Finally got a chance to look at the timing advance. I found an exploded diagram of my Zexel IP and it turned out that there is one.
No voltage to it, even on a dead cold start in below-70 weather. Did verify that the solenoid works with a jumper though. Looks like I’ve got wiring to trace :(
I've got a Nissan powered by a non-turbo TD27 diesel 4-cylinder that I've been chasing issues on. This is a mechanically injected engine.
First issue was that it would run extremely rough and puff white smoke when started, and do a bunch of misfiring. That turned out to be aerated fuel...