"...and just really need to know how to rotate the distributor. " NO, you actually DO NOT. Why? Because it most likely last ran just as distributor is now, & if you change it, we will have a harder time trying to help you get it right again! Listen to what John in LA told you to do. People are trying to help you, but you need to follow through on the advice. As it sits with the 31 deg timing mark lined with pointer, I am confident that you do not know whether #1 is at TDC on exhaust stroke OR TDC on compression stroke..........you gotta KNOW. John told you "how" to know.
Next: as for the 31 vs 8: The book says to rotated the rotor as far as possible in the normal direction of rotation while setting distr. Well, this rotation forces the mechanical/centrifugal advance to its most advanced state, thus the 31. Many if not most engines are timed at STATIC, where you do not force the mechanical advance, thus static will be the smaller number. Both are correct, it is just in HOW each setting is performed.
Finally, I will answer the question as to how to be able to rotate the distributor, since you seem damned & determined to screw it up.......HOWEVER, I still scream DO NOT DO IT!!!!!
See the bolt peeking out below distr & between coil & distr? That is one of two, more clearly seen in second picture. (photos courtesy of tractorDon)
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