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What just came off my truck & how much will it cost to replace?

I was driving my 96 Nissan P/U (145,000 mi on odo)down the road (@~30 mph) when I heard a noise as though my tires had just kicked up a large rock. There was a loud clunk-clunk-clunk underneath the truck and when I looked in the rear view mirror to see what it was, I saw a doughnut shaped object rolling away behind the truck. The next time I made a turn, it seemed as though I had lost power steering. Now, rt & left turns are very difficult, while straight driving is unaffected. On the plus side, I get to do my upper body workout as I drive.

Oh my, this must’ve been buckets of fun.

Perhaps the power steering pump pulley fell off? Pop the hood and see if it’s still there.

And you’re driving it like this???

He looked in his mirror, what more do you expect him to do??

There’s a bunch of stuff on the “front” of the engine (probably the passenger side of the engine in normal terms) that is driven by belts. That includes the power steering pump, alternator, air conditioner, and possibly the water pump. Most likely thing is that you have broken a belt – a common problem and misinterpreted what you saw in the mirror which was actually a chunk of belt. It’s also possible that one of those entities has spontaneously disassembled.

Your immediate concern should be that some of that stuff is essential to the operation of the car and there is often more than one gadget driven by each belt. So it’s likely that more than the power steering is broken. You really want to find out what is broken and whether the car is drivable without whatever isn’t working. If it is a belt, replacing it won’t cost a lot.

Thank you very much for your reply. I didn’t think of a belt as the object because whatever it was kept its shape completely as it rolled away across the oncoming lanes of road behind me. My neighbor had suggested a bearing or bushing of some kind had come off, but he didn’t actually look at the truck. I certainly plan to have the truck looked at by a mechanic, but I was trying to get an idea of what to expect.

If you did lose a serpentine belt, this belt likely drove the alternator as well as the PS pump. You have apparently already driven a few miles in this condition. If you drive a couple of more miles, you will likely kill the battery.

I would suggest that you check the belt while the truck is parked, and if the belt is missing–as I suspect you will find–then the new belt should be installed while the truck is parked. Alternatively, you might want to have it towed.

Thank you very much for your reply. I just looked and there is something missing from the front behind the fan. The back belt is intact and tight, but the front belt is loose. There is also something that looks like an adjusting screw that’s attached to a bracket on the front of the engine below the valve cover. The adjusting screw is no longer attached to whatever it was adjusting. Also, the A/C still works great and the engine temp is still normal (this is Vegas so I’d notice if either had a problem). So how many $ are involved (ball park)?

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