GEM Car "Did You Know" Blog - Helpful Hints, Tips and Tricks From Ride-4-Fun Staff and GEM Car Owners
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A frequently updated information center for owners and prospective GEM Car owners to get information on everyday GEM car questions.
Covering a wide range of topics from routine maintenance to everyday GEM Car driving - In Ride-4-Fun spirit, this blog will be updated with useful content to help you get the most enjoyment and performance from your GEM.
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GEM Car Blog Topics:
GEM Car Controllers
The controller is the brain of your GEM car –it directs power to the motor and monitors the critical systems in your GEM car. At the heart of the GEM cars electrical system, its performance is essential to a properly running GEM car. Sitting between your batteries and your motor, it monitors many aspects of your car, analyzes data, and directs the appropriate amount of power to your motor and other systems.
Like a computer it operates on rules and make decisions based on its inputs in addition to its programmed logic. Experienced programmers, such as Ride-4-Fun, can make changes to the programming to customize a controller to better respond to your specific driving needs and conditions. For example, Ride-4-Fun can modify the programming and customize it to adapt the controller’s behavior to the 7.5HP motor. This allows the motor and controller to more effectively work together to produce better acceleration, higher speeds, increased torque or any other performance improvements a GEM owner requires.
Like your own brain trying to analyze thousands of information updates from various inputs, a controller is under constant stress. While performing it functions, it could be outputting as much as 350 AMPS of electrical output – subjecting itself internal pressures, such as heat (in fact newer GEM cars have an external fan mounted to the controller). In addition they are exposed to external environmental pressures. Whether your controller is under your hood (new GEM models) or under the dashboard, they basically live outside and tend to be subjected to extreme temperatures and humidity levels. So it should not be a surprise that controllers need to be serviced on occasion.
There are several telltale signs that your controller may need servicing. The symptoms of a failing controller can range from an inoperable GEM car to a number of error codes. If your car is not performing in a typical manner (hesitation, loss of speed, stalling, intermittent operation) or has a recurring error code, you may have a controller that needs to be serviced.
If you ever any questions about an error code or suspect a controller issue, don’t hesitate to call us. We’ll help you diagnose the problem, free of charge. If you do need to have your controller serviced, Ride-4-Fun also has you covered. Gone are they days of having to purchase a new controller and spending over a $1,000 in parts and service, as you can have your controller rebuilt and custom programmed for almost half that cost. Ride-4-Fun has been rebuilding and custom programming controllers for over 5 years and has made it even easier for GEM owners to take advantage of this service. Our free technical phone support and controller removal/installation videos (www.ride-4-fun.com/instructions) will get you quickly back on the road, at peak performance without costing a fortune.
With all the talk on health care, lets switch the topic to a fun health care subject - The health of your batteries. In a GEM car, the batteries are the life blood of every system in your car. They are the most frequent source of question and root cause of driving issues. At Ride-4-Fun our techs take 100's of calls a week and 31% of the calls are battery system related.
The most frequent symptom of under performing or "unhealthy batteries" is loss of range. Depending upon driving conditions and habits, a fully charged (stock) GEM should cover 20-25 miles. If your not getting this range or experience a rapid drop in battery charge level when driving, your likely having a battery issue.
New fresh batteries may seem like the right fix. However new batteries sets are expensive and unless you fully understand why your current batteries are under performing, you may not get the long term results from that expensive battery purchase. How batteries are used and maintained are at the root of battery life. That's why we have customer that easily get 5-7 years from a set of batteries, while others only get 2-3 years - A difference that obviously contributes to a significant GEM car cost of ownership differential.
Probably the biggest factor in battery life and performance is how GEM cars batteries are maintained when the GEM is not being used. Rental Cars or other GEM car fleets that are used on a daily basis have much less batteries issues and experience the longest battery life. Why? Simply because they are frequently used and therefore are frequently charged - in many cases everyday, throughout the year.
So if keeping batteries fully charged can double or triple the like, how do you keep them charged at all times. For newer GEMs (2005 and newer), they are equipped with chargers that can maintain a charge. So for these cars, it's as easy as keeping them plugged-in 365 days a year.
The real issue is for older GEM car owners (2004 or older). These models have a single cycle charging system. So therefore a GEM that is plugged in over a 3-month storage period will ONLY charge once! They will not cycle periodically (i.e., once a week) or maintain a floating charge. This is why many GEM owners will have dead batteries even though they left their car plugged-in. For these GEM owners, there's several charging system upgrades that will cycle on a scheduled basis or keep a full charge. The GEM car has an onboard charger than can be easily switched with a upgraded direct "bolt-on" replacement charger.
Swapping the charger can be performed in as little as 25 minutes with regular hand tools. On www.ride-4-fun.com we have video instructions that show the step-by-step process for removing and re-installing a charger. Ride-4-Fun carries a full line of replacement upgraded charges and our techs can advise you on the model that will best meet your GEM Car needs.
Of course there are other issues that contribute to how long a GEM car battery will provide peak performance. These include the quality of the battery and the output of the charging system. In an upcoming update, "All Batteries ARE NOT The Same", we'll talk about picking the right battery for your GEM Car as well as options for higher output charging systems.
Cleaning Full View Doors
Ride-4-Fun Full View doors are designed and built with components to provide many years of great clear-view service. The marine quality glass does not require special cleaning supplies like other door systems, which will keep the cost and maintenance time to a minimum.
For day-to-day cleaning, simple car wash soap or car wash cleaner is recommended. So when you wash your GEM car, go ahead, soap-up and clean the windows.
A couple of times during the season, you can polish your Full View windows to restore that brand new look and feel. Polishing Full View windows is easy and all you need is furniture polish - We recommend Pledge, but any similar store brand will work. Spray the polish lightly on the glass and work it into the glass until a crystal clear view is achieved. This simple procedure will help prevent the glass from prematurely drying out and keeping them looking new for years.
Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, or would like to share your GEM Car Tip or Knowledge with the GEM car community