32 Mice in two weeks REQUIRED some RV Repair!

Soon after writing the check for our fifth wheel, I discovered an RV Repair required by a gross 'Engineering" defect. I've seen a similar blunder on several other rigs, from other makers.

I compounded things by not doing anything about it for a couple years. I learned to regret that!

If you're thinking that, if you wait a bit things will heal themselves, I can assure you, that ain't gonna happen! Usually, the longer you wait, the uglier the situation gets!

What was the "defect" that required an RV Repair?

The "belly pan" rises up 10" or so in front of the lower, rear section that encloses the fresh, grey and black water tanks. That lower, rear section is designed to include the tanks within the "heated" area of the fifth wheel.

So, again, what's the RV Repair problem?

Where that 10" rise was made there was no bulkhead! That area, the full width of the trailer, 10" or so in height, and facing into the wind going down the road, was covered, only, with the black, coated fabric they use to weather proof the bellies on a lot of rigs. Nothing substantial, just fabric folded up to the higher area in front and stapled in place!

It gets worse! Where the drive shaft for the slide had to penetrate to the rear beam, the pass-through was executed by simply ripping a hole in the fabric! geez! A real strong engineering effort, don't you think? An RV Repair was absolutelynecessary, and fast! The mice were mounting a virtual invasion!

I guess the manufacturer figured nobody would look that close underneath the rig. I am embarrassed to say they were right! I failed to make a close enough inspection of a brand new rig. Shame on me! Well, that won't happen again!

The poor design and execution provided an unrestricted entrance for mice via a virtual mouse highway into the interior of the fifth wheel. I trapped 32 mice in a 14 day period. Yuck! Double Yuck even! Sheesh! #%$@ Zing!

Cowboys may not be known for real strong hygiene but even we don't like mouse poop all over everything!

Can I say I was not a happy fella? Brand new rig and it was stinking like a mouse farm.

The damage was so extensive I had to completely strip and redo the belly of the rig in a pretty major RV Repair. There was a lot of "Blue" smoke coming out from under the rig that day I can tell you!

  • Remove the belly pan
  • Tear out all the soiled and damaged insulation(The mouse hoard had built tunnels and nests in it!)
  • Remove and clean/sanitize the tanks(especially the fresh water!)
  • Re-install everything
  • Re-insulate with new insulation
  • Re-install the belly pan

In addition to all that, I found that where the rear slide beam passed through the left side frame, the gap was way to wide to exclude mice. So, while I had everything apart I cut a U shaped piece of sheet metal and screwed it to the inside of the frame around the beam, tightening that space up to less than an 1/8".

The sheet metal plate I installed is fairly light so even if it should get in contact with the beam it will "give" and not hang up anything. But, it is now too tight to let mice by!

That big, gaping 6' by 10" hole remained to be dealt with.

I cut two plywood panels to secure in place. The larger covered the majority of the space. The smaller piece was to be notched and fitted around the slide drive shaft. I secured them in place with self drilling screws.

****You can see the larger section on the left, the smaller, on the right****

Now I was down to just the hole that the drive shaft passed through. How was I going install any sort of a "Bearing/seal" around that without taking the whole shaft apart! That was an RV Repair I didn't want any part of!

Easy! Cowboy ingenuity!

I found 2 PVC plumbng fittings that would sleeve or nest together. I cut them in half, lengthwise. The first was set intothe plywood bulkhead, reassembling the cut halves around the shaft. The larger end to the rear, the smaller end toward the front. I siliconed it in place, in a properly sized hole, precut into the bulkhead.

The second PVC fitting, also cut in half lengthwise, was reassembled around the shaft and sleeved over the first fitting.I set it so that it was just shy of hitting bottom on the first fitting. It was set in place with a good bed of silicone and secured with a common stainless steel hose clamp.

****Not Pretty, but it works. You can just see the first fitting. It is mostly covered by the outer, forward, fitting. You can also see the line where the forward fitting was cut in half, to do this RV Repair!****

The final result is an overlapping, sleeved, bearing on the slide drive shaft which excludes any possibility of mice getting in!

With that all done I took a can of Great Stuff sealing foam and went over the underbelly of the rig, filling any hole I thought even an anorexic mouse might squeeze through!

You can seal your rig against vermin. It just takes some effort, a bit of materials and some more of the 6P's!(Proper Preparation Prevents Pathetically Poor Performance)

Too bad the manufacturer couldn't have taken the five minutes it would have taken to do it properly in the factory when the rig was being built.

Pretty sad when a feeble minded, cranky old geezer can outperform those high end engineers ain't it? Or maybe it's just the accountants? Trying to squeeze all the blood they can out of a nickle? Either way it's a poor way of doin' business!

Hopefully they'll someday learn to take a little more pride in their work, and see their way to do without the $3 or $4 extra profit they made on this rig, by doing it wrong!

Until then, I guess we'll just have to Cowboy Up! and do the RV Repair of their screwups ourselves!

With the RV Repair completed, everything cleaned up, and a few bounce dryer sheets spread around to repel any other mice that managed to wiggle past the defenses, the stink was gone and I haven't had a mouse, inside, in more than two years!

I did this RV Repair / RV Maintenance a couple of years ago so I can tell you, while it may not be pretty, that slide has been in and out a lot of times so I can say, with little fear of contradiction, this fix will work and hold up pretty well!

Look under your rig. If you have the same sort of situation and are dealing with the same, unwanted, mouse farm, this is a good way of curing that little unpleasantness.

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