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dead mice

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by larryjv, May 27, 2006.

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  1. larryjv

    larryjv New Member

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    Yesterday I got a dead animal smell coming out my vents. Today I pulled out three dead mice who had made a nest of tissues and car insulation on top of the cabin air filter behind the glove box. I found chewed acorns in the engine compartment and figured they might also have crawled into the engine air intake. Sure enough, when I opened the air filter box I found a pile of empty acorn shells underneath the engine air filter .

    I have a couple of questions.

    1. The mice were on the upper side of the cabin air filter. This side is the one that faces the incoming external air. Nevertheless, I know the mice were getting into the cabing because they took tissues from the tissue box to make their nest and left a mouse dropping in the cabin. How were the mice finding a way into the cabin if the air filter blocked them?

    2. Above and below the cabin air filter are two interior air recirculation vents whose flaps automatically open and shut in various configurations when the fan or a/c is running. The recirculation vent that is above the air filter does, in fact, provide a path directly into the cabin that bypasses the cabin filter when it is open. If this vent ever remains open when the car is turned off, I have the answer to question #1. However, it appears that both vents close when the car is turned off. Are these vents always closed when car is shut down, or are there situations in which the upper vent remains open? If this recirculation vent isn't the path to the cabin interior, what is?

    3. Where is the air intake for the ventilation system? It looks to me like it is located somewhere behind the black plastic panel that covers the windshield wiper motors at the base of the windshield. Although this cover has screen across the front of it (on the car's right), the sides of the cover (next to the hood hinges) are completely open. There is a 4-inch gap at each end next to the hood hinges. This space is irregular and looks impossible to seal. If the air duct behind this cover has no screen of its own, then the ventilation system is vulnerable to entry by critters.

    We live in the woods, so mice will no doubt try to set up housekeepng again. The car has gone no more than two or three days without use since we got it in March. I want to keep mice out of the cabin, and I want to block them from getting into the ventilation duct and the engine air intake. I don't understand why the ventilation intake is not properly screened and sealed. My wife's Honda CRV has had rodents visit its engine compartment, but we have had no nests or dead mice in the vents because Honda didn't leave the ventilation intake cover open at the ends. Any ideas for preventing a repeat colonization of my Prius are appreciated.
  2. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    We used to have a Subaru that was irresistible to mice. They would set up housekeeping in the blower fan, which was located in an out of the way spot; used to cost about $200 to get it taken apart and cleaned. We finally screen the intake openings, as you intend to do on your Prius.

    I'll be interested to see what suggestions are posted.

    Tom
  3. efusco

    efusco Troll Slayer Staff Member

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  4. daronspicher

    daronspicher New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(efusco @ May 27 2006, 06:50 AM) [snapback]261728[/snapback]</div>

    Who knows the right place to install metal window screen so that the mice can't get anywhere near inside the car or this filter area??

    Pictures would be awesome..

    Is there an opening on a tube leading to this filter that we can block off with metal window screen?
  5. larryjv

    larryjv New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(daronspicher @ May 27 2006, 08:18 AM) [snapback]261732[/snapback]</div>

    I found a previous post showing how a screen was placed over the ventilation intake. Now I know which hole to cover.
    http://priusonline.com/viewtopic.php?t=603...7a2a1357718e28f

    Can the plastic ventilation cowling on the car's right side be removed if one or both of the right windshield wiper arms are unbolted? It looks difficult to properly glue the screen onto the vent intake through the small access hole that is available when the "FRAME NO" panel is removed.

    Another thread from someone with the same problem said that a service technician suggested that the car's ventilation system be put in "recirculate" mode before shutting down the car. I was experimenting with the climate control today, watching the two recirculation vents above and below the cabin air cleaner open and close depending upon the setting. When "recirculate" is on, both vents are open. The open vent above the cabin filter will allow any mice who have made set up house on the cabin filter to have access to the rest of the car interior. What I don't know is whether the exterior air intake is completely shut off whenever this upper vent opens on the cabin side to recirculate. Seems that it should. If it closes the exerior air intake at the same time it opens the cabin air intake, then it should keep mice out. However, if it doesn't close the external intake completely, then it allows mice to come from the outside straight into the cabin.

    I found that turning off "AC/Auto" before shutting off the car caused the two recirculation vents to close, sealing off the cabin, but allowing mice access as far as the cabin air filter.

    Like the poster listed above, I am disappointed that Toyota does not seal the ventilation compartment. The gap at the hood hinges is poor design. At least there should be a factory installed screen over the air intake.
  6. larryjv

    larryjv New Member

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    [attachmentid=3627]<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(daronspicher @ May 27 2006, 08:18 AM) [snapback]261732[/snapback]</div>

    I found a previous post showing how a screen was placed over the ventilation intake. Now I know which hole to cover.
    http://priusonline.com/viewtopic.php?t=603...7a2a1357718e28f

    Can the plastic ventilation cowling on the car's right side be removed if one or both of the right windshield wiper arms are unbolted? It looks difficult to properly glue the screen onto the vent intake through the small access hole that is available when the "FRAME NO" panel is removed.

    Another thread from someone with the same problem said that a service technician suggested that the car's ventilation system be put in "recirculate" mode before shutting down the car. I was experimenting with the climate control today, watching the two recirculation vents above and below the cabin air cleaner open and close depending upon the setting. When "recirculate" is on, both vents are open. The open vent above the cabin filter will allow any mice who have set up house on the cabin filter to have access to the rest of the car interior. What I don't know is whether the exterior air intake is completely shut off whenever this upper vent is open in the recirculate mode. Seems that it should. If it closes the exerior air intake at the same time it opens the cabin air intake, then it should keep mice out. However, if it doesn't close the external intake completely, then it allows mice to come from the outside straight into the cabin. Anybody know?

    I found that turning off "AC/Auto" before shutting off the car caused the two recirculation vents to close, sealing off the cabin, but allowing mice access as far as the cabin air filter.

    As a preventive measure, I have put a sticky trap inside the ventillation cowling near the car's right hood hinge. I used three small squares of velcro. I put both loops on the bottom of the sticky trap in a triangle arrangement, then attached the hooks to the loops with their adhesive backing removed. The whole thing was placed with a pair of needle-nosed pliers through the "FRAME NO" cover. The next step is to place mesh over the ventilation intake and the engine air intake.

    Like the poster listed above, I am disappointed that Toyota does not seal the ventilation compartment. The gap in the ventilation cowling at the hood hinges is poor design. If Toyota can't close the end gaps, at least there should be a factory installed screen over the ventilation air intake.
  7. Cindy

    Cindy New Member

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    Have you had any luck getting rid of the mice? I'm having the same problem and plan on trying to block those openings under the hood by epoxying screen/mesh (not going to be easy). I've had to replace one fan already and the new one doesn't sound so good right now. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
  8. northwest

    northwest New Member

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    I have a large farm in the misty mountains of Oregon. I have lived with "mice in cars" problem for years. Indeed, most folks in the hinterlands have to put up with it. MICE CAN SLIP THROUGH SPACES AS SMALL AS A DIME.

    Doesn't matter the make, model, etc...they get in....The most irritating is when they get into the heater ducts....But be thankful you now have a cabin filter that keeps them out of the blower fan....In the old days, sometimes when you flipped on the fan, mouse pieces would come flowing out with the warm air...GROSS

    One "feminist" sorta, author, Anne LaBastille, details her attempts to keep mice out of her pickup, until she finally figures it is hopeless and learns to live with them.

    I have also learned to live with them. I have a cat, who keeps the mouse population in the immediate area of the vehicles somewhat under control. I also have two "Tin Cats" (http://www.biconet.com/traps/tincat.html) that I keep in place 24/7 365/365 in the area when the rigs are parked.

    That helps greatly. Occassionally, I put traps in the vehicles. But no matter, they WILL get in. It's a particular problem in the fall and winter. By late spring and summer, they have other places to go.

    I've heard of mice using the dryer sheets to build their nests....Mothballs --paradiclorabenzene (probably spelled wrong) -- is known to work, but the stuff is toxic and I don't particulary want to be smelling it in my rig.

    Here's an answer I posted to someone who had a Horrible smell in their Camry that they couldn't track down:
    *****
    There may be a simple solution to that smell....I had an "awful" moldy, mildewy, disgusting smell in my 03 Camry, at least according to my wife....I told her if she didn't like the way I smelled she could walk...but seriously, there was an odor, but I just learned to ignore it, because I was too lazy (and cheap) to check out what I figured it was.

    So, finally, after wife threatened never to get in the car again, I popped open the glove box, disengaged the retaining ears and removed the hydralic arm retainer and took out the cabin air filter.

    Removed the three dead baby mice....the remains of the mouse nest and noting that the filter was too badly chewed to repair with duct tape, bit the bullet and bought a new Bosch aftermarket cabin filter for $24.

    Presto. Smell was gone. So, moral is, check the cabin filter. It might be gunked up....you really should be replacing that filter every 30K or less anyway, depending on your driving habits and the number of mice in your neighborhood.
    ************
    So, try whatever solution, but the wildlife have all night to figure out ways around them....BTW, they love trunks and under backseats, also....
  9. JimboK

    JimboK One owner, low mileage

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    I doubt you'll get a response from the original poster. His only PC posts were in this thread over a year and a half ago -- not like he's a regular.

    Meanwhile, the links given by others in this thread and a PriusChat search might turn up more tips.

    Good luck! It sounds like a quite a nuisance, and one I'm blessed not to have to deal with.
  10. fwilliam

    fwilliam New Member

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  11. jfkucera

    jfkucera New Member

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    Major dead mouse smell overtaking my 2011 Prius III coming from the vent. Noticed the droppings, set a trap, but no luck. It finally died and began perfuming the interior with that unmistakable stench.
    These threads really helped, looked at the 2010 YouTube video on how to replace cabin filter, via the glovebox. Very simple to open and wallah, huge nest with dead mouse on top of cabin filter. Cleaned it out, replaced filter, and copious amounts of Febreze.
    NO MORE ODOR!!!
    Took me less than 15 minutes, and saved major$$$ had I gone o the dealership.
    Thank you!!!
  12. Ender3rd

    Ender3rd Junior Member

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    Thanks for this thread! My wife and I found some scraps of yellow insulation on the floor in front of the passenger seat, and the unmistakable odor of mice wafting through the vents of our 2011 Prius II last weekend. There were also scraps of insulation inside the upper glove compartment. I have a feeling that I'll find a little residential rodent doing some housekeeping on the filter when I take a look.

    Regards,

    Ender
  13. Ender3rd

    Ender3rd Junior Member

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    Well, it was an easy job to remove the glove box and pull out the cabin filter. the top of the filter was packed with acorns and stuffed with yellow insulation and there were 4 dead baby mice lying on top. I vacuumed it all out and wiped it all down with a Lysol wipe so it's looking clean and new again. I'll have to pick up a new filter as the one that's in there looks fairly beat up. At any rate, as you said, it was very simple to clean out and the mouse stink is gone. Now I need to figure out how the little pests are getting into the filter area...
  14. HaveNoCents

    HaveNoCents Conservative Tree Hugger

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    Well consider yourself lucky that the mice didn't eat your electrical wires. We had a jeep commander with only 40,000 miles. Those suckers literally destroyed the electronics of the car. There were so many problems we traded it in on the 2012 Prius v.
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