Re: Mechanics needed - tranny engine build
As you've already found, Painless Wiring makes a controller harness that will run the lockup for either a 2004R or a 700R4. there are a few other companies out there besides Painless too.
In a truck, I'd go with a 700R4. Basically it's a TH350 with a 4th gear added. A stock 2004R is a weaker tranny than the 350...but you can build it up into a really stout unit if you've got the cash since many internals are the same.
But back to running a 231 in a 1/2ton? You better build it up....it's a good engine but not a real torquey thing til it gets a few rpms wound up.
If you can find a 4.1L V6 from a RWD LeSabre you'll get a 4bbl intake and have a bit more bottom end torque. The bottom end of the 4.1 is also the same as the turbo 3.8...you get the same strong crankshaft that Buick used in the turbo engine.
If you don't already have the Buick laying around, a 250 inline six or a 4.3L V6 would probably serve ya better for truck duty though I think. There's lotsa speed parts available for the 4.3L yet too besides the fact that it's 3/4ths of a 350 V8. You don't have to worry about finding a corporate (B-O-P) or a dual-pattern bellhousing tranny either. Any early 700R4 from any truck will work for ya.
Don't get me wrong, I love the little Buick V6 but speed parts are really hard to come by anymore...not much available aftermarket anymore. It kinda got forgotten about by the mid-90s.
I ran an 82 Regal on the strip a few years back.
I started out with a carbed 4.1L. Switched to a turbo 3.8L (from a T-type) the next year and wound up putting all that turbo stuff onto the 4.1L after I rebuilt it. I ran a mild TH350 behind all of those engines...didn't need the OD on a strip car.
I ran that one for a year until I couldn't afford the hobby anymore. Once I went turbo, I started sinking too much cash into the stinker. I sold it and decided to stick with my older A-body Mopars and no more drag racing.