This is a ten year old diesel car from Ford, the Ford Focus DA1.
Let me start with the chain of events:
Car has been standing outdoors for two weeks without use, had been almost frozen but not quite below zero. Girlfriend turns it on, starts fine and she blasts the warm air to clear up fog on windshield. She starts driving, and suddenly the ABS and anti skid lights come on. She parks it and starts checking the service manual, turning the engine off. The car had been running for maybe five minutes. Electronics don’t work at all - no dash lights, nothing.
She calls her parents, they come with their car and hook up starter cables. The electronics now go on, but starter won’t turn the engine. She notes that there is light smoke coming off the cables. As the ignition key is turned to starter, the electronics “flicker” which I think is normal.
It was quite cold out at this time, about 4-6 degrees celsius.
One explanation is that somehow the battery had been almost completely drained, and her use and quick turn off was too much. But then the starter cables should have been enough to start the engine turning; it being a diesel engine it should be enough to get it turning to keep it rolling? But no dice.
I am now at a loss for what to do, I was not there so couldn’t try roll starting it or check the fuses. I’m going to check it later today with a multimeter in hand.
What else should I do to diagnose this issue? It kinda sounds like something is short circuited. Someone said online that if the fuses aren’t covered properly moisture can get into the ESP or ECU and cause corrosion and eventually shorting.
It had been really humid the last couple of weeks.
Please any help would be appreciated, I really need this car to work.