Steering intermediate shaft U-joint in the engine compartment gets sticky, right above where steering column meets rack. Cowl water leak seems to fall into this area, near transmission vent too. Remove air cleaner box to reach around transmission to find steering u-joint. Stuff a garbage bag or shop towel around it to protect area, then spray the joint cups/bearings carefully and thoroughly with penetrating oil (pb blaster, liquid wrench). Put it back together. If you can jack the front wheels off the ground, then turn the steering back and forth to work it in, or if not just drive it for a couple days and see if problem goes away.
If it goes away, that is the problem, but not done yet. The penetrating oil has freed the sticky/rusty bearings, but will wash out. Access it again, and this time put on a rubber glove and put a big glob of thick white lithium trailer bearing or similar waterproof grease on your hand, then squeeze and push it all over this u-joint with as much pressure as you can manage, try to force it into the cups and everywhere. This will not wash out.
Or, intermediate shaft part is around $40 and a single bolt on each end holds it in place, but the oil/grease method worked for me.
Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 AT 4:04 AM