Set the #1 piston to Top Dead Center (TDC) on the compression stroke. There should be a notch on the front pulley that needs to line up with the timing marks on the engine front cover. Pull the #1 spark plug and put your finger over the hole. Turn the front pulley with a 25mm socket on the pulley bolt. You will know it is on the compression stroke because you will feel air being forced by your finger that is over the spark plug hole. Once you feel this, turn the pulley until both timing marks on your pulley and engine front cover line up on 0. Next, buy some white paint on the belt right were the timing marks line up. Hook the timing light to the battery and hook the other clip onto the #1 spark plug wire. Make sure you have put the spark plug back into the engine. Loosen the distributer so that it can be turned, it is one bolt. Start the car, and flash the light onto the belt. You should be able to read the white paint to tell where your timing is based on the timing marks on the engine front cover. ****, this is a long explanation. Good luck, I hope I have not forgotten anything.
Read the decal on your hood to check the timing. If not warm the engine, loosen one
screw on the distributor, disconnect vacuum line and spark timing control wiring harness connector colored grey
to distributor. Have the idie at 700 rpm and have the timing at 8. If you dont understand, you need a repair book. I have the Haynes book but it does not say about disconnecting the spark timing control. But the book says, to follow the decal on the hood.
240z turbo is absolutly right when it comes to rebuilding an engine, but I think what you are trying to do is simply tune your car. I have had alot of success with my three 280's by just adjusting my distributor while the motor is running and revving it while i turn it. You want the quickest revv, but you also want to take it around the block to see if it made a positive difference. This way you get "WHAT YOU WANT" and not what the book tells you should have. I have timed one of mine by the book once, and I will never do it again. I time my car by ear, and it runs GRRREEAAAT! F**k what the book tells you. But if you ever rebuild that engine, follow the dude (240z turbo) because he really knows his stuff.
I guess another way to eliminate the timing light is to loosen the distributor timing bolt and turn it clockwise a ittsy little bit,1/8 inch or so, snug it up and go for a spin. Keep doing this until you hear the engine pinging (you know you went too far). When it does ping turn it back a little until the pinging goes away. Lock it down. Use the timing light to see where you are after you're done. **** guys , isn't that what we're all doing anyway? Oh yea, keep the light outta the fan