I'd keep driving the T5 and try to find a better deal on a T176. I've picked up two over the years for $200-250 complete with bellhousing and adapter. Just be patient and watch CL and get a deal on one, ideally with shifter plate/ boots, drivelines, and bellhousing and adapter.
I WOULD do the swap though. I bought the T176's I have to swap in for a T5. If you're gonna spend money the T176 makes more sense.
There was a T177 in Siloam Springs OK about a week or two ago for $350 (about an hour from Joplin). Not sure where Savannah is.
85 CJ7 258, borla header, Team Rush, MC2100 ,optima batt, Warn 8274, agr super box 2 & pump, T5 w/ B&M shifter, centerforce 2, superior 1 piece axles, warn hubs 2.5 in lift, 31" BFG MT
85 CJ7 258, A/C, T176, MC2100, Team Rush, Warn XD8000i, superwinch hubs, 3in lift 31" BFG AT/KO