we just bought an 87 westy. on a recent camping trip we had a mouse running all thru the vent channels,dashboard,glove compartment and cabinets. any clues as how they get in? there was evidence of mouse inhabitation when we bought it. any advice as how to keep them out? thanks
A mouse can get into any opening he can get his head through, so you're talking openings as small as a nickel. And there are so many, especially with their ability to gnaw through anything short of steel.
The could have gotten in through the engine compartment, fresh air intakes (which are always open -- they only close at the dash vent), or any of the openings where the heater, A/C hoses & wiring harnesses enter the body.
How to get them out -- sorry, old fashioned traps are best. I don't recommend fumigation because you have a dead mouse to find before he smells everything up.
You still need to find the entrance and get it sealed it back up. Look for evidence of where they might have taken nesting material, like fiberglass (would be from door panels), foam (glued in insulation) or rubber (weatherstripping, grommets). They often start their nesting with materials from the entrance area.
Capt Mike gave some good insight on places to look - one area that I have had some experience is the fresh air duct behind the front grill. If you look in the center of the grill, you will see another meshed grill. This is for keeping leaves, etc., from entering the fresh air system. Unfortunately, it is not a tight seal on the edges, and this is where I have seen mice get in. They get underneath, climb up the radiator, and across the top, through the mess grill, and then they are in. You might want to check it out and make sure all opening in are closed tightly. You could always use a little RTV to seal some of the suspected areas as well. Good luck. CGOTTS
One other place to pay special attention to is where your canvas meets the both the Westy body, and the top of the fibreglass top. They will sneak under there, usually to find a nice nest either in your top bunk cushion-foam. Plus, I have also retrieved some DOA mice who found thier way into the top of the headliner.
Also, avoid camping in/near fields. You are asking for an invasion. I would suggest using some type of sticky-trap.
My '78 Westy has been sitting outside for quite a few years, yet is in very good mechanical condition.
I just put a new battery in & fired it up. It idled smoothly for 20 minutes or so & then white transparent smoke came out of the engine compartment. I shut it down & found the smoke was coming from inside the engine passenger- side sheet metal that covers the right-side cylinder heads & has two holes cut-out for spark plug wires.
I removed a sparkplug wire & with a screwdriver was able to extract some gray cotton-like material & small twigs that was just inside the hole in the sheetmetal and had no signs of smoldering on it. I think there is a lot more of this stuff in there. I later noticed a mouse under the camper.
I'm looking for ideas on how to clean out what appears to be a major mouse nest from inside the sheetmetal. Thanks.
masone Member posted May 02, 2003 06:51 PM
I feel your pain. My 78' was sitting in a field for about five years before I bought it and found that just about every nook and cranny had a rats nest stuck up in it. I also spent about 30 hours rewiring the bus as the rats had chewed through a good part of the electrical plastic. I spent a few saturdays and basically disassembled every part I could and cleaned up as much as I could, and eventually pulled out about a garbage bag worth of nests, but Im sure there still a few vacant nests somewhere. A few people I talked to suggested I park the bus in my garage a place a few bug bombs under the bus and a few inside , shut the door and basically smoke em' out. But I figured this was a bit inhumane for my tastes, so I didnt. What I figured was that as long as the little critters didnt chew away at my electrical system again and if there were any varmints still homesteading in my bus, as long as they stayed out of my way I wouldnt charge them rent . good luck
Garyo Member posted May 02, 2003 09:37 PM
It is very, very important that you remove the engine tin from the engine to ensure that all the obstructions have been removed. This can be done with the engine in the van. Not so much because of the fire potential of dry straw, etc., but from the potential of cooking your engine due to inadequate cooling caused by the blockage(s).
Make sure you also check around your oil cooler. If need be, you can remove the tin, alternator, oil fill tube, cooling fan housing, cooling fan and then the rear housing for the cooling fan with the vehicle in the van as well. Just make sure you disconnect the battery first.
I would be inclined to get as mush debris off with a shop vac first (it's amazing all the nozzle shapes you can buy for it), then I'd give it a good blow of air from an air compressor.
If your heat exchangers have a hole in the outer skin, you might want to check there too.
I'm wondering what's involved in removing the "tin" from the engine when it is still in the camper. About how many bolts need to come out? Do they usually require heat to remove after 10+ years since the engine was rebuilt? Just trying to see if maybe I can do it or if I want to have it done in a shop.
Enough of the "tin" -- Bentley 5-7, fig 7.2 -- comes out enough to reach any debris without the engine. but if your debris is up in the cooling/fan shroud, the engine will have to come out -- fairly easy in a '78.
It's rare when a bolt needs heat -- usually a good penetrant like PB Blaster is sufficient, if you remember to apply it a day or so ahead of stripping out the screw head.
Our 85 Westy takes the harsh winters off and stays parked in the driveway.As I was getting everything shipshape for the first trip, I turned on the heater blower and was showered with all sorts of seed pods and sunflower shells coming from the adjustable air louvers on the dash.I removed the glovebox and the vent hose and put the shopvac hose on the heater housing but didn't hear anything getting sucked up.When you start to drive I believe I detect the fragance of a newly departed mouse.Any suggestions as to where it may have entered(where is fresh air intake for heater?) or how to find and remove the carcass would be GREATLY appreciated.
We have mouse invasion problems almost continually where I live in the country. On my civic, I found the fresh air intake and put some screening over it with a giant hose clamp. On my 87 westy I have found nests on top of the engine, in the back seat heater blower, in the under sink dish cabinet, and in the ventilation system. I've even had problems with mice eating the insulation off wiring! I've used "have a heart" traps, merciless neck breaking traps, and poison. Generally I keep a trap in the van at all times using Peanut Butter for bait. If I always have a trap then the mice don't seem to get off to a fast start and build a nest.
A word of caution however. Please use a face mask and bleach when cleaning up mouse nests. Hantavirus is rare but gnarly. For more info go to this link:
Hi folks, my Grandpa told me that when storing your van ( as I live in Canada) or having a mouse problem. He says to put Bounce ( thats the brand name) or simply Fabric Softener. Those little sheets you throw in the dryer with your clothes. They do not like this stuff, its safe on all materials, like your interior, and has a pleasant smell. I also used it on a small crack in my garage and they never came back again. Juat a little help. Hope it works for you. jason
When I purchased my 91 westy 3 years ago the first thing I had to deal with was a terrible odor from behind the drivers seat. It only took a couple of hot July days for me to figure something had died. I thought it was behind the fridge but could not find anything there or in the cabinets. Searching for the cause of the odor was how I discovered the spare battery compartment under the drivers seat.
Eventually I noticed that there was not a louvers vent cover on the opening by the door latch, somehow a mouse had gotten in and passed away way down by the rocker panel. I eventually used a treble hook from a fishing lure to snag the corpse and and pull it out. I dumped some lime down the opening and went to a junkyard and found of the slotted, oval, covers and installed it.
I thought that my meager mechanical skills would be taxed fixing problems with the water cooled engine not tryinmg to track down dead mice.
Not to pour cold water on a repeated idea, but the value of "bounce" is less then zero! We park for long periods of time in the bush of Northwestern Ontario, and have always had mouse problems in our vehicles. I have always resorted to leaving out several boxes of d-con when we park. (Depending on the season, the mouse invasion starts in matter of hours!) Reading the repeated posts about bounce, we decided to try that instead. Returning to the Westy less than a week after parking, mouse sign everywhere, damage to any paper left our. (We take the precaution of storing all our stuff in rubbermaid boxes so no major damage) So now we have mice crap everywhere and everything smells like the soap section of the supermarket! Phew!
I guess I'll have to go back to poison, (not that I'm happy about it) but I, over the years, have had wiring harness's destroyed, heater cores pluged, airclearers plugged, and every other problem you can imagine.
Not to seem too obvious, but what's the problem with using mouse traps. I live between the woods and a soy bean field and found a sneaker full of beans once too often. After moth-balling ourselves to death and trying to outguess the little critters, my heart hardened and I set my mouse traps, check them every other day or so in cold weather and that's it.
When we park in the bush, we leave the vehicle and go down the lake for a dozen or so miles. (we live on a small island) We don't go down to the landing where the car is for weeks at a time. The problem with traps is that I can set and get 6 the first night. By the end of a couple of weeks I still have the problem. I guess the point is that there are more mice in the bush who would rather live in the nice warm comfort of my westy than out in the cold.
Ps. I just spoke to a mechanic friend who just replaced the second multiple thousand dollar wiring harness on a 04 Subaru for the same customer because the mice got to it. (Insurance paid both times! imagine the adjusters comments) He has traps, poison, you name it. I guess I'll consider myself lucky.
Wow, my single mouse problem does not even come close to the other horror stories. I was camping last year up in the Sierra Mountains of California and late at night I heard some chewing. I knew it was a mouse and found evidence in the form of little black things in the sink. I was not pleased as all I could invision was the electrical system being chewed and dollar bills. I was perplexed as to how it got in. The next morning I was walking around the van and noticed tracks on the dust that had settled on the front bumper. Little tiny paws and a tail being drawn thru them. I even noticed marks on the windshield. I could see where the mouse had tried a few times to leap from the wiper arm up the windshiled and then slid back down the glass. This guy was determined to get in. I went to the back of the van and same thing. Marks all over the dust. The evening before I had opened and left up the rear hatch with the bug net in place. All kinds of ways to get in there. Well it cost me a bag of chips and two bad nights of sleep. I got home removed all the food and left a door open and put out several traps. It's gone now. I was surprised a month or two later when I found a well built nest in the area for the spare battery. This guy was moving in quick.
As a side note I have seen these audibal high frequency rat and mouse things in hardware stores that plug into a standard 110 outlet. I wonder if those might help. Plug it into the 110 outlet in the van and run a power cord to the outside hook up.