'02 F250 7.3 CCSB Lariat, 187k, stock front suspension and steering.
Signs and Symptoms:
Intermittently, but usually within the first mile, the steering will suddenly pull a little to one direction or the other. I can feel the wheel move, and the truck begins to turn. It's not a huge turn. I correct manually. But then it returns to normal, so my correction ends up pulling me the other way. Sometimes it only happens once, other times it may continue for a mile or two. Then it clears up, and usually doesn't return during that trip. It may happen again later the same day, or it may be fine for a week or two before happening again. This is definitely NOT a death wobble situation. It's a gentle but definitive pull to one side, then a subsiding of the pull.
Potentially contributing events:
This March I fishtailed on a patch of black ice and slid off the highway, slowly rolling the truck onto its side (in several feet of snow). Was towed, but then drove away without issue. Some power steering fluid had leaked out, so I topped it off. Now, in my haste and stupidity, I hadn't checked the manual about the fluid, so I just topped it off with power steering fluid (maybe about a half quart) instead of ATF. Drove it like that until two weeks ago, when this problem cropped up again. Did research, realized my stupidity, flushed the fluid. It came out a pretty ugly brown, though that may not be surprising for a fluid with nearly 200k on it, recently mixed with another fluid. Replaced with proper ATF. Problem has occurred once since then.
Other important details:
I do notice a whine sometimes, which sounds like a pump whining. Don't know if it's the PS pump, or the water pump (which I suspect is also nearing its demise). Also, just had new tires installed and a four-wheel alignment. Problem existed before, and still exists after.
Any thoughts, ideas, or advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm heading on a 3,000 mile trip mid-August, and I'd rather have this straightened out by then!