Australian Car Repair Issues? Ask an Auto Mechanic for Answers ASAP
98 did not have an immobilizer like this, that started halfway through 99 in the MkIV body. You are looking at a MkIII. It has an alarm, and when the alarm is sounding it will not let the vehicle crank.
So if it starts and dies you have another issue. Not being able to hear the car run, I would hesitate to buy it, because the VR6 can get extensive (and expensive) to repair. The timing chain guides will wear out and break, if they have not already (which could be causing the starting issue) and you need to pull the transmission to replace the timing chains.
OK, if it has an immobilizer then it will start and die after a few seconds. So- if it has just recently started acting up, it is a connection issue somewhere. It can be the reader ring around the cylinder, or the wire connection between that ring and the cluster, or between the cluster and the ECM.
On earlier models you could disarm the alarm system, but the immobilizer you really can't.
Or a dealership. Unless you feel confident running a new wire between the reader coil and the cluster, and the cluster and the PCM...