As crazy as people have been about swapping in 242s, I think the forum majority now says fix the 249. Even though I don't get better gas mileage in 2 wheel drive and the full time isn't quite as good as the 249's full time, I'm glad I swapped in my 242. I like having the option of locking the transfer case in 4 high if needed. Full time, although it's not as good as viscous coupling, still works great in the rain (I'm assuming the snow too although I haven't had the opportunity to use it yet). I'm not convinced strength is a valid argument for the 249 either. Sure, the 249 may be rated for more torque (1800 ft. lb. for 93-95 and 2030 ft. lb. for 96-98 as compared to 1486 ft. lb. for the 242), but in reality they're all rated for GVWs up to 5500 lb. Not to mention, a 5.2 has how much torque? 300 ft. lb. First gear has a ratio of what? 2.740:1. Multiply that out. What do you get? You get a max torque of 822 ft. lb. Even after you take the torque converter into consideration, you're still under the upper limits of the transfer cases.
Also, doesn't the 249 have a 30/70 torque split as well as having no way to lock the F&R drive shafts together in LO?
I'm swapping a 231 in place of my 249 with a spent VC soon.
I'd rather drive around in 2wd in the snow and engage 4HI when I
want it engaged. Rather than when the case thinks I need it engaged.
I've lived my whole life in Maine and grew up driving rear wheel drive rigs in the snow, even before I had a driver's license, so I know how to drive in the snow without 4wd.
I actually prefer to drive in 2wd in the snow, using 4HI only for up hills.
I'll keep the 249 for sure, and probably pick up a VC for it eventually, so if by some chance I do break the 231 in the course of wheeling, I'll have a back-up T-case.