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Any golf cart mechanics out there?


Chapap

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I'm shopping for a golf cart. I found a few under $2k that "don't run." What are things to check on a golf cart? I'm thinking there are 4 major components: motor, batteries, controller of some sort, and the cart itself. The cart seems easy enough to judge. Not sure about the other stuff. Do motors wear out?
 


franklin2

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The largest problem, and it's not cheap, is the batteries. If you get over 5 years out of them you are doing good. And you can have 1 battery go bad and it will bring down the whole pack. I just worked on a GEM electric truck the other day, for some reason the batteries were only a year old, but 2 of them where down and would not come up over 10v. So it would not run.

The motors and the gearboxes seem pretty stout. We have had a problem with the splines stripping out on the rear brake drums. So when you push the pedal to go, you hear a grinding noise and think the worst, but it has just stripped the drive splines out of the center of one of the brake drums.
 

scotts90ranger

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My mom got a free older EZ Go electric cart from her friends dad's estate that had been neglected and needed love... first step was to fix some of the wire connections so we used some welding connectors from Harbor Freight (I have one of the hammer crimpers), then the batteries didn't hold anything, maybe 1/2 mile range... so next was to grab 3 deep cycle 12v cheap batteries which helped a lot but still limited, then got 3 more of the same batteries. Then the charger wasn't working right so we went cheap and got 3 trickle chargers and put them on a board above the batteries (there's more room since the deep cycle batteries are shorter than golf cart batteries) which charges it over night no problem, they're plugged into a power strip on the same board so one cord to plug in...

Most of what's going to be wrong with them is just wiring or corrosion related I'm pretty sure, like franklin said the hubs do strip out but it's not a big deal, I tried rednecking it but turns out replacements were like $80 next day from Amazon... super easy fix.
 

superj

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If its got a lot of miles, sometimes you will have to rewind the armsture because people dont change the brushes and its grooved.

Batteries are the main issues. Brakes are mechanica rear drums, gas is a rheostat, unless its old then its a few switches that sends power through coils of differeing diameter.

Club car is the best but if you find a harley, i would still take it
 

franklin2

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Most of the chargers they have now are "smart chargers". They will not start up and charge if the total battery voltage is not within limits. This is good for the batteries, but if someone forgets and runs the batteries too low, the charger will not charge them up. You can do like the previous poster and try to charge the batteries back up individually, but even the newer 12v car chargers are becoming "smart" chargers. I have also had a "dumb" old school cart charger in the shop, and I have hooked it to the cart with the smart charger hooked up. The old school charger will boost the voltage enough to fool the smart charger and it will start charging.

It's a real problem where I work, people do not pay attention and do not plug the cart in every night. And they also do not keep check on the water level in the batteries. It disappears quick.

If you hunt hard enough, I think you can still buy the old school chargers that work much better.
 

superj

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Chapap

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Here’s two I’m half way looking at. There’s a 2006 club car and 2011 CT&T. Near zero info info on either besides they don’t run… not even sugar coating it. The CT&T was clearly a beach rental as its full of marketing, has bald tires, and probably had a hard life. Club car asks 1850 and CT asks 2000. Seems like for either I’d want to only shell out 1000. They probably need a grand in batteries and probably a couple hundred in electronics. Think I’d lean toward the club car for a first time cart. For 3000 I can get one that claims to run fine, but I’d rather know for sure that the batteries are new. Both look great cosmetically. They have discoloration and that spotty mold stuff on the seats, but other than that the pics are promising.
IMG_1153.jpeg

IMG_1154.jpeg
 

superj

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that second one actually looks like a yamaha. i had not heard of ct&t.

back in 98 and 99, i was a certified club car and ezgo mechanic. awesome job but not high paying. all the free golf you want though.

the only issue i ever really would be worried about it the frames being rusted. club car used to be the only aluminum framed golf cart so they were the most expensive brand. the ezgos, yamaha, harley/amf carts, and others were steel and the battery support area of the frame would always rust out. i am not sure how close you are to the beach but that is one thing to consider.

the brake pedal bushings will freeze on any brand if you are near corrosive water (irrigation or beach). they are brass and the arm is steel so you get dissimilar metal corrosion from the chemicals in the water getting in there and eating away the grease. its a very easy fix though as you just tap out arm and replace the bushings with more grease.

that ez-go is going to have the electronic controller and smart charger. is it a 36v or a 48v system? if the charger is square, its 36v. if its round, its a 48v system. the other one is probably 36v as that the most common one. back in the day, only club car made a 48v cart.

my parents bought a lifted ex-go a few years back. its gotten really noisy and rattles a lot. the lift kit for most carts is a going to make a lot of noise fairly quickly. club car lifts were different because it required cutting the front of the frame off and using a "Z" block to put it back on to get the lift so it was a pain in the butt. if you are not planning on lifting it and bigger tires, i would go with the club car. i don;t know anything about that other cart but it got bigger wheels so its probably not actually a golf type cart.

lots of golf cart companies made long carts for hospitals and transportation places. that second cart looks like its actually made for that kind of stuff and might have a more automotive type suspension set up. for sure, the wheels are larger and probably won't be available to the local tractor supply or walmart, like the golf cart tires are. golf cart tires can be put on with a manual small tire mounting machine that you can get really cheaply. tires are also very cheap for golf cart size wheels.

are you going to be carrying people on the back? they also make other stuff you can replace that back seat with that can be more useful, like a truck bed. or a seat that folds and gives you a flat bed to use as a truck bed.

if you are going to be hauling others, hopefully that club car is a 48 volt system. its a lot better for hauling but batteries are a bit more expensive.

batteries were 5-800 back in the late 90s, early 2ks. not sure now but get a good brand when you replace them. trojan is the best
 

Chapap

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that second one actually looks like a yamaha. i had not heard of ct&t.

back in 98 and 99, i was a certified club car and ezgo mechanic. awesome job but not high paying. all the free golf you want though.

the only issue i ever really would be worried about it the frames being rusted. club car used to be the only aluminum framed golf cart so they were the most expensive brand. the ezgos, yamaha, harley/amf carts, and others were steel and the battery support area of the frame would always rust out. i am not sure how close you are to the beach but that is one thing to consider.

the brake pedal bushings will freeze on any brand if you are near corrosive water (irrigation or beach). they are brass and the arm is steel so you get dissimilar metal corrosion from the chemicals in the water getting in there and eating away the grease. its a very easy fix though as you just tap out arm and replace the bushings with more grease.

that ez-go is going to have the electronic controller and smart charger. is it a 36v or a 48v system? if the charger is square, its 36v. if its round, its a 48v system. the other one is probably 36v as that the most common one. back in the day, only club car made a 48v cart.

my parents bought a lifted ex-go a few years back. its gotten really noisy and rattles a lot. the lift kit for most carts is a going to make a lot of noise fairly quickly. club car lifts were different because it required cutting the front of the frame off and using a "Z" block to put it back on to get the lift so it was a pain in the butt. if you are not planning on lifting it and bigger tires, i would go with the club car. i don;t know anything about that other cart but it got bigger wheels so its probably not actually a golf type cart.

lots of golf cart companies made long carts for hospitals and transportation places. that second cart looks like its actually made for that kind of stuff and might have a more automotive type suspension set up. for sure, the wheels are larger and probably won't be available to the local tractor supply or walmart, like the golf cart tires are. golf cart tires can be put on with a manual small tire mounting machine that you can get really cheaply. tires are also very cheap for golf cart size wheels.

are you going to be carrying people on the back? they also make other stuff you can replace that back seat with that can be more useful, like a truck bed. or a seat that folds and gives you a flat bed to use as a truck bed.

if you are going to be hauling others, hopefully that club car is a 48 volt system. its a lot better for hauling but batteries are a bit more expensive.

batteries were 5-800 back in the late 90s, early 2ks. not sure now but get a good brand when you replace them. trojan is the best
I have no idea about the CT&T. Just repeating what the ad said. Wikipedia says it's a Korean battery vehicle company. Probably is quite a bit more invloved than a typical golf cart. I'll probably let that one be. I messaged the Club Car ad and will see what he says. Both carts have most assuredly lived a significant portion of their lives just a few blocks from the Gulf. Mostly It'll haul 2 people, but needs to be able to haul 4. A flip down back seat would be exceedingly handy tho.
 

Chapap

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Looks like 12v batteries can be had for $1000, but a better 6v set is $2000+. That's ridiculous.
 

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I like the 2nd one better, you can put stuff in the back seat without worrying about it falling off :)
 

franklin2

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Looks like 12v batteries can be had for $1000, but a better 6v set is $2000+. That's ridiculous.
Everything has a ridiculous price on it now. If the 12v batteries you were looking at are marine types, they are a inbetween battery. Not as heavy duty and as much lead in the battery as the true deep cycle 6 volt batteries. All you have to do is go to the store and pick them up, you will feel the difference. The 6v batteries can take a lot more abuse and last longer than the marine type 12v.
 

Chapap

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How would a SxS do in lieu of a golf cart? They seem built better and are similarly priced. 4 seats are tough to come by, but that would open the options. Granted there's no battery options, but that's not a requirement.
 

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It would be hard, for me, to shell out $1,000 for something that didn't run. I see signs in yards all over Tallahassee - "Free Golf Cart- does not run", or "needs work" If I had to put more thatn $500 into one, I would start with the free ones. The Battery Source, here in town, has cheap ones starting at a few grand. I've seen them as low as $1500 for one that ran, but was beat up cosmetically. Check the Free section on FBMarket or CL.
 

superj

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Dude, if there were signs saying free golf cary, not running, i would be snapping them up for resale. But the shop i used to work at already does that. I know i used to pick up tons of free carts and the other mechanic and i would tear them down to the frames and sand blast and repaint everything while redoing the wires and stuff. (we actuslly used the same hammer battery crimp someone commented on above) to make the new cables.

The club car looks really good so bring a multimeter snd see what the voltage is on the battery set.

Another way to tell 36v versus 48v systems is the batteries. 36v systems have 3 caps for water on each battery and 48v have 4 caps for water. Each battery should have 2.2v per set of plates and you can check each with a hydrometer. Look in the battery caps and see where the water level is. It should be just barely above the tops of the plates if discharged. If they are full and the batteries read dead, the people probably never took care of the batteries and just realized they were empty after they were dead.

You can recharge with fresh water, though not tap water, and might get them back for use for another year while getting replacement batteries one at a time so its not such a huge cost to replace them. Just dont swap them in till yoi have at least three and know which three are the worst to swap out.


Another common change i gave seen is people using three 8d batteries instead of six 6v batteries. Their carts actually did very well and the batteri3s seemed to last well. I saw this on a lot of south texas ranches where they had more access to heavy equipment batteries versus automotive or golf cart batteries.

If you guys have ever seen the tv show buckmasters, the hunting show, sometimes they would film down here a few hours from corpus christi. Their golf cart they used for the show was one we built at the shop i worked at. I would have to drive out and do maintenance on it at their ranch. They had an air strip on the ranch so they could fly in to film their, and a super nice pool that i would have loved to get in since they would just pull the cart out od the garage and leave it in the sun for me to check everything on. They also had ultralite little lawnmower engine powered paragliders for sending out to locate the animals to hunt. And of course, putting food out to make sure they always had stuff to shoot.

Not very "hunting" like but thats how they do it here
 

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