I'm not sure the early 80 vs mid 90s frames are the same... the 97 has a big flare in the front of the frame to accommodate the radiator which really messes with the front body mounts.
I don't take your comment as smart-***'d, quite the contrary. I understand the pull the tape part, it'll tell a lot, but at some point, there's going to be something that will work better than something else, and if I could avoid a big headache in the future, I'd like to know about it before it happens.
I like the 79 steering column, but I'm pretty sure the 97 would be easier to get the wiring working, things like that.... I've seen a bunch of body swaps that looked right during the swap, then the box ends up being out of whack with the cab and stuff... I don't expect much of a response judging by the other threads I've found. Seems everyone went a different way. Either way, this seems like the best/easiest way for me so it's what the plan is now.
Pretty much looking for people that have done this... or quite similar and have recommendations or suggestions of at least potential problems that a guy might not be looking for. Right now my firewall looks like an issue because the depression in the 97 is much wider, so it would envelope the diesel better, but I'm not sure if it will be an issue once the body gets swapped.... could ramble for hours about things that might be an issue so if anyone has help/advice it would be greatly appreciated if it can save me some headaches later.