A bearing just went in my ax5.. funny I see this because I'm in the exact same predicament.
personally, I think I'm going to go the door 2 route as I can get a used ax5 for about 175
I looked into rebuild kits and they're about 170 by themselves, then factoring in any replacement parts I may need seems to be a bit much
89 YJ S, 2.5L/AX-5/NP231
99 WJ Limited, 4.0L/42RE/NP247
93 YJ, 4.0L HO/32RH/NP231 - Sold