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Thank you so much for all the responses. I'm going to try to answer each one in this message.
The boat is a 1968 23' Commander hull #5. The engine I removed from the boat was an automotive 350 transplant but had a lot of the original "F" parts on it so I'm under the assumption the original engine was a 327F, I have not found any reason to believe otherwise.
The configuration is inboard, engine facing rearward running through a Paragon P-31 transmission and V-Drive so an opposite rotating engine (clockwise rotation facing the flywheel) passing through the V-Drive uses a right hand propeller.
Paul, the dimple on the flywheel agrees with the 0 mark on the harmonic balancer and yes you are correct about checking everything out before installing the engine in the boat. I am running the engine in my garage and that has allowed me to fix several little nagging problems easily.
Jim, I have experienced having timing off 180 and I know what you're saying about backfiring and such. That's not the case here. Strange about coils going bad...have you confirmed a good ground?
Larry and Randy, I suspected the damper myself. The timing tab that came on the engine is not correct, it is for a standard rotation but zero location should be the same either way. The damper slipping could be very real, I just don't know yet how to prove it.
Rick, I will try swapping the 1 and 8 wires and report back.
Dean, at this point I am strongly thinking in agreement with you although I have already done a preliminary check of cam timing and it seems correct. Does anyone know if the cam gear were off one tooth how many degrees of rotation that would equate to?
Larry, excellent suggestion. I had not thought of the pushrod idea. You are absolutely correct about there being no tension if it were truly at TDC with correct cam timing. How would I ever be able to confirm whether the cam is correct?
This message has been edited by 6823 on Sep 9, 2017 8:37 AM