Haynes manual pages 2B.13 and 5.7 show the marks, and the pointer on the
front of the timing cover (looks like a cast-in lump).
Of course, their photo says "belts removed for clarity".
Can you at least see the pointer?
Did you clean the dirt off the balancer so the marks are visible?
Did you pull the SPOUT connector first, so the marks will be near the pointer?
You can probably check the timing with the belts off, as long as you're quick.
Since the water pump won't be turning, start with a cold engine so you'll have a
minute or two before worrying about overheating it.
it is possible but its a pain, Id at least find the mark with the engine
off, finding a spot to get a timing light into is a lot harder, on my 90
taurus I had to get my timing light very close to one of the belts to do it,
dont remember which one, I think it might have helped to remove the
windshield washer bottle for extra space
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