I bought my '98 Cabrio about 14 months ago w/28k miles. The previous owner bought it new and the only major issue was that occasionally it would lose power, no crank/start and then it started in an hour or day or not at all. It was taken by tow truck to VW on a couple of occasions without an actual diagnosis, it would just start working.
I have put 25k miles on the car without experiencing the problem until this week. Twice it briefly lost power while driving, but only for a couple of seconds. It was like turning the car off and then back on. Then it turned off as I was turning into my driveway and would not turn on again until I tried it again a few hours later. The next time I tried to start it was a no go.
As it stands now when the key is in the on position; I have headlights, radio, ringer 'key in ignition/door open' ,but no power windows and no life in the instrument cluster. Key to start; no crank.
Trouble shooting has determined that the battery is in good condition, jumping the starter motor generated good engine cranking speed, jumping pins 5 to 6 on the alarm system didn't help.
I could use some leads on checking out the ignition switch for proper operation, pins -volts -connectors and anything else that may help.
Agreed - ignition switch (electrical portion) is the first thing to try. My EV had very similar and rare symptoms, working fine for long spells between problems, but finally got worse. Took about 30 minutes to change the switch and haven't had a problem since.
I found my problem the other day. I traced the power from the ignition switch to pin H1/4. When I pressed on the back of the connector the car came to life. It turns out that the terminal body was not holding the wire pin in place. By removing the pin, rotating it 180º and reinserting, it was then held in place and all is now well.
Thanks to all for pointing me in the direction of the ignition switch that helped me to trouble shoot the problem.