Finished my postmortem on the transmission. Looks like it was the diff that caused all the problems. It'* the source of the brass. Looks like it contacted the diff cover shaving off the shavings I found in the pan.
Metal shavings, most likely from the diff pin on the speed sensor.
Took the oil pump apart, it turned very hard.
Can't really see it in this picture but I found brass flakes in the pump. I cleaned it up real good.
Cleaned it all up and then put it back together.
Once all back together the oil pump turned freely. The brass flaks must have been binding it up just a little. I found the strainer screen at the oil pump to be filled with debris and had a big rip in it. I'll have to find a spare and replace that. Then it'* just a new set of channel plate gaskets and close it up. I'll also have to find another diff. I may just use my spare 97 diff and output shaft. Then this trans will be ready to install as a stock transmission.