Bought my '01 Cherokee back in March & have had nothing but problems since; I've been slowly fixing them when I have the time/cash. However, this particular issue has me stumped (and it's happened twice now).
Today, I was driving along when my check gauges light came on and my battery gauge plummeted to 0. My windows, windshield wipers, blinkers, etc; all electronics were incredibly sluggish. I was able to limp-it back home and start some troubleshooting. Tried to start it up & it kept acting as though it needed a jump. This actually happened before, but I was able to tighten the cables on the terminals and wiggle the wires a bit to get everything to work properly again. Having had this problem before and thinking it didn't just "need a jump": first, I replaced my battery cables as the old ones were corroded, I had to splice some stuff because I couldn't afford the factory replacements; I don't believe that is the issue, though.
Next, I lugged my battery up to Advanced Auto, did a check and ended up having to replace it, too. BAM! Started up like nobody's business. This victory was short lived, though. After a single minute of driving: "Check Gauges" lights up & battery shows as 0.
Now that this has happened a second time and having replaced the cables AND replaced the battery, I am at a loss of what to do next.
I'm thinking of taking it in somewhere, but I'd really like to see if I can find & fix this problem myself first.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
After testing the battery (per Larry's suggestion), I have a few more details.
- The battery is putting out plenty of volts on it's own with engine off.
- Before the light comes on and the gauge falls to 0, my battery gauge hovers at 12; meaning, the needle will move to just before or just after the 12V hash line intermittently
- The Check Gauges light will only come on after it's hit third gear and has been running in it for a least 10 seconds. I tested this for about 5 minutes riding around my neighborhood in 1st and 2nd trying to keep it under 3rd. Once I hit the main streets, the light came on within 10-15 seconds. I tried this twice.
- After checking with a DVOM while the light is on, the voltage is right around 12V.
- After that, I restarted and checked it while idling (no driving first, light off): same voltage.
What should be my next step? Thanks!