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Longtime reader, first post. I have a 97 golf 2.0 that one morning developed a crank no start issue. Have had the car for about ten years, had few if any issues. Was overdue for a fuel filter- started there. Fuel pump runs, have good pressure at the regulator, but no spark. I get one spark when the key switch is turned on or the coil 3-pin is plugged in, but that's it. Jumped the starter solenoid to eliminate the ignition switch- same result. Have a 2 volt drop when cranking, otherwise battery voltage at the coil. Tried also to start while on a charger to minimize the voltage drop- no difference.
Have pinned out all leads from the CMP, CKP, and coil to the ECM 68 pin plug. All within spec. The only thing I have found so far is the ground pin in the coil connector was somewhat melted. Running out of options. I have the Bentley manual, but have run into discrepancies- they reference some tests to pin 55 int the 68 pin ECM connector- but it has no pin 55. Any thoughts or suggestions?
 

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Is your ECU getting power? Easy way to test is turn the key to the second position. The check engine light should show up with the battery light. If the check engine light doesn't light up, the ECU relay is pooched.
 

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mkiii golf crapfest 2014

I recently (and currently) had/am having the same issue. Would up being a portion the the engine wiring harness fried out. (bit with the engine grounds, temp sensors, etc.) patched it up only to learn one of the spark plug capaciters was shattered. here i'll just list the new items.

spark plug wires
ignition coil (which i didn't actually need)
cap/rotor (replaced to to cut marks)
distributor (the CPS bracket was actually fractures and was wobbly - engine cut out any time it jostled).
crankshaft position sensor (the wires on the old one got nice and crispy)

Now the odd thing is even before i replaced the crankshaft pos. sensor it was running. i moved the wire to test integrity and the engine cut out. pulled it, disected and found it to be bad. bought a 14 dollar replacement (which i'm really wondering is even compatible.

VW Volkswagen Golf Classic III IV Passat Crankshaft Crank Position Sensor | eBay

the male end of the thing doesn't fit the female so i wound up shaving some if it off to get it to fit.

engine is still throwing a P1340 - manufacture igniton blah blah something something. this generally points to either timing / faulty crankshaft sensor / faulty camshaft sensor.

hope my issues help with yours.
 

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I am still somewhat confused by the problem description/troubleshooting. Have you tried pulling out the spark-plug wires to check if you have spark on all cylinders? That would be the first step...
 

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Have you tested the ignition switch? Disconnect the connector on your starter and hook up test light to it (the one hidden behind the plastic thing). Make sure it's grounded and have a friend turn the key to turn it on. If it doesn't light, it's the ignition switch.
 
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