Play would be each way, just jack it up, put on a jack stand, keep tire on and put a bar or board under the tire like a lever and lift it up/down. If there is play in the joints you will see it immediately. One tire at a time, then grab the tire and try to turn left to right. If there is play in the tie rod joints you'll see it as well.
the front end in these trucks is pretty beefy.
most problems come from wear, but 78thou miles is nothing, unless maybe you live real close to the salty sea, where rust gets augmented. so, yeah, first put it on jackstands and check for ball joints and bearing adjustment. but also check the tie rods, the idler arm, and the stearing damper, and the swaybar. i had the ball joints on my 85, 266,000 miles, checked by a pro, and they are tiptop, and never been changed. but then, that was a good year for Toy trucks, and i seem to have been lucky with the one i bought.
Everything under there looks good and tight.
when I said top to bottom in my 1st post i didnt mean up and down I meant in and out, just side side to side is in and out.
well i needed a wrench to break it loose. it wasn't that tight but my fingers on greasy nut couldn't loosen it.
and should it make this noise? press as hard as I can it goes from 5/8 to 1 full revolution, here:
that noise is the brake pad resting against the disc. if there was a clicking sound when you levered up the s wheel, that would be an indication of a worn/loose ball joint. i didnt hear that. it would click each time you lifted it or dropped it back down.
with clean hands, wiggle the disk, does it wiggle? it shouldnt. it should be just tight enough to turn, but not wiggle or drag. to pop the nut loose, its easier to loosen it with the wheel on, resting on the ground, but only turn it about 1/4 1/2 turn before you jack the truck up. you dont need all that grease on the nut, just on the bearing. i dont see the cap that covers the bearing and keeps tbe grease from leaking out of the disk/bearing race. and is that high temp bearing grease? i always use white lithium grease on wheel bearings. when you get it apart, check the bearing races for damage wear, if you find any, replace those parts.
and the idler arm bushings can be worn but
wont seem to be because the rest of the steering linkages may still be in great shape. most tire alignment places will give you a free detailed estimate, listing worn parts, and you dont have to let them do the work. plus they charge more for parts than the parts store does.
no clicking is good.
there is a spec for how much resistance to turning the rotor should give you. but basically it should turn but not wiggle vertical or horizontal.
yes, there would be play in the steering if you could wiggle it horizontally.
if i were you, i would pull the rotor and get a good look at the bearing and the races. if you do that, you will also be able to examine the axel, and its bolts.
oh, and what about the passenger side, is it a-ok?
last, some bearings have a flat washer like grease cover. not the hub cover which goes on last, but its more like a thin washer that keeps the grease in the bearing, and prevents it leaking out all over the retaining nut.
one other thing, make sure the mounting bolts on the shock absorber are in place, and the nuts are tight.
Depending on the manufacturer of the bearings (OEM or After market) you may get wear in in the bearing and race. I use Timkin Bearings or OEM for their hardness. Did you replace the back bearing for the CV shaft or just the outer bearing and did you replace the races also? If you did replace all (bearings & races in and out) with the brake caliper removed you can feel the hub a lot better, tighten the nut until you feel drag on the bearing & turn another 1/4" in tightening, then back it off to the last cog that locks the nut in place. It should spin freely but not tight with drag or movement in the hub. I use only high temp bearing grease and pack the bearing in my hand scraping the bearing to pick up grease until if comes out the other side. I have had bearing races spin b4 and had to replace the hub, yours is prob just adjustment. Good luck.
With a wrench. If you didn't replace the bearings I would think they are on their way out, not really sure without seeing the rig. tightening the nut about a 1/4" more will be to force the bearings into the race, don't leave it there back it off until you can install the lock. Spin the hub and it should be free but with no play. I would replace the bearings if was mine but that's me. The inner bearing is (after you break the hub down) made with a plastic carrier to space the bearings out. If the races are wearing ( you'll feel flat spots in the races ) the unit is on it's last leg. The outer bearing should be a sealed unit so packing it doesn't make sense to me ?? Yours may be just a tightening issue, have to see it up close to know. If funds are an issue you could hit the salvage yards and pick up 2 complete hubs in good shape / low miles. I had a wheel bearing go on a 1956 ford wagon years ago, thought I hit a pot hole but then I saw my front (driver side) wheel passing the car ahead of me.
Weird, that picture is what is listed for the 2003 Tacoma 2WD (rear drive) front wheel bearing. Now I am at a loss and have to do some research, I don't own one just worked on them before. When you have the bearing out what does the race look like? Is it worn, pitted or have flat spots? If not just try to re-tighten it and see if you then have any noise from the hub when you spin the tire. There is many Youtube videos on how to identify a bad bearing or one going bad.