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rat poison in the cabin air filter

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Main Forum' started by cottylowry, Mar 11, 2012.

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  1. cottylowry

    cottylowry New Member

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    I'm new to Priuschat, having just bought a used one. Sorry if this is posted in the wrong spot, I need some advice fast.

    We just bought a 2008 Prius last week, 60,000 miles, from a farmer in Minnesota. We noticed after a few days of driving that it had an odd smell, so I figure out how to change the cabin air filter and when I took it out, found it to be full of seeds, mouse poop and traces of rat poison.

    I immediately replaced the filter, but cannot find diagrams of how the cabin air intake work to see if it can be cleaned. The prior owners obviously were breathing this for months/years, and I will most likely have a little chat with them.

    Until then, what is your best advice on this car? Does anyone believe it can or cannot be cleaned up? Are there nooks and crannys in the intake system that would have collected this debris and make it impossible to make safe?

    What would you do?

    CL
  2. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    Rat Poison in the vent, that's a new one. Well you did the first correct thing by getting rid of the filter. I would take a vacuum try to clean the ducts out with that however, wear a good mask and blow the ducts out with compressed air, 3 Let Toyota do it and pay them their due. I think a combination of number 2 the compressed air, and the biggest swiffer you can find that will make stuff cling to it should get you in the clean enough zone.

    Rat Poison, really, what some people think is OK? :eek:
  3. ernie1

    ernie1 Junior Member

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    Actually rat poison is not really a big deal. If it's sorta bluish/flourescent in color, it's an anticoagulant like Warfarin which is Coumadin that is taken by humans to thin out their blood and it's fairly safe. The key thing is how much is consumed at one time. Rats can eat a lot more per body weight per meal than a human being and that is the key. Besides, if you or a pet ingests any all you have to do is go down to the pharmacy and buy some vitamin K and you're good to go.
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  4. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Hi, Welcome to PC chat.

    There's been alot of posts about how mice seem to like the Prius (Cyberprius comes to mind) but may I assume that was the previous owners issue and not yours?

    If previous owners only:

    There are only 2 positions on the air intake switch on the Multifunction Display (MFD).

    One is recirculate which is pretty easy. It recirculates the cabin through the cabin filter. Keep in mind these are strict paths. There is no blending like other cars. its recirc or fresh only.

    The other mode: Fresh air intake samples the outside air only via the air linlets at the bottom of the windshield air dam. Open the hood and look at the bottom of the windshield and all those inlets are for water evacuation when it rains and fresh air intake.

    To check those inlets to make sure there clean and not clogged which they may be apply controlled water to that dam. Fill that dam up with water slowly (don't let it overun) and you should see a good stream of water behind each front wheel where it flushes out there through rubber tubes.

    But if you are experiencing mice issues yourself I'll let othere's weigh in as I have not experienced that issue myself.

    Also be aware there's a smelly cabin issue too for a not so clean evap coil housing under the dash. This car is prone to smells.
    There's an easy fix to that too the dealer uses can of presuurized cleaner pumped back up the evap via coil drip hose. I do it myself about once a year. Like $25 at the Toy parts counter.
    Maintenance.
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  5. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    Thanks. How is anyone supposed to know about that, except that you mentioned it here? Can you point us to any more details about that? Do you know if it applies to the Gen III as well?
  6. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    When I was setting out mom's daily prescriptions during home hospice care, dad saw the coumadin and exclaimed 'That's rat poison!'. He's even worse with diplomacy than I am.

    This is not the only type of rat poison. Rat Poison First Aid:
    "The most common types of rat poison use a common blood thinner to cause internal bleeding in rodents. Touching rat poison is as safe as handling blood thinning medication and is generally not harmful. Ingesting rat poison, on the other hand, is extremely dangerous. "
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  7. dustoff003

    dustoff003 Blizzard Brigade #003

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    What side of the filter was it on? I wonder if a rodent brought it in or a previous owner put it there to kill rodents. I don't know how much to worry about the poison it self? A little bit of poison is probably better than a dead rodent in your vent system.


    Posted from my iPhone via the Tapatalk app.
  8. mmstuart

    mmstuart New Member

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    I had a mouse build a nest in my vent system on a gen 2 car. Dealer told me they climb inside during cold nights. The only reason I took the car in was because the heater stopped working and that's when they found the nest.
  9. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Each night before bed I take my 7.5mpg dose of rat poison (Warfarin) and put another tab in the intake of my 2012. :faint:
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  10. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    First, I doubt the previous owner put it in there. Most likely the mice carried it in. It's considered food by them. They probably got thirsty and left for water, where they died.

    Second, to -fully- clean the intake system you have to remove the windshield wiper arms and the cowl cover. That will expose one of the routes mice can take to get in. You will see the vent intakes on the cowl. You can then use a shop vac. to clean them. Removing the ducts inside the car is the only way you can completely clean them but that's a very big job. I would just vacuum as much as you can and call it good enough. You can attach a smaller hose to a vacuum (hunt down the adapters) and snake that into the system. Do be careful as the heater elements are rather delicate, and as I recall, are -behind- the cooling element. So you could damage it first.

    The rat poison doesn't put much into the air, otherwise it would degrade quickly, and it doesn't. You and the previous owners should be fine. Just because you could smell something (probably a combination of mouse feces and urine along with whatever else they dropped in there, such as hair) doesn't mean it's toxic. Our sense of smell is pretty good, because it has to protect us from toxic substances before they get to toxic levels.

    Definite yuck factor but not that big a deal.
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  11. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Hi,
    I do not know about the Gen III evap drip hose but the dealer sells a 2 can set of evap cleaner for $25. One can is pressurized microidal cleaner the other is basicly perfume.
    I never use the perfume because it really stinks. The kit comes with a long tube that attaches the cleaner can to the drip hose under the car.
    You just spray the entire can up the hose and its foam quickly becomes liquid cleaner and drips back out of the same tube.
    Works really good and the e-box will smell nice for about a year.

    Dealer charges $100 for this service.

    The mold/smell problem is most modern cars now have strict air paths to make best use of the cabin filter and not blended air paths.
    The main drawback is if you run the car in re-circulate all the time like most people do to make best use of the cabin filter and leave the car in re-circ when you shut the car off the fresh air damper door is shut. Now that soaking wet evap coil has no air flow to it and wet-cool-dark in a box is a perfect place to grow mold.
    Gym socks is the best description of the smell.
    Best bet is get in the habit when you park always switch the air path mfd selction to fresh air which leaves the damper door open when your parked airing out the e-box.

    But now you have a path for rodents and mice to get into the air intake path since that door is opne and there first obstruction is the cabin filter so if you have a mice issue your really stuck.

    The only way to beat both problems is air out the box a few miles before your destination and then make sure your in re-circ when you park.

    BTW, there is a TSB for a really bad e-coil replacement also but I shiver at the thought of the dealer tearing my dash apart. Garanteed rattles when there done.
  12. cottylowry

    cottylowry New Member

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    Wow, thanks guys for all the good help and advice. The poison and the seeds, and droppings and a bunch of string were sitting on top of the filter. All brought in or dropped there by the mice, I guess. The seller told me he has just sprinkled a little blue poison around the plastic cowl over the radiator.

    NOthing seemed to get through the filter to the blower. I vacuumed the daylights out of the blower, sans filter & the white holder, and tried to get to the intake areas without removing the cowling and wipers.

    I went out to my Toyota dealer and tried to look at their microfiches to get a sense of the complexity of the air ducts, but their drawings are really terrible. Nobody there could figure them out. The service guys seemed to think mice are fairly common and said they would have to remove the dash to put in a screen to keep them out in the future.

    The smell is still there when we turn on the heat. I think this puppy is going back to the owner.
  13. snead_c

    snead_c Jam Ma's Car

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    Use a container of Baking Soda with holes punched in the up side to help with absorbing the smell...old refrigeratror practice that works wonders in autos as well.;)
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