Carpenter bodies - any reason to worry?
As some of you may already know, I've been on the lookout for a short bus for the past couple months. And I think I may have found one - a '91 Chevy/Carpenter 16-pass (G30-based, "Classmate" iirc) that showed up on Craigslist last Thursday. It's about a hundred miles from where I am, and I plan to go look at it sometime later this week. It's not quite perfect, and I still have a lot of details to check on (seller isn't too knowledgeable), but the price is pretty low so it might work out.
One problem, though - the pictures I've seen show four rub rails, with the bottom two being broken up by the presence of the wheel-well. If I understand correctly, this means that it was built at the former Mitchell, Indiana plant; and therefore there's a good chance I'll be dealing with cracked roof welds.
Am I understanding this right? And if so, how difficult would it be for someone (not me, since I don't own a welder and have next to no welding skills) to repair any broken welds? Since the bus would be used as an occasional people-mover, I can't skimp on potential safety issues.
Also, I've read that Carpenters were often "low-bidder" buses. I'm used to Blue Birds and Thomases... so quality-wise, would this be a step down? (Can't be worse than the old Collins bodies were - owned a '94 Bantam... never again!)