Welcome to the site Ole JIM.
Now that's keeping a rod a long time!
That sounds like a great project you will have there. A Buick diesel in that rod will be a real head turner. As this is the introduction forum you will get much more exposure to your questions in the Transmission - Rearend forum. I don't know the answers to your questions but the members who check that forum may know the answers. Good luck with getting that old hot rod back on the road.