Punto 'no start'

My UK spec (yr 2000) Punto 1.2 petrol has up until recently always started first time. 6 months ago it would not start, and when turning the engine over there was no signs of it trying to start - no mis fire / ocassional
fire from the engine, it just turned over merrily without any trace of the engine firing up. Jump starting did no good as the battery had plenty charge left in it, and the starter shows no signs of wear - not sluggish or sticking. The only way to start the car when it takes 'a turn' is to push start it. It starts perfectly for the next 6 months and then 'plays up' again. Once again, the only way to start it is to bump start the car. Each time this has happened I've been without tools so have not been able to check that a spark is being produced, but ther is also an other problem with the front wipers which are erratic and judder when on intermittent wipe. First ocurrance was in an sunny summer day, second occurrance was on a mild. dry, January day. Any experts out there who can solve the 'no start' problem. Is it an easy fix or a bank loan job. Thanks, John
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Could be ignition, caused by bad contact in the coil 12V feed, but unlikely, as the car runs fine once it starts. Coil and ignition faults are intermittent, and persistent, unlike this case. I'd look to fuelling. Outdoors, in good ventilation, attach a plastic pipe to the fuel pump outlet. Crank and see if it starts pumping immediately at cranking speed. There is usually a rubber link in the fuel pipe between the tank pipe and the engine fuel pipe. This is to absorb engine movement and prevent repetitive flexing of the metal pipes. This perishes, becomes porous, then you are sucking air at cranking speed. Once started car runs fine. Obviously you lead the plastic pipe into a bottle or jar.
Re wipers. Two possibilities, bad slipring contacts in the wiper gear box. Water forced past the O-ring seal at speed has got into the wiper shaft. Iron shaft, water, zinc diecast tube, bad corrosion combination. Dismantling and refurbishment a pain in the butt. Replace with new or breakers yard unit. Or it may be just unsuitable wiper blades that are age hardned and worn.
For ignition problems there are little neon testers that sit between plug top and lead. (not very bright) flash when there is a spark. Cost 2 quid or so. When it cranks and won't start, check to see if it flashes. If so you know it's unlikely to be ignition if you see a spark. Only caveat bridged, oiled, carbonised plugs also show ignition flash.
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