OK, this helps some.
First thing to check would be the integrity of the connection between the steering rack and the steering column. This could have been disturbed during the removal of the engine. Check in particular the "rag joint" between the steering shaft and the steering rack. It may have been disturbed. There is also the possibility that this could be a coincidental problem that has manifested itself at the same time as other work was performed.
The next thing to check would be the inner tie rod ends. They can be easily checked by raising the front of the car so that the wheels are off the ground. Try to move each wheel to the right and left. There should be no play, and there should be resistance to turning. If there is any play, then locate whether it is coming from the inner or outer tie rod end.
Another possibility is an unevenly worn ball joint. This one sometimes escapes the professionals. The ball joint should have no play, and should turn smoothly througn its turning radius.
Don't overlook checking the mounting bolts and nuts for the steering rack itself. Also, look at the rear subframe mounting bolts and where they attach to the body. These have been known to be a problem in areas where there is a lot of salt used on the roads.
Also, look into the strut top mounts. These can also be a problem in high mileage cars ( I don't know what mileage is on your car).
That is about all that I can think of right now. If everything checks out OK, then the last thing that would cause a problem like this would be the steering rack.
Saturday, March 14th, 2009 AT 5:47 PM