Just curious if you ever did anything with this build? I remember looking at this thread a couple years ago, when I started thinking about doing mine. I did lots of research, and found ways to get mine done, and save a few pennies in the process:
On Ebay, Titan engines sells (under the user name oldyeller204), teflon coated Silvolite (by Keith Black) pistons, for about $120 for the set, and the chromoly rings for another $50.
My engine was going into a 97 Cherokee, so I needed to find a cam which would play nicely with the computer. After doing some research, I found the specs for the 95 and earlier 4.0 HO showed a little more duration, and the same lift as the 96+ OEM cam. This made it a little more appealing, and I knew it would allow the engine to idle smoothly, without a check engine light. The cam is easily sourced online and in auto parts stores for about $95.
The timing chain, lifters, oil pump, and water pump were also bought on Ebay and Amazon, for about half of what retail parts stores charge. I just spent some time online, and looked for the deals. The truth in this story is that the deals are there, and you can save lots of money, if you're not in a hurry don't need the part immediately.
Believe it or not, but the gasket set I bought on Amazon, from a Chrysler dealer in Phoenix. It was a MOPAR full engine set, which apparently is manufactured by Felpro. The head gasket was a multiple layered steel gasket. Got the whole set delivered for $54. The set didn't include the valve seals, but I got them online for $20.
I found a guy giving away a 258 motor, which was recently rebuilt, but damaged when he dropped a the wingnut from his air cleaner down the carb, and couldn't find it till he was driving to the parts store for a new one, and the engine made a terrible sound, as it knocked a hole in one of his pistons. Long story short, the crank, block, head etc was just fine. I had the machine shop check the crank and polish it, then it became the 12 weight crank for my build. For clarification, the 258 had only 1000 miles on it, when it was damaged, but the guy decided on a used engine, rather than doing anything with his condition unknown 258 (people do crazy things). I ended up trading the perfect block and head to a wrecking yard for some other parts I needed, for a different car.
The machine shop supplied me with the crank and cam bearings, and the camshaft. They also bored the cylinders, shaped the rod ends, pressed the pistons onto the rods, surfaced the head and installed the camshaft. Out the door, it was a total of $540. For anyone who lives in the southwest, I would highly recommend Double B engine service, in La Luz, NM.
The 4.0 engine I bought as a core to build, had a recently rebuilt head, so I simply lapped the valves, replaced the seals and had it surfaced.
The final assembly of the engine went really smooth. The thing runs really well, and pulls like it's nobody's business. When you increase the displacement to 4.7 you need to upgrade to larger injectors, which I also bought, re-manufactured on Ebay, for $70, for the set.
All in, I have just a little over $1000 into the entire rebuild, and it's just as good as anyone else's build. I have about 10,000 miles on it, with not one leak, knock, rattle or problem. My XJ has towed a trailer with a cord and a half of firewood, has driven to Montana and back, and beat more than one Camaro. I get about 18 MPG on the highway, 15 in town, with my automatic.
The point I'm getting at, is that there are things you can do on this project, to save money, and still have a really good motor. You just have to do some homework, and shop around. I feel pretty confident that I didn't compromise anything by buying things online and going with the lower buck pistons.
There is a mountain pass near my home, where the elevation changes from 4300 to 9000 feet, in about 17 miles. With the stock 4.0, and 3.55 gears, the auto transmission was constantly shifting from 3rd to 4th, and really working hard. The new 4.7, walks right up there, in overdrive (1500 @ 55 MPH), and never shifts, unless I step down on the gas to pass someone (honestly, it's rather boring, now LOL). It really acts like the Cummins in my work truck now. It might have something to do with me painting it ISX red, when I assembled it.
I do have to run premium fuel now, because the 9.5:1 compression causes some pinging if I don't. The starter makes a different sound, cranking all that compression over now, too.
One final thing, that I need to mention, is that you do need to replace the fan clutch when doing the motor swap. The old motor never got hot, but the new one started to, until I replaced the fan clutch. I guess the old one might have been slipping, and I never realized it. I certainly do hear the fan a lot more with the new one, though.
I hope your project is coming along.