Our 02 maxima has been running fine until a couple of days ago. It has some valve train noise that is typical of a high mileage engine, but nothing real bad. To begin with this noise was only noticeable at idle and would not always be there. Now I can hear it all the time and thought that the motor was going to throw a rod, which I have experienced before, because it makes this knock in conjunction with the rotation of the engine. What stumped me though is that we drove 200 miles to make it back home after it was a constant noise at idle and we just knew that our trip was going to end badly. Of course when I heard this I looked under the car for any fluids leaking or any other clues as to this noise. I found none. I checked all fluids after the engine cooled down. The oil was correct and clear, no smell, water, or metal slivers. Everything checked out good. We made it back to our hometown and the steering started acting up like the pump was out of fluid.
Could this noise be from a power steering pump bearing going bad or maybe a pulley bearing? I did not check the drive belt area when we got home as it was to dark. What amazed me is that my wife drove this car almost 200 miles at 70 mph most all the way home and the only indication of a problem is a "service engine soon" light that came on after we heard this noise at the stop light. The temp gauge never got above its normal range and no other idiot lights came on. I just knew we were going to be calling my sons to come tow us home with a blown motor. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you william