Excessive cranking when trying to start the engine could be the source of your water in cylinder. If you are having trouble starting it is a good idea to turn off raw water until it runs.
I had good luck with electronic ignaition, though a mechanic told me he has seen lots of trouble with them.
I would do a compression check on each cylinder which will give you some idea of the engines health. Also, do some motoring and see how much oil she uses