1999 Mercury with steering problem, please help

I have a 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis. Over the past couple days, the steering has become extremely tight. I checked the p.steering fluid, it was fine. I also checked the belts around the steering pump and they
looked great. The only noise is a faint strain when I'm turning. It doesn't sound at all like a bad pump. I just moved to my area and I don't know a good place yet. Therefore, I would like to know what it could be upon taking my baby in. Any advice at all would be sooo appreciated! Thanks a million!
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Check the spool valve (where the steering column enters the valve assembly) for binding.
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