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Old 15.03.2015, 19:48
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Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

I noticed today that my car was misfiring badly on brisk acceleration. It got so bad when I was going up a hill, that all the yellow lights on the instrument panel lit up (motor, tyre pressure, stability program etc.) and the maximum speed appears to have been reduced to about 50 Km/H. When I stopped and restarted the engine, all was well until the next time I tried to accelerate hard. Then it repeated this cycle.
I decided to look in the engine compartment, although I believed the matter to be hopeless, because that last car I had, which I could look in the engine compartment and identify every single component, was a Triumph Herald. Several cars, and many years, later, I run a 2011 VW Polo (type 1VD724).
Anyway, on inspection, I first discovered there, the remains of an empty, green bird nut sack. The sort of thing that people hang out to feed birds in Winter. I thought nothing of that until I also noticed that there were lots of peanuts in all sorts of unlikely places, around the engine compartment. Finally, I noticed that the high tension cable between the ignition unit/coil and the number 2 cylinder was gnawed through in a couple of places.
So it looks like some animal, a Mader I suspect, has, attracted by the warmth, dragged a bird feed sack into the car engine compartment, eaten some of the contents, then eaten through one of the vital cables (maybe as a sort of dessert).
Anyway, I managed to patch the cable up with some sticking plaster from the first aid kit to continue the journey, amazingly without further incident.
I've now tried to find an on-line retailer, incidentally without success, for the damaged cable, so I plan to take the car tomorrow to an official agent.
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Old 15.03.2015, 20:02
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

Marder damage is a cheap optional extra on your car insurance that often just gets bundled in. Have a look, you might be insured.
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Old 15.03.2015, 20:25
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

You have to stop being a dirty stopout, and driving home late at night - offering up a nice warm bed to marauding marders, when you park up, to have their picnic in.

Early home, early to bed = a nice cold engine bay - not so inviting.
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Old 15.03.2015, 20:41
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

When we lived in Singapore I read in the local 'Straits Times' about a snake which nested in the engine compartment of a car and laid her eggs...!

I was always a bit wary about going to our car in the underground car park at night after reading that....!

Btw; we always get chipmunks running around in our garage in the US and I often wonder if they might end up chewing the electrics of the car...
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Old 15.03.2015, 20:57
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

It is good you are going to have the car checked out at the dealership TOMORROW.

Last year we had our little friends who chewed through a wire and it shorted the computer - CHF 1'300 to replace it/repair the wires. Don't drive more than you have to in case you have a similar situation.

If your German is not great, you can take the car policy with you. The dealership will let you know if the damage is covered.

Good luck.
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Old 16.03.2015, 06:37
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

In the states, we kept a corvette in an old farmhouse on the property. Mice would often nest in it during the winter, and aside from the damage they could do to the wiring, they sometimes made an awful burning smell when you fired it up. Not pleasant.

Can't offer you much advice, just sympathizing - it's a common enough problem.
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Old 16.03.2015, 07:50
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

Unfotunately it's a bit late for this, but get a very cheap quartz watch and attach it to something in the engine. Martens HATE to noise, inaudible to us, that these quaertz watches make.
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Old 16.03.2015, 09:19
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

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Unfortunately it's a bit late for this, but get a very cheap quartz watch and attach it to something in the engine. Martens HATE to noise, inaudible to us, that these quartz watches make.

Thanks for that idea. I had not heard of it before. I will give it a try since we can't buy Naphthalene (moth balls) any more. We had been using them in a piece of nylon tied to the battery. They don't like the smell.
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Old 16.03.2015, 09:44
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

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Anyway, I managed to patch the cable up with some sticking plaster from the first aid kit to continue the journey, amazingly without further incident.
I've now tried to find an on-line retailer, incidentally without success, for the damaged cable, so I plan to take the car tomorrow to an official agent.
This is (most likely!) the set of cables you are looking for:
https://www.autoteile-meile.ch/Autot...atz/p-10215730

You can also get single ones (not the set) for 15.41 CHF each. They differ in length, nothing else:
https://www.autoteile-meile.ch/Autot...ung/p-10216484
https://www.autoteile-meile.ch/Autot...ung/p-10216683
https://www.autoteile-meile.ch/Autot...ung/p-10216303
https://www.autoteile-meile.ch/Autot...ung/p-10215621
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Old 16.03.2015, 13:36
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

Thanks for that. From the information you provided, I was able (indirectly) to find out which one I required for the number 2 cylinder. The information, incidentally, came from https://www.teilefix.de/artikelinfor...ng/6A98E60/684 .
Anyway, I have ordered now from Autoteile-Meile, although the experience was somewhat odd:
1) The description of the part was not complete enough for me to identify it. As I said, I had to go to another site to match the part number up to the correct cylinder.
2) The credit card function on the site is 'broken' but I received an Email confirming the order anyway, while attempting enter my credit card details, which I could not complete because the system did not allow me to enter the year of expiry of the card.
3) I phoned up their service desk and was told to try again later, but how that could work I have no idea since there is no mechanism for entering credit card information, in retrospect, for an existing order. I got the impression that the receptionist did not want to hear any details and did not want to discuss it further.
4) Autoteile-Meile.ch does not have a very consistent identity. On the order acknowledgement, they are Delticom AG in Hannover. On the Order processing part of their web page, they inform you that the status of the order can be seen under 'ReifenDirekt.ch'

I have, in the mean time, written an email to their service desk, also offering to pay by bill, and await their answer.

OK. I'll reserve further judgment until part arrives (or does not arrive).
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Old 16.03.2015, 13:45
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

hehehehe they are little buggers, have you checked for more damage? they tend to nibble rubber pipes so although it doesn't show when the car isn't running they may have holed your water pipes as well
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Old 16.03.2015, 13:53
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

*Nerd Alert*

Marder aren't rodents, they belong to the Mustelid family (badgers, weasles, otters etc).

*Nerd Alert ends*
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Old 16.03.2015, 14:04
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

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4) Autoteile-Meile.ch does not have a very consistent identity. On the order acknowledgement, they are Delticom AG in Hannover. On the Order processing part of their web page, they inform you that the status of the order can be seen under 'ReifenDirekt.ch'
Yes indeed they are the same company as Reifendirekt.
And yes you are right, their webmastering skills are as awesome as most other online swiss retailers.
I've ordered from them and got what I asked for. Delivery was quite speedy as far as I remember. I can't recall having any issues with CC payment though.
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Old 16.03.2015, 14:08
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

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*Nerd Alert*

Marder aren't rodents, they belong to the Mustelid family (badgers, weasles, otters etc).

*Nerd Alert ends*
I'm glad you pointed that out. Any insurance policy against car damage caused by rodents would, naturally, be invalid if the damage was actually caused (or could reasonably be suspected as having been caused) by an animal of genus Mustelid, such as a marten (German: Marder).
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Old 16.03.2015, 14:14
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

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*Nerd Alert*

Marder aren't rodents, they belong to the Mustelid family (badgers, weasles, otters etc).

*Nerd Alert ends*
Double nerd alert;

They're Martens in english, and Fouines in french (and yes, before someone feels obliged to point it out that's also a slang word for lady bits).

Not all of us understand german you know!

I'm sure Tom will be along in a minute with the correct italian name.... but I think it's Martore.
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Old 25.03.2015, 10:38
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

For those tense with anticipation as to how this saga ended, it ended well.
The replacement cable arrived yesterday and I fitted it straight away. It all worked perfectly.
There are still some residual peanuts in places inaccessable to my vacuum cleaner but I'm not too worried about that. In fact, the smell of roasting peanuts is somewhat more pleasant than that of hot disk pads.

The order processing by Autoteile-meile/ReifenDirekt/Delticom AG was not all that smooth: 2 emails sent, 7 emails received, 1 telephone call, a lot of clicking in their web site, all for a component which cost CHF 15.- (excluding delivery) . However, most of that was attributable to the initial error on their credit card processing form and setting up an account as a customer for the first time. Anyway, I'll have no hesitation in using them, whatever they are called, again.
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Old 25.03.2015, 11:54
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

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*Nerd Alert*

Marder aren't rodents, they belong to the Mustelid family (badgers, weasles, otters etc).

*Nerd Alert ends*
Maybe it wasn't a Marder but a Bernese mountain capybara...?
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Old 11.05.2015, 11:27
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

So my car has just returned from the garage. Marten damage too.

We had the traction control and brake warning lights come on at the weekend. Great service from the garage, they took it first thing today and fixed it. They assume that the insurance will cover so will just deal directly with them.

They recommend a sound emitting device.. Our car is parked underground in a car park too, I would have thought they preferred outside.
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Old 11.05.2015, 12:16
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

When I moved here, I was told martens had a preference for VAG rubber.

Stop sniggering at the back!

The OP's car was a Polo. I wonder what John_H's and Verbiers' cars are.
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Old 11.05.2015, 12:40
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Re: Car attacked and partly eaten by a rodent.

We were told that they have a preference for 'oriental' cars so the Japanese and Korean ones are often attacked, something to do with the composition of the rubber used in the tubing.

Spiky mats under the engine when the car is parked and those smelly magic tree air fresheners act as a pretty good deterrent we've found although fortunately we've not had a problem with them here.
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