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While I dont come across this many times, I have encountered it on occasion. This occurs due to worn or broken gear teeth inside the rack and pinion unit which will allow the steering shaft to turn at times without actually turning the wheels at the same time.
The only solution is to replace the rack and pinion unit
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That is the only thing that would allow the steering wheel to turn without turning the wheels. Even a loose steering wheel nut would not cause this. And if the joint was bad between the steering shaft and rack and pinion unit, it would cause binding.