We don't get involved with costs here because there's way too many variables. You aren't going to find a decent mechanic who will do this work. We understand that what you're trying to do can very easily land us in a courtroom. If the other guy runs a red light and causes a crash, you can be sure his lawyer or insurance investigator will take note of these modifications and shift some of the blame onto you. They will say you were less able to avoid the crash, and they will be right.
The first issue is the excessive weight of the engine. Even any Chrysler engine of similar size which is 100 pounds lighter can't be supported by the wimpy suspension system of this little truck. You will adversely affect ride height which affects steering response, front-to-rear brake balance, tire wear, handling, and comfort. Your stopping distances will be much longer and the brakes will overheat and fade very easily.
I can understand that you'd be ashamed to be seen in this truck with these modifications, but be aware that while others can't see you, your visibility will be reduced too with tinted windows. That will be noted on any accident report and will be used by the other guy's lawyer.
What you're trying to do is only done by people experienced in building race cars or custom projects, and about half of them don't understand many of the design issues. When do-it-yourselfers try to do these kinds of modifications, the vehicles almost always end up in the front yard with a "For Sale As Is" sign in the window.
When professionals build this kind of truck, they're actually starting out with a full-size truck or car's frame and suspension so it can support the weight properly, then they drop on the body of the vehicle they want. You can be sure no one would ever consider trying to race a Ford Fusion in NASCAR. Those you see are just Ford Fusion sheet metal bolted to a full-size frame. The only thing "Fusion" about those cars is the name.
For the interior work you're considering, you need to get an estimate from an automotive upholstery shop. There's only one that I know of in my city. He does very high-quality work, but he knows what his experience is worth and he charges accordingly. I tried to replace the seat covers in my '72 Challenger a few years ago, and the results definitely didn't look like a factory job. I was pretty disappointed, and since I take pride in my work, I know when it's time to call in the professionals. You might look into buying a custom seat, but always keep in mind that you're changing things that went through extensive legal and crash testing. Some of the most innocent modifications can come back to haunt you later. Some foam padding in seats might off-gas harmful chemicals. The materials used might not be fire resistant. You might generate static electricity when you slide your butt across the seat. That can take out computers if you touch the right things. The back frame could collapse in a rear-end crash. Some of these things are far superior in aftermarket products compared to original equipment, but knowing that is very hard to figure out.
Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 AT 7:47 PM