i am in vermont also, and have been looking at swapping out my 2.5 also. look on vermont craigslist, under auto parts (or whatever it says) and type in jeep engine. one of the things that pops up is a jeep 4.0 with AX15 and x-fer case for sale. the pictures will be of an ugly red YJ. his prices are very reasonable. i think he wants 350 for the engine and transmission, and 150 for the x-fer case. hope this helps, and good luck.
EDIT: he is located at grande isle, about an hour from you. good luck
I missed this post earlier or forgot it. I may explore that this weekend but I do think I have 'enough' parts for the swap.
Expecting some bolts will be needed and need a starter. I am not cutting out the wiring harness so I can "go backwards" if I want and go fuel injected someday. Depends. A few other parts will be needed to buy or fabricate- depending. Driveshafts are probably where I will need to have a shop take care of it for balance sake.
Pressure washed the jeep last night including the engine compartment. Should make it more pleasant when I pull the motor this weekend.
Goal is to get the 4cyl and drivetrain out, pull the engine wiring harness parts labeling and boxing for the future, taking down the transfer case to install the input shaft, locating what I need for a pilot bearing, and doing a trial assembly of motor to tranny and transfer. That is probably enough, but if it goes quick and well (and the parts come in) I am going to install a basic bearing and ring kit. That's a gamble because I don't know if the crank is stock or undersized... I bet on stock size
I decided once the motor was in I didn't want to have to pull it anytime soon out of necessity- only if I decide I want to. Previous owner of the motor already had head gone through but mentioned it had some blow-by so the rings make sense and I have cylinder hones.
After it is in an running on the road the first two mods will be finding a soft top (mine came with a hard top only) and I think I have settled on a SOA before I do anything else. Those two things will burn or exceed any remaining available funds so it might have to wait until next year...
On the topic of funds- is there an inexpensive source for a new front window glass and gaskets? Local auto glass outfit said $260 but that seems like a lot for a flat plate of glass that fits a very popular vehicle.