Need guidance pertaining high-torque 200R4 application


New Member
Jan 31, 2017
I hope that I am posting in the appropriate place? I have a few general concerns/questions about mating a 200R4 with a fairly well built Pontiac 455- As for how it will fare with handling the torque Pontiacs(not unlike their equally sized Buick cousins) are known for as well as proper flex-plate size/fitment etc. I am also a T-type owner so I'm relatively familiar with the 200R and its general 'mannerisms' and tendency to be somewhat fickle with initial adjustment of the TV cable and so-on. I have been a member of this forum for a short period but I have found COUNTLESS answers to my Buick questions by mainly searching and reading old posts and/or sticky's. This tranny-in-question will be used(hopefully) for my 16 y.o. sons first 'build'('79 T/A- full resto-mod to be powered by a currently-being-refreshed to .060 over transplanted Pontiac 455 with RAIII heads, FiTech 800cfm injection system feeding it 93 octane pump-gas+an AlkyControl progressive injection system piped in to keep that 12+/1 CR causing detonation-monster at bay- wonder how this idea came to fruition lol?) and I couldn't think of a better group of folks ask! To the point now- The donor was an 87' GN that's owner wanted to regress to a 3-speed. He(man we bought the tranny from) was told by 'some Buick guru' that a 200R4 wasn't quite 'beefy enough to take his GN into the 10's(made little sense in my book). The donor GN ran @or just under the 12.00 mark when this nice fellow decided it was sell-thirty for his tranny and a few other non-essentials. In the end, we got it including a new TC for $350 and a 3 hr.(each way) drive. My next question is who(we are in Florida) should/could do we send it to for a good, solid 'gone-thru' to check its guts and make the appropriate and necessary upgrades/adjustments? My feeling is this tranny should fit the 455's power-range of 1500-5700-ish RPM pretty good... I'm hoping anyhow. The T/A currently holds 4.10 gears in the diff, although my thought was to go to a 3.55 or even try to find a 'stock' T/A rear-end with rear disc brakes and 3.23 gears(or even 3.08 perhaps?) for better highway cruising and better fuel economy. Does this present any issue for a 200R4? And lastly, the 200R4 is supposed to be a drop-in replacement(or maybe a small adjustment in DS length) for the original TH350 we pulled out from what my "research" has indicated- hoping this holds some merit? Thank you for reading and my apologies for the 'novel'. My son and I are looking forward to any input, opinions and revelations from my trusted new Buick 'family'
The TA motor will make plenty of torque but it's nothing a built 200 won't handle. I know of only two people who will build what you need.

Dave Husek or Lonnie Diers. The converter will need to be built for your combo so be mindful of that. The TV cable works just fine on those trannies it's a matter of setting it right and you're done.

You say it's a 3 speed was it set up for a lock up converter or no? That is your Overdrive on the freeway.

No way you need a 4.10 gear in that thing. 3.42 or 3.23 ought to be fine for it.
Thanks for the input Kevin and Reggie. The 4.10 gears came to us installed in the car when we bought it. I couldn't agree more about the R/E gearing, in fact, with the right stall set up I think 3.23 would be ideal(especially if I can find a rear disc brake setup attached to it! I was fairly certain the 200R4 could handle the Pontiacs rather flat torque curve but I hadn't seen or read about it so I needed some re-assurance. I will check out the 2 tranny builders recommended keeping the TCC in mind as soon as we have a cam 100% decided upon. Again, thanks for the guidance!
Bison might be interested but he typically only does this kind of thing if he has the whole car at the shop to verify everything is good to go. He's in Connecticut.
TCC is easy ,put a toggle switch under the dash and turn it on over 50 mph and wire it through the brake switch.
Yeah the Tcc can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make it. Everything from a toggle switch (wired through brake switch as mentioned above) to a vacuum switch to a $400 controller and anything in between. Just make damn sure the carb linkage is right.
Bison might be interested but he typically only does this kind of thing if he has the whole car at the shop to verify everything is good to go. He's in Connecticut.
I want to bring MY car to Brian before anyone else in my household gets to make a trip to New England! One of these days I'll get up there with my T/R and a very tall pile of $100.bills... I have followed him for a while on FB and read his posts wherever I run across them and IMO, He's very talented IMO...
TCC is easy, put a toggle switch under the dash and turn it on over 50 mph and wire it through the brake switch.
I agree. That was the 'loose' plan at this point. I have my TR lock-able as you mentioned, working off a switch(and thru the brake switch as you mentioned) mounted in a KB ashtray plate setup. It is very simple/economical and works without a hitch for highway travel/cruising. Also, from what I've read, controlling at which specific point ones TCC locks can be useful at the track for gaining a tenth or two(?) depending upon the configuration of the car, etc. I haven't made any runs at the track yet using this method... I wanted to research it a little further or get some advice to whether it's harmful or not to the tranny, etc.
With my v8 I saw no et in locking the converter and I had a restalled d5. I think the cam in the car and the rest of the combination did not like it.
Once you have the proper trans is built your most important job is to install a pressure gauge and watch the line rise. It wont be a simple adjust the cable and go setup.
WHen running a high torque V8 you must have almost instant line rise to make it survive.
A 455 V8 will have much more torque at lower rpm than a typical Turbo V6 trans will need.
Depending on what you have for a throttle body/carb they make linkage the at will give the proper cable geometry.
There is also a better throttle valve spring(which bottoms out quickly) that works better for a V8 application.
I have one behind an 11.0 Pontiac 400 that weighs in the 3700+# range and its living fine.
Also spend the money for a pump (got mine from Extreme Automatics) that has atleast 300# capability.
THe trans I built for my GN uses one of his pumps and its holding strong in my 3800# GN running high 9s