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Old 11-06-2006, 06:37 PM   #1
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"Fishing wires between the skins"

I curently have some wires dangling for the ceiling in the bathroom o four 1984 310 Limited MH. I need them to emerge from the wall lower down and on the side. I tried fishing between the skins with a coat hanger but I can seem to control the heading of the wire once I get inside. I can insert the wire plenty far enough to reach where I want to go but I can never get a glimpse of the wire at the destination.

Ideas?

Here's a picture, I want to com out at the hole with the mark near it.
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Old 11-06-2006, 06:55 PM   #2
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I get the impression from your post that you are trying to "push" the wires down to the new location. It's pretty hard to do this even with heavy gauge wire. Have you tried an electricians fishing tape? It's much easier to use this and then pull the wire to the new location than trying to push the existing wires down.

In a pinch I'll push up a hard copper single wire (poor man's fishing) and then tie and tape on the wire bundle I want to pull through.

(if this is what you are already doing then ignore my post)
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Old 11-06-2006, 07:11 PM   #3
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Actually,
I have been using a coat hanger and have tried from both directions. It is easier to feed the coat hanger in from the top and down but it doesn't end up near my bottom hole. Once the wire is in, I can't seem to guide it. When I pull iut out it seems (based on the curve in the wire) like it has veered away from the hole I am trying to hit.
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Old 11-06-2006, 07:18 PM   #4
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Look at the outside rivit pattern and see if you don't have a cross member in there not used by the inside skin. If not - a string with a washer (not stainless steel) and a magnet has worked for me, just walk the magnet along the skin and drag the washer to your hole.
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Old 11-06-2006, 07:25 PM   #5
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Guy, Steve is right. Fish tape is cheap and will give you the right stuff to get down to the hole you're going to. Work from high to low. Measure the run outside and mark the fish tape for distance. Push the fish tape into the top hole then catch it at the bottom with your cloths hanger and pull through the bottom hole.
Now the fun begins. Tape a single wire to the fish tape and pull it to the top hole. Use the wire to pull more wire through the run. Often a nylon pull string is better than wire for a pull.
The first fish is often the best!
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Old 11-10-2006, 01:12 PM   #6
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Argh, help!

OK, I've tried all your suggestions, still no luck. But I have more information.

I enlarged the bottom hole (It will be covered when I'm done) enough to get my finger between the skins. I found that there is some kind of cross member running for and aft just a finger length above the hole. There are some wires (not the wires I'm trying to move) that go through this cross member near the hole. They go through some kind of smooth sided, circular fitting and disappear. When I put the fish tape into the fitting and insert it far enough to reach the hole I'm going for, it sounds like the fish tape is ending up well aft of the hole I need to get to.

The situation is complicated by the fact that this part of the wall/ceiling has been "skinned over" with luan plywood which has a vinyl covering. (This was done by a fellow I hired to remodel the bedroom and bathroom who did some nice cabinet work, but screwed up other stuff and never finished the job)

This means I can't tell where the inside rivets are. I'm about to throw in the towel and use wire mold running on the surface (which I REALLY don't want to do).

Any ideas?
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Old 11-10-2006, 03:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guy99
The situation is complicated by the fact that this part of the wall/ceiling has been "skinned over" with luan plywood which has a vinyl covering. (This was done by a fellow I hired to remodel the bedroom and bathroom who did some nice cabinet work, but screwed up other stuff and never finished the job)
Guy, the obvious may be something you've not considered. How about un-skinning that section. The dreded cross member is the undoing of many a good fishing expedition. Sometimes the first "cast" works and sometimes it takes hours to just "drown the bait." Can you make a small hole above the cross member to bring your fish back through? You should be using a coat hanger or stiff wire with a hook on it that will catch the fish as you dangle it inside the wall. Once you make contact you can coax it through the small hole. A little repair behind all the new wiring may be the only way to avoid the dreaded wiremold, surface uglies...
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Old 11-10-2006, 03:29 PM   #8
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What is fish tape?

and where do I buy it? Sometimes I don't know enough to know what I don't know. Sounds like it might be good thing to have in the old bag of tricks.
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Old 11-10-2006, 03:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blu_Hwy_Lady
and where do I buy it? Sometimes I don't know enough to know what I don't know. Sounds like it might be good thing to have in the old bag of tricks.
Try http://www.harborfreightusa.com/usa/...bCategoryName=

Any place that sells to electricians will have them but harbor freight is inexpensive and has stuff that is good enough for occasional use.
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Old 11-10-2006, 03:57 PM   #10
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Guy,
I have tried to fish wires through the walls and never been successful. Glen is on track with removing the panels. Yes, that sounds like a lot of work but think of the time you have already spent on this with no luck. The wall cavity is packed with insulation and if your coach is like mine the existing wires have caulking on them which holds them tight against the walls. This caulk is spread out everywhere, since they covered it up with a wall they were not careful putting it on.
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Old 11-10-2006, 03:58 PM   #11
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Elec fish tape is available in general hardware stores(ACE), Home Depot, and elec supply stores. There are several types including ones with several feet of flat stiff strip of steel wound up on a reel, and fibreglass rods with joining sections-slightly smaller in size than those used in light weight camping tents. These are handy to have in your tool inventory. Good luck.----Bob
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Old 11-10-2006, 05:28 PM   #12
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Guy, if you can hear your fish tape tapping on that dreaded cross member you should be able to do a little workaround with a small just above the cross member. Have you used a stud finder to check the layout? I'm not certain how one might work inside the coach but it's worth a try. The cross member can't be too thick.
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Old 11-10-2006, 05:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaplain Kent
Guy,
I have tried to fish wires through the walls and never been successful. Glen is on track with removing the panels. Yes, that sounds like a lot of work but think of the time you have already spent on this with no luck. The wall cavity is packed with insulation and if your coach is like mine the existing wires have caulking on them which holds them tight against the walls. This caulk is spread out everywhere, since they covered it up with a wall they were not careful putting it on.
I would dearly love to take the 'skin' off and then remove panels. Unfortunately, the 'skin' was applied with huge quantities of adhesive to make the luan follow the curve. There is no way to just remove enough to take down the panel I need to get behind, plus I can't tell where the panel boundaries are under the 'skin'.

Also, I have never R&R'd a panel of the inside skin and I'm a little cowardly. I'm afraid I would get frustrated and screw something up or slop it together. I have found with woodworking that when I get to an impasse, I need to step back and cool down. When I don't I'm never happy with the result - not that I'm ever completely satisfied.

Guy
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Old 11-10-2006, 06:08 PM   #14
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Fishing wires

Fishing wires within the walls of an Airstream or Argosy trailer or motorhome, is not a good idea.

There are very sharp edges on the horizontal stringers or stiffners as they are called, that are within the walls that you cannot see.

If the wire is floating, then eventually the sharp edges will cut through the insulation and create a short.

All wiring within the walls is supposed to go through a grommet when it is run through a stringer. To not do that is asking for an electrical failure and/or a possible fire.

Remove the panel, and make sure the wire will not make contact with a sharp edge.

The attached photo is of a typical horizontal stringer, as used by Airstream.

Andy
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