UPDATE: i relaxed a little and think i found my solution.
gonna pull exhaust cam back out to allow enough slack in the chain to separate it from the intake cam too so that the chain is only on the crank sprocket. i’ll turn the crank pulley back to 0 while someone holds the chain, making sure it doesn’t slip.
the only thing moving should be the crank.
once the crank is back at 0, i will reinstall the exhaust cam and set the chain back on the cams. everything will be connected again. then i’ll have to check timing by checking crank pulley, cam position, marks on cam, and # of links between cams.
make sense or no?