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Old 08-05-2016, 05:40 AM   #1
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Electrical damage- Rabbits or Rats?

Has anyone in this forum experienced rodent damage to the Mbs electrical ?
We just finished a 30 day trip to the four corners area. On day 25 we were camping at Brantley lake state park outside of Carlsbad NM when Trouble started. I started the coach and within 1 minute the Cel , def and low washer fluid lights came on, also no outside temp display. I thought the fluid lights might be due to the campsite not being level so we stopped at an auto store for def and washer fluid on the way to the caverns. Topped both off and expected the def light to go away on the next start. Had a great day at the caverns the started the coach and got the dreaded 10 starts left. We quickly looked up the nearest Mbs dealer but found that the nearest Sprinter center was San Antonio tx. Luckily this was on our way home. Counted out how many starts to get home if we didn't shut of the engine for fueling and decided to make our last stop at white sands. Reached the Boerne Tx Sprinter dealer on 7 starts. They heard the story and recommended we proceed to our home dealer since they would burn 2 starts to diagnose the problem and might not have the parts. They were woried that they would not be able to reset the count without correcting the problem and advised the count might accelerate. They provided a list of all the sprinter centers on the way home if the count changed. Drove the next 2 days back to Florida losing 1 count per day. When I arrived home, we unpacked the coach and started it the next day to bring to the local dealer. The count had suspended at 5 and no longer was in countdown. While home I looked more closely under the hood and noticed these scratches and the washer fluid sensor line broken. The dealer found the washer fluid line and ambient temp sensor lines "cut like with a wire cutter" . Once they repaired all codes cleared and all other sensors test as designed.
So, was it the numerous rabbits( we watched up to 12 at a time when eating dinner) or the kangaroo rats reportedly there ? Do we have soy based green insulation on the wires to attract them? Just wanted to share the experience and Alert others about our stay at Brantley lake. The final repairs came to 300 after inspecting all wiring visually and interrogating all the sensors on computer and repairing damaged lines.
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Old 08-05-2016, 06:15 AM   #2
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Where was the cut? If it was higher up in the engine compartment I would suspect rats, though they usually leave evidence of their gnawing. Rabbits typically will eat from ground level, only reaching up as high as they can stand on their back legs.

Got love these modern vehicles that know more than we do...

Is it possible the cut was caused by something else?


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Old 08-05-2016, 06:28 AM   #3
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While camped on a BLM site in southern Utah, I had a rodent of some type get in and nest in my underbelly. Thought we heard something moving around, but traps didn't produce results. After making forays into my kitchen drawers to nibble on grainola bars, he eventually cut the wires leading to my tail lights, as we discovered when we did our departure checks.

We limped into Page, AZ on what luckily were lightly trafficked roads. When the belly pan was removed to find the breaks and make a repair, an intact grainola bar was found in the insulation -- took it down for a midnight snack I guess.


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Old 08-05-2016, 07:57 AM   #4
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The ambient temp sensor line was cut at the level of the frame, the windshield wiper fluid sensor was about 16 -18 inches from the ground. There are scratches and marks low down in the engine compartment on both side as well as foot prints on the air cleaner. Lower fits with rabbits ( the actual damage) but there are also footprints high in the compartment. Maybe it was a team effort?
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Old 08-05-2016, 08:00 AM   #5
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Old 08-05-2016, 08:05 AM   #6
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Around here, such damage is done by squirrels and mice/rats.
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Old 08-05-2016, 08:15 AM   #7
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Yikes, probably this guy.

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Old 08-05-2016, 02:39 PM   #8
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Glad you got home okay and that it was an easy repair.

I wish there was a foolproof way to prevent rodent damage, but if there is, I haven't heard of one that always works. We have had rodent damage (squirrels, pack rats, kangaroo rats) several times over the decades in both the RV and the TV. Seems like they really enjoy the wire insulation for some reason. When going to areas notorious for rodent activity, (which is most places we go I ensure our ultrasonic rodent repeller has fresh batteries. Do they work? No clue.. but they don't hurt anything! You can pick one up at most hardware stores (Home Depot, Lowes, etc).
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Old 08-05-2016, 02:44 PM   #9
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Had a similar experience with dws suv. Squirrels ate through the wiring harness, cost $350 for part and found out the varmints were raiding the suet in the bird feeder near garage. Removed feeder and installed a squirrel away. They left for a while. Neighbor had similar incident where they shorted starter cables. Towing and all ran over $600. Nasty little pest, squirrel away from Amazon doing trick for now!
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Old 08-05-2016, 03:39 PM   #10
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Electrical Damage -Rabbits or Rats

Don't know which caused yours but had $650 dollars of wiring harness damage. It affected interior lighting, windshield washer system, and caused the hood and doors to show open when they weren't. Either rats, mice, or squirrels caused the problem. Most likely rats. Trapped 2 big ones around my home. I live on the edge of a forest so its a big problem. I use peppermint oil soaked cotton balls in my engine compartment and have the whole engine compartment lighted. Haven't had anymore damage that I can tell. Researched the wiring and determined that my F350 does have soy based wiring and that attracts them. Used glue traps under my vehicle for awhile but never caught anything but spiders and lizards.

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