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Old 03-17-2016, 11:52 PM   #1
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Buying an Airstream with "tenants" and how to evict?

Dear hubby and I are going this weekend to see an Airstream that has only ever been towed 2000 miles. It was purchased and parked on some land in the SW. The owner told us there have been mice and or pack rats in the trailer. There is a stink and evidence of droppings. The price is great and it's aside from the mess in good shape. How do we get rid of the mice and their mess? We live on a farm and have free ranging poultry so I'm a little nervous about using poison etc. any help is greatly appreciated. Our last airstream was very clean when we bought it and never had to deal with this problem. Thanks!

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Old 03-18-2016, 04:17 AM   #2
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Hantavirus is occasionally reported in the southwest, and this RV could be a candidate for infection. Strongly suggest researching this subject before purchasing. Also, caution is advised during cleanup and disinfection.

Suggested reading:

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Old 03-18-2016, 05:36 AM   #3
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Listen to Phoenix.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:28 AM   #4
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Put a rattlesnake in there and shut the door. Wait a week or so and open the door to let him out. No more rodents.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:45 AM   #5
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My 71 was a mouse condo. I cleaned it out as good as possible but there was still a residual smell. Getting rid of the mattresses and anything that is fabric helps a lot. The mice tend to nest in the walls and especially belly pan. Taking off the belly pan and cleaning it out will help a lot. The mousy smell will dissipate with time, but may not completely go away without cleaning out the belly pan. I never did. That was 10 years ago. I chose to live with it. I still get a mild whiff if the trailer has not been used for a while.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:48 AM   #6
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A bull snake would be safer than a rattler. Plus they can get into where cats can't.
Mouse traps with Peanut butter or cheese works pretty well.
The best bet is to block off any access to the mice. Shore power cords are a great bridge for mice. Use the old sailing ship method and install a disk on the cord to prevent mice invading.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:51 AM   #7
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I walked away from a 25' with 500 miles because it sat four years and was not winterized. Pipes broke. The mold just hit me once I got past the fabrezze which was used for my visit. I was heartbroken ! But just could not live with four years of mold growing.
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Old 03-18-2016, 02:04 PM   #8
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There are some other threads on how to remove rodents, so some searching is a good idea. In general, you want them to leave. Ace sells a mouse repellent that is supposed to work. Some folks say to use dryer anti-static sheets, but other folks say that does not work. The cleanup job is a complete dropping and debris removal, a scrubbing and a disinfect. Should be easier than fixing rot or collision damage, but a challenge that many would avoid. Sounds like the infestation may have been long enough to include wiring or plumbing damage, so there is that possibility to consider. Good luck. A jewel or a pit, let us know how it all works out. Pat
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Old 03-18-2016, 03:29 PM   #9
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Buying an Airstream with "tenants" and how to evict?

I'd also be worried about whether the rodents had gotten into spaces between the walls (e.g. between the inner and outer shell) or under the floor. There are plenty of stories about rehabs of mouse-infested trailers out there for you to read. Clearing that stuff out could be a major chore, so don't take it on without being clear on what you may have signed up to do.
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Old 03-18-2016, 03:40 PM   #10
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I got rid of them . . . but the smell wouldn't go away no matter what I did or cleaned. I eventually tore the entire trailer apart . . . and found that a city of mice had lived, for years, in between the walls (i should say "lived AND died" in between the walls . . . and pooped and peed (for years). I would have never gotten rid of the smell if I hadn't torn it "all the way down" - and cleaned/scrub everything of course . . . your mileage may vary.

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Old 03-18-2016, 07:41 PM   #11
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Yuck! Run the other way.....
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Old 03-19-2016, 07:36 AM   #12
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The bullsnake, cat, foodless traps, bucket of water will work on the ones freely moving around the cabin. Don't use traps with peanut butter as you aren't trying to attract more of them.

Belly pan drop will work for those under the floor. Removing the interior skins will take care of anything in the walls and allow you to see your wiring.

If the price is that great you can do it but that's a lot of work.

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Old 03-19-2016, 09:34 AM   #13
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If there is evidence of previous or current rodent infestation chances are 99.999% that they have gotten into the insulation in between the inside and outside skins. The only way to deal with this is to remove all the interior parts of the trailer (fridge, cabinetry, etc..,) remove the interior skin and compromised insulation, clean thoroughly and then reinstall new insulation, the interior skins and other component parts (might as well do a shell off floor replacement while you are at it.)

If the above scope of work is not of interest to you, I would pass on this trailer as you will never get rid of the smell.
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Old 03-19-2016, 09:46 AM   #14
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One more joyful thought: it's my understanding that pack rats in particular like to munch on the wiring insulation so it would be a good idea to test all electrical systems to see whether they still work. Otherwise you may find opens or shorts when you get it home.

Again if you're up for the challenge and the price is right you can save this trailer and make it your own. Just take a clear-eyed look at it first.
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Old 03-19-2016, 10:16 AM   #15
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There is an odoer killer used on homes after a fire. Some paint stores might sell it.
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Old 03-19-2016, 10:16 AM   #16
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Ditto to Phoenix's cautions about the Hanta Virus. When you inspect the trailer, recommend that you do not move/disturb anything inside the trailer, as stirring up the dust/droppings/etc. can actually release the virus into the air. If you must move things, see the cdc link given earlier and arrive with spray bottles with the recommended bleach solution to spray on anything you want to lift or move.

Serious stuff . . .

Be safe -- respirators -- the whole 9 yards.

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Old 03-19-2016, 10:20 AM   #17
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Here is a link to CDC about Hanaviris, I know it can be dangerous because in Yosemite Valley numerous campers caught and some died. These campers stayed in Tent Cabins and the mice had made nests in between the double canvas walls. I hope something here will help you to make your dream come true but make sure you do it safely. Happy travels.
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Old 03-19-2016, 10:33 AM   #18
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I would walk away from this, but the following may be of interest to you:
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Old 03-19-2016, 10:35 AM   #19
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Definitely proceed with caution. We have issues with Pack Rats here and they can be extremely destructive. Removal of their remains would require removing the pan and some interior walls. Also, a trailer that has sat forever will need new axles.


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Old 03-19-2016, 11:16 AM   #20
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Just to add on to what others have said, rats chew on wiring, so that could be a real problem. If the price is right, and you could manage a big project it might be worth it!

Other things to look out for it was not kept up would be floor rot. It happens right next to the walls from water dripping in.

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