Distributor replacement Hijet 1997


Recently paid a mechanic to fix my 1997 hijet van as it had become clear the head gasket had gone. Engine wasn't running right afterward, low on power. I could see he hadn't lined the distributor up with the marks he had made on removal in order to get the right position on replacement. Went back to him, he played with it for about an hour, ending up with me driving and him sitting in the back adjusting the timing..pretty surreal. It has been better but now pinks more than before going up hills, which to me seems timing still out. I tried to check it myself with timing light, but a: marks really hard to see, and b: couldn't find check connector that's supposed to be shorted out to do check. Tried experimenting with small adjustments and can probably live with it, just feel a bit pissed off that it isn't back as it should be.

Could it be simply a matter of getting engine roughly to tdc with rotor towards No1 cylinder spark lead; withdrawing distributor slightly and then sliding it back in with rotor one spline along so original marks line up?

What might complicate this?