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Old 09-14-2020, 08:02 PM   #1
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Rear Car Rack on ~30ft Bluebird Bus

I am interested in the skoolie conversion life and was thinking up what I would wanna do with the bus. I was wondering if it was smart or even possible to try and build some sort of rear rack to hold a small car like a mazda miata.

I tried to see if there was any examples of this online and couldn't find any. The problems I can see happening is exit clearance is gonna be bad because of the large overhang and there might be too much way far back and the bus will pop wheelies.

Any input is much appreciated.
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Old 09-14-2020, 09:00 PM   #2
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Hopefully it will take less than a lifetime to convert a school bus into a skoolie motorhome, but we discussed this a little while back, deck height is very high for a bus, need really really long ramps or a lift system, which I gave example of gate lift for car, but it weighs as much as car. Just get a trailer, problem solved. Now if you want to tow a boat AND have a car you might need to get a custom trailer built.

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Old 09-14-2020, 10:11 PM   #3
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The double door opening is 74", my Miata is only 66". I could put mine in the "garage".
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Old 09-15-2020, 05:23 AM   #4
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I would advise against the car deck, both from a structural and maneuverability standpoint. You're better off and safer installing an appropriate type hitch and towing four-down or with a dolly, whichever is doable without transmission damage.

I recently towed my own car behind a rig I transported from IA for its new owners, and believe me, when a breakdown occurred, it was much easier to unstrap and back off the dolly. A bus is already a handful with its rear overhang, adding 18 feet for a car deck will exacerbate this and make it very easy to hit something or possibly even kill someone without even knowing it. A dolly or trailer, by comparison, affects turning radius only minimally.

Not to mention I seriously doubt any welding techniques are strong enough to support 2000-4000 lbs just hanging out in space, even with reinforcement. I've seen car transport trucks set up to put cars on a rack above the cab, but I don't recommend this with a bus, they are top-heavy already, not to mention it would make your height top 13'6", which is a no-no without special trip-by-trip approval and trip-by-trip permits.

A low vehicle in an on-board garage would require perhaps 30' ramps to avoid damaging its chassis. Another structural problem. And how much space are you willing to give up to accommodate it? Not to mention if your bus breaks down, you may need an easier means of unloading your car on the side of the road. Suppose you don't have 30' of usable space behind the bus for those extra-long ramps?
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Old 09-15-2020, 06:30 AM   #5
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A Miata weighs about the same as four rows of 100-pound children (24), so if you made a bus into a toy-hauler (where the back is chopped off and moved forward, leaving a flat deck behind it where there used to be bus body) it would work at least from a weight standpoint. But that's an enormous amount of work compared to just mounting a trailer hitch, and you lose a huge amount of living space inside the bus.

Also, Miatas are more like go-carts with a plastic roof than a real car. Z3 is where it's at.
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Old 09-15-2020, 07:26 AM   #6
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I've seen this in person done a handful of times by dirt track racers. They essentially make the rear half of the bus a ramp truck and will have the car parked with the engine over the rear axle.

They all looked redneck/hillbilly-ish but seemed to get the job done for the owners.

Here is an example of one of our fellow members doing it. https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f6/ca...-fe-14988.html

As was said, It would likely be easier to mount a hitch and haul a trailer. But having a trailer that far back of the axle presents it's own problems, like bouncing over bumps being magnified.
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Old 09-15-2020, 08:33 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
Also, Miatas are more like go-carts with a plastic roof than a real car. Z3 is where it's at.
I hardly think anyone who owns a Z3 would be considering a skoolie.
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Old 09-15-2020, 08:37 AM   #8
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I hardly think anyone who owns a Z3 would be considering a skoolie.
Yeah, you'd think they would have more sense ...
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Old 09-15-2020, 11:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
A Miata weighs about the same as four rows of 100-pound children (24), so if you made a bus into a toy-hauler (where the back is chopped off and moved forward, leaving a flat deck behind it where there used to be bus body) it would work at least from a weight standpoint. But that's an enormous amount of work compared to just mounting a trailer hitch, and you lose a huge amount of living space inside the bus.

Also, Miatas are more like go-carts with a plastic roof than a real car. Z3 is where it's at.
My Miata is just over 2200lbs. I have more fun in my Miata than I would in a Z3. If I could get it inside so the engine was over or in front of the rear wheels, I would have no issue hauling it that way.
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Old 09-16-2020, 11:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDDonoghue View Post
I am interested in the skoolie conversion life and was thinking up what I would wanna do with the bus. I was wondering if it was smart or even possible to try and build some sort of rear rack to hold a small car like a mazda miata.

I tried to see if there was any examples of this online and couldn't find any. The problems I can see happening is exit clearance is gonna be bad because of the large overhang and there might be too much way far back and the bus will pop wheelies.

Any input is much appreciated.

I am working toward this myself, a toy hauler bus for a dune buggy. Full disclosure, I don't have a bus yet.


There are 2 basic styles of build for hauling a vehicle with a bus, inside or outside the body. Each way has benefits, and drawbacks. The overwhelmingly popular placement of the toy is in the back of the bus. I have attached a pic of the exception, there is always that 1 oddball rebel who ignores the rules or blazes their own trail, but in this case its a double decker in Jolly Olde England.


Don't worry about wheelies with a bus, that won't happen. Meanwhile here are a few thousand more words worth of pictures!
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Old 09-16-2020, 11:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
I hardly think anyone who owns a Z3 would be considering a skoolie.
Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
Yeah, you'd think they would have more sense ...
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