Not sure how to articulate this correctly, so here I go:
Initially I was doing all my planning around a short bus. I don't need much space and I'm not putting in a bathroom or tanks or anything. I basically want a very sturdy, waterproof tent on wheels that can tow and has lots of storage instead of an RV. Moreover, my main purpose for a schoolie conversion is to camp (or camp at dog shows) with 4+ dogs so a 'traditional' rig has lots I don't need and not much of what I do need.
I've been looking at full-size busses and stroking my proverbial beard. I don't need the size as living space but here I am planning on towing a small trailer behind my short bus- why not try and make it work in one unit to increase safety and (likely) gas mileage? Plus there are a lot more full size busses in my price range than shorties for what you get.
So now I have technical questions. Is it feasible structurally and as a concept to truncate the living space of a bus and leave the back 1/3 as essentially a toy-hauler? Put in some sort of false back to the bus with an RV style door and create a covered porch in the rear? Aerodynamically what would that do to the bus? Would it leave it too front-heavy if not fully loaded?
I might try to whip up a design to illustrate what I'm thinking of. In the meantime, advice appreciated!
OK, this is sort of what I was thinking of. So clearly it has been done; although this rig is not likely meant for being driven across mountains and/or has little concern for structural integrity over time (at least that's my experience with tailgaiting vehicles!).
In my dream world/concept I would want to take down the walls similar to the photo above and replace the sidewalls with welded wire fence from floor to ceiling. I'd replace the floor with expanded wire mesh and (very securely) anchor high quality faux grass in the back- essentially a traveling dog run that can be hosed down as needed. The bus could absolutely have a solid back but it would have to be custom built so that the area usually occupied by the emergency door in the back would be converted into a ramp that could drop down for loading (and thus be weight bearing).
So essentially one third of the bus would be open-air and two thirds would be enclosed. It would have three sections, the cab and living quarters (largest section), a middle section with the windows removed that is essentially a mini-garage, and the tail section that is an enclosed dog run.
This not only adds thousands of dollars to my concept, it may also be technically impossible. I have spent no time poking around under a bus to know if there's business down there that shouldn't get wet from the top or even what sorts of supports are under the floor to know if I could get away with an expanded metal floor replacement. It basically changes a build from 'something I could mostly muddle through inexpertly in my garage with limited experience' to 'let's hire two welders, a machinist, and send it to a body shop'.
But I figure if I'm going to do a rig built for me I'd better just go ahead and do it the way I'd optimally use it. Not to mention I would NEVER have a boring day at a dog show again... I have never ever seen anything on the road or at a site like what I am dreaming up!