OK, since it "runs" with the MAF disconnected, sounds like an air leak in the intake or a funky electrical connection.
I would recheck all the intake stuff, from the MAF to the TB. Also check the PCV hoses (assuming your is very similar to my 1998 2.5L).
You likely just missed a connection.
I wouldn't worry about the timing.
PS, with the pump in the tank, vaporlock is not much of an issue anymore, it was when the pump was by the engine. ;-)