2001 jeep cherokee voltage gauge all of a sudden drops to zero but still runs. Died once but changed the serpentine belt and all was right with the world again but the gauge still drops to zero periodically. Is this the alternator? Have a new battery so that can't be the problem.
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Well the warning light is supposed to come on if any of the gauges display a dangerous condition, such as no oil pressure. You may have a faulty sending unit for the gauge, or a wiring problem, or the engine may actually be loosing oil pressure when the gauge drops. You could replace the sending unit as a test, or have someone check the oil pressure with a mechanical gauge.
If the battery voltage gauge goes to zero, it may be a bad connection at the battery.
Batteries generally last an average of only 3 years, but they will go bad gradually until the voltage drop on starting will drop below levels that the car can run the starter.
Try a new battery, they're not too expensive at Walmart or Sears or a local auto parts store.
Try the largest CCA capacity battery you can buy and you won't have regrets, in my experience.
I'm assuming the engine is still running and no engine noise has occured due to loss of oil pressure, and it is just the gauge that is not reading? If so, the oil pressure switch that is located on the camshaft sensor, could have a bad connection or the oil sensor will need to be replaced. The oil sensor is located on the left side of the engine and is mounting horizontally on the camshaft sensor housing.
This has an electric pressure gauge with a sending unit. Try this: When at idle, SLOWLY increase the engine speed. If the needle on the pressure gauge all of a sudden leaps to a pressure (like 'real quick') and acts normally with even faster engine speeds, the sending unit is bad. (It is just not reading the lower pressures.) Zero engine pressure will manifest itself in a bunch of knocky sounds and lifters that aren't pumping up and therefore "ticking" loudly. You probably don't have that since you didn't mention these problems.
Replace the sending unit after the above test and you should be fine.
The problem sounds intermittent, if you put volt meter on the battery while it is at that 19volt mark/reading(on the gauge cluster) you will be able to see if it is true. If your alternator is really charging over 16volts the lights should be getting brighter then usual and/or they are burning out. Find out ASAP, if the alternator has a defective voltage regulator, it needs to be replaced. Prolong use will damage components.