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Old 06-01-2018, 11:32 AM   #1
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Rats eating electrical wiring

I just got an $8000 bill for replacing the main wiring harness on my Volvo due to rats eating the covering on the wires. I found out this is a common problem in those manufactures using vegetable or soy based wire covering, but not the vinyl covering.
I am now concerned my Interstate could be vulnerable as I live in a hillside community where I park it and I'm sure the Mercedes Sprinter Van could be very expensive to repair, as well as the vulnerability of the other wires separate from the engine compartment.
I have investigated several solutions including using the Honda tape and various sprays.

Does anyone have any experience with this problem who can give me some helpful advice? It only appears to be a problem when storing the van but not on trips with frequent starting and stopping the engine.
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Old 06-01-2018, 11:43 AM   #2
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Hi

They have been using this stuff for > 20 years now. It's not a new issue. Put another way - there is history on this problem.

Bob
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Old 06-01-2018, 12:29 PM   #3
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Pack rats are an issue where I live and the Airstream is parked next to the house when we are not traveling. I am very proactive as I have seen the damage that they can do. A friend of mine had wires and plumbing severely damaged by the pests.

When parked on the slab next to the house I have several snap traps deployed as well as electronic sonic pest eliminators. I also have a couple of solar rope lights under the trailer because I heard that they prefer dark places. I did the same for several years with my previous Airstream and my current one. So far so good.

Many people in the area who park their cars and trucks outside keep the engine hood open at night to discourage the rats from nesting in the engine compartment. We keep the car and truck in the garage.

Good luck!
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Old 06-01-2018, 12:43 PM   #4
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I sympathize completely with your concerns. We also live in a semi-rural hillside area and I recently had rodent damage to my Porsche that resulted in an $11K bill. Fortunately, the comprehensive portion of my auto insurance covered everything, minus my deductible. You might want to pursue that option on your Volvo if you haven't already.

Unfortunately, I don't know of a foolproof way to protect against this kind of event. The various traps, sprays, electronic devices, and pepper impregnated tapes are either hit and miss, mostly ineffective, or require a lot of work to try and insure that everything is protected. I have had some luck, if the number of captured rodents is any indication, with using "sticky traps" and placing them in the nooks and corners of my garage as well as in a couple of the obvious entry points to my car. Still, it's a hassle and there is no guarantee you will catch an offending varmint before he does damage. A combination of the various methods is probably a reasonable approach, similar to what azflycaster mentions above, and then you just have to hope for the best.
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:04 AM   #5
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I happened to watch an episode of Motorweek this week on Velocity channel. This problem was addressed on the Goss's Garage segment. Goss showed a Capsicum based wrap for wire looms. The pepper discourages rodents chewing on the wires. The down side is don't handle the wires then rub your eyes. Also inform your mechanic before he works on your car. He didn't specify where the product could be purchased. I am sure you could Google it.

Good Luck.
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:05 AM   #6
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Pack Rats are Supposed to Hate Light

I had a $10k hot tub destroyed by rats as well as thousands of dollars in damage to vehicles. I learned that pack rats are supposed to hate light. I put a light under my deck where they nested and that seemed to work for a couple of years. Then they built a nest around it. Traps are useless. You will catch one and then the rats "know" and will never go near them again.

I have a light that I keep on under the hood of my TV. So far, so good. Another thing that supposedly works is pepper. I get bottles of it at the Dollar Store and sprinkle it around. Rats have poor eyesight and rely on smell to find their way around. Anything you can do to disrupt that will discourage them.

Don't use poison because it will result in the unintentional poisoning of other animals like predators. There is a "natural" way to poison rats with baking soda mixed with peanut butter. Rats don't have the ability to fart and eating baking soda is supposed to "explode" their GI tract. Sounds cruel I know, but after massive pack rat damage I don't have any kindness perspective on rats.

These are just suggestions that might or might not work. Or, might work for awhile until the rats figure it out.
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:30 AM   #7
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Not just rats, and not just wires, I had chipmunks do this to my MH fuel return line:

Gas was dripping on the transmission.
I attacked the problem on 2 fronts.
1st I put wire loom over the exposed line
2nd: I am removing the chipmunks, 7 exported so far.
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:43 AM   #8
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I’ve never used the solution but I have watched a number of videos. Don’t open the links if you’re not okay with killing rats. I wouldn’t hesitate to use it if you’re concerned about the problem.

https://www.automatictrap.com/



And if you’re into shooting, there’s a ton of night-vision rat sniping to give you ideas.

Take care,
Rich
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneG View Post
I attacked the problem on 2 fronts.
1st I put wire loom over the exposed line
2nd: I am removing the chipmunks, 7 exported so far.
Wayne, trapping and exporting needs to be done until you don’t catch chipmunks any more, then every couple of months, in perpetuity. They’ll keep encroaching on your space as they multiply and expand territory back to your property. Good luck, Rich
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Old 06-02-2018, 06:45 PM   #10
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Red face

Hate to brag but I'm somewhat of an expert at this. Between by partner and I we have things with 37 wheels (yes, one of them is a CanAm Spyder) including tractors, trailers, RUV's and things that have to live outside the barn or garage.

What doesn't work: peppermint oil/spray, bags of scented stuff, pepper/pepper spray, mothballs (I haven't tried baking soda; that's a new one to me), sonic devices and most snap traps or glue traps (I caught birds in the glue traps which is not nice!). And probably a few other "failures" that I've forgotten about.

I would never ever use poison because of the downstream affects on raptors, corvids, coyotes, dogs, cats, etc.

What works: Rid-A-Rat. Avail on line for about $60 and can either be hardwired to a chassis battery or a 9V battery powered version. Best $$ ever spent! I've not had any problems with chewed wires or nesting ever starting since I started using these where there are wires or nesting cavities..tractor, truck, etc.

I even have a spare for if I have company coming and staying for a couple of days. Very strong magnet attaches to metal and I never even take it out when I drive the tractor or RUV and it's still there. It's a blinking LED and going on three years they (4 of them) are still working away.

I also keep the hood open (may need to secure it with a strong bungee if you have a lot of wind going on; I had one completely come unhinged).

I've just also "invented" a popsickle LED flashing rope light thing! a 2X2 dolly, added a 2X2 piece of plywood and attached the solar powered rope light. For extra convenience I added a 2X4 with a handle screwed to it so I can easily roll it under the horse trailer and RUV at night and then roll it out, even on dirt or gravel, in the day to recharge.

But both of these also have rid-a-rat....which has eliminated the nesting problems I had before....but I'm not taking any chances. I detest pack rats!

In the garage and barn I also keep some traps set and the hoods open...just in case, and I'm forever on the lookout for mouse or pack rat droppings (mouse small, pack rat big) but I've rarely caught anything in the garage and never in the barn.

??? just repost and that might jog a memory of other battles in the pack rat wars.
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Old 06-04-2018, 09:47 AM   #11
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Going to try the Rid a Rat......been battling squirrels. The Irish Spring bars work, but I have to remember to remove them before I drive off.....
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Old 06-08-2018, 10:34 AM   #12
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we have also had problems - mostly with our non-US cars (and plastic containers of any type - like quarts of oil, plastic parts on our riding lawn mower, etc). But we have yet to have any issue with our Airstream which is parked close to damaged cars. Maybe the wiring is not as attractive? We Have put in multiple dryer sheets in our engine compartment and since doing that - have not had any problems (last 18 months) - although still finding the occasional mouse / rat (living in rural setting).
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Old 06-08-2018, 10:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highfeather View Post
Hate to brag but I'm somewhat of an expert at this. Between by partner and I we have things with 37 wheels (yes, one of them is a CanAm Spyder) including tractors, trailers, RUV's and things that have to live outside the barn or garage.

What doesn't work: peppermint oil/spray, bags of scented stuff, pepper/pepper spray, mothballs (I haven't tried baking soda; that's a new one to me), sonic devices and most snap traps or glue traps (I caught birds in the glue traps which is not nice!). And probably a few other "failures" that I've forgotten about.

I would never ever use poison because of the downstream affects on raptors, corvids, coyotes, dogs, cats, etc.

What works: Rid-A-Rat. Avail on line for about $60 and can either be hardwired to a chassis battery or a 9V battery powered version. Best $$ ever spent! I've not had any problems with chewed wires or nesting ever starting since I started using these where there are wires or nesting cavities..tractor, truck, etc.

I even have a spare for if I have company coming and staying for a couple of days. Very strong magnet attaches to metal and I never even take it out when I drive the tractor or RUV and it's still there. It's a blinking LED and going on three years they (4 of them) are still working away.

I also keep the hood open (may need to secure it with a strong bungee if you have a lot of wind going on; I had one completely come unhinged).

I've just also "invented" a popsickle LED flashing rope light thing! a 2X2 dolly, added a 2X2 piece of plywood and attached the solar powered rope light. For extra convenience I added a 2X4 with a handle screwed to it so I can easily roll it under the horse trailer and RUV at night and then roll it out, even on dirt or gravel, in the day to recharge.

But both of these also have rid-a-rat....which has eliminated the nesting problems I had before....but I'm not taking any chances. I detest pack rats!

In the garage and barn I also keep some traps set and the hoods open...just in case, and I'm forever on the lookout for mouse or pack rat droppings (mouse small, pack rat big) but I've rarely caught anything in the garage and never in the barn.

??? just repost and that might jog a memory of other battles in the pack rat wars.
You said sonic devices don’t work. How does rid-a-rat work?
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