Really, there are many possible causes for this. When asking a question of this sort it is helpful to specify the engine size. Only generic answers can be provided when we don't know what car you have. Also, how do you know you aren't 'getting fire to' the spark plugs?
One thing I would suggest is disconnecting the plug wires at the coil end. If you crank the engine sparks should come out of the coils while cranking the engine. Do not touch the sparks as they feel somewhat unpleasant and can trigger heart attack.
If there is no spark at the coils, then proceed to check for blown fuses in every fuse panel.
Now see if you have one or more bad coils. If you disconnect the coil and put a test light between the two _primary_ electrical connections of the coil. While cranking the engine, the light should flash. If it does and the coil produces no spark, replace the coil.
The next thing to check would be the crank sensor. If you have a good crank sensor signal and no blown fuses, suspect a faulty ignition control module. The easiest way for a DIYer to check the module is to just replace the thing.
If the crank sensor and module are good and no fuses are blown, your next suspects are:
1) Car alarm.
2) Wiring fault.
3) Dead ECM/PCM.
== == I think your problem may be one similar to the one I had with my 1994 Ford Taurus. One of the wires between the ignition and the spark plugs may be damaged/loose/frayed/disconnected. It took my mechanics almost 4 full days to track and repair the problem. Additional Answer I am having the same problem. Here is the order I've done things...
First tested the fuel pressure, and then the firing at the spark plugs, and this showed me it was a fire issue and not a fuel issue. I then took my ICM, and coils to the local shop and they tested it on a computer and said there was nothing wrong with it. I proceeded to change the crank sensor because this was a part I couldn't test, and it was cheap. Once it was gapped properly the car started to run for a few minutes. I reattached the belt and soon afterward the engine quit again. No fire. I am going to the store tomorrow to drop the $96 for an Ignition Control Module, and I'm praying hard that it fixes the problem is possibly a sporadic 0% then 100% then 0% firing is because the ICM is feigning death. Please Jesus let this work... :)
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