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Varmints!


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#1 Lighthawk

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Posted 28 October 2021 - 02:10 AM

After removing our Hawk to diagnose leaks after our torrential 12" of rainfall, I took the unburdened truck to work.  I decided to go to the carwash and clean under the hood of the Big Truck, as we call our new 2021 RAM 3500 crew cab.  It was quite dusty in the engine compartment from our 400 mile loop through Black Rock/Soldier Meadows/High Rock Canyon.

 

I was alarmed to find evidence of a rodent that had been under the hood :wacko: , most likely at our grassy High Rock camp where it rained that night.  Yikes!  I could see rat-sized footprints on the engine cowlings.

 

I've searched the WTW forums and the best suggestions I found was placing a sock filled with mothballs under the hood, seconded by placing rat traps on top of the wheels  :eek: .  Leaving the hood propped up is something I've seen Lawnmower Man and other experienced campers do.  Apparently, rodents don't like the light.  Anyone else have a good suggestion to keep the varmints out, both day and night?  I don't want to discover chewed wires, especially in a newer high tech truck.

 

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#2 ski3pin

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Posted 28 October 2021 - 02:46 AM

In all the years and all the places we've been we've not had a problem with critters, or so we thought. Last year when disassembling the top of the engine to install new fuel injectors and replace seeping valve cover gaskets, we found a beautiful rat's nest under the intake manifold. It was old and unused for quite some time. There was no damage, maybe an advantage of an old truck with old fashion coated wires. We figure it happened when we were on a multi-day backpack trip and the truck sat at a trailhead.

 

Mothballs are popular at Montana wilderness trailheads and are also thought of as a deterrent for bears breaking in. We've been to a couple trailheads that reek of mothballs. We park next to a vehicle that stinks.

 

Knock on wood, that remains our only sign of critters.


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#3 ntsqd

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Posted 28 October 2021 - 03:07 AM

I have read of others wiring in some small LED lights for under the hood.  Seems like it shouldn't take much light to make them not like being there, but it probably would need to be evenly distributed. Maybe a ribbon of LEDs circling the engine bay on a PWM to turn down the amount of light?


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#4 Lighthawk

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Posted 28 October 2021 - 03:25 AM

I have read of others wiring in some small LED lights for under the hood. 

 

I've thought about LED lights, but I would have to remember to turn them on and off, which at age 60+ won't be reliable.

 

In many of our camping locations, running bright lights assuming leakage, would be undesirable.  

I like dark skies for photography and ambiance, and also prefer to keep a low profile in camp and not annoy our neighbors nor advertise our location.


Edited by Lighthawk, 28 October 2021 - 04:43 AM.

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06 Tundra AC TRD 4x4, 08 Hawk, Ride-Rite bags, Helweg sway bar,18" BFG AT's

2021 RAM 3500 Crew 4x4, 6.4 hemi/8 speed trans with 4.10 gears, Timber Grove bags, Falken Wildpeak 35" tires

2008 FWC Hawk with victron DC-DC charger, 130w solar, MPPT controler

http://lighthawkphoto.com

 


#5 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 28 October 2021 - 04:09 AM

Light or hood up seems to be most common technique.

 

I’ve also heard of a coiled rubber snake under the engine, but have no info on its effectiveness.


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#6 Old Crow

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Posted 28 October 2021 - 02:03 PM

We had our introduction to packrats at Lost Dutchman State Park near Phoenix in April, 2010.  We camped there one night after arriving in late afternoon.  The van had been running fine when we arrived but when I started it in the morning the engine was missing badly.

 

I used the GPS to search for auto services and started limping to them as I didn't have a phone.  After a few duds we came to an old two-bay gas station with a lot of vehicles sitting around.  The bays were full but the owner said he'd be happy to take a look and was confident he could find whatever's wrong.  In a few minutes he showed me the chewed off fuel injector wires and damage to the wire loom and connectors.  He said the biggest problem was the connectors but thought he might be able to get what he needs from the junked cars out back.

 

I walked back through the junked vehicles with him and I remember him lifting the hood of one to show me the engine compartment of that one was completely filled with packrat nest.

 

The repair cost me $150 but I was very happy to pay it.  I was out of there in only an hour and a half and felt very lucky to have gone to that shop.

 

The other piece of advice I read somewhere was to look for packrat activity and park in an open area as far away as you can.   I remember trying to do that in Nevada a few years ago and it seemed like I was surrounded by packrats-- stacked debris everywhere.  I parked in the middle of the parking lot (rather than near the picnic table/fire ring), opened the hood, and put an LED headlamp in the engine compartment overnight.

 

My latest encounter with varmints was this summer near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado.  I had seen a chipmunk about and happened to see it go under the truck and then climb up behind the front wheel and disappear up into the engine area.  I checked the engine compartment, blew the horn, started the truck, etc.  I saw it a bit later on the rocks nearby, taunting me.  (Not the best time to have left the slingshot in the other truck!)  I again did the open-hood, headlamp-in-engine-compartment thing.

 

I also remember seeing this advice from Mr. Pack Rat.  It's oriented toward vehicles parked at home but may be useful for its concepts:

 

Best Bets to Prevent Pack Rats From Attacking Your Vehicle

.


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#7 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 28 October 2021 - 08:48 PM

Keep a pet owl nearby.

I think the snake idea would be great.

It's a shame that you don't get "full" service anymore

the attendant would get a surprise when the oil gets checked.

Frank


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#8 fish more

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Posted 29 October 2021 - 01:28 AM

Cayenne Pepper, whole or powered in a cloth bag. 


Edited by fish more, 29 October 2021 - 01:28 AM.

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#9 JaSAn

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Posted 29 October 2021 - 04:47 AM

Moth balls,

peppermint oil,

onion, garlic (or oil),

hot peppers (powder or oil),

cloves,

cayenne pepper,

white vinegar,

crushed bay leaves,

dryer sheets,

a particular brand/scent dryer sheet,

april spring bar soap,

preditor pee (liquid or crystals),

rubber snakes,

ultrasonic repellant,

light,

strobing light,

cat.

 

I've probably forgotten a few.  Some people swear by one and someone else will say it doesn't work.

 

Problem is not just under the hood.  There are wires going back to the transmission and transfer case, and along the frame rails to the rear of the truck.

 

 


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#10 craig333

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Posted 29 October 2021 - 04:13 PM

I've tried the peppermint and pepper sprays at home with no success. While the recent rains were welcome they also brought insects and varmints out of their hidey holes. I found a rat eating my gorp in my pantry. Dispatched him (or her?) the old fashioned way with a trap baited with peanut butter. 

 

Ages ago at a trailhead in the Lassen National forest they warned about porcupines eating radiator hoses. I unfortunately don't recall what they recommended to repel them. 


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