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Old 12-25-2009, 11:50 AM   #1
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1969 27' Overlander
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? rodent-damaged wiring

I recent purchased a 69 Outlander in a farm auction and want to restore it. The interior has minor damage from broken roof vents (I need suggestions on replacement vendors). I took the 'silver bullet' to a trailer shop to have brakes inspected and wheel bearings repacked. The shop found significant damage to the wiring for the breaks, most likely due to packrats which are common in my area. Question: is most of the wiring for the interior and brakes under the skin that covers the bottom of the trailer? If the packrats got inside the lower shell, could more wiring for the interior, etc, be harmed or is the wiring for interior inside the walls? Appreciate advice on location of wiring in frame of trailer.
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Old 12-25-2009, 12:41 PM   #2
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The brake wires are in the underbelly. You might want to remove much of the belly pan to clean up the debris and inspect the frame for rust and damage. The good news for you is that the remainder of the electric is above floor level. Still, check it out the best you can.
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Old 12-25-2009, 12:53 PM   #3
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As always when dealing with mice and other rodents be aware of the danger of contracting Hanta virus from breathing fumes from dried urine and feces. This is especially important in the Southwestern states.
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Old 12-25-2009, 01:24 PM   #4
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Old 12-25-2009, 02:45 PM   #5
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The good news is that the brake wiring is pretty much all you'll find as far as wiring underneith. It is also probably one of the easiest circuits to replace. All other wires run in the walls, and on 69 almost all interior wiring runs down the center of the ceiling then drops down the side walls as needed. If you look at the center ceiling panels you'll actually see where the ceiling drops down with channels in the panel on either side.
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Old 12-25-2009, 02:51 PM   #6
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The good news for you is that the remainder of the electric is above floor level. Still, check it out the best you can.
Not 100% sure on 69s, but not only is most of the wiring above the floor but it is near the center line of the ceiling. Other than AC and the 110 outlets it's all 12v. Personally, I think the risk of causing a catasrophy with a 12v dead short, like a fire or shock, is minimal. What will probably happen is you will blow a fuse. I'd be a bit more cautious with the 110 though. An electrical multitester would be a good idea to check continuity and resistance before powering up.

By the way, I acquired a 64 that was up in the mountains a few years ago. Filled up a dump truck with pack rat midden. They particularly liked choya cactus which goes through leather gloves and skin very easily.
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:49 AM   #7
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If rodents have been living in the trailer and eating the wire insulation then the wiring in the walls and ceiling will also be damaged. In that situation you have a fire waiting to happen and all of the wiring needs to be replaced.
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Old 12-26-2009, 11:22 AM   #8
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If rodents have been living in the trailer and eating the wire insulation then the wiring in the walls and ceiling will also be damaged. In that situation you have a fire waiting to happen and all of the wiring needs to be replaced.
While you may be right, it too is quite possible there has been no activity in the wall spaces. Some well educated time with a volt meter, plus some careful detective work behind light fixtures, speakers, etc would give the owner the piece of mind that things are in good shape or need replacing.

I would do a whole lot of investigating before pulling a trailer apart far enough to rewire (granted we just rewired the 63 from rodent damage). The need was obvious as I it was tripping breakers and upon opening areas of the middle shell, droppings and nests were everywhere (not to mention the smell).

I'd start, get the belly pan clean, those wires re-run to the junction up front, get your running lights etc working (make sure there is a fuse in line somewhere) and get it home and start going through it just like an old house.
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Old 12-26-2009, 11:37 AM   #9
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While you may be right, it too is quite possible there has been no activity in the wall spaces.
My 71 was a veritable mouse condo when I got her. It was sitting in a field for at least 20 years. It had mouse nests in all the nooks and crannies and the upholstery was brown and stiff from mouse pee. No doubt Mickey and friends were in the walls too as it has taken me years and lots of Lysol and Fabreze and Pinesol to get it smellin rosy. Or maybe I have just gotten used to it. Still, you still can get a subtle whiffy on warm damp summer mornings.

All that being said I have had absolutely no problems with any of the wiring.

Theoretically possible yes, but, has anyone ever heard of a fire being caused by mouse chewed wires?
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:05 PM   #10
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All that being said I have had absolutely no problems with any of the wiring.

Theoretically possible yes, but, has anyone ever heard of a fire being caused by mouse chewed wires?
I have seen similar situations with old radio equipment that has been sitting in basements for years then "found" by an enthusiast.

Some of the older MIL radio equipment use Teflon wiring. I have seen evidence where a critter chewed the insulation off sections of wiring but I don't believe it's intention was to eat the material. I am thinking it was to sharpen it's little teeth.

The danger of this is, of course, causing a shirt circuit. However if the circuit is fused then any excessive current draw will melt the fuse element this removing current from the circuit. This is the theory of course. In practice sometimes things are different. It might be a good idea to check (and replace) all fuses as a matter of course. People have been known to jumper a fuse with a piece of wire if a replacement wasn't available, like putting a penny in a fusebox.

In my case I found evidence of unwanted visitors in the form of mouse "turdlets" in the 1968 Caravel I acquired in November. I caught the scent of "eau de mouse-o-line" in some of the floor compartments. I washed out the areas well with bleach and water then went over it again with Lysol disinfectant. There were no nests that I could see and hopefully the meeses were casual visitors. However when Spring comes I'll drop the belly pan and see what I find.

While I am doing this I figure I might as well replace the 43 year-old wiring if there's any evidence the insulation is deteriorating and cracking. I figure while I'm in there it won't be that much more effort to rewire and then it's done for another 43 years.



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