Yes, I still have the same truck. Right now I just ordered a set of helper leafs for the rear, and I only go 70 when on the highway. I saw 11 towing just the other day lol kinda was happy about that. Before you go the route on the f150, have you considered a 4bt cummins? It's a really popular swap, they get great mileage (high 20s) and they have access to all the power you need if you p-pump it and then upgrade lol. I have not done gears to my truck, I wasn't sure if I'd like it or not and I'm also a college student and I'd have to be sure I'd really like it to justify spending the money.
Are you saying you put a 318 in the same truck that had the 12-valve? You might keep in mind that the truck weighs a lot more compared to a half ton pickup and if you go to Genos Garage
they have dash caps that will glue right onto the existing one/ pops right in. Mine only has two cracks which I glued and seems to work so far. I'm also fortunate to have a good headliner.
I wouldn't give up on the dodge, especially for a f150 haha. The f150s are worse my parents had a f150 with the 5.0 back in the day, and said it got horrible mileage, was really light in the back end, and couldn't tow worth a darn. If you want more power or a truck that pulls get a 3/4 ton and if you're really serious, get a diesel.