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Old 08-04-2003, 12:13 AM
haasman's Avatar
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Toothy Furry Animals Flummox Engineers

Toothy Furry Animals Flummox Engineers
Fri Aug 1, 8:14 AM ET
Add Oddly Enough - Reuters to My Yahoo!

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German car engineers, at the forefront of technological innovation, are being outsmarted by small furry animals that damage thousands of cars every year by chewing through wires.

Martens, forest-dwelling weasel-like creatures with sharp teeth and bushy tails, scamper into parked vehicles at night. They nibble through ignition cables and cooling hoses, causing thousands of breakdowns a year from short-circuits and overheated engines.

"Marten damage is a problem which has spread since the end of the 1970s from Austria and southern Germany into parts of central Germany," Ulrich Buckmann of the German drivers' association ADAC said this week. The organization recorded more than 16,000 breakdowns due to marten damage in 2000.

Olaf Otto, who lives in Munich, said he had to pay over 3,000 euros for a new engine for his Opel Corsa after martens ate through cables, causing a breakdown on the highway.

"Martens are a big problem in the Munich area and in my street they seem to go for Opels," Otto said.

The marten-populated southern states of Bavaria and Baden Wuerttemberg, where the Black Forest is located, are also home to Germany's prestigious carmakers Mercedes and BMW.

They boast the latest in gadgetry, but a car firm spokeswoman could only suggest hanging dog hair in the engine compartment as a deterrent.

"Carmakers can't do anything, there are no cables in the world that are marten-proof, no chemicals to stop them and anyway, animal protection groups would kick up a fuss," said a spokesman for DaimlerChrysler, which owns Mercedes.

Source: Reuters-Yahoo
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Old 08-04-2003, 12:17 AM
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Fellow I work with had his mother's Ford pick-up towed into a local dealership awhile back. Truck wouldn't start.

Rats had chewed thru any/everything imaginable and built a nest up under the hood.

Sounds like a global epidemic.
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Old 08-04-2003, 04:45 AM
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smoke gets in your eyes
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Use a real serpent in place of the serpentine belt.

I left an old car of mine untouched for about 4 months. Some type of rodent made a nest in the AC blower motor cavity using fiberglass from the hood liner. Left the wiring and hoses intact. Good thing the critters didn't gnaw through the blower vanes to get into the cabin ducting. I sold the car reeking of Lysol and Ozium a week after finding the nest. Felt like I was living a Seinfeld episode

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Old 08-04-2003, 11:55 AM
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Wiring harness breakdown issues...SOLVED!

It wasn't the defective insulation, it was those darned critters!
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Old 08-04-2003, 06:32 PM
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Funniest service call I had in 35 years, was a " no-start " on a forklift truck.
After removing a dead mouse, from the aircleaner housing, with needle nose pliers, I left it on the seat of the vehicle.

Started the engine & told the owner I couldn"t decide if I should charge my normal labour rate, the labour rate of an exterminator, or a flat rate funeral fee.
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Old 08-04-2003, 07:14 PM
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Posts: 321
reminds me of what i experienced years ago.

i was trying to promote the upgrade of neoprene, hypalon insulated ignition cables to silicone-insulated ones for industrial, natural gas engines in the high plains. engines were driving irrigation pumps.

program started out OK, then faltered. went out to west texas to find out why. farmers told me. seems that cattle, which had access to the engines, had some desire to eat the silicone insulation on the cables. wouldn't have believed it if i hadn't seen it.

engines were ignited with low-tension magnetos. boy did the cows make some funny moves when they got bit. unfortunately, the engine almost always went down when this occurred. and this drove the farmers crazy.

must be something in the chemistry of the polymeric materials that the critters crave.
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Old 08-04-2003, 08:18 PM
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One marten living under the hood isn't a problem, except possibly for the nesting materials and maybe BO, but when he leaves, and you park somewhere else and ANOTHER marten comes in, he destroys anything that smells like the other guy (very territorial little guys, these martens...). There go the wires, belts, hoses, anything their teeth are tougher than.

MB has installed "anti-marten protection" in the W126 and later classes -- switched off when you open the hood (that's what the switch that "does nothing" is). Pops a high voltage spark across the engine block every minute or so to tingle the feet of the little buggers and induce them to leave. I have no idea how well it works, doesn't stop mice at my house, all the cars get mouse nest under the hood once in a while.

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Old 10-13-2003, 12:40 AM
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I was looking through the MBZ 124 repair CD and came across the "Checking The Marten Protection System" (#54-0080) model 124.0 up to 9/92

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Old 10-13-2003, 12:52 AM
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Oh, and in case you are curious as to what these horrible, terrible monsters look like .... here you go-
Attached Thumbnails
Toothy Furry Animals Flummox Engineers-martenonsnow.jpg  
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Old 10-13-2003, 12:07 PM
it leaks, its german
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I have replaced a 220 body harness, a 170 engine harness and a 210 engine harness for the local wildlifes dietary issues.

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Old 10-13-2003, 04:07 PM
I told you so!
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Gosh, that fella's cute!

Does it turn into a monster if you feed it after midnight?
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Old 10-13-2003, 10:26 PM
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Would the MB owner in the Black Forest who's replaced a couple of wiring harnesses due to marten damage be a little less likely to feel compunctions about a nice marten-fur coat?
Craig Bethune

'97 SL500, 40th anniversary edition

'04 Olds Bravada (SWMBO's)
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SL--Anything else is just a Mercedes.
(Kudos to whoever said it first)
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