Steering slack - 1997 Dakota

Anybody know what creates the problem with slack in the steering of a vehicle? Multiple different possibilities I imagine, right?
Barry

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1. Worn ball joints in drag link 2. Worn idler arm 3 Worn steering box 4 Worn U-joints in intermediate shaft
With the engine off, steering unlocked, see if there's free play in the steering wheel. If so, it's either the intermediate shaft or the box. If not, it's probably the drag link or idler arm (if so equipped)
Grab the intermediate shaft with a big set of pliers/channel-locks/vise-grips, hold tight, and have someone (try to) turn the steering wheel back and forth. If it wobbles, the upper U-joint of the imtermediate shaft is worn. If it doesn't, the play is in the steering box.
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Also, if you have a tilt column, the wear could be in the U-joint within the column. If you can grab the top half of the U-joint on the intermediate shaft where it connects to the base of the column (coming through the firewall), and hold that with a large pair of pliers, you can check the steering wheel the same way. If it still wobbles, then it's the joint in the column.
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