Re: 2004 F150 steering issue/popping noise
Sounds like an intermediate shaft. I can't recall the exact words for it, but if you look under the hood, there will be at least two, if not three pivot points the steering bar takes before it gets to the steering box. Chances are one of those pivot points, or both, are worn so it allows very slight play in the steering. If you don't drive the vehicle for a day or so, the steering will get tight because of this. I had a similar problem with my Durango. I had it parked for a couple days; drove it for about 100 miles for a week then it was parked for eight days when I went overseas. I came back and the steering was hard to turn, and every 90 degrees or so you could feel a bump in the wheel as it hit a pivot point of the steering intermediate shafts. I had a friend turn the wheel for me while I looked and sure enough, there was a very small amount of play. The shaft in question was also very rusted on the bottom. So unless you park the vehicle with the wheel turned 180 degrees, you wouldn't see it.
'11 Ram Quad Cab 4x4 SXT 5.7L HEMI (stock); 48,500m
'06 Pontiac G6 GT 3.5L 220hp; 64,000m
'12 Chrysler 200 Limited 3.6L 283hp; 28,000m
'99 Taurus 3.0L 2V Vulcan 145hp; 154,300m - Traded
Amsoil in all vehicles!