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Old 01-04-2008, 07:54 PM   #1
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Faulty welds on Carpenter buses

I have an '88 Chevy Bus with a Carpenter body. Recently I learned about faulty welds on the roof structures of buses built in the Mitchell, Indiana plant from 1986-1995. This raises some concern to me, so I was wondering if anyone else with a Carpenter has heard about this issue. It seems like it might only cause problems in the event of a rollover, which hopefully will never happen to anyone. Ok thanks.

-Adam
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:55 AM   #2
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Re: Faulty welds on Carpenter buses

Hi Arfisher and welcome to the forum.

There has been numerous posts on faulty welds, on Carpenter buses. I think the first one was posted in 2005.

Here are some of the posts concerning the welds:

Carpenter Bodies http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtop...er+buses#p3370


Interior Panel Removal http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtop...er+buses#p3940

Brand new to skoolie's - inquiry http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtop...r+buses#p10662

1990 International-conventional 466/643 My new project! viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2382&p=17743&hilit=welds+carp enter+buses#p17743

CARPENTER SCHOOL BUS UPDATE:
Identifying the Potential For Cracked or Broken Welds http://www.schoolbusinfo.org/carpbusfinal.html

Hope this helps.

Robert
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Old 01-05-2008, 11:46 AM   #3
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Re: Faulty welds on Carpenter buses

Thanks for the info. I see it's a commonly-known problem. I'm no welder, so fixing the problem by myself, (if it needed to be done) is out of the question. Besides, I've already completed my insulation on the ceiling and put all my pine boards up, so I'm not going to remove all that now. Do you think that bad welds could cause problems with normal use - meaning occasional trips to the campgrounds? I'm also thinking about building a deck on the top once I've completed the interior. I want the deck to be about 8 feet long, so only about a third of the length of the bus. Would this be too much stress on the structure?

-Adam
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Old 01-05-2008, 12:05 PM   #4
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Re: Faulty welds on Carpenter buses

Quote:
Originally Posted by arfisher83
Thanks for the info. I see it's a commonly-known problem. I'm no welder, so fixing the problem by myself, (if it needed to be done) is out of the question. Besides, I've already completed my insulation on the ceiling and put all my pine boards up, so I'm not going to remove all that now. Do you think that bad welds could cause problems with normal use - meaning occasional trips to the campgrounds? I'm also thinking about building a deck on the top once I've completed the interior. I want the deck to be about 8 feet long, so only about a third of the length of the bus. Would this be too much stress on the structure?

-Adam
Sorry Adam, but you're asking the wrong person. I remember seeing the posts throughout the years and thought I'd guide you to them.

In the last link, NTSB recommended for schools recommended for schools to take buses out of service, if they can. But, they also stated that if there was no other alternative, to keep the buses rolling. I suspect that most of the weld problems were an issue of safety, during roll overs, because the NTSB recommended that buses be used for low speed routes.

The only thing I can recommend is to inspect the welds before installing a deck. Maybe someone else that has a Carpenter bus can chime in.

Sorry, this is all I've sgot.

Robert
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Old 01-05-2008, 12:32 PM   #5
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Re: Faulty welds on Carpenter buses

i'd be willing to bet a carpenter with bad welds is still safer than most any motorhome.
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Old 01-05-2008, 03:02 PM   #6
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Re: Faulty welds on Carpenter buses

I have a 1993 Carpenter. When I bought my bus, it had a salvage title because of this problem. I am also an amateur welder and have yet to see ANY faulty welds on my bus. They played it safe and gave all the Carpenter's salvage titles. To get the salvage status removed, I had to show some sort of repair bill. It was a real PITA since my bus didn't need any repairs. I explained the situation and even showed them the bus, but they said it needed some sort of repair bill or a receipt for parts to fix it. Finally, I went to Home Depot, bought a roll of welding wire for $8 for my welder, and took the receipt to the tag agency and that worked! No more salvage status for my bus. But I've had all of the ceiling panels and side panels off in my bus. I didn't see one weld that I felt was faulty. I was looking too. So, I'm sure there were some buses with bad welds, but not all of them. I really wouldn't worry about it. There was an incident a few years ago where a Carpenter rolled over and the roof partially collapsed. I don't think anybody was seriously injured. But they found that the cause was faulty welds on the roof of that particular bus. I guess they found a couple more buses with bad welds and just condemned them all! The way I figure it, is that there was one lazy piece of crap welder at the Carpenter factory back in the day. He couldn't have welded every single Carpenter together out there.
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Old 01-05-2008, 08:37 PM   #7
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Re: Faulty welds on Carpenter buses

I second lapeer!
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Old 01-05-2008, 08:55 PM   #8
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Re: Faulty welds on Carpenter buses

There is info about the problem in an article on this page:

http://www.schoolbusinfo.org/press.htm

It actually looks like something that should be fixed if found - the roof collapsed in the rollover shown in that article. It's still probably safer than a commercial RV, but it's pretty easy to fix I think...
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:42 PM   #9
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Re: Faulty welds on Carpenter buses

Alright, thanks for the advice. I guess as long as I don't roll my bus over bad welds shouldn't be a concern.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:40 PM   #10
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Re: Faulty welds on Carpenter buses



The Carpenter in question.
There were no children on board at the time.
I have found one reference to the driver, which reports that the driver was injured but expected to recover. http://www.schoolbusfleet.com/forum/...ida,crash,roof
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