Update on tune-up and results
Thanks for the input everyone! It's been most helpful.
A special thanks to Phil at the Parts Shop too. He was extremely helpful and it's always a delight to call for help. I ordered a new distributor, rotor, plugs and wire set + a new multi-rib belt as the old one was starting to show age. I figured it would be good to replace it while I was digging in there.
Disassembly took a little while, since I couldn't get the fan off, I had to swear a little at the bottom bolt holding the distributor cap in place. It helped to remove the radiator cowling (2 clips and easy come off).
Just installed the whole lot. Took me about 1.5 hr to replace fan belt, spark plugs, wire set and plugs and put all the plastic back in place.
Works like a charm! Idles so smooth it's wonderful.
The old cap was pretty badly worn out. May I guess it's been in there since the car was new? It had even cracked in the bottom where the 3rd bolt goes. Wires were pretty shabby too. Signs of cracks and someone had even used some electrical tape to try and fix one. Well, I guess it worked for a while.
Plug #2 still showed a little bit of oil. Other ones dry and clean. I am going to have the valve stems replaced soon.
Now my next project it to fix the hard hot start. I've got a new temperature sensor I am going to replace first.
Again thanks to everyone who contributed with help!
99 W210 E220 cdi sedan automatic (248.000 km) 210.006