fiat panda starting problems

I have a Fiat Panda from '83 (!), my problem is that it doesn't start anymore. Turning key in position II, no control lamp is flashing, in position III starter is running but apparently there are no ignition sparks.
The distributor was replaced 1/2 a year ago (so were the sparking plugs) and the contacts for the cables at the distributor and the plugs look ok. I am not sure where to look for the bug, looks something is wrong with the electric equipment (broken cable ??) . Also problem might be realted to high humidity. To me it smells fishy that several electric things fail at the same time (the control lamps, also for instance the cabin ventilation doesn't work when key is in position II), however lights apparently do and so does the starter... Any ideas?
Gero.
PS any answers in english/german/spanish/italian appreciated.
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Might not be it, but did have a split porous short piece of hose between the pipe from the tank and the fuel filter, which was buried in the clutter of hoses and wiring behind the engine. So fuel pump was sucking air, but if you got it started, before the battery was flat, it ran fine. Took quite a while to find it.
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snipped-for-privacy@ifae.es (gero) wrote in message

Ignition switch, possibly.
Particularly if the wipers, hazard lights, and the reversing light don't work.
(Assuming your wiring as UK specification 1981 to 1985 models).
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (john harrad) wrote in message

Can you tell me the meaning of the cables which are connected to the four poles of the ignition switch? What do I have to do to short-circuit the car to test whether it is the switch? Thanks!
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snipped-for-privacy@ifae.es (gero) wrote in message

Still assuming your wiring as UK specification 1981 to 1985 models..
power in from battery is brown.
power to the ignition coil, (and fuses 1 and 2) is a light blue and black.
join those two - and if position 2 of the switch has failed you should get some joy.
The feed to enable the starter solenoid is red, but you could use the ignition switch for that - if that part is still working.
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snipped-for-privacy@ifae.es (gero) wrote in message

Still assuming your wiring as UK specification 1981 to 1985 models..
power in from battery is brown.
power to the ignition coil, (and fuses 1 and 2) is a light blue and black.
join those two - and if position 2 of the switch has failed you should get some joy.
The feed to enable the starter solenoid is red, but you could use the ignition switch for that - if that part is still working.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (john harrad) wrote in message (gero) wrote in message

Thanks! Everything is as you said, and things are now working. Can you tell me one last thing: there is a fourth cable (black) going to the switch. I messured voltage and there is none neither to ground nor to battery power. Seems as if it is hanging in the air. On the other hand I measured resistance of the poles in the switch and apparently the switch closes "black" with "brown" (in all positions except zero). What is the black cable for?
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snipped-for-privacy@ifae.es (gero) wrote in message

AFAIK those black leads (one on it's own terminal, and another with the brown) are for the lighting: main lighting only works with the ignition on. parking lights only work when the ignition switch is turned in a reverse direction.
Glad it's fixed - it's nice to keep Pandas going :-)
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (john harrad) wrote in message (gero) wrote in message

Ok, thanks again for your help.
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