I had left the lights on in my 98 RL and when I tried to start the car, the steering wheel started to move to its driving position, but the battery didn't have enough power to start the car or let the steering wheel finish moving. After jump-starting the car, the wheel would move in and out, but not up and down. Thanks to the above post from Sinnedone, the following fix worked for me:
1. reset the steering column module.
This can be acomplished by either disconnecting the negative battery cable, (making sure you have radio codes etc) or disconnecting the 3 plugs from the module itself which is located on the left side of the steering column. If the steering colum module senses something out of place it will stop working that particualr adjustment. Could be either tilt, retract, or both.