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PostPosted: January 23rd, 2018, 10:10 am 
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My 98 Concourse had a few droppings under the sink when I got it. I've read that the electrical system on the driver's side has an opening on the underside that is a ready access point for rodents. I rolled around underneath a few days ago and didn't see anything obvious. The only post I found on the subject was one about boxing in the opening under the kitchen sink. I got the idea that in that case the interior was pulled apart for access. Is there a method to fill the opening without pulling the kitchen apart?


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PostPosted: January 23rd, 2018, 10:19 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
I can't think of anything electrical specific to the Chinook that would let in mice EXCEPT the power box/cord area. Yours must be very similar to my early '99. I can post photos but essentially there is a "wooden" (for definitions of wood that include MDF :lol: ) box that delineates the cord storage area for the shore power cord. It's under the sink in the corner adjacent to the forward shower wall.

When I had my kitchen out in order to pattern the new one, I made a new box. I just couldn't leave that MDF thing in place since I was in there.

So the issue is two things:

1) The plastic door to the power cord storage area (the one on the outside of the body) has a "mouse hole" for the cord to go through. So, ahem. For now I use copper mouse mesh wrapped around the cord at that spot, but it's not ideal as it presses against the plastic door which is weak. I will move to a boat like system wherein there is an "inlet" (separate from the plastic door) where you attach a loose cord (the current one has no detachable inboard end; it's hard wired to the brown box). Then I will replace the door on the cord storage area with a solid one (no mouse hole). I'll still store the cord in there, and just open the door when I want to access the cord to plug into the separate inlet.

2) If they DO get into the wooden box area (through the mouse hole plastic door) then there are TONS of gaps between that box and the Chinook interior. Since I built a new box, I really wanted to eliminate those. But ultimately I decided it was a Herculean task, and that I would instead eliminate the mouse hole door. The reason there are tons of gaps is that the wooden box has "archway" holes for wiring to go in and out on two sides, and plus encompasses the indent for the fuel filler to the main gas tank (those gaps lead to behind the shower). Also the whole area is (was, in my case, now gone) carpeted, which doesn't help in the gap prevention. OTOH, if you keep them from coming in the plastic mouse-hole door, the gaps in the wooden box don't matter.

BG
PS: The plastic door assemblies are available and easily obtainable. I used a JR Products one that matched nearly perfectly. I also opted for the thumb-latch version as I found it annoying to have to get out a key --- especially when there is only one key they even use so there is no security (heck, the mice probably even have a copy), only inconvenience.

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PostPosted: January 23rd, 2018, 10:44 am 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Okay, here are some photos. The area is a little hard to see with the kitchen in place, so I removed it (ha, no, it was for other purposes).

This is my '99, and this era Concourse has individual plastic exterior doors for water fill, shore power cord, shower (on rear by door), etc. --- not the all-in-one fiberglass door of the later rigs where everything is bunched together. Not sure how those look under the sink - whether similar or different.

So here are some photos of the original box, and I'll put some of the new box and what I did to the floor area in a subsequent post. They aren't great, as they weren't taken for this purpose, but they give you the idea. There are wiring holes both on the forward bottom edge and on the inboard/aft bottom edge (for the main wiring bundles to go behind the shower and thence to the passenger side). Then there is a loose fit around the sloped fuel filler tunnel, and a bunch of huge gappage where the plumbing goes aft behind the shower. I'm sure someone could custom seal all these, but I decided it would be much more efficient to just keep them from getting in the ONE exterior opening, which is the plastic shore power door with "mouse hole."

What delineates the space for this box is the wheelwell forward (although there is a little space between it and the wheel well), the framing for the electrical door on the top/forward, and the fuel filler door and shower wall aft.

Obviously, "excuse the mess, we're under construction." :mrgreen: You can ignore the while electrical thing in the upper left in the first photo - that's my 110 charger that replaces the one that was built into the brown box and has nothing much to do with the box we're talking about.

Um, well, I guess never mind. When I try to upload a photo I new get a message that says "Sorry, the board attachment quota has been reached." Guess I've uploaded too many over the years? Rats!

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PostPosted: January 24th, 2018, 2:37 pm 
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Joined: June 26th, 2017, 9:38 pm
Posts: 148
Location: Southern CA
Micky are pretty flexible, and he can go thru a hole as small as a nickle. It is important to seal up every hole to keep him from going inside. For house, I use 1/4 inch hardware cloth and steel wool, but has not find any thing on the rig that I need to do yet.

I'm also in the process of converting to the twist-lock dock power setup that boater uses. The issue that I am trying to figure out is how to attached the inlet and still have enough room in the box for the detachable cord. I see some people use a inlet with a cover, but I don't want to cut a hole on the outside just for the shore power.

Anyway, I think I see that Blue is trying to do the similar thing. I just can't see how you going to help with the mouse problem if you need to leave the door open when you are plug in to shore power.... maybe I am missing something.

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PostPosted: January 24th, 2018, 10:53 pm 
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Well that's illuminating. I was puzzling why the many references to the 'mouse door'. So as I understand it the docking setup has the power supply cord lying on the ground. Mr. mouse has an easy highway and runs up the cord, thru the 'door' and into the coach.


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PostPosted: January 24th, 2018, 11:52 pm 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Yes, but it's possible to keep the mice out of the "mouse hole" when plugged in. What I do is take a length of copper "mouse mesh" and wrap it around the cord, then put that section so that part of the mesh is inside the mouse hole and part outside the mouse hole. Mice won't go through metal mesh (and unlike steel wool, it won't rust or oxidize/combust).

I still think a sealed inlet style is better (not only for mice but because sometimes it's nice to unplug and leave the cord at the site), but the mouse hole doesn't have to be left flapping in the breeze if that's all you have.

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PostPosted: January 25th, 2018, 8:43 am 
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Location: Marysville, WA
While renovating homes for many years I ran across my share of rodents. I've never owned a house that didn't have them. Even had a Norway Rat come up in a toilet in my first home.

A pest control guy once told me mice only need a dime size hole and rats need a quarter to slip through.

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PostPosted: January 25th, 2018, 9:44 am 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
I've heard that it takes 1/8" mesh to stop them (i.e. size of hole). I guess they compress their bones or something. Sheesh.

Now that we can post photos again, here are the ones I meant to post above. I''ll put them here cause otherwise someone might not go back to the post above.

So here is the original box (this is on my 1999 with the individual inlets for power, water, etc.). This box envelopes the power inlet door. (Pardon the mess, we were remodeling, and the angle as the photo was taken for another purpose.) Ignore the white box on the left, that's my shore charger. The blue carpeted thing sticking up on the top left is the indent for the fuel filler hose. There is a large gap on that side, plus gaps in a couple of places on the bottom for the main wiring bundles and other things.

Attachment:
original box.jpg
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That's the box at the bottom of this photo - there are gaps in the after side that kind of match the plumbing gap you see. They lead into the behind-shower area.

Attachment:
original box showing gaps.jpg
original box showing gaps.jpg [ 145.72 KiB | Viewed 82 times ]


Different angle. Not much new to see, but hey, guts photos! This is the original plumbing, btw. The black "hat" is the Air Admittance Valve for the sink (so it drains and doesn't get stuck and gurgle).

Attachment:
original box showing fuel area gaps.jpg
original box showing fuel area gaps.jpg [ 157.37 KiB | Viewed 82 times ]


On to next post....

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PostPosted: January 25th, 2018, 10:13 am 
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I was "in there" during some remodeling I was doing, so I decided to do a few things (why yes, projects creep :lol: ).

I took out the box and mostly duplicated it in multi-ply. At this point I considered whether I could eliminate all the gaps. After looking it over I decided it was much more feasible to just keep rodents from coming in the outside hatch door to the compartment (and side bonus, no mice in the compartment). Now I might not design it that way from scratch - and I'm sure someone could mouse-proof this box, but I decided to tackle it from the outside door instead.

So while the original box was out, I took all the carpet out of the area where the box sits. Putting the shore cord in onto a carpeted surface always bugged me (actually I rarely use my shore cord, but that's also where I store the cable for my ground-based solar panels). I will also likely remove all the carpet at some point, but didn't want to have to re-remove the box. Then I sanded the floor lightly (mostly fiberglass in this area due to base tabbing for wheel well and fuel fill area), and applied a few coats of a good marine alkyd paint (Pettit Easypoxy). Ahh, much better.

Next I removed the electric door. As per usual it was pointy-screwed into a few strips of wood that were barely hanging on (had been just pushed into some polyester mush). It was "fine," but ... good time to re-bed while I had easy access. I would have put on a new door but I had already replaced it not that long ago. I removed each of the wood strips that were around the perimeter, cleaned them up, and then epoxied them to the opening (vs. the polyester mush). Then I installed the door assembly again but with machine screws/washers/nuts. It was easier with the box out, but I can still reach them all from the outside hatch in future.

Attachment:
painted floor plus new door.jpg
painted floor plus new door.jpg [ 189.53 KiB | Viewed 80 times ]


You can see in the photo above how the box fits around the large fuel filler chute (carpeted).

Now as it turned out, my cabinetmaker had to stop mid-job due to cancer (stupid cancer!). So I ended up putting much of the original sink cabinetry back until a future point. Now that I've removed more carpet elsewhere, and since I won't be rushed next time (i.e. working around someone else who's being paid), I may re-remove the box and take the carpet off the fuel filler chute and replace it with sound deadener and....? Not sure, that remains to be seen. It's not really hurting anything, but sometimes I just have to do something :D The chute is a fiberglass molding, btw.

Here is the new box in place:
Attachment:
new box from above.jpg
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In the above photo you can (slightly) see the hole at lower left of the box. That's the main wiring bundles that lead over to the passenger side of the rig (behind the shower, over the door, and beyond). The shore power cord also leads (but not shown in photo) from the back of the brown box (where it is hard wired to the ATS) into the box where it lives (originally).

The white box on the left is the charger I replaced the brown box charger with. It's mounted to a board, then the board goes onto studs that project from the wall. Did it that way cause it's easier if you have to remove/replace later, when it's not so accessible. When I removed the brown box I went to a more typical boat setup, with separate shore charger, AC panel, DC panel.

One last photo for now. Here you can see the AC junction box I placed on top of the box. The reason this exists is that Chinook (wrongly, but then I have never seen any production RV that didn't also) used solid AC wiring. You can't put solid wiring onto a marine type breaker panel -- they are made to accept ring terminals that you affix to the end of stranded wiring (which is better for use in a moving vehicle). So, all the solid AC wires go into this box (instead of attaching to the brown box), and inside the box they join up to their stranded counterparts. The stranded wires come out of the box and go to the AC panel. Unlike DC, you can't join AC wires without a junction box. This was wasted space, so a good home for the charger and box. I've also changed the plumbing a bit in this photo, but that's just side info (well, I guess a lot of this was side info, but isn't that how it goes? :lol: ).

Attachment:
new box plus junction box .jpg
new box plus junction box .jpg [ 160.72 KiB | Viewed 80 times ]


In future I'll be going to a shore inlet with detachable cord. Then I'll replace the electric hatch door with one that doesn't have a mouse hole, but still store the cord in there. Same type of deal with my solar ground panel cord, which also lives in there. As mentioned above that door is where I concentrated my mouse prevention efforts, vs. the inner perimeter of the box.

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PostPosted: January 26th, 2018, 3:37 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2015, 5:54 am
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Location: Santa Cruz
I have a shore power inlet fixed to a square plastic panel that is attached to the shell where the original door was. So now there's more indoor storage under my sink, and it's totally sealed from intruders.

Copper scouring pad pieces crammed into small holes work well and it's readily available.

If mice do get in (had one follow me in through the back door), I like the small Victor traps with a dab of peanut butter.

Off topic... but now that pictures can post, here's a moose cow and her calf I spotted on this morning's snowshoe trek. Mom was the size of a horse!


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20180125_120548.jpg
20180125_120548.jpg [ 503.32 KiB | Viewed 51 times ]

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