out a used four seater that’s 10 years old?
I’ve noticed some mentioning wheel bearing noises and other things, I’m going into this expecting to put 6 new batteries in and start fresh, but want to consider the other things that are less obvious.
Thanks for your help.

Look for the circuit board recalls. If there are printed circuit cards under the dash, the recall wasn’t completed. These parts had problems with water splashing onto them and shorting out. The replacement parts are encased in epoxy and water tight. Take a look at the battery charger. The Zivan brand is more desirable than the Schott brand. See if the Zivan charger has been “micro upgraded.” This is a service to improve the charger’s performance. Look for torn rack and pinion boots. These are now available from GEM. Jack up the car and shake and spin the wheels to find any loose front end parts or worn bearings. GEM does not sell wheel bearings as a separate part, but a competent repair shop can replace the two #6006 ball bearings for you. Wheel cylinders will start to leak after a few years, but these are not expensive. Listen for excessive noise from the motor and trans axle. Early cars had noisier gears. There has been debate about what gear oil to use. If the car has original hard doors, make sure they operate correctly. The hinges and and release mechanisms are prone to breakage. Check all of the shock absorbers and rear suspension bushings. After 10 years, there have likely worn out.


Thanks for these tips
I purchased an '01 E4 and I’m doing some upgrades.
Deka Gel batteries, Zivan charger upgrades, chedked all brakes and deglazed the shoes, lubed the front, cleaned the old battery acid resude, I’m putting on two steering boots (thanks for the Polaris part number) the controler is T2 now, the recall work was done, one front bearing has a slight amount of side to side play, I’m planning on keeping my eye on it and periodically check. I do have a motor overheat issue that I’ll post seperatly.

Looks like you got it well in hand. I also deglaze the shoes and remove the inner ridge where the drum doesn’t quite reach. The Polaris boots are great, less expensive than factory, and they don’t tear after only a few years. The people at the motorcycle dealer are always puzzled why I deliberately order two “left side” Polaris Ranger rack boots. All four of our GEMs now wear these. That wheel bearing will get noisy after awhile, good winter project. Glad I could help.


Check out how your batteries are charging. If the turtle comes on, you’re in trouble. There is an LED read out underneath the front of the car. When it’s charging, stick your head up there and check it out. You’ll probably have to lie down to do it. It should turn green when fully charged. Changing a battery isn’t too bad, if you have to do it. The ones under the spats are a pain, but the ones up front are easy to change. We found replacement batteries locally.

Revi, This GEM is a 2001 which has many components found in different places than on a 2005 or newer GEM. The turtle mode was also added in 2005. I wonder how many 10 year old GEMs are still in use? We have a 2002 coming up on 20,000 miles.


[QUOTE=GEMmechanic;9143]Revi, This GEM is a 2001 which has many components found in different places than on a 2005 or newer GEM. I wonder how many 10 year old GEMs are still in use? We have a 2002 coming up on 20,000 miles.

Hi Daniel.

I have a 2001

[QUOTE=moosehead;9146]Hi Daniel.

I have a 2001[/QUOTE]

I wonder how long these things go for? Do you think they could go 100,000 miles? That would take a lot longer than a highway car, but I wonder if you used only a GEM for all your transportation all year how many miles it would have on it a year. I’ll bet you could put 5000 miles on it tooling around town. That’s a little less than 14 miles per day.

In the past, I have asked the forum who has the highest mileage, But no one ever answers. Our four GEMs have a total mileage of about 35,000. During fair weather, these are driven around the campus daily for maintenance, housekeeping, and security. I imagine someone could get that many miles on a large institutional facility where security, housekeeping, and maintenance go round the clock. GEMs aren’t true industrial vehicles like a Cushman or EZ-GO.