I noticed a fairly pronounced steering shimmy in the past couple weeks, enough that I wasn't confident I could control the car at 20-30mph. Not good....
I tore down the front axle looking for worn parts and found that the spindle arm bushings were extremely wallowed out:
The tie rod bolts were bone dry and had considerable wobble movement in the bushings. Both sides were shot.
You can see how thin the bushing sides are, and where I had to hacksaw them to loosen them up. I used the vendor-supplied drift to hammer the old bushings out, after applying a minimal amount of heat to the spindle arm.
I also shimmed the pitman arm ball connection, the drag link ball, and removed the custom front radius rods in favor of a standard wishbone.
The car also had those spring-things installed on the tie rod ends, I suppose those took up a lot of the slack from an otherwise wobbly tie rod bolt:
I do not recommend the spring or other damper as they seem to mask another, potentially more serious problem.
Popeye drives and steers just fine now.
Glad you found and fixed it. Be sure to go through everything else, like the spindle bushings and bolts, the drag link ends, the tightness of the pitman arm on the steering shaft, and the tightness of the lower steering shaft bearing housing to the frame. All of those little clearances can add up to a lot of play at the rim of the steering wheel. You should be able to get the steering wheel free play down under 1 inch.