Finally got the car started today, it probably would have only taken a weekend to get it put back together, but the previous owner had left out many parts so many trips to the boneyard were required. After spending about a half-hour adjusting and readjusting the distributor, it finally fired (after removing the distributor bolt and rotating it beyond its range). Ironically, I followed the TSRM to the letter and even had the signal rotor and pickup coil aligned perfectly when the distributor bolt was centered in the slot. But for whatever reason, I have to rotate it counterclockwise just past the adjustment slot for it to fire...
Unfortunately, the make-due PVC intake won't do (it seals well enough to get the car running, but it wouldn't clear the hood). And those new injector seals I tried so hard to find -- well two of them leak (one actually drips fuel to the ground it leaks so bad). I can physically move the injector up and down, so I'm guessing the insulator was not thick enough (leaks from fuel-rail side). Ironically, the seal I was originally worried about was the manifold-side one.
Anyway, the TB and ISC are coming back off next weekend, as will the fuel rail. I'm going to bite the bullet and buy real toyota seals ($60 from the dealer vs $18 from the local auto-parts store) so hopefully that problem will go away. I also was fortunate enough to discover a large crack on the top of the radiator, so it's coming out to be repaired/replaced. But all-in-all I'm quite pleased as the free car has come to life (after a $100 tow and $200 in junkyard parts).
PS, if anyone has the hose that goes from the AFM to the throttle body, I'd really like it. I also need a couple of exhaust nuts for the manifold-to downpipe flange. PM me with a reasonable price. I realize many of these are going to be old/cracked so I may end up getting a muffler shop to make a cheap crush-bent pipe vaguely resembling the one on rabidchimp...
Cam gears both have a little recessed dot that lines up perfectly with the notch on the rear timing cover. Actually the cam gears have two notches -- one for TDC compression, and one for TDC exhaust. But the one for TDC compression has a larger raised dot on one of the legs of the cam gear. And the drilled section of the intake cam lines up perfectly when I look through the filler cap. It really is strange, I keep thinking I'm off a tooth on the distributor, but it lines up according to tsrm spec.
It realy does sound to me like your off on tooth on the distributor to cam alignment. I didn't have a TSRM when I just replaced my cracked head and simply lined up the rotor to the #1 cylinder pickup. it ran ... but just. After playing around with it I knew I was out of range and started to try a tooth forward and a tooth backwards between the cam and pickup. Hit the key and it started and idled perfectly.
Anyways, you won't hurt anything by trying this just don't go for a joy ride untill it's properly sorted.