My 98 a3 golf has been difficult to start in the morning for a couple of months. Plug wires are about 18 months old and were high quality german wires bought from GermanAutoParts.com. I replaced cap and rotor thinking it was a condensate problem, but this has not resolved the problem. Typical hard start is that it takes up to 15 seconds of cranking to get it to fire up. A couple of times, it refused to start at all for an extended period of time, and I left it alone and came back to have it start right up.
After the 'wouldn't start at all' incidents (two in one weekend), I started to think back to previous A2 cars that had starting problems like this that turned out to be a flaky fuel pump relay. I replaced the relay with another one from a parts car, and this seems to have alleviated that problem.
I still have hard starting, and I note that I do not hear fuel pump run when I turn key on. I note that the A2 fuel pump relay was a 5 pin affair, which had circuitry to do a pre-ignition pressure up. I see postings indicating that A3 cars should do the same, but the relay apparently doesn't provide this function, since its only got four terminals: 2 high amp terminals that cause the fuel pump to run, and the signal terminals that cause the relay to close the circuit on the other two.
Do A3 cars run the fuel pump for several seconds to pressure up? What provides for this function? What should I be checking? I presume that the car would probably start if I jumpered the fuel pump run terminals.