How difficult is it to remove RV ceiling panels to access wiring in the attic? I ask, as mice have chewed through two A/C-related wires. Our RV has two Dometic A/C units. They are controlled by their “Comfort Control Center 2” thermostat, which can control two zones. One damaged wire is a 4-conductor telephone-style cable that daisy chains the thermostat’s control from one A/C unit to the other. The other wire is a temperature sensor for zone 2 (bedroom). I cannot use the old wires to pull in new ones as the mice severed them. —Mike, 2018 Keystone Alpine 3400RS
The roof construction of your 2018 Alpine fifth wheel is a sandwich design. It has a rubber membrane outer skin, lauan paneling, aluminum framework with block foam insulation embedded, another lauan panel and interior material, which is either a padded vinyl or hair cell fabric. The wires are typically routed into the block foam during construction and they come out of the ceiling at a point where there is a hollow bath or bedroom wall so they can be pulled down and attached to the thermostat or temperature sensors.
Really no ceiling panels to remove
So there are really no RV ceiling panels that you can remove, but rather 4’x8’ sheets of the lauan.
Typically, these are not easy to pull even if they are severed due to the tight channel and curves or corners that are involved. I would first try to use a “fish tape” to see if you can follow the channel. Some manufacturers actually have a piece of conduit. However, if the mice chewed the wires, they were probably just in the insulation, which will make it more difficult. I have found the best fish tape or wire is the soft fiberglass version rather than the hard wire type. I get mine at Harbor Freight.
An option is to run new wiring
An easier option that I have done with not only wiring but coax cable is to just run new lines either inside the cabinets or go up to the roof outside. You should be able to take the panel wall off where the thermostat and temperature sensors are located so you can identify where the wires go. Home improvement stores carry electrical raceways that are decorative enough to run along the top inside cabinets, or on the roof.
Another option would be to go down into the basement. Your fifth wheel should have a wide open underneath compartment that would be easy to run wire in some automotive tubing. It could be fastened to the floor or risers/outriggers and come up inside the wall that has the thermostat or temperature sensor.
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Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”
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