OK, background check!! We're talking about my '78 320is. She reached a point where she started to need a jump to start. I have one of those portable starters. The turnover rate wasn't steady. It would make a few turns, then pause or hesitate and then it seem I lost most of my cranking ability and would barely turn over. I drove it to work and it died there. I was having a spark problem so I went and bought a new bosch coil after regapping plugs and points. Since I moved the distributor I had to move it around a bit to get the darn thing to start. Once it did start it was extremely rough. I got it started to drive it home but the timing was so far off it heated up in not time...died twice....(it's 7 miles to home) and finally had to tow it home. Nearly all my hoses have been replaced in the last few weeks so they're new. Well I found the hose from the throttle body to the aux air valve was pretty badly cracked so I ordered a new one. In the meantime I bought a used throttle body on ebay because my existing one had the tab broke off that had the throttle stop screw in it. Then I also found a month old Intake Hood so I pulled old the old stuff out and replaced it. Now it's a little rough starting but the idle won't stop searching between say 1200 and 1400rpm. The engine shakes and I've set the points numerous times at .016 and I do have a timing light and found the timing ball and I have a dwell/tach/rpm meter to assist. So now all the hoses have been replaced and checked. No new news there so I put new plugs, cap, rotor & points. The bad news is one of the plugs is cross-threaded so I persistently and slowly got it nearly all the way in. I'd turn it until tight and then back off 1/2 turn and then retighten gaining a little more insertion each time and repeated this until she's pretty tight. I don't want to risk break it off in there. While idling the engine smooths out but not until 2500rpm. Lastly I pulled the oil filler cap off while she was trying to idle....no change in the idle and it didn't die...Hmmm...I'm thinking maybe my distributor is shot but not sure how to tell other than of course there is some play in the shaft but I'm not sure that would be connected to the engine not dying when the oil filler cap was pulled. Lastly, I still have the EGR filter intact but the thermal reactor is missing along with most of the hosing that goes to the EGR filter but it's been like that since I got it last year. I know there are several issues here but I'd really appreciate any and all of your input. I do not have a compression tester yet. Any suggestions as to which ones (ie make - model) to buy for our little cars??? Thanks guys!!! I'll be eagerly awaiting your input!