Mice Disabled Hybrid Engine in One Month Old Prius: HELP!

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by RuralMainePrius, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. RuralMainePrius

    RuralMainePrius Junior Member

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    My wife and I were left stranded a thousand miles away from home in a brand new 2010 Gen III Prius!

    After a lovely trip through Quebec and Ontario to Michigan to visit my wife's family, we were packing up to head home to Maine. As I went to move the car to the side of the house to load up our bags, I noticed the "Check Hybrid Engine" message along with the master warning light and the check engine light. This was about 10 p.m. We called our 24 hour toyota roadside assitance number and they told us NOT to drive the car. Long story short, the car was towed to the nearest dealer 45 minutes away (my in laws live in the middle of nowhere). As a consequence of the disabled vehicle, my wife missed an important flight that could not be refunded.

    The dealership first told us that the hybrid inversion system was disabled and a repair could take weeks. A few hours later, we received a call informing us that mice had chewed through the wires that connect the hybrid motor to the ICE (I believe--we were never given the documentation) and that a nest had been found inside the car. We got our car back late that night and had to drive it through the night to get home in time for work. (to make matters worse, we were tormented by an interminable rattle for the entire 1,000 miles. Our dealer back home fixed it in about 15 minutes, telling us the other dealer had failed to properly reattached one of the hood latches).

    I suppose, aside from venting about the absolute horror of being stranded a thousand miles from home with a brand new car as a result of something not even covered by warranty (they didn't charge us, at least, though they probably could have tried), I'm wondering what I can do to mouse proof this vehicle. I've never had this problem before, ever. My dealer service guy was no help at all.
     
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  2. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    It's possible to mouseproof the passenger cabin. Lots of 2G experience in that regard, which you can find by searching the 2G forums.

    However it sounds like your issue related to damaged wiring within the engine compartment, and if so I'm not aware of any practical way to keep mice out. You may want to call the Michigan dealer to pin down exactly where the nest was, and where the damaged wires were located. Good luck.

    3G has lots of exposed wiring, for example the wire harnesses leading to the engine ECU mounted in the engine compartment. That seems an excellent target for mice, salty water splashed up from winter driving, etc.
     
  3. RuralMainePrius

    RuralMainePrius Junior Member

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    Ah, the irony of a tiny rodent disabling a state of the art $25,000 car. It truly is their world: we're just living init.

    :embarassed::pout:
     
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  4. rrolff

    rrolff Prius Surgeon

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    Thank you - and I am quite sure this is a very important thread........

    There have been a few runs at mice bedding in our gen III - and hence it is not hard for them to get up and in....

    The question becomes how do we keep them out.

    It seems easy for them to get into the intake air vent up front (seems the popular place). There they hang and create a nice life - complete with good controlled ventilation. There is a similar spot in the back (both rear sides have a vent hole where they could get in and hang - near the battery and on the opposite side).

    I have mice - and leave nice green poison sitting around - which controls them - but would really like to see pics of where I should put wire mesh to stop an attempted infiltration....

    Off topic -we were vacationing Memorial Day (skiing Mammoth Lakes, CA) - I lost the key to the car, and the only option was waiting till the end of the holiday, and towing the car 60 miles to the Toyota Bishop dealer - then paying $350+ for a key. We were lucky to find it the last day - but it makes you think - be careful when you are in a remote spot ;)

    Back on topic - please someone - post pics of how and where the little guys climb in...
     
  5. Rokeby

    Rokeby Member

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    RuralMainePrus,

    Plagued by Maine-iac mice, eh?

    One possible way to prevent mice from gnawing on wires could be
    applying braided wire sleeves around each wire:

    [​IMG]

    More info here.
    Lots more by Googling "braided wire sleeve."

    Don't let the picture mislead you, it is available in many weights and
    configurations; think of the braid on high-end brake and hydraulic
    lines.

    Applying the sleeves over wires with large plugs/connectors at the ends
    might be a real challenge.
     
  6. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    You were lucky! Years ago I was charged $$$ by a dealer for repairing mouse damaged wiring in a new car I just bought.

    Here are some ideas I got from various PriusChat postings:

    • Leave the hood open after parking the car
    • Moth balls
    • Fabric softener sheets
    • Repellents
    • Mouse traps
    Good luck! :)
     
  7. Joe166

    Joe166 New Member

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    If a dealer had fixed this and not charged me, I would have spent the time writing letters to the district supervisors praising them for being a great dealership long before I would have "vented" about the meeses, who are, after all, just looking for a place to stay warm.

    I don't know of any really surefire ways to avoid this. I would think regular driving might discourage them. I found a nest in one of my cars that I seldom drive, but never in a daily driver. Good suggestion to ask where it was and then look for a way to block that area off.

    You do know you are very lucky they didn't charge you, don't you? I don't know of any vehicle warranty that covers rodent gnawing.
     
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  8. Ricklin11

    Ricklin11 Junior Member

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    I agree with Joe, send a few pizzas to the dealer service dept. for the guys lunch! They did you a huge favor, in no way should a warranty cover that sort of damage. Bravo, great dealer. Granted it was a major PITA for you guys, but it pretty much falls under "acts of god" type stuff. Poison and traps are good preventive maintenance.
     
  9. jzhou

    jzhou Junior Member

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    Just curious. Is the insurance going to cover this kind of repair?
    If a car is damaged by hitting a deer, the insurance will pay for it. Then what about mice damage, seems in the same category.

    Just my $0.02.
     
  10. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Yes, under your collision insurance coverage.

    A reasonable thought. If this is covered, it would be under your comprehensive insurance coverage, since the car is not moving and no collision is involved.
     
  11. joncro55

    joncro55 New Member

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    I wouldn't surround the wires with the mesh, because I believe that the mice will still find a way to get to those wires. The main thing that you have to do is to find the entrance/exit for these crazy critters. Once you find the place where they are going in and out of, COVER it with wire mesh or wire cloth. You can order some here if you need a source:

    Belleville Wire Cloth Co., Inc - Woven Wire Mesh | Wire Cloth | Stainless Steel Wire Mesh | Wire Cloth Strainer

    They have the best prices and service and can easily ship you something the same day as your order. Good luck.
     
  12. pEEf

    pEEf Engineer - EV nut

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    The problem is as automakers have gone "green", they have started using compounds in wire insulation that smell like food to mice. You will never be able to successfully keep them from getting in the engine compartment, but you can discourage them from easy access to the wiring. Buy some split-loom plastic covering, which is commonly used to protect auto wiring.

    [​IMG]

    It's made out of tough hi-temp nylon and has a slit down one side, so you can put in over existing wiring without disconnecting anything. Be sure to cover the entire thing right up to the connectors, so there is no more exposed wire. Then buy some heavy foil tape, which you can get at any building supply store in the HVAC supply section.

    [​IMG]

    Wrap this liberally along the now covered cables. If you don't like the silver look, you can then apply black electrical tape over the foil. The mice will find the foil annoying and difficult to chew through, especially at the radius as it will be over the split-loom.

    Yeah, I know it's not the best solution, but other than poison or maybe a few cats, there's not much else that will stop them.
     
  13. joncro55

    joncro55 New Member

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  14. pEEf

    pEEf Engineer - EV nut

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    There is simply no way to wire mesh the entire engine compartment. They will come in on the suspension links, or the tie rods. You can't wire mesh this, as it will hit when your suspension moves.
     
  15. KD6HDX

    KD6HDX New Member

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    Forgive me if this post sounds cruel, but F the mice. My friends Dad used to rid his yard of gophers by placing a string snare around one of their peep holes. Once he had one trapped, he would place a 2X4 on the ground, then hammer a nail through the gopher just enough to pin it to the wood and leave it screaming in gopher agony while it slowly died. This gopher screaming would alert the others to flee the area quickly. He told me once to make sure and not puncture the poor animals organs or lungs, that way, it would be able to live long enough and scream its head off while telling the other F-in gophers to get the f out of town. I currently have a humane trap that I bought from Harbor Freight for around $30. I am catching opossums with it. They have been eating my Mom's brussel sprouts, mangoes and papayas, as well as avocados in the trees too. Using poison on an animal leaves you at risk of trying to find the rotting worm bloated stench of a carcass that crawled under your house or into the walls and died.......

    Don't forget the old BB gun. Gamo makes some real nice rifles that shoot a pellet or BB around 1200 FPS. That's more than enough muzzle velocity to dispatch any vermin around your house. And lets face it. If the F-in mice poop inside your car, then it dries out and floats around as dust, you run the risk of contracting Hanta Virus. Here in So Cal, the mice have this virus in their poop, and some of the mountainous areas still report bubonic plague in squirrel colonies from time to time.

    For all of the animal lovers out here, I know this sounds cruel, but vermin are on the bottom of the food chain, not you. Protect yourself and your family by leaving humane traps that only capture and not poison the caught animals. When you go to throw them away, they will be scared but alive.
     
  16. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    Cat for the garage. As a motorcyclist, I hear of this happening quite often to fellow riders who live in colder climes and store the rides over the winter. Upon reviving their bikes in the spring, many a mouse nest has been found to be clogging the airbox or electrical issues due to chewed wiring. It's more common that one might think.
     
  17. adamace1

    adamace1 Senior Member

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    You may be right on this hlping alot. But i have to wonder if mice never got into your car and it needed warranty work how would a Toyota dealer treat you?
     
  18. artnc

    artnc Junior Member

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    Forget moth balls.... tried them on an extra car I kept outside and all they did was smell up the car. I had to sell the car rather than get rid of mouse nests every few days...BUT I now have again acquired an extra car that sits outside and am trying peppermint oil.....wetting a cottonball and placing it in aluminum foil and poking some holes in the foil...easy to wedge a few in the engine compartment..I have only been at this a few days but the mouse droppings got less the first day or two and for the past 3 days there were no new droppings...I am hopeful this will work.....there is quite a bit on teh internet about using peppermint oil for this purpose. And the aroma is almost decent and the oil does not seem to dissapate quickly at all,,in 6 days have not had to replenish it.
     
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  19. Joe166

    Joe166 New Member

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  20. priustexasbob

    priustexasbob Member

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    how about putting rat/mice poison out uncer the car or mouse trap or even a rubber snake under the hood avoiding anything hot?
     
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