I've been dealing with timing for a while and have come to the conclusion that my particular engine just likes to be advanced a degree or two. There should be no headaches with adjusting timing, unless something is wrong. A plain old timing light should do the trick. Also, make sure your flywheel has that little shiny ball in it (about 1 inch to the right of the tdc line), then shine it up. If it is not there,use white out. Just undo the knob on the distributor housing and twist either direction to get the ball to line up with the pointer on your bellhousing. THis will give you 7 degrees of advance. One thing to check first, find the ball and line it up with the pointer on the bellhousing, then look under your distributor cap, the rotor should be pointing to spark plug wire #1 or #6, depending on the stroke.