I posted this before, but I guess it got lost in the other posts.
Pop the distributor cap off, have a look at the rotor.
Move the crank one direction until the rotor starts to move,
Mark the balancer at the 0° (zero) timing mark.
Move the crankshaft the other way until the rotor starts to move.
Mark the balancer at the 0° (zero) degree mark again.
The space in between the marks is your timing chain slop.
Remember, this will be doubled at the distributor because the crank does two turns for every one of the cam shaft.
AND, you can double the amount seen on the balancer because this is a dead cold test.
As that sloppy timing chain heats up, there can easily be twice as much slop as you are seeing now.
There is only ONE way to correctly install a distributor, and I haven't seen any indicators that you have done any of the leg work to properly install that distributor...
It could very well be in 180° out of time with the crankshaft/valve timing.
For proper install of a distributor, you will have to VERIFY TOP DEAD CENTER OF #1 CYLINDER.
No 'IF', 'And', 'Or' or 'But's about it!
"...BUTT I found the balancer mark and put it at the 0° mark.."
And promptly put the distributor in at Top Dead Center of exhaust stroke instead of compression stroke...
There is only one way to verify TDC of compression stroke, and it takes some work.
1. Disable the ignition, disconnect the coil connector.
2. Take out the #1 plug wire.
3. Put your finger OVER the hole.
(NOT IN THE HOLE! Compression can blow your fingernail completely off if you make a positive seal!)
4. Get used to feeling compression as the engine is cranked over.
5. Catch the engine coming up on compression stroke,
Don't try and catch the compression stroke as it's happening, you will screw things up every time!
6. Turn the engine over by hand to near the top of the compression stroke...
Use a wooden dowel rod or chop stick in the plug hole to feel for the piston top.
DO NOT USE METAL!
7. Move the crank shaft slowly until you find the exact Top Dead Center of the compression stroke.
8. Once you manually, physically know the piston is at TDC of Compression Stroke on #1, (VERIFIED!)
9. Take a look at the balancer. It may, or may not have the timing mark lining up with the 0° (zero) on the timing scale.
If it does like up with the 0° mark on the timing scale, then you have just verified the balancer outer ring.
the balancer is made up of a hub, a layer of rubber that likes to decompose and the outer ring with the timing mark on it.
If the outter ring slips... You are in deep trouble if you try and time your vehicle off it.
10. Mark the location of the #1 plug wire cap terminal on the distributor housing.
Yes, I mean actually mark the aluminum housing where the #1 plug wire terminal on the cap is located.
You will need to know EXACTLY where that terminal is located with the cap off.
11. Take the cap off.
The rotor should be pointing at the mark you made on the housing just below the #1 plug wire terminal on the cap.
If it's not, your distributor is indexed wrong, and you will have to remove it, turn the rotor, and reinstall it until it points to the #1 mark on the housing when it's fully installed.
As for testing for timing chain slop, that's a little harder.
1. Locate TDC of #1 cylinder as listed above.
2. Leave ignition disabled, Remove all spark plugs.
You on 'ArmStrong Detail' from here out...
When you find TDC of #1, mark it with a piece of chalk on the balancer (even if it doesn't agree with mark on the balancer, mark the actual 0° mark, not the actual timing mark if it doesn't line up)
3. Now, here is the tricky part...
You need to watch the valves on #1 cylinder closely.
You are at the point of ignition, or TDC of compression of #1 cylinder now.
Exactly 1/2 turn later (clockwise on the crank) you will be at the bottom of the 'Power' stroke/ Beginning of Exhaust stroke.
At the bottom of the power stroke, the exhaust valve opens fairly quickly. Watch for when the valve train on the exaust valve to open directly at the bottom of this stroke.
This is the part that will tell you if the timing chain has slipped...
As that piston continues to come up on the exhaust stroke (nearing 1 full turn of the crank) in the last few degrees of the exhaust stroke, the Intake valve will open, and just as the piston breaks over Top Dead Center again in the Exhaust/Intake stroke, both valves will be open at the same time... Very shortly there after the Exhaust valve will fully close.
When both valves are open, it's called 'Overlap',
and Overlap means the exhaust valve timing 'Overlapping' the Intake valve timing.
The 'Overlap' is there so the movement of the escaping exhaust gasses can draw in extra fuel & air (called 'Charge') instead of one valve closing and having to wait for the next valve to open... And loosing all the momentum of the exhaust gasses.
Exhaust will be closing, Intake will be opening, but they will both be visibly open to the naked eye.
If this doesn't occur (both valves open at the same time) and open about equal amounts on either side of the piston TDC event,
If it waits until AFTER The piston goes over TDC on exhaust stroke, then the timing chain has slipped or is stretched significantly.
You can also take the stuff off the front of the engine, and take the timing chain cover off, clean up the sprockets enough you can see the alignment marks, turn the engine over until those alignment marks line up and see if they are going to align or not...
Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you to remove the radiator, and all it's hardware so you can get your head in there to see the alignment marks...
While you are there, don't forget a new front cover gasket and oil pan gasket!
(I didn't say it wasn't a lot more work!)
And there are two different kinds of timing sprockets for the I-6 engine, if that is what you are working on...
One of them wants the timing marks aligned through the centers of the hub with a straight edge...
Like normal timing sets do!
And the other is a screwed up thing, that wants you to put the top (Cam) timing sprocket at the 1:00 O'clock mark, then count 15 pins down on the timing chain to the timing mark on the crank sprocket...
I had one of those screw with me for a full day one time!