I have seen other peoples cars/trucks have this problem (back when I was working as a garage mechanic). I see that you are from beautiful (and very salty roadways in winter) New England. Is it fair to say that you Camino is also from New England (or some other salt flinging state). If so, I would do a thorough frame inspection from stem to stern on your Camino before sinking another dollar into that frame. If the frame is shot in other sections than the steering box then you may be looking to purchase a used frame in the near future.I just wonder has this happened to anyone else... and what did they do...
am I the only "smart" one in the bunch
Look at this a different way and you will be happy. Namely, that steering box could have instead come loose while you were making a turn around your local "dead man's curve." If so, the result could have been tragic.