That idea turned out to be a non-starter, pun intended. Turns out that the starter mounts to the transmission, so no way to to mount it to the engine block to turn the flywheel. So after running the compression test, and getting no compression on cylinders #2 and #3, I reversed it and blew air through the hose fitting in a poor mans approach to a leak down test (None of the auto shops near me had a leak down tester available for rent!). I could hear air coming out the intake manifold from both cylinder 2 and 3, and nothing from the exhaust or crankcase, which suggests just bent valves or poorly seated valves. Only way to really tell is to pull the heads off.
Prior to that, I pulled off the front plate and checked the timing. Looked okay to me.
Pulled off the right bank (drivers side) and the valves and pistons looks fried but generally sound. No evidence of bad timing contact, no obviously miss-seated valves. But the internals of this engine are just disgustingly dirty, including the intake manifold.
Same story for the left bank, though there was large puddle of oil on top of piston #3......hmmm bad rings?
So now I am looking for machine shop recommendations here in SoCal for redoing the heads. Also, while those are shipped out, what is the best way to clean up the piston heads and clean out the intake from all the carbon junk?
Pull the pistons and use a wire wheel on a grinder. Rings and bearings are cheap, if you are this far into it, might as well freshen up the bottom end.