I went through the same confusing research about a year ago. You will get a range of opinions about the S35. While some of the most sober and respectable people do like it, at the end of the day you'll be collecting opinions, not hard facts.
Here are the hard facts that probably make the S35 wrong for you. You say you don't have time to do the work yourself, and if your goal is 35 inch tires and "keeping up with the big dogs," you need to regear, probably to 4.88s if I recall correctly. If you total up the many costs of buying the S35, having a professional install it (which includes installing the locker), and buying the new gears and installing them, you will be very close to the price of a bolt-in, already-geared, no-truss-is-necessary, already-locked by a factory tech, brand-new (or newly reconditioned) stronger solution such as the 8.8 or an aftermarket D44. Do the math and you'll quickly see why the bolt-in solution is so popular.
I did upgrade my D35 by adding chromo shafts and a TrueTrac. But I did all the work myself, I didn't change gearing, I don't intend to go larger than 31" tires, and I have no intention of rock-hopping with the big boys out west. My solution is great for me but it would be a total waste of money for you. I don't think you can go the S35 route economically, based on what you say about your plans.
My do-it-yourself install thread for a TrueTrac in the rear, upgraded shafts, and a PowerTrax No-Slip in the front:
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