I went back and edited my main smart material in substance, new look looks much better and well-defined. Scales accross different textures very well also. Far less layers to deal with also makes editing much simpler and easier. Luckily I did not get too far with my original material I was working with previously, so re-doing previous textures should not take too long.
Also did a quick lighting test in 3ds max with a few colored lights (to roughly guage PBR reflections/metalness properties). There are no direct light sources, just placed some lights semi-randomly in the scene without too much care.
One thing that was a bit of a pain was figuring out that substance painter does not have very good support for non-square textures, so I also spent some time creating new masks in designer which would not get distorted when using non-square resolutions (i.e. 1024x2048). This took a bit of time but in the end I will end up having to do much less work making the trim textures tile, and I won't be dealing with distortions or "squishing" of critical grunge maps or masks. This was previously a pretty big road block to my progress.