Hmm,...would that mean I should buy a remanufactured 4.7HO short block and get the heads from my 01 4.7 rebuilt/updated to 2008 or later specs? Then I could use the Gibson ceramic coated headers I already have. That or just use the exhaust manifolds from a 2008 or later 4.7HO engine.
The 2008 and later heads were a complete redesign. They fit on the same block and can use the same intake and egr although the 2008+ are better but because of the redesigned combustion chamber and the addition of a 2nd sparkplug they had to completely revamp the exhaust manifolds. They also installed a crazy dome piston increasing compression, so the power gain from a 2008+ engine would be the biggest option.
I'm not sure a short block with the updated pistons would clear on the older head.
It would be important to note as well the timing off the newer engine is incompatible with your computer. You'll have to swap out the crank and cam pickups.
so you really have 3 options for upgrades.
1.The best you could do on the old heads is get them ported and polished and install the updated cam and stronger springs.
2.You can get the stock 2008+ manifolds from dodge. You'll need a new y pipe or a modification on the one you have as they go from 2.5" outlet to a 3" outlet.
3.You could get custom headers built but not many exhaust shops seem to like doing that anymore, and if they will it will cost $1-2k in parts and labor but it is an option. (I couldn't find a shop willing to do it in a 200 mi radius but well that's montana for you. not much here).
Anyway, I hope you get a plan together and get it going, I'd love to see the finished product.
For note I currently have the 2008+ heads on on older block using the old intake and it runs and its definitely more powerful, but I don't have the dome pistons or updated intake so its not as great of an increase as I would have gotten from just swapping out for the complete newer engine.