R60/R61 Stock Problems/Issues Discussions related to warranty related issues and repairs, or other problems with the OEM parts and software for R60 AND R61 MINI Cooper and Cooper S MINIs.

Of Mice and Countrymen

  #1  
Old 11-02-2012, 08:12 PM
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Of Mice and Countrymen

WARNING!!!


There is a now-documented design issue on the Countryman that allows rodents into the car from the outside. Once inside, the critters can adopt the interior of your Countryman as their own personal Porta-Potty. This is a real issue now that the weather is turning colder.

If you open the hatch on the front cowl under the hood on the passengers side, you will find the battery box:



In the above picture, the battery has already bee removed to expose the HVAC air intake (black oval on firewall). You'll note that there is no grille over the opening. Mice can march right through there and squeeze their way into the interior where they'll have unlimited access to all the nooks and crannies that make ideal rodent nesting and "rest stop" areas. Once they have moved into your CM, the odor can take big bucks to be eliminate; basically some or all of the interior will need to be replaced. AMHIK!

My independent MINI garage has seen this in the Countryman too many times over the last two years. Finally, they retrofitted the solution:




They also had to completely disassemble, clean, disinfect, and deodorize all of the interior. The major problem area was the inside rear edge of the way-back and the interior crevices surrounding it. It took a boroscope and a stripped interior to find it:



Do yourself a favor: contact THESE folks for their kits or make your own...especially if you park your Countryman outside! BTW -- I believe some of the other new MINIs have a similar issue with the HVAC intake grille -- check yours to be sure!
 
  #2  
Old 11-05-2012, 11:43 AM
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gooD
 
  #3  
Old 11-05-2012, 07:53 PM
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GREAT INFO!!!!, thanks for telling us about it
 
  #4  
Old 11-06-2012, 06:48 AM
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So the HVAC fresh air intake pulls ambient air from the battery box?

Something about that doesn't seem quite right...
 
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:54 AM
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If you are going to do this fix, use a heavy wire mesh or something. That looks like nylon screen. They will chew through that immediately and have fun doing it. You need the stuff that they sell in the gardening supply area to keep the mice from getting through it!
 
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by JoanieB View Post
If you are going to do this fix, use a heavy wire mesh or something. That looks like nylon screen. They will chew through that immediately and have fun doing it. You need the stuff that they sell in the gardening supply area to keep the mice from getting through it!
Excellent point Joanie, although that screen material is aluminum, as mentioned in the article at the link provided by Koopah. However, that screen restricts airflow, maybe 25% or so. I may very well do this mod myself, and I would use 1/4" galvanized wire mesh (Lowes or Home Depot). That material is rigid enough that it can be cut and formed into a shape which could be press-fit into the oval grommet surrounding the air-intake opening. Doing it that way would save drilling and screwing, and provide for easier removal should that be necessary.
 
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:28 AM
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We've had mice easily chew through aluminum screen too. And it would be more prone to slowing down the air flow, as you point out. 1/4" wire mesh would be the best solution, and as you say, could be press fit into the opening.
 
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:24 AM
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Wow.. I am a new '12 All4 owner and found this thread very intresting. I guess I need to get this done this or next weekend.
 
  #9  
Old 11-09-2012, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Gil-galad View Post
So the HVAC fresh air intake pulls ambient air from the battery box?

Something about that doesn't seem quite right...
Strange...but true!
 
  #10  
Old 11-09-2012, 05:15 AM
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Well, as you have surmised, I live in the "Rodent Belt" and have had enough stuff chewed to know that mice can chew through metal screens. I ve also had mice chew through 16-gauge wire mesh! If there is a "honey pot" on the other side of a blocking surface, rodents WILL find a way. I've had them work their way through wallboard and 3/4" pine. Even using 1/4" wire mesh will not stop a rodent if there is something they want on the other side.

So, the key here is to not have anything on the other side of any mesh to make mice want to hack through it. Leaving food, empty coffee cups (with the remnants of creamer or sugar), food wrappers, errant french fries and other bits of odorous delectables in the car will only make rodents more determined...and I doubt that even 1/4" galvanized wire mesh will stop them!

However, if there is no reason (food) to cause them to buzz-through a blockade, then mice will rarely spend the effort breaking through it. Case in point: we had a "rustic" cottage in the New Hampshire woods where mice chewed-through the gasket around the refrigerator door to get at the contents. However, they left the flimsy plastic storage bags used to store our linen untouched. Go figure!

The airflow restriction issue is not really germane since there is a powerful blower that sucks the air into the car...unlike the issue of free-flow air into a radiator/intercooler.

In the end, I think ANY blocking of that intake is worth the effort providing you keep enticing morsels out of your Countryman.
 
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:55 AM
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My Mercedes slk55 also brings in fresh air through the battery box...must be a German thing
 
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by shark715 View Post
My Mercedes slk55 also brings in fresh air through the battery box...must be a German thing
Yeah -- and I wonder why my R53 battery (in the spare tire wheel well) has a vent tube to the outside but the R60 sucks-in air over the top of the battery!
 
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Koopah View Post
Yeah -- and I wonder why my R53 battery (in the spare tire wheel well) has a vent tube to the outside but the R60 sucks-in air over the top of the battery!
your countryman has a sealed battery, no vent tube

scott
 
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by bmwr606 View Post
your countryman has a sealed battery, no vent tube

scott
Yes, but...

"Any sealed battery will vent if overcharged to the point of excessive gassing, because the valves are designed to purge excessive pressure building up inside the battery case."

"While many batteries today are "sealed" lead-acid, it's difficult to completely seal a battery."

"Battery fumes are explosive and toxic..."

Sources:

http://www.eham.net/articles/2228

http://books.google.com/books?id=kvA...0fumes&f=false

One other thing: while the MINI CM OEM battery might be considered sufficiently safe, what are the odds that 100% of CM owners specifically buy an OEM battery again if they need a replacement? What risks are incurred by using aftermarket batteries, of all shades of design and quality?

Sorry, but sucking in cabin air past the battery just doesn't seem like a bright idea...
 
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:25 PM
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The chemical output of the battery is part of the euphoric experience of driving or riding in a CM
 
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:11 PM
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I just can't let my wife see this she will freak out.
 
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Gil-galad View Post
{snip}...Sorry, but sucking in cabin air past the battery just doesn't seem like a bright idea...
But it DOES explain my curious behavior recently....
 
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:56 PM
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Odd that I just found this thread today... I just ran to the store in my Z4 Coupe and I looked at the floorboard and thought I saw some lint... Upon closer observation, I now think it's mice poo!!! I didn't do a taste test, but now I'm worried that they somehow found a way in! I always keep the car garaged! I have left the window cracked, but not anytime recently and never enough that I would ever envision a rat or mouse getting in...

I imagine they can find a way into any car, so I'll get to cleaning and check around... When I take delivery of my CMs I'm gonna try to seal off that hole with some metal mesh to avoid any more Feivel's getting in!

Is it fairly easy to get to and patch up?
 
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:00 PM
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Bueno,

It does require removal of the battery to give you the best room to work. I suppose it wouldn't be impossible to do with the battery in, but you'd need small hands and wouldn't be able to secure the screen in the way mine was done.

HTH,
 
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:39 AM
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Our backyard abuts acres and acres of orchards.. Giving us awesome views and smells year round. Families of deer enjoy the spoiled apples on the ground.
With all that beauty.... Comes the nuisance of field mice. We've had our share and as mentioned...... Give them a will and they WILL find a way. So on the occasional times them finding there way in to our basement.....they never travel alone.. We have also learned from the professionals that these cute little guys have No backbone and can find there way through cracks as small as a nickel.....
 
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:24 AM
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Some strategically placed cotton ***** dosed with peppermint oil will keep mice out of anything.
Personally, taking ANYTHING to eat or drink into our MINI is strictly verboten.
For the garaged MINI a simple self arming mouse/rat trap works great, see directions to build one at:
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/easterly110.html
 
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:33 PM
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it appears this is not unique to the countryman

here is a photo posted today in the R56 "how-to" section, it is 1 of a series of photos on DIY battery replacement

note the air inlet for the HVAC



scott
 
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:45 PM
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In my 2011 R56, the battery is covered by a lid that snaps closed. It is isolated from the outside (maybe why it has to vent?) is the CM's battery similarly covered?
 
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by JoanieB View Post
In my 2011 R56, the battery is covered by a lid that snaps closed. It is isolated from the outside (maybe why it has to vent?) is the CM's battery similarly covered?
yes, there is a cover, but the hole behind the battery is open, just as in the photo in my post above

scott
 
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:23 PM
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My Countryman was invaded by the local rats within a week of our buying it. Our cars are parked outside, and I figured out something was wrong when I noticed the sidemarker blinkers weren't working. The rats had eaten the wires off on both sides and started to eat through the cabin air filter. The strange thing is they had never touched the two clubmans that we had before or the Hyundai that my wife drives now. I guess Austrian cars are just way more enticing than British or Korean ones.
 

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