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Old 25th March 2020, 22:51   #1
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Default Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter

I hope you're all doing great amidst these tough times. And it was time I had a double heart attack, which I least expected.

Prologue
======

Fast rewind, November 16, 2019. I was rear ended by a KL tourist bus, thrown away, and banged on the back of a parked Scorpio so bad, the footrest of the Scorpio, dislocated and sliced my right knee, cleanly, ripping almost all the ligaments there is on my knee to shreds and ripped another crucial ligament on my right hand elbow, with mild fracture on the right hand. Fortunately no fracture on my leg whatsoever. My shin bone took the impact so much so that it moved upwards towards my femur, almost parallel to my femur.

I was told I had multiple ligament failures, the CT scan proved it was worse, and recovery would take months to years. All said and done. It's been almost three months the car was lying unused, all covered up and of course mothballed thoroughly, as I requested my friends to do it, as I knew it will be a long due before I can head back to my hometown (Ooty), let alone drive a car again or ride a bike again.

After death defying painful physios that would echo to my neighbor next door, I was able to limp, with baby steps grazing the walls and what not. Today, I mustered up the courage to finally crank the car..

Though, I requested my brother to take the car for drives, he mostly didn't drive, rather cranked it and let it idle 10 to 15 mins and turned it off. Everything seemed fine..until today.


The Drama
=========

Limped towards the car, removed the car cover, everything was spic and span. Was honestly delighted by the sight of a neatly kempt car, no droppings of any sort, though the cover was polka dotted by all variants and colors of our aviary friends, the focus was on starting the car. The getting inside of the car was another 15 minute drama in and of itself. The knee not agreeing to my movements, I had to fiddle the seats back and forth and called my mom for assistance and finally.

Igntion on - Check.
Fuel pump primes perfectly - Check.
All the tell tale lights switch off - Check.
Cranks the car, the engine cranks, cranks and cranks and cranks, and finally with a pitter, patter and putter, and lots of hesitation and misfiring and white smoke the car finally fires up, albeit with vibrations that were equivalent to riding a bullock cart full on, on roads inundated with speed breakers.

Strange. In all these years of 90k KMS, the car never once has misfired while starting or such bone jolting vibrations. Two to three cranks and she'd rise to at 1.5k and idle during the warm up and settle to the 500 RPM with compass precision.

With the car bouncing, and the RPM wildly fluctuating between 3k and extremely low, as low as stalling, though she wouldn't stall, she tries to keep herself running, and again the RPM shoots up, and then again she brings it to extreme low and hence, this see saw was going on.

My first hunch was the spark plugs and hence the misfiring. Killed the ignition, opened the bonnet with the help of a neighbor, removed the HD leads, and sprayed some WD40 on the ignition coils and innards of the leads, wiped them clean, and cranked her up. For a moment, she started superbly, idled. The moment I gave gas, that's when all hell broke loose, the RPM raised all the way to 4k and stuck there, didn't budge. Any inputs to the accelerator only made the RPM shoot up worse, it shot high and high.

Finally, after pressing the gas pedal and leaving it suddenly the spring pressure immediately idled the car. I knew something was terribly wrong, and boy, was I right. Turned off the car.

Took another 15 minute to get down of the car and another two minutes to reach the engine bay. Luckily, I had my tools with me. Started off by removing the air filter assembly and removed air filter.. lo and behold..

El Ratatouille and the Afrikan Map!

Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter-1.jpg

The moment I saw the airfilter with a neatly carved Afrikan map, for a moment, I froze, with sheer amazement and disbelief! In all my years of motoring and wrenching, this was, to my amazement a serious reality check and boy, it was only getting worse.

I couldn't take the picture of the airfilter box itself and the ghastly condition it was in, I was in such a state of disbelief, I had to muscle up and start doing the next thing immediately that is remove the air filter, the filter element was shredded with a Continental cook's culinary chopping skills, such finely powdered.

It took me another 10 minutes to clean the airfilter box, then thought of removing the entire intake plumbing, removed the entire plumbing, uptil the throttle body intake, another 20 mins tapping the box and wiggling and shaking till all the shreds came out, a few thick pieces of paper did come out of the resonator box.

The poor thing though another view
Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter-2.jpg

The Aghast
Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter-3.jpg

Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter-4.jpg

The Afrikano map
Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter-5.jpg

Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter-6.jpg


Creme De La Creme
============


Just as I was WD40-ing the throttle body butterfly valve, I bend a little to observe for any carbon deposits on the butterfly plate, and to my sheer horror, and I truly term this as being the worst experience than being in the Evil Dead plot for real.

An entire piece of transparent plastic, thick plastic cover -- the ones that come with brand new shirts with sealking tape of sort. It was wedged between the throttle body plate sidewards, more than two inch long and four inch wide or so, inside the throttle body air intake.

A significant portion was stuck inside the throttle blade, and just a small portion stuck outside. Now, immediately I knew this is why the accelerator pedal was not returning smoothly and the idle was extremely erratic, misfiring. This definitely confused the MAP sensor as the hole leading to the sensor was choked with this plastic so tight.

Eureka moment, to be honest. I felt everything the car felt at that one moment, as if the car was talking to me in telepathy. All the erratic RPM, all the misfiring, all -- every single point the car's engine went through, ran a flashback as I was squeaky eyed pulling and pulling and the wrapper keeps coming and coming and finally this.

Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter-7.jpg

Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter-8.jpg

Limped back home, almost tripping on the cement road. Took a flashlight, came back and opened the throttle body plate and started to look inside the throttle body for any fragments. To my relief, nothing was stuck, though I am not sure if any got pulled and got burnt in the process. The car did emit extremely thick white smoke like a weed blower for a few moment, my car's first in all its years of ownership.

WD-40d the inlet generously again, cleaned the throttle body venturi thrice, wiped clean installed the air filter box, the air filter intake snorkel, without the air filter. It was moment of reckoning for sure, though I had my confidence for a job well done and it wasn't something to alarm, I was apprehensive for any foreign object ingestion.

By the time I got back to the driver's seat, my palpation was quite palpable. As I turn the key, my heart pounding, the fuel pump primes, and start the car. The engine fires up in less than half a crank and idles perfectly at 1000 RPM, it was a sigh of relief, I just couldn't explain.

Revved the throttle, the throttle rose with compass accuracy as earlier and settled without any erratic fluctuating urgency, unlike earlier, and came to a pin point 500 RPM. Revved her till 5k a couple of times, just to make sure, it wasn't a placebo effect, and she was creamy butter smooth, picked up revs perfectly, and upon releasing the gas, she would smoothly return to her idle RPM.

Me having an OCD of sorts, I switched her off and cranked her a couple of times to make sure she starts well, and yes sir, she did. All cranks taking less than one crank, and she would idle, rev and make me smile perfectly.

Epilogue
=====


It's always better to look the car's air filter, the first, when mothballed for a while. In my case, this was the first and last mistake I did and will ever do. Henceforth, those small indiscernible things do matter.

In my case, the rat entered the intake snorkel right up front and settled inside the air filter area, making a mess out of it. The rat seems to have brought along with it a plastic cover which was sucked by the intake vacuum and got stuck between the blade and the wall of the throttle body. I truly have to thank my lucky stars and my OCD to have checked it ASAP. Any delay and if that plastic crud got sucked right in, KABOOM. And boy, was I a happy little kiddo all over again, to find and solve the issue. Trust your gut, it does say something you just can't ignore.

Always cover the intake snorkel mouth with the right sized plank or some makeshift sturdy plastic lid, if mothballed. A very important lesson learnt. I am getting the right sized wooden plank cut and get it wedged, so rats and rodents don't enter. Some intakes by default, have intake mesh or bifurcations which don't allow anything to pass, but some, like me unlucky ones, have a just a wide open mouth.

Lastly, me being a motorcycle enthusiast all along, I feel bad for ignoring the car, all the while thinking, as long as she's under cover, she's safe. Little did I know the internal turmoils unfolding, while I was lying in the hospital bed. Thankfully, the car didn't let me down, and I think we both didn't let each other down in the end.


Of the hope, that this article will be of help to someone, somewhere.

Cheers!
VJ

Mod request: Team, forgive me if I did post this in the wrong section. Requesting you to move it wherever necessary.

Last edited by VijayAnand1 : 25th March 2020 at 22:57.
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Old 25th March 2020, 23:09   #2
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Default re: Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter

Nice piece of investigative journalism there Vijay. It unfolded tantalisingly like a piece of automotive whodunnit 🙂. Good show !

And sorry to hear about your accident. I hope that with adequate rest, physiotherapy and medication, you'll soon be fit and back in the saddle. Did the bike take a serious knock (I'm assuming it was the CBR)?

What's to be thankful about is that you are safe. Keep you spirits up and get well soon !

Cheers !
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Old 26th March 2020, 03:31   #3
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Default re: Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter

Jeez maan. That sounds like a horrible accident. Take it easy on yourself.

On your car, that has to be the first time I have heard of a rodent entering the air intake and destroying the air filter!

I had to deal with mysterious rodent droppings inside the car and that stressed me enough. The mouse made its way through the fresh air intake. Fortunately; it did not chew through anything. I had no choice but take the car to Ford and have them dismantle the HVAC assembly inside the car. In the process of doing this, the mouse got away. Hopefully; not into someone else car.
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Old 26th March 2020, 09:44   #4
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Default Re: Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter

Dear god! I got chills reading the outcome of your accident. The shock of reading that made me numb & I didn't feel much pain looking at the later parking-damage to the car when not in use.

I wish you a speedy & full recovery brother. As for rats - I find the rat repellent sprays quite useful. Please ask your neighbour/family members to spray it thoroughly inside all of engine bay, pipes, rubber/plastic bits, foam insulation, firewall, wires, battery & engine top. (If not already done.)

I do it once in 6 months & rats have not entered the engine bay even once since I started using it. Before that - it was mayhem.

There is a 3M solution available. I used an Indian one from Nichem -
LINK : Amazon.in Nichem Rat Repellent spray

Its an odor and taste based repellent, no poison. It has no toxic ingredients to kill rats or anything. And no - for our senses - no odor enters the cabin ever. Taste indeed is quite shocking. So ensure you wear the provided gloves & wash hands thoroughly before ever touching even lips. The taste lasts long I have experienced it.

Take care.
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Old 26th March 2020, 10:05   #5
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Default Re: Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter

Hope you recover fully soon from your terrible accident.

I was more impressed with your language skills than your auto skills!
I assume you replaced the air filter with a new one, right?

I would have straightway called for assistance if I had been in your position and not dared tried any of the troubleshooting you did.
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Old 26th March 2020, 14:48   #6
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Default Re: Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nalin1 View Post
Hope you recover fully soon from your terrible accident.

I was more impressed with your language skills than your auto skills!
I assume you replaced the air filter with a new one, right?

I would have straightway called for assistance if I had been in your position and not dared tried any of the troubleshooting you did.
Thank you Nalin for your kind words. Yes, it's natural to call assistance, as one just doesn't know what's in store for yes, and that's the wise thing to do indeed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhard View Post
Dear god! I got chills reading the outcome of your accident. The shock of reading that made me numb & I didn't feel much pain looking at the later parking-damage to the car when not in use.
Take care.
RH, thank you so much. The recovery is a painful process. I am thankful, I am able to at least type and grateful for such messages from you guys. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeepmohan View Post
Jeez maan. That sounds like a horrible accident. Take it easy on yourself.

On your car, that has to be the first time I have heard of a rodent entering the air intake and destroying the air filter!

I had to deal with mysterious rodent droppings inside the car and that stressed me enough. The mouse made its way through the fresh air intake. Fortunately; it did not chew through anything. I had no choice but take the car to Ford and have them dismantle the HVAC assembly inside the car. In the process of doing this, the mouse got away. Hopefully; not into someone else car.
Indeed. Rodents are truly a pain on the back. It seems they always have a liking for clean and new stuff, and henceforth indulge in unceremonious activities. Truly, it was about time, I was able to isolate this issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironhide View Post
Nice piece of investigative journalism there Vijay. It unfolded tantalisingly like a piece of automotive whodunnit ��. Good show !

And sorry to hear about your accident. I hope that with adequate rest, physiotherapy and medication, you'll soon be fit and back in the saddle. Did the bike take a serious knock (I'm assuming it was the CBR)?

Cheers !
Thank you so much for your kind words. It was the Suzuki Shogun I was on. The bike had a bent handlebar and a bent footrest, both right side, and broken brake and clutch yokes. The rear was a sad story, was smashed, tail lamp smashed, the fender holder bent, the rear was a mess, everything there is, was mince. Last I saw the the bike, the handlebar was L shaped, with the right side making a 90 degree up before being taken by ambulance. I was slowing down to make way for a passing car near a roundabout, and next, all I remember was flying and banging on the back of an SUV. It felt I as though time-travelling with everything a blur around me, and the rest was...

Cheers!
VJ
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Old 26th March 2020, 20:07   #7
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Default Re: Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter

Quite a sad ordeal that you have been through. The accident during Nov 2019 was quite shocking. But its on a happy note we all read that you are recovering, though slowly. Wish you a very quick recovery. As such, the whole of India is confined into millions of homes, so you are not alone as of now, during this 21 day home curfew. Do take all precautions and things will change for the better.

The ratty event is another shocker. Though its good it didn't fiddle or chew the wiring harness which is always their preferred first target. We have a separate thread here to overcome the dirty rodents. Found that keeping raw tobacco in quite a few cloth bags at several locations within the car/engine bay is good as a repellant.

Link to the ratty thread:-

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techn...r-rats-98.html (How do you protect your car from rats?)

Lastly, thanks for the very informative write-up.

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 26th March 2020 at 20:10.
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Old 26th March 2020, 20:52   #8
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Default Re: Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter

God in heaven! That is a terrible accident. I don’t think any level of protective gear would have helped in this scenario. How much longer before you can get to be normal again? Come to think of it, the rest of us are home bound too.

Coming back to the ratty episode, apparently the wiring in all our cars are covered in food grade sheaths (soy based as against petroleum based), to make the car more environmentally friendly. Pretty insane right?

https://www.freep.com/story/news/loc...les/578398002/

Last edited by Red Liner : 26th March 2020 at 20:53.
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Old 26th March 2020, 23:32   #9
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Default Re: Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter

I think Air intake system design is more responsible for this than rodent.
At least in Honda's air intake tube is at lower level than filter.
And this arrangement makes it difficult for rodents to chew the filter.

Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter-rodent.png

But if the same system is designed like below then it is easy for rats to chew.

Double heart attack & the aftermath = Rat chews up my air filter-rodent2.jpg
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