Trailer Life Magazine Open Roads Forum: Mice issues in RV underbelly
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 > Mice issues in RV underbelly

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buffalofrenchy

WNY

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Posted: 02/12/18 06:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello, new member. I sold my hybrid and bought a park model last Fall. I can't believe how naive I was when I bought it. Everything looked great inside but now I am finding out how badly it has (or is) infested with mice.
It's a Canterbury 2008. I realized a few weeks ago some openings underneath the RV and some as big as 4 inch wide where from the ground I can even see the bathroom vent. The RV has what seems like galvanized steel underbelly pan with insulation in it. I don't know how long it has been open like that maybe since 2008. There are 4 HVAC vents inside, removing them gave me a look inside the underbelly. There are debris brought in from outside and mice droppings everywhere throughout from front to back. I also found more droppings in a closet where the hot water tank is. Also a hole in the wall by the water heater maybe 1 feet from above ground. In that hole chewed up wires going to the water tank. Although we found very few droppings inside the RV, the inside is pristine condition, the condition of the underbelly and maybe walls is alarming.

I taped over the large holes with foil tape. Lots of layers. Then screwed 1/4 in hardware cloth over the taped up gaps with coarse steel wool wedge between the cloth and the underbelly. I set lots of traps in the camper but killed only mouse near the water heater. Last week end I set a dozen traps (mechanical and glue) in the underbelly to see if there are mice in there. After one night nothing but I will go back next week end to check in again. Probably every week end from now on.

I am tempted to cut sections of the metal underbelly to replace the insulation and check on the wiring. I know the pluming and HVAC run in the underbelly. How about the electric? Does it run in the underbelly too? I am worried they chewed more wires that I can't see. I am at loss of word and can't believe I didn't see that when I bought it. I wish I could attach pictures.

Mortimer Brewster

Northern Illinois

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Posted: 02/12/18 07:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You can use this link to help post photos. Once you have copied the URL for the photo you will need to go to the Advanced Post Form and look for the link tool.
FYI, steel wool will rust in time. It’s better to use copper mesh impregnated with Great Stuff Foam.

buffalofrenchy

WNY

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Posted: 02/12/18 07:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

[image]

[image]

One picture the kind of gap there was around the black water tank pipe (black water tank is outside RV) and the other picture is what the underbelly look like everywhere, this is seen from the bathroom vent once removed. My main fear is chewed up electric lines if they run through the underbelly.

coolmom42

Middle Tennessee

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Posted: 02/13/18 08:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't know about electrical in a park model, but I would advise you to wear a respirator, and wear waterproof gloves. while cleaning up that mess. You don't want to breath dust from the droppings, or have significant skin contact. Mouse droppings carry all sorts of diseases.

In every travel trailer I've dealt with, the wiring is inside and above the floor, from the point where the battery cables and/or shore power enter. Park models may be different.


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tenbear

Northern Vermont, USA

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Posted: 02/13/18 08:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I too had a mouse problem. None of the holes were as big as yours but I sealed them with foam. That was many years ago, maybe 7, and I haven't had a mouse since. No problem has since appeared with the wiring or plumbing. Hope you do as well.


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Camped in 45 states, 7 Provinces and 1 Territory


buffalofrenchy

WNY

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Posted: 02/13/18 09:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How to clean it is the question as I do not have access other than through the vents... To clean this disaster I would have to cut and remove the galvanized sheet metal pan, rework the insulation from the bottom and then find a way to re-enclose the underbelly. I don't know what to do: whether I do the above or just making sure that I seal everything: sealing the underbelly from the outside environment and from the inside RV. I am leaning toward the first option but I don't know how realistic it will be, some section is very cluttered with 3 axles and outdoor plumbing attachments and little clearance to the ground.

tenbear

Northern Vermont, USA

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Posted: 02/13/18 10:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I didn't have much space between the two sides of the floor so I just filled the hole with foam. I might try to vacuum the space then seal the top and bottom. The droppings will eventually dry up. As long as you don't get a smell in the MH you should be ok. If there are no moving parts you could just fill the space with foam.

tenbear

Northern Vermont, USA

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Posted: 02/13/18 11:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just to clear up any question about the foam I mentioned, It is liquid foam sold in a spray can and it solidifies into a solid foam, not foam rubber. You probably knew this but just in case.....

buffalofrenchy

WNY

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Posted: 02/13/18 11:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the input. I talked to the campground owner who also services RV and he claims it's not worth tearing the galvanized underbelly to replace insulation - but that's just his opinion. He offers to borrow an ozone machine and run it for several days in the camper while the place is vacant. He also claims there is no wiring in the underbelly which I confirmed by calling the manufacturer, they actually gave me literally the same answer. Only trailer lights through underbelly, all 110V electric through walls and ceilings.

I am tempted to use a shop vac and vacuum what i can reach then seal everything tight. I am also tempted to cut an access door within a closet space to reach and monitor the underbelly for the future. The closet under the stairs could accommodate a 2 by 3 foot access door. Obviously I would have to seal the seam but I see value being able to monitor the inside in the future.

tenbear

Northern Vermont, USA

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Posted: 02/13/18 06:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like you are on the right track. Once the outside is sealed you are home free. Hope everything goes well.

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