update - changed fuel pump (wasn't necessary), then fuel filter and then the fuel filter relay. must have been the relay.
sprang to life but ran like a dog - did the ECU reset - 10mins battery unplugged, then replugged and 10secs with the ignition on, then started and run with lights and a/c on until both thermo fans cut in.
took it for a drive and a big improvement, drove it around the block a few more times, lots of revs and it seemed to run fine
drove it the 80kms back home and most of the time it was fine
except, once on the highway it ran like a dog missing cylinders etc, sprang back to life, and then closer to home it ran as if missing 1-2 cylinders intermittently and the ignition light was on (as it was for a period when we did the initial ECU reset)
crank sensor, bad fuel, what else could it be???
some say the ECU reset has to be done a few times - why and how does one know when all is good?
we have it up and going, but not consistent and dangerous when it splutters