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Sounds to me like the cam gear is off by one or many teeth.
 

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How can I check the cam timing in relation to the crank?
It's a pain. You have to pull the front cover and see if the two little marks meet. There's a pockmark on the crank gear and cam gear. Some people get it wrong because the gear is helical-cut and it twists as it goes on, if you engage the wrong tooth it lands in the wrong spot and people don't always check.

If you pull the cover, you need a new paper gasket and it's kind of hard to center the front seal with the oil pan tight to the block. You need to tighten the bolts around the front case evenly, from top to bottom going down both sides. Then use a feeler gauge between the flange and the crank journal to e sure it landed on center, before tightening the bottom bolts to the oil pan and installing the felt seal. You can use a plastic hammer to tunk it into a better spot, if you're careful. It sounds hard, but it's not too difficult once you get the hang of it.

You could do a quick check by setting the timing mark to TDC and seeing if the valve rockers are all in sensible positions. The #1 or #4 cylinder should be fully disengaged (depending on which piston is up), but since someone has adjusted the valves since then, it's going to be hard to determine. You might have to roll the crank and see when the lifters start to move, and guess a little.

The angle of the distributor drive gear really doesn't matter a lot. When timed, the distributor will be rotated into the appropriate angle, and if the gear is off, it just needs to rotate more. Getting it at the right angle just means the wires and vacuum hose (if present) aren't stretched or anything. So, that's not it.
 
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