When setting the timing on a 1998 ford escort 20 dohc how do you know if you have one of your cams 180deg off there is no timing marks and you know you use the straight bar to hold them in place?

It is impossible to get the cam 180 out if you use the right tool. The grooves are offset in the cams, so that it will be impossible to install the tool if the cam is 180 out, because the groove will be below the deck surface if it is not in the correct position.