you might just have a worn/damaged flex joint. between the firewall and the rack input there is a change in angle and a flex/universal joint is there. I had a joint that allowed a few degrees of slop and when it did catch, it was very hard to turn. I repalced this joint and it was fine.
It's pretty quick to check, have a friend move the steering wheel slowly and keep an eye on the joint.
But upgrade if you can, everyone seems to love the lower ratio
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