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Old 07-23-2013, 11:04 AM   #1
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How do I pull new wires through the ceiling? 03 HR Endeavor

We've got a 2003 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 38PST.
The wiring between the thermostat and the front AC unit was eaten thru by mice (or abrasion). When I was pulling the wiring out, I DID fasten the new wiring to the end, but it got hung up somewhere while I was pulling it through, and the new wire tore loose.

Now, I have to somehow send a new RJ11 wire through the ceiling, across several horizontal barriers.
There are aluminum horizontal separators every so many feet in the ceiling that appear to be barriers that prevent me from just running a wire "as the crow flies" from AC to front thermostat.

In addition, the ceiling panels do not appear to come down easily for me to get better visibility.

How can I run new wire through the ceiling?
Thanks.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:20 AM   #2
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Get a electricians fisher. It's a hard flat metal blade that electricians use to pull wire through walls, Might have at Home Depot? and prayer you'll need that to.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 92TNTRacing View Post
Get a electricians fisher. It's a hard flat metal blade that electricians use to pull wire through walls, Might have at Home Depot? and prayer you'll need that to.
TNT,
Thanks.
I've got a fish tape. So, do I just push it through, in the direction of the thermostat? It will go?
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:57 AM   #4
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Use the air conditioning duct.
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:07 PM   #5
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Use the air conditioning duct.
OK,
I can see how I could run the wire thru the ducting. But there's one horizontal crossbeam I will have to get thru to get it over into the vicinity of the thermostat.

Are there any predictable openings across the aluminum crossbeams, or do I have to get a long drill and make a hole, and try to fish thru the styrofoam?

thanks.
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:20 PM   #6
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I second the AC duct. It's the only way to run a new wire through the ceiling of an RV reliably that I know of.
-Paul R. Haller-
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:27 PM   #7
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As long as you have batt type insulation you can do it. When using a fish tape, you will likely run into the trusses and get stopped. The insulation and other things you can't see like bundles of wires up there will block the tape.

You need to "leapfrog" between access points. There are many access points in the ceiling you can use. AC grille, bathroom vent, ceiling speakers, smoke detector and anything else that happens to be on the ceiling. You can even use the "dome" (aka pancake) lights. If you take a light off, you will find a small 1" or so diameter hole that can be a fish point. You can enlarge the hole if needed, as long as the light will cover it up.

You can also create access points up inside cabinets. Just use a sharp utility knife to cut say a 4x4 hole. Then screw or glue on a thin piece of plywood after. If you are still having trouble, you can do things like pull the fridge out and run down to floor level and run under a bathtub or shower or through a wheel well. If you need to run up and down, you should find a hole in the top plate of an interior wall to supply wires to a wall switch or thermostat that can also serve as a wiring route.

You sort of need to stand back, put your thinking cap on, scratch your head a few times and scope out a route that is do-able. You may need to go up and down, side to side and take a seemingly unusual route. Doesn't have to be any kind of shortest distance or straightest line. As a last resort, providing you do not have an enclosed underbelly, you can always run under the floor.

The most important thing is to have patience. It can take hours and hours to get this done if it's a difficult route. If you simply cannot get the fish tape through where you want, then you need to look at an alternate route. Sometimes there's things in the ceiling cavity that you just cannot see. It helps to try an identify the joist locations. You can try using a studfinder, measuring them or feeling them up through access points. Then you'll know where the fish tape may get hung up. Painters masking tape works well for this. The ceiling panels should be 4' apart and you should be able to see the tape put over the seams.

If the fish tape you are using is not working all that great, try using a straightened coat hanger. They can help because you can bend them to a shape to get over/around obstacles. You can bend a little hook on the end to attach a string to. After your have you route and fish tape through, it may help to use a heavy cord attached to the new wire to pull through.

There you go - fishing wires made easy.... Piece of cake.... Fuggedaboutit....

Alternatively, just come to our place and I will help you do it.
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:43 PM   #8
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As long as you have batt type insulation you can do it. When using a fish tape, you will likely run into the trusses and get stopped. The insulation and other things you can't see like bundles of wires up there will block the tape.

You need to "leapfrog" between access points. etc etc etc
Dougal et al,
EXCELLENT. That is probably what I needed to hear -- there is no easy direct way to plumb in new wiring, but instead I'm going to have to get innovative in getting around the crossbeams.

Appreciate the advice from all. I'll use the AC ducts to get from the AC unit as far downstream as possible, then start looking for alternate routes, or make alternate routes, to leapfrog the trusses.

Thanks to all again. This forum is the BEST!
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:23 PM   #9
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Welcome! Happy fishing!
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:34 PM   #10
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I fished an HDMI cable through the cold air return duct--very easy.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:51 PM   #11
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I plan on moving my front TV. Instead of trying to fish the cable through a wall or the ceiling I bought some nice cable trays that have a cover on it so it looks nice when you're done and I bought it large enough so I can add future electronics. You can get them at amazon, or any place that sells flat screens.
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Old 07-25-2013, 05:01 PM   #12
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You might have to consider relocating the thermostat to a location that is easier to fish to.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
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You might have to consider relocating the thermostat to a location that is easier to fish to.
Good point about simply changing location, becasue, after all,there are no other wires needed except the RJ11 from the AC unit.

However, just an hour ago, I removed a ceiling speaker which is by one of the AC ducts. I ran a coat hanger over the horizontal cross bar, and was able to get right to the 1" hole in the overhead compartment that houses the thermostat.

A coat hanger turned out to be a better choice in this case, than the electrician's fish tape, because you can force it in the direction you want it to go -- unlike the tape.
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