[OT] 1997 Plymouth Voyager Van and Erratic Door Locks and Rodents

This is a two part-er. The first part is about repairing a defective lock mechanism. The second is how to keep rodents out of the engine area.
About 3 weeks ago after returning from a 4 week trip, I discovered rodents had gotten into the engine compartment and caused electrical wiring damage to the van. One problem was that the door lock switches would randomly activate whether or not the engine was on or not.
1. Most of the damage was covered by insurance, but the repair shop could not find any evidence the rodents caused the above problem. Rather than fix the problem entirely, I asked them to just turn off the mechanism in the body module that controls the switches. They have done that.
However, I befuddled by the fact that this problem appeared at the same time as the rodent difficulty. Are there some areas of the engine and its electrical components that could have been disturbed by the rodents other than the wires?
2. The only way I can keep the van from being ravaged again, aside from putting it in a garage, is to build something like a fence around it two feet+ high. Woodrats are about 12' in length. The fence would be reasonably solid or possibly something like burpap. No holes. One side would allow me to drive the van into it. The area would be about 20x10'. Possibly PVC could be used in the case of fabric or plastic sheets (6mil thickness). Probably I'd have to build it, but maybe something like this exists. Comments?
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In typed:

Did they visuall check the wiring all the way from the under-hood to the door lock switches? If not, they likely missed more damage from the rodents. Allowing them to just kill the power to that section has satisfied the insurance part of things, so by accepting that instead of insisting on a fix, you've now almost surely lost any future claim for damage and you're stuck with the problem yourslef. A mistake IMO. Let them find the poison BEFORE they get to the under hood! But be careful: PETS like the stuff too and will ingest it. They'll die as quickly as the rodents will. Dogs and cats must not be able to get to the poison!
Garage it. In a real garage. Lay lots of poison around the perimeter of the vehicle so they discover that before going up into the vehicle. They also make "tents" that tie down and around the vehicle tightly but they're still prone to rips and tears from wind and rodents.
As for repairing the lock mechanism, I'd say to start by rewiring it from the door switches to the under-hood connection points and back up thru the firewall. It's a miserable, rotten job but you're probably stuck with it now.
HTH,
Twayne`

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On 12/27/2010 5:55 PM, Twayne wrote:

Supposedly. If not, they likely missed more damage from the rodents.

Unfortunately, my intermediary mechanic for the insurance company was not around. However, as I understand it's the intermediary who gets to decide whether the problem was related to the rodents. I think I still have a good case for coverage. I won't know for probably another week, when the intermediary returns.

gravel pull out now that's quite visible from where I'm sitting now. I'm told by a biologist friend who has dealt with my same experience that woodrats do not like to cover open spaces and they like to be near food sources. It's quite open, and the nearby foliage does not seem inviting food wise. They have to cover lots of gravel and concrete.
If it ever stops raining here, I'll likely build some sort of barrier as suggested.

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often wiring fails at flex point at door opening. the problems may have occured at the same time but not be rodent related
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On 12/28/2010 2:12 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

will just present the bill to the intermediary.
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