1999 Protege 1.8L Transmission issues? Help!

Mazda, Protege ES, sedan 1.8L 5-speed
Ok, so I have a 1999 Protege ES and Im at a loss at this point. So long story short, at slow speeds, I turn left, steering seems to bind the release with a bang. As I drove it to work I could feel that when I would steer left it wanted to pull everso slightly to straight. I had my mechanic pick it up at work and we have done all the small lesser expensive repair/replacements already. sway arm links, lower control arms, new axles and seals and rack and pinion have all been replaced. Still does it and has also leaked all trans fluid twice now. A, has anyone else had this issue and B, what did you find out to be the problem. We are looking for a full trans swap now as that a rebuild on a 230k+ mile trans is not ideal. Does anyone have any insight? Thoughts?

Please help. I cant really drive the work truck for much longer. $100+ a week in gas is not the same as $36 every 12 days...Im dying here. HELP PLEASE!

ALSO, I have new strut assemblies installed about a year now. I keep hearing strut tops or steering universal joint maybe? Any insight?
Glad to see that many can look at this and make no insight or recommendation. Thanks.
Sounds like something isnt right with the new rack. But... have you had it up on jacks turning lock to lock? Prob not the issue but did you try and bleed the ps system? There are bushings that hold the rack onto the subframe check those for excessive play too.
Where is the trans leaking from? I have seen them puke out the breather when they are overfilled and it is being driven under load. But its not the entire capacity spilled.
Is it the strut mount popping or the strut nut not being tight enough? Alao, sounds crazy but make sure the endlinks are tight. Ive had them make noise when turning.
Did you have all those things replaced before the problems you listed or after? If after, how long after was it before you had problems?
OK, Great to get some feedback.

So, when the issue started that was when the leakage showed itself, I never saw it cuz he picked up almost immediately. From what my mech says it does seem like full leak (not just weep leakage). Since he got the car into the shop we have tried changing the sway arm links (never thought this was it, but his recommend), new axles and seals (cuz of age of car) to trans (still leaks, asked to get oem ones to try again), control arms (one ball was actually binding up) and then FINALLY we tried the rack and pinion. Still same problem......NOW, PRIOR to issue approx a year before I put all new struts and springs (yes, lowering eilbach springs with monroe struts). I dont know if maybe that is the route of this issue. I dont see play in mount tops though. I would assume he hung the front to get stop to stop movement.

What has me thrown into more confusion is that it still does the same exact thing. At slow, from stop, when I turn left (not sure turning right) it just "binds" but quickly then releases. From what my mech said he saw when he was watching me align to roll back was that both wheels seems to rotate at same speed when cut tight, like a differential issue. But at the same time Im taking his word on that. I did not witness it, as i was driving it.

I hope this clears up some sequence of event questions. Thanks again for trying to help.
When you did the lowering springs did you add washers on top of the strut mount before the center nut? On the p5 the threads dont go down far enough to make the nut tight. 2 or 3 fender washers take up enough gap to cinch it down tight.
What is the quantity of fluid needed to refill after it has leaked out? Do you have access to the car? So you can check the tranny and axle seals. My sis had a talon that needed grey rtv to help the brand new seals seat or it would leak. Not dump fluid but a pretty good sized drip dot. Ive also seen warped tranny pans not sealing completely and leaking. But again not the entire capacity. This is why finding the location of the leak is helpful. Do you feel it in the steering wheel? Or floorboard?
As for the washers...I dont know. I will have to ask the guy who did it for me. Id like to say that I did it but I just didnt have the time. (very frustrating being busy with work) I doubt it honestly. In reference to the trans fluid my mechanic said it was a huge puddle (twice, one before new axles and seals and then again after). I think the second is just aftermarket crap seals that caused that.

I feel if all in the steering wheel. Which is why I always thought it was the rack. However the rack is a reman replacement. Yes of course there is a chance of a bad one straight out of reman but Id like to think that it isnt, hopefully.

I guess I ought to reinstall the front struts and check for gaps and get eye balls on the u-joints on the steering shaft. Unfortunately his shop is 45 minutes north of work. (again, sucks being so busy with work). Thank you for the suggestions. I will definitely check these out.
Washers are cheap and easy to throw on with the car on the ground. Just remove the center nut drop 2 or 3 on and reinstall the nut. Remwmber to do all 4 struts. Be even sweeter if the pop goes away with it!
The fluid is another thing... maybe he can send you some pics of the tranny at different angles so we can try and see where its coming from.
SOOOooooooo.....................after a long time of waiting on the mechanic who has my car I will finally get into the shop with him to inspect in the air. He claims is even worse now.....how much worse could it be if it still binds up and releases with a bang and leaks all its tranny fluid on the ground.....SMH. I will keep any one who cares posted what I find out this afternoon. Im so over it....

Anyone have a M/T for a 1.8L fwd????? 🤣🤣🤣🤣
Im pretty sure its a FN4A-EL, But then again, what do I know....Im just a norm with tools.

He refuses to give up on it. Will not tap-out. Ive got other mechanics who have been highly recommended who have come to me to tell me to "get the car to them so they can fix it", but my guy just wont give up. I get it, Im the same way....I want to fix it too...but *tap-tap*...
YUP......ITS SCREWED. Put it in the air and threw it in gear off lift...passenger side barely wants to engage the wheel. Only drivers side spinning. Not strut towers.. Definitely the diff in the trans...knocking is from the engaging ( or lack there of ) of the passenger side catching. Of course now, it doesn't even really want to engage unless in rotation under gain only when driver side is pulling. So its worse for sure. So again, anyone got a 1.8l manual trans??? I dont even know if mine is rebuild-able once opened up and even thought about remaning it.

At this point, im trying to figure out a different means of transportation until I either find a Tranny or donor or something to frankenstein it. Im not about to give up....

Im open to ideas, thoughts, maybe different tranny options ( 6spd ), dont even know if I can without getting a second mortgage......
Are there any junk yards in your area?
One thing I forgot to mention is that the mechanic should've focused entirely on the main issue. It looks like he swapped out parts without really knowing if any was the real cause. Some quandaries require certain mechanics. If I have any issues with suspension or alignment, I take my car to an alignment shop. For electrical issues I go to an auto-electric shop. If I have dental issues I go to a dentist, not a general practitioner. Use this as a lesson and move on but remember, if a repair or repairs come out to be 50% or more of the vehicle's value, you should consider replacing it.
UPDATE. Internals of trans is a mess. Replacement an absolute necessity. Trying to locate one....We shall see....