Thomas, I guess all you can do is maintenance and get lucky from there on. I would have never thought my Jeep would eat a lifter (*presumably*) with 120k and strict maintenance. I've been following your thread about your new 4.7 HO having issues too.
Chris, I didn't know that a lifter had been previously replaced before you had to do the tear down. Well, I don't even have words to say for that one. Shoot, how the heck did the blow the transfer case, I don't know if someone was abusing it or the dealership was ripping said person off.
The motors are great, but nothing is perfect. Actually my check engine light went away for the IAC and the Cam Position Sensor/Crank Position Sensor. Is the camshaft or lifter iron? Wonder if that was the source of the high metal?
I've got a few options, in order of likelihood:
1. Drive it, try to determine lifter or Cam Pos Sensor, then ignore it
2. Drive it and replace the Cam Position Sensor Assembly
3. Rebuild the motor, along with the trans
4. New motor, stroked