It is impossible to know what happened without being there to look at it, but my guess is the steering column had to be lowered and in doing so, a splined shaft came apart. Most cars have a two-piece steering shaft so it can collapse in a crash. There will also be some type of coupler where the shaft attaches to the rack and pinion assembly. You might have taken that apart too.
The concern now is if the steering wheel got turned either way a full revolution while the shaft was disconnected. There is a "clock spring" under the steering wheel. That is a wound-up ribbon cable in a plastic housing. It makes a solid electrical connection to the air bag and any switches on the steering wheel. The clock spring can only rotate slightly more than the steering gear from lock to lock, either way. If the steering shaft got rotated one turn without being connected to the steering gear, the clock spring will go one revolution too far one way and the ribbon cable will either be torn apart or it will unwind too far and the end will fold over on itself. A torn cable will show up right away with the "Air Bag" warning light staying on and the cruise control and horn switches not working. A cable that is folding over will eventually crack, but that might not happen for days or weeks.
As for "not starting", you need to list specific symptoms. That can mean the engine cranks but doesn't run or it doesn't crank. Either way, that can be related to the steering column. The ignition switch is on the column and the linkage to it could be damaged or the electrical connector could be loose.
Saturday, September 10th, 2016 AT 10:05 PM