So the other day I started my Jeep (2000 TJ, stock, 6-inline) and the "Check Gauges" light came on and the battery gauge sat at zero. I knew it wasn't the battery because the battery is brand new - the old one died of old age a couple of weeks ago. It would start fine, but the battery gauge would go up a smidge past the red and then when you started driving the light would come back on and the gauge would drop to nothing again. So best case scenario it was the gauge itself, worst case the alternator. But it ran perfectly and started perfectly each time for a couple of days.......until I left my last errand of the day on Sunday and it took a *split second longer* to start. You know how you can FEEL when something is wrong? I knew I should go straight home since it WAS running....but I was so hungry. So I took the chance and went to Mucho Burrito, knowing full well that it most likely wouldn't start again. Sure enough it didn't. Thank God our best friend was on his way home from work and was nearby and he boosted me with enough juice to get home to the driveway.

Yesterday my husband began the mission of figuring out the problem. He took the alternator out and had it tested - it was fine. We changed the belt just because it was out anyway so might as well. He voltage-tested the battery and it was fine. Then he opened up the distributer box and noticed a wire just hangin' around not connected to anything. It looked like it had corroded and broken off. So he cleaned up that wire, put a new metal loop thing on the end (I don't know what these things are called!), hooked it back up to where it should go, boosted my battery ....... and everything is fine now. I drove to the Beer Store for his troubles and the battery charged back up to just a little below 14, which IIRC is where it usually sits. Now I just need to stop having mini heart-attacks every time I start my vehicle, lol.

I wanted to post this in case someone else had a similar problem - check the two wires that attach to two little posts in the distributer box.