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Old 03-19-2017, 05:14 PM   #1
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Just bought a bus!

Hey everybody! My girlfriend and I just picked up our 2000 Carpenter International! We are so excited to get started, but we have A LOT of questions. There's so much good information already out there, but if I have other questions should I just start a new thread about our build? Or just continue on this post?
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:24 PM   #2
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Either way- Welcome.
Whats up with your bus?
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:33 PM   #3
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Well, we just drove it to it's temporary home and have just taken measurements, photos, etc., but our first concern is this suspicious substance on the floor near the back. My girlfriend thought it was salt because we picked it up when it was snowing and may have tracked some in, but I'm worried it's battery acid.... any idea?
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:36 PM   #4
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I live in FL, so I've never even seen road salt. Sorry.
Either way- just clean it out and carry on!
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:39 PM   #5
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Well, we just drove it to it's temporary home and have just taken measurements, photos, etc., but our first concern is this suspicious substance on the floor near the back. My girlfriend thought it was salt because we picked it up when it was snowing and may have tracked some in, but I'm worried it's battery acid.... any idea?
Inside the bus, it really isn't likely it is battery acid. Salt is probably the most likely suspect. If you have doubts about it, pour some baking soda on it. It won't hurt anything and will neutralize acid.
Could be just goop from some kids lunchbox 😂
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:40 PM   #6
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Haha, I'm with ya! We were going to tear up the floor completely anyway... as far as the next few projects go, we're thinking remove seats, remove floor, remove wall panels, remove ceiling panels... repair any rust holes and do any body work we need to and then install the sub floor, the walls, and the ceiling... does this make sense? is there a better order to do things? at some point we need to get a mechanic to check it out, too.... drove it about 350 miles home with no issues, but just for due dillegence's sake.
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:43 PM   #7
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Haha, I'm with ya! We were going to tear up the floor completely anyway... as far as the next few projects go, we're thinking remove seats, remove floor, remove wall panels, remove ceiling panels... repair any rust holes and do any body work we need to and then install the sub floor, the walls, and the ceiling... does this make sense? is there a better order to do things? at some point we need to get a mechanic to check it out, too.... drove it about 350 miles home with no issues, but just for due dillegence's sake.
Sounds like you're on your way to full and righteous conversion. I think you've got the right idea. Gut that sucker, get the nasty stuff out and insulate it!
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:51 PM   #8
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Baking soda, huh? Good to know! And thanks, EastCoasCB. I'd hate to get the first few things wrong as they seem the most important and most difficult to repair!! I will post some pics of the progress as it happens... Also, it doesn't matter YET because we still have to gut the whole thing, but it is stuck in the mud... kind of a lot lol any suggestions?
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:53 PM   #9
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Baking soda is basic. Battery acid is... Well acidic. Mix the two and the cancel each other out.
It's the old school science project volcano...


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Old 03-19-2017, 05:54 PM   #10
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As for the mud, depends how deep as to how you could proceed.

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Old 03-19-2017, 05:54 PM   #11
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Now I wish I would have paid more attention in class lol thanks again!! The ground is still really wet, so no use in sweatin it too much at this point. The spot we got for the build also houses two landscaping companies so if worse comes to worse, we can probably talk someone into pulling us out!
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Old 03-19-2017, 06:09 PM   #12
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It's going to be a while before that hole dries up enough for you to drive it out. My bus sinks if I drive it onto wet grass.

Landscaping lot huh? Sounds like they might have some gravel around there. If you can, jack up the rear of the bus as if you're changing a tire. Put gravel or something solid in the hole under the tire. Do the same thing on the opposing side. Depending on how deep it is you may have to go through this process several times.

Then again you could get someone to pull you out. At first I thought you were implying that your progress was stuck in the mud.
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Old 03-19-2017, 06:14 PM   #13
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yes! there are tons of materials around and even some plywood we're thinking might be helpful! As far as the progress goes, we're more like in purgatory because our generator doesn't arrive til Wednesday so we're kind of just twiddling our thumbs and researching! We have pretty much zero experience building, but we do have a lot of talented friends lol so we'll be picking their brains!
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Old 03-19-2017, 06:15 PM   #14
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Now I wish I would have paid more attention in class lol thanks again!! The ground is still really wet, so no use in sweatin it too much at this point. The spot we got for the build also houses two landscaping companies so if worse comes to worse, we can probably talk someone into pulling us out!
A loader and some chain should be able to drag you out. Just make sure someone is in the bus and it's running and in gear. Dont let them stop pulling g you till you are on solid ground.

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Old 03-19-2017, 06:18 PM   #15
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Now I wish I would have paid more attention in class lol thanks again!! The ground is still really wet, so no use in sweatin it too much at this point. The spot we got for the build also houses two landscaping companies so if worse comes to worse, we can probably talk someone into pulling us out!
Works great for cleaning battery terminals also... Just mix it up into a paste, or pop open a can of Coke and pour it on there.
And rinse it off with clean water
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Old 03-19-2017, 06:21 PM   #16
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Thanks!! I've been a long time reader of this site, but this has been my first thread and I am just so grateful for all the replies already! AND no one has even called me out for dumb questions lol much appreciated!
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Old 03-19-2017, 06:29 PM   #17
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Someone told me once there are no dumb questions. For those of us that faithfully rode the bus in grade school and thought we knew buses, this is a whole different ball game. Feel free to ask because people here don't want you to waste your time and money. Plus there's always something you can teach us.
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Old 03-19-2017, 08:32 PM   #18
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Thank you, Robin! That's very kind! With that in mind... here's a question lol so we've been researching insulation and I think our plan is to pull up the floor and do ospho, rustoleum, foam insulation (maybe iso? but I'm slightly confused about that and the possibility of trapping condensation), plywood, and then our floor... does this seem like a good plan? And how much insulation and plywood is already there? like 2 inches? We'd like to keep the floor the same thickness, just improve upon the materials... can anyone guesstimate the how thick the current rubber flooring + insulation + plywood is?
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:22 PM   #19
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Should be about an inch until you strike steel, I'd say. From the bottom up usually there's a steel sub floor, then 3/4" ply followed by the OEM puke mats. The puke mats cant be more than about a 1/4" thick if that. I've heard that some floors actually have insulation but it doesn't seem to be common. If there's signs of water damage and rot that's a pretty nasty job pulling up the floor.
Some buses have subfloors that are not sheet metal, but are instead a steel grid that the plywood is fastened to followed by the mats.
Mold and/or rot is a lot of the reason why many of us pull the interiors apart. I didn't find any mold, but you don't know until you open it up. You find what should be yellow rockwool insulation that's all black. This is a 20 year old bus and that rockwool insulation that has been gathering dust eventually molds. Besides, for a school bus nothing gets the old chewing gum and boogers out better than stripping it down to the bones.
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:01 AM   #20
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It would appear as if you have found yourself a really nice bus.

Having it painted in a color that isn't National School Bus Chrome Yellow is going to save you a lot of time and $$$.

As you have no doubt discovered, your bus is heavy and doesn't get very good traction on anything that isn't pavement.

Whatever you do, do NOT try rocking the bus to try and force your way out of the hole. What you will end up doing is digging the hole even deeper and making it that much harder to extricate. If it doesn't walk itself out after a couple of tries in both directions it is time to seek more help to get you unstuck. Getting unstuck when the tires are just sliding and slipping on the surface is a piece of cake. Getting unstuck with the bottom step of the service door smack down onto the mud is going to require serious help in order to get unstuck.

Keep asking questions. As long as I have been around buses I learn something new about them on this forum on a regular basis.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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