Beware Of PackRats! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-10-2018, 08:38 PM   #1
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Beware Of PackRats!

Just wanted to remind everyone of the dangers of PackRats and the damage they can do! We had them chew up under hood wiring on our F-150 a year ago and now again, at Lost Dutchman State Park another huge nest in our site (62). Thought all was good again but missing a cylinder. Bugger chewed an injector wire! Four hours to get at the injector, twenty minutes to fix and four hours back together.

Put some lights under your vehicle and or leave your hood up! You have been warned!
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:59 PM   #2
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Rabbits do the same thing at the airport here. Seems I've heard there's an ingredient in the wire insulation they like.
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:04 PM   #3
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Rabbits do the same thing at the airport here. Seems I've heard there's an ingredient in the wire insulation they like.
I think the insulation may be vegetable oil based, or something similar. Here on Jekyll Island GA the campground is over populated with squirrels and some people have had vehicle wiring chewed.
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:49 PM   #4
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Several years ago a confused hungry critter chewed up some sensor wires on my brand new Tacoma. I was lucky it only cost about $200, but it forced a change of plans on one of our camping trips. I was told by a service tech at a different Toyota dealership that some wiring had/has insulation based on soy oil plastic. Ever since, I have been hanging bags of moth balls in the engine compartment of my cars, and also on the outside of the Scamp. In winter my wife throws dryer (antistatic) sheets inside the Scamp.
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Old 02-11-2018, 03:31 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
I think the insulation may be vegetable oil based, or something similar. Here on Jekyll Island GA the campground is over populated with squirrels and some people have had vehicle wiring chewed.
Actually it is peanut oil in the coating of the wires they are after.
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Old 02-11-2018, 07:35 AM   #6
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After a recent episode of a critter chewing vehicle wiring here on Jekyll and disabling that vehicle another person mentioned some electronic device that they use to repell critters. It connects to the vehicle battery. Don't recall what it was and don't know if I can find that post now, I'll try.
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Old 02-11-2018, 07:53 AM   #7
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Field mice are our problem at home. A mechanic suggested a strobe light wired to the battery, but it was pricey. I've also heard mothballs, but I couldn't find any place to put then in the engine compartment away from moving parts and heat sources.

So far the field mice have only gone after the insulation attached to the hood as nesting material, but they chewed their way into the passenger compartment of our CR-V and as far as the cabin air filter in the Pilot, so I keep strategically-placed dryer sheets in both vehicles now. Surprisingly, the Scamp is the one place they haven't found their way into. Yet.

I'm definitely following this thread. We're going to Lost Dutchman in March. So glad we don't have pack rats up here in the mountains! I knew they were a problem for homeowners in the desert, but I hadn't thought to take precautions when camping. I appreciate the heads-up, Tony.
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Old 02-11-2018, 08:00 AM   #8
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I use Fresh Cab in my stored vehicles and campers. Look at mouseblocker.com for the electronic device that I mentioned in my previous post. Have to research it myself and may try it.
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Old 02-11-2018, 08:38 AM   #9
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Jon. Near site 62 in LDM, there is a nest about five feet long by three feet wide. These buggers are everywhere here in the desert! You need to have lights under your tow vehicle for sure! Fortunately Fiberglass trailers are well sealed as opposed to stickies.

For everyone:
A lot of people think that if you donít have power that you canít have lighting under your vehicle and trailer. Not so!
I use and have shown tons of people to do an easy light system that can be used when dry camping also.
You need to purchase the following:
1 - RV porch light (like on your trailer)
1 - Vehicle end 7 pin socket (if you have a 7 pin plug on your trailer)
1 - LED bulb to fit the porch light you have bought
30-50 feet of cheap speaker wire.
Use the speaker wire to join the 7 pin socket to the porch light. (Black terminal of socket to black wire of porch lamp. White terminal of socket to white wire of porch lamp.
Sooo, when you plug the socket to your trailer, the lamp will come on and run off of your trailer battery while you ,sleep. In the morning just unplug the socket from your trailer. With a good LED bulb it shouldnít take much of your trailer battery to run it.
I have fixed my F-150s wiring twice now! In both cases I didnít have my lights out (donít ask why). Ford gave me a price for the first episode at $1800 approximately. I fixed it myself for $20. But a lot of time on my knees above the rad support. This isnít fun at all!
Learn from my misfortune!
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:17 AM   #10
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A fellow camper in WY said to keep hood open and even star light would keep them out of the engine compartment. So I did. Then some months later another fellow said that is not sufficient, instead drop bags of moth balls under the truck. So I used 10 bags around the outside. I was doing this in Organ Pipe Nat Mon. The camp host said that is what he and the Ranger does.

We then went to Big Ben Nat Park in TX. Was told to NOT drop bags of moth balls on the ground around the outside of the truck because the Peccary will eat the moth balls and die an agonizing death. Or get asked to leave the park. So I picked them up and kept them in the back of the truck for the duration.
When we got back home I Googled the issue. Based on the resulting info I bought this stuff: (Amazon) Transtar 4423 Amber Rustproofing - 17 oz. Supposed to spray on all your wires, etc. Tested it and decided I did not want to use it so I bought this: (Amazon) 1/2" Bentley Harris Convoshield Wire Loom - Length: 39". It says it is Wire, but I cut a bit and it looks like chromed plastic, but maybe not. The 1/2" is too small a diameter for the propane hose, so I am buying the 5/8". I am still looking for real metal shielding/loom and if I find it will cover all wires and hoses, at least under the TT.
I have not had any packrats eat my wires, but maybe I will try the LED lights under the trailer, or at least in the engine compartment of my truck. But I must say, I don't like the idea of lights on when camping.
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:22 AM   #11
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Rzrbrn. I too do not like lights. But with the porch light (s) shining up to the underside of your vehicle it is hard to see from beyond your site. Give it a try.
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:26 AM   #12
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FYI- A few years ago, my brother had his auto wiring eaten while in storage. Big time damage. His auto insurance paid for repair. Might be worth checking out if you have some major chewing.
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:50 AM   #13
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Wow, I guess I'm lucky. I spent about a week at Organ Pipe Natl. Monument in May of this year and spent two days in Lost Dutchman a few years ago, with no vehicle problems. I did see one packrat at the camp sight at Lost Dutchman, but he was headed away from us. We did have our dog with us, and I wonder if the presence of a dog had any effect in the situation.
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:57 AM   #14
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Mice will enter your vehicle through the air intake. Leave your heater in recirculate when parked. This will close off the opening. For a permanent fix remove the cowel and put a piece of 1/4" hardware cloth over the hole. I use Gorilla tape. The cowel removal requires removing the wipers and a bunch of push pins. Some cars have pressure relief vents that need to be screened as well. On our Subaru they were behind the rear bumper cover on the side. Once mice get in snap traps with peanut butter is your best bet. Moth balls, soap, drier sheets, etc. won't get rid of them. Trust me, I'm a veteran.
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