I would say there is a difference in the steering wheel itself, I used to be able to move from left to right with about 3" of play the front end wouldn't move at all. I may have an inch now, but I drove around town and has seem to have gotten better. Could just be me...lol.
The noise is the belt for sure, the belt has less then 100 miles on it so I know it cant be a glazed belt. I had my fiance start the truck while I watched and couldn't really see which pully it was. They all gripped, and they are all square...So I would say it has to be the belt tensioner?