Author Topic: 102-A3 Opinions  (Read 2118 times)

Offline BusCrazyTom

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102-A3 Opinions
« on: October 02, 2007, 05:40:24 AM »
Ok, out looking for opinions again, as I am still searching for the right bus for me. As you know I basically lean towards being a GM guy, but lately I've noticed that MCI 102-A3's have been dropping in price, while the C3's are still a bit out of my immediate budget. What's the general opinion about the 102-A3, it's drivability and suitability for conversion in general.

Thanks in advance
BusCrazyTom the Analog Dinosaur
Pain in the Butt BusNot
« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 07:53:59 AM by BusCrazyTom »

Offline Jerry32

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Re: 102-A3 Opinions
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2007, 06:04:36 AM »
I bought an 88 102a3 and think it is a great bus. It drives better than my caddy and all systems seem well designed. I got this bus in SC and drove home to OR 2600 miles without any problems. I have a good part of the conversion done and plan to use it in AZ this winter. Having the service manual for it helps a lot too. Just completed puting on a hitch receiver I bought off ebay for 20 bucks and installing gumpy's light conversion curcuit and the transmission pump control wiring.. Jerry
1988 MCI 102A3 8V92TA 740

Offline Busted Knuckle

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Re: 102-A3 Opinions
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2007, 06:18:54 AM »
Tom we have an '86 102A3 in service that is really the most dependable bus we have! No computers, no electric this & that! It cranls and goes any & everytime! We almost sold it back in the spring, but the church buying it tried to get us to take $3,000.00 less than agreed on. We said no it's paid for has a fresh remanned 6V92TA, All aluminum wheels with great tires, great interior (I know not needed for your purposes), new video system (again not needed). But my point is we love and use the bus regularly & ain't afraid to send it anywhere (matter of fact it just did a 9 day trip to Cape Cod, MA), so why give it away? Not likely to happen here! I do agree there are some good bargins on the ones selling on the e-place lately. I say if they suit your needs, go for it! And if you are interested in a good one not actually for sale, call my dad and see if he'll part with his reasonably (I just had a guy call me and offer me a 45' Setra for a steal! this AM ~ need cash to deal & dad doesn't know about it yet! LOL!) FWIW ;D  BK  ;D
Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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Offline BusCrazyTom

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Re: 102-A3 Opinions
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2007, 08:01:59 AM »
Jerry...

If it drives better than your Caddy, that's saying something. If I can say that about whatever bus I wind up with, then that's the way it should be...

BK...

Great endorsement for that bus, considering its coming from you... I take it your 6V92TA is MUI and not DDEC. Aww c'mon, you know your dad wouldn't sell his bus....

Thanks all,

Tom

Offline JohnEd

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Re: 102-A3 Opinions
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2007, 09:46:34 AM »
BCT,

I read a post here a while back that made a comment something like "the 102 C3 had resolved the overheating issue".  I read it as saying the 102A3 had problems.  The post from Jerry is an indorsement of not only the A3 coach series but the one with the biggest engine available.  I hope the board can contribute to this question that at least I have.  I know that the C3 has more head room and you don't have to raise that roof and that is a serious plus.  Don't need caps, either, with a C3.

More of a question than a help, sorry,

John
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Re: 102-A3 Opinions
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2007, 10:39:14 AM »
I can tell you that if THIS one weren't so far away with a blown engine I would be all over it!

Offline Jerry32

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Re: 102-A3 Opinions
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2007, 01:01:58 PM »
I have been operating this bus in temps above 100 F on climbs and long drives and not a problem with temp rise on the guage. This bus is original with the 8V92 so would believe that the cooling system is proper for it. Jerry
1988 MCI 102A3 8V92TA 740

Offline BusCrazyTom

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Re: 102-A3 Opinions
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2007, 01:29:12 PM »
I wonder if the overheating is specific to those coaches equipped with 6V92 and not 8V92?

Tom

Offline Jerry32

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Re: 102-A3 Opinions
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2007, 04:09:53 PM »
It may be those that have put in larger injectors and boosted the power or changed to a larger engine. I know some of the bus nuts seem to be having overheat problems. Jerry
1988 MCI 102A3 8V92TA 740

Offline TomC

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Re: 102-A3 Opinions
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2007, 04:28:20 PM »
Mike hear on the board has what I think is the perfect conversion shell- a MCI 102-C3 with a Series 50 Detroit and Allison automatic (8-10mpg).  6'10" headroom and big windows.  If I were starting a bus conversion project, this would be my choice- and only $28,000.00!  Good Luck, TomC
Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.

Offline NJT5047

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Re: 102-A3 Opinions
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2007, 07:55:02 PM »
6V92TAs in 102A3s didn't have chronic overheating problems.   Even 8V92s with the correct 8V92 cooling systems worked OK.   Most charter service 102A3s had 8V92s in them.  Most gov units had 6V92s.   'Hounds used 6V92s also. 
Late C3s and Ds have one big radiator in the back. They don't have overheating problems with any engine. 
Still, most of the heating problems are related to cooling system deficiencies such as old radiators, loose airbox seals, bad fan blowers.  All age related, and all repaireable.
Don't be afraid of DDEC engines either.  They work great, and while they get blamed every time the engine won't start, the DDEC system is rarely at fault.   
Neither MUI or DDEC is easy to repair in the field.   The DDEC fly-by-wire throttle is extremely nice.   Those that are comfortable with electronic controls will get along nicely with DDEC components. 
Just some thoughts, JR

« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 07:57:41 PM by NJT5047 »
JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
87 MC9, 6V92TA DDEC, HT748R ATEC

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Offline RJ

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Re: 102-A3 Opinions
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2007, 09:13:56 AM »
The "A" series MCIs are a good coach overall.  Biggest change is in the suspension (compared to previous models), as the factory added anti-roll bars.  No more cornering on the rub rails with the A's.  Should be relatively easy to find one with an 8V92TA bolted to an Allison HT-740 or even an HT-754, moreso than an MC-9, where that powertrain was first introduced.

Personally, I hated the dammed vertically-operated manual door closer mechanism - if you weren't banging your knuckles on the floor while closing it, you had to remember to be out of the way of the thing if the wind caught the door, otherwise you could easily end up singing soprano in the church choir!  Obviously not a problem with the optional (and later, stock) power-operated units.

Oh, one other annoyance:  There is NO horizontal space on the dashboard or driver's left side area - in other words, NO place to put a cup of coffee.  Stupid designers - obviously never been around bus drivers!!

Will agree with TomC, however.  Hold out for a "C" model, with the greater headroom and vastly improved cooling system.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 ;)
RJ Long
PD4106-2784: Donated to the Pacific Bus Museum
S14947: 1980 MC-5C Shell 6V92/HT-740
S13406: 1978 MC-5C Angola Coach - Swapped for vvv
M1001907: 1992 Prevost XL Vantarè Conversion 8V92T/HT-755 (DDEC/ATEC)
Cheney WA

Offline BusCrazyTom

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Re: 102-A3 Opinions
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2007, 10:08:17 AM »
Jerry & JR

Thanks for the performance reveiw of the 102A engine complements as well as the comments on DDEC engines...I always had a question about that so now I know.

TomC, also great info and I'm right there with you in having C3 lust after seeing pictures of Nick's bus... a bargain at $28K but not this year for me. Had to deal with too much expensive tragedy this year...maybe next.

Russ...
Always good to have your opinion on any bus related matter. If I do go MCI, then I might just have to hold out for a C3 as the prices drop, but good to know you consider the A3's a solid coach should I get the urge to buy before I can afford to pop for that C3. Not sure the extra height is necessary for me, but sure would be nice. And I think the other small design flaws would be less of a bother in a conversion app, except for that coffee cup thing.... :-\

Thanks all,

Tom