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Distributor Problems For 4A-Fe Engine

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Hi! I hope someone can help me with this one.

I have a 98 - 99 Corolla with a 4a-fe engine that was working pretty fine, until I noticed an Oil leak around the distributor (no other problems, no hard starting, no stalling, no sputtering). I had the Oil seal replaced, but when the mechanic put it back together, the car experience hard starting of around 3 - 4 seconds longer (even when set in advance). However, car would run fine, with no loss of power or any other problems. I was then adviced to watch out for the coil, as the distributor is already 14 years old.

Anyway, I bought a new coil and took it to another mechanic at a Shell station, who disassembled it again for re-inspection. He advised to get a new igniter, so I got me a 2nd hand one, which he tested and said it was good. Coil is brand new OEM though. Now when he put it back together it wouldnt start anymore, and he's pretty much done a lot of stuff, and the end result is either the engine wouldnt start or it would start but would sputter, shake, and turn off. Now he is looking at a potential ECU problem, but how can the ECU be a problem when it was working fine before.

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