So I did come up with a 8.8 locally from a low-mile wreck. A little too much $$$ but not bad. It seems "everyone" says an 8.8 is about $150 and they are available "everywhere" but that isn't the case. Picking it up tomorrow AM.
On another update, I think I need to start a new, careful thread depicting my build. It might be useful to some folks trying to low-buck a frame-off but not making too many cheap compromises. Which is where I am right now.
In my rush to get hopefully this done this fall as a driver before snow I have determined that I won't have time to do this. I decided also that I need to slow down and do stuff that will be hard to get back to later- like cleaning up the frame and protecting it from rusting with rust converter and paint- before I install stainless brake lines, have the driveline in the way, etc.
With the motor and stuff out and plans to do the spring-over I think the body could be off the frame in under two hours. That will give easy access to the things I need to weld: moving front spring shackles to the rear of the spring, cross-member mounts for the tranny and flush tummy tuck skid plate, relocated and raised motor mounts, etc. This will let me clean and paint the frame complete which seems like such a good idea. The reality is that it is 40 degrees and snowing this morning
Along with this, if I am going to slow down, the seed that got planted in this link
seems to make a lot of sense. I now have a complete '97 XJ 4.0 so I have a fantastic donor for a 4.6 stroker. Since I have the 258 all torn down for a rebuild I think it is not that much of a stretch to use the 4.0. Since the machine work to bore it .030 or .040 is only about $150 and new pistons are $230 +/- regardless of the size I think I can afford the parts. I might need to also buy lifters and perhaps a cam chain but I have everything else I need on hand.
For my purposes I think this will be an absolutely perfect jeep and I can't think of anything else I would want to do. To chronicle everything I will start snapping photos, record my actual labor time for some processes, and catalog my parts sources, part numbers, etc. Maybe my build will be a thread that will be as useful to a few people as others have been so beneficial to me