I too have had the "strange" electrical problem. After reading many threads relating to this area, I pulled the GEM. Really not hard. The trick is to carefully remove the bolts holding the wiring harnesses in place. After removing the module, there was no evidence of water damage or stains. Put it all back together and started looking elsewere.
Check the grounds carefully. The one causing the problem for me was the smaller ground wire from the battery terminal. While not evident the wire had corrorded inside the jacket, from the battery terminal for about 6-8 inches. Removing this section fixed all the little Gremlins.
My 97 f150 was showing the same symtoms- No power windows, no wipers, no dome light, etc. Drove me crazy for weeks.
WOW! Crazy. I read this thread two days ago... and a bud at work has a Y2K F-150 4X4 with ...... come on GUESS..... issues with the wipers and ?? Called FORD (Cook-Whitehead, in Panama City,Fl) to check a price on a GEM for his truck list price is $360.00+, I do have a hook up and it cost me $220.00! Not bad, huh? We'll put in on this weekend if he doesn't drive it to work and we do it there. Thanks for the thread!!!
I too am having some strange electrical issues with my 97 Lariet. The truck has only been driven about 3K miles in the last 3 years. It will no longer shift into 4 wheel. When I shift the transfer case to neutral, it is in neutral, but I can't get it to engage in 4 wheel. No light on the dash. I also can't adjust the temperature anymore. The air stays where I put it (that swithc still works), so I don't believe I have vacuum issues. The driver side window goes down when it wants to, never when I push the button. Passenger side works from both door controls. I am beginning to believe I also might have GEM issues. My windshield was leaking until I resealed it late last fall. Is there any way to test the GEM? Is there a diagram and/or procedure for doing this that is available to me? I don't mind spending the time or money to fix it, but I would hate to invest a couple of hundred bucks before I am sure that the GEM was the problem. Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated.
I was thrilled to see the message from Jytyoung because I am having the exact same issues with my son's truck. It wont go into 4Low. Well, I take that back, it will go into 4Low if you turn off the truck, start it back up and with 4L selected immediately put it in drive. But after 30 yards or so there is a big bang and it drops back into 2wd and the 4x4 light goes out. If I select 4Hi and follow the same procedure, it will stay in 4 Hi. Also, every once in while when you try to put it into gear, it stays in neutral. You have to shut the truck off, put it in park and then restart it. If you wait until the 4x4 light goes out and then put it into Drive, it works fine. If you dont wait until the 4x4 light goes out and try to put it in Drive, it makes a horrible grinding sound. The radio quit working a week ago and the passenger side window doesnt work at all anymore. The drivers side window has a mind of its own. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt and sometimes it goes down on its own. Also, the battery wont hold a charge. I jump it and it runs, but if it sets overnight, it wont start back up. The battery is completely dead and needs to be jumped. It will start and run for the next day, but I would venture to guess that the battery is completely discharged in 8 hours. I will also add that I have already put in a brand new battery, a brand new starter, a brand new alternator, and a brand new master cylinder (and rotors) for an unrelated brake issue. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Im about broke!
Thanks for being here! You guys are great! I took my truck (97 F-150 4X4) to 2 different mechanics the last being a dealer and they didn't have a CLUE!! I haven't made the repair yet, but after reading the symptoms and GEM control items, I'm hopeful at the least.
I'm of course I'm more hopeful that it's a ground problem, but if I have to, the GEM will be next.
My particular symptoms are as follows: Driver's door window malfunction; ceiling map lights out; temperature gauge pegged high; volt meter Whacho - sometimes high, sometimes low; oil pressure gauge sometimes pegged low, sometimes high, mostly low in the range.
And, my windshield has leaked! Thanks again, Guys! I wish I had checked here before throwing hundreds of $$$ away on EXPERTS.
Latest update for my situation; I called the dealer about the GEM and Parts said they are no longer manufactured, suggesting a junk yard search. Do you know of any other sources for a GEM? Should I get my windshield resealed before attempting a GEM replace? Will operating the truck with my symptoms (whacky gauges, no power to window, etc.) cause any damage to the truck?
Thanks for the help! It's nice to know some people still care enough to give their expertise for free to a complete stranger. God bless. Brad
I don't know of any other sources for a GEM. If you get a used GEM you need to make sure the truck it comes from has the same options as yours. I'd also replace the fusebox at the same time. The GEM attaches to the back of it so you can probably get it as an assembly.
The windshield should be resealed before doing anything else unless you want to do the repair a second time.
It shouldn't cause any problems if you drive the truck as it is.
Dave, More questions in regard to the troublesome/expensive G.E.M.
Can you clue us sufferers in on the purpose of this GEM? What I'm wondering is if it's possible to bypass certain control elements of the module, like the driver's window power, or possibly bypass the whole thing. If the only reason for it is to allow me to operate things after I've turned my key off, then I think I could live without it. One concern is the several times mentioned tendrils it has buried in my transmission. That sounds unbypassable. Is it? And are there other critical elements?
Thanks again for your care, efforts and energies. Brad
The GEM controls the power windows, door locks, 4x4 operation, courtesy lights etc.
I'm sure that if someone tried hard enough the GEM could be bypassed but it would be a ton of work with wiring etc. Definately more work than it's worth.
When the fusebox that the GEM attaches to gets water in it the most common symptom that I've seen is the battery going dead because the heater blower runs all the time, even with the ignition off.
The gauge problem could be a bad ground to the instrument cluster too.
If you search the forums here you'll find more info on other GEM problems as well.
1998 f150 ext cab w/ 4x4 "esof" on the dash; power windows, power door locks, etc.
Just adding some info to the above for everybody/anybody.
Because of remodeling project, had need to go to the dump to dispose of material. I guess because I had 4x4 the attendant sent me directly to the dump instead of to the dumpster; anyways, got to the dump area; put in nuetural, switched to 4x4 Low and proceeded to back to the actual dump position. Completed what I needed to do and drove back out thru the sand and mud etc. When I got onto the hard road, stopped, put into nuetural, foot on brake and switched to the 2High position; uh oh; would not switch out of 4x4Low. After many attempts and different procedures, ended up driving home in 4x4 low @ 25/30mph (fortunately no freeways in my area). Ended up applying 12V to shift motor on side of transfer case to get it out of 4x4 Low, but dash light still displays as being in 4x4 Low and there is an automatic shift problem, which will cause the overdrive light to flash on/off; but am still able to drive it. After reading this and many other forums, decided that it was possibly the GEM module evan tho it displayed none of the other symptons (windows, door locks, wipers, dome light). because you can see that the motor was working but not getting the volts needed and all fuses had been checked and found to be good. Only other possibility, perhaps the auctual dash switch.
Anyways, ordered the GEM module from AutoPartsCheaper for $234. w/ shipping, already programmed. Will replace this module tomarrow and let you know how I make out.
Last edited by cwl7454; 04-17-2011 at 06:44 AM.
Reason: added "dash"
Completed the installation of the new GEM this AM and did indeed correct the problem.
For those of you that do desire, as I did, to do the switch yourself; be advised that it is not as simple as some previous instructions would leave you to believe. This is the routine that I did and you did need more than a 10mm socket.
First and foremost, disconnect the negative battery terminal post.
On the drivers side under the steering wheel where the fuse box is located I removed the lower panel that runs from the left side to the ashtray. It has 8 7mm screws; 2 each for the hood release bracket and parking brake release bracket. The panel directly above the steering wheel also has to be removed by prying it out as one of the screws is concealed under this. This will not only give you a better look see but also give you alot more room to get your hands in there and work. Go ahead and remove the 2 release levers and set them out of the way. You will need both 8mm & 10mm sockets to remove the nuts and screws holding the fuse box to the mounting bracket. You will now see (1) of the GEM mounting tab nuts, you can go ahead and remove it but it will not release the module as a screw which is a phillips head is still screwed in to the metal tab and must be screwed out from the opposite side.
Once the fuse box is undone you have to fight all the wiring harnesses to manipulate the assembly down and turned so that you can now unbolt the 2 wiring harness connector blocks. This has to be done to get to the other 2 phillips head screws holding the GEM module to the fuse block. It is extremly helpful to use a real short phillips head screwdriver to undo those 2 screws. Any where along the line you can remove the wiring to the GEM module. Once everything is removed you can take the entire fuse assembly block/Gem module from under the dash and change it out.
Go ahead and reconnect the fuse block wiring harness and Gem module wiring. Remount the fuse block and release levers. At this point I went ahead and reconnected the negative battery and confirmed that the 4x4 light was indeed out and engaged the 4x4High and 4x4Low function. All was well so I went ahead and finished buttoning everything up. Total time was about an hour and a half.
While I had all the tools out I went ahead and removed the passenger door panel and swapped the two wire pins in the connector going to the window motor because last year I replaced it and for whatever reason the button was operating in reverse. Am suspecting that Advance Auto gave me the motor for the drivers door. But anyways that also came to a satisfactory conclusion.
Reprogrammed the radio and reset the clock and all is well.