98 A4 1.8t Sport starting problems

Hello all, can you help !!!
I have a 1998 A4 1.8 Turbo Sport with an ignition fault. I have had it at the local dealer on the VAGCOM and it came up with 'WEAK SIGNAL'. I
have done many hours of research on the net about this and theories vary a great deal.
2 things....
1) Is this a known fault ? if so what is the problem 2) Before I go spending 100's on things that might not fix it, here is what I have been told it could be.....
    New Key required
    New Barrell required
    New Signal unit required
    Problems with the coils
    Apparently there is a wire that is on the steering column that connects the reader coil and this was designed too short and as such with movement to the steering column can cause this to faulter and come loose.
What the problem basically is - When you start the car, it runs for approx 2-3 seconds then cuts out, sometimes it will start on the second go but sometimes 3-5 attempts is required. I cant think that it is the key as I have 3 and they all do the same......
Please see if you can give me a definitive fix as everyone seems to have different ideas about what the problem is / what is failing......
Many thanks in advance
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I would be looking at either the MAF or the Crank Position sensor.
TonyJ 98 1.8TQM
SparkyNorwich wrote:

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Oh thats a new one for the think pot !!!
Cheers for that, What are they ? Where are they !!!
Regards
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If you are referring to my comment, the MAF is in the intake air box on the top. It has the electrical wires plugged in to it.
The crank position sensor is a bit more difficult to access. It is located on the front of the head just behind the timing belt.
SparkyNorwich wrote:

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The first thing you should do is pull the codes to see what the system thinks is wrong. Don't spend money and time on parts without the information.
About all I would do before pulling the codes is to look for obvious problems like cracked vacuum lines and broken wires. You could unplug the MAF to see if the connection is dirty or wet but more than that requires pulling the codes.
SparkyNorwich wrote:

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I will have a look this weekend, thanks chaps - But seeing as it said 'Weak Skey signal, do you really think that coulc be associated with such things as cracked vacume pipes ??? I will let you know how I get on..... What do you mean by 'Pull codes' ?? Is that not what they should have done at the dealership ??? Even they seemd quite vague as to what the problem could be.....
Cheers
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The dealer has a diagnostic system that interrogates the ECU for fault codes.
The system can also be purchased by individuals from an after market source for about $300US
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