Buying a M35A2 or M35A3?

Which is better an M35A2 or M35A3

  • M35A2

    Votes: 192 61.7%
  • M35A3

    Votes: 119 38.3%

  • Total voters
    311

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I just purchased an '88 A2C. ¿About me? I earn a living as an electrical engineer.
My job is keeping up a toy farm an its machines (8 acres & animals).
My decision was based on several things in order of importance:

1) The accessibility of parts. - I also restore 300 series diesel Mercedes, <sarcasm> in my endless spare time </sarcasm>
2) Simplicity. - Less parts mean less broke stuff.
3) No computers, brain-boxes or otherwise mysterious points of failure that can not be repaired.
4) Cost. - I see too many guys dumping thousands in their pick-up trucks to make them big & tough. Economically stupid, I say. Just buy what you need
5) Documentation. - I thought Mercedes documentation was insane. Wow :-D

This being my maiden post, thanks everyone for the time in contributing to such a wealth of information.
Welcome aboard :-D
GREAT INPUT!
Find a bunk, stow you gear, and prepare to get underway :tank:
 

trukhead

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I just purchased an '88 A2C. ¿About me? I earn a living as an electrical engineer.
My job is keeping up a toy farm an its machines (8 acres & animals).
My decision was based on several things in order of importance:

1) The accessibility of parts. - I also restore 300 series diesel Mercedes, <sarcasm> in my endless spare time </sarcasm>
2) Simplicity. - Less parts mean less broke stuff.
3) No computers, brain-boxes or otherwise mysterious points of failure that can not be repaired.
4) Cost. - I see too many guys dumping thousands in their pick-up trucks to make them big & tough. Economically stupid, I say. Just buy what you need
5) Documentation. - I thought Mercedes documentation was insane. Wow :-D

This being my maiden post, thanks everyone for the time in contributing to such a wealth of information.
Welcome, Cool! Electricity is a wonderful thing and is a topic that comes up at Steel Soldiers often in the generators, CUCV's and the big iron in general. Hope to hear of your insight in the future! again, welcome to the site!
Dennis
 

Scar59

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Dennis
How goes your summer, have you had alot of problems/troubles w/ your A3? By the way my new tires look good, all black and shiney, hate to get them dirty.
JoeC
 

trukhead

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Dennis
How goes your summer, have you had alot of problems/troubles w/ your A3? By the way my new tires look good, all black and shiney, hate to get them dirty.
JoeC
Hi Joe
The A3 is near trouble free. It's like a girlfriend, if things aren't exactly right, either suck it up and deal with it or cut it loose. The driveline is fine. I have a 2 wheels that lose air. I came to the conclusion that I will start with the wheel valves and try cleaning them. The CTIS up to the valves seems to be perfect. I bought 4 A3 wheels with tires for (another project) and decided to air them up and look to determine the air sealing condition. 3 of the wheels hold 45 psi and one loses 20 psi over night and then seems to hold 25 psi. I am in the learning curve of how these wheels leak and seal and how the valves dump and inflate the wheels. I will do a soapy water in a spray bottle and look for leaks on the rims at the o-ring and valve grommet areas. Some of the wheels look like the air would go right through them but they hold pressure! I intend to put all the wheels with the ugliest tires on the back in an attempt to wear them out. I use the truck on the farm with limited use on the road so a blow out or overheating the tires doesn't seem to be a big factor.
I have been assembling a goodie-bag care package for the A3. I have some extra wheel valves, 2 wheel valve rebuild kits, 2 quad seals, 2 inner and outer A3 axle bearing assemblies, 10 wheel valve stem grommets, 2 spare wheel valve stems, 2 spare wheel valve nuts, a haldex air-drier replenishment kit. I'm gonna pickup a spare one-wire alternator to replace the spare alternator I lent a guy that he never returned yet.
The A3 is a work in progress and I have fun with it. I still really like the CTIS and the other features that make the A3 what it is despite it being a bit slow. I intend to install the hardtop kit I acquired a few years ago onto the A3.
I was thinking about how to make it go faster and I determined that if I pick up a 5 ton A2 tractor and a trailer I could get 65 MPH out of the A3. HaHa! I was thinking of cobbling on the A3 soft top on to the M931A2 tractor I did actually pickup that is at present, topless. I figure a bit of metal added in the middle of the frame and have a canvas-tent shop sew in a panel in the soft top and I should be good to go.
I hope to get some wear on the A3 so I can install a few of them new tires on the truck eventually!!
I am glad you are satisfied with the tires. Good tires on the steer axle are sooo critical! There is a video on youtube of a truck in the right lane loosing a left steer wheel and crossing 3 lanes of traffic, hitting the rail and spreading it's load over all 4 lanes and ending up back in the right shoulder, YIKES!
Dennis
 

Scar59

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Dennis,
You're air leaks in the wheels are the main O ring seal. Water get between the wheel halves and rust forms under the O ring mating service. Split the wheel and clean,treat, and paint both inboard/outboard wheel half. Install new O ring w/
good seal lube. Torque tie bolts/studs to425 ft/lb,any less,they will leak. All 4 wheels I had leaking were the main seal.
have not had a CTIS valve fail a wheel. I wish I was closer to you, I have all the big tools and bead breaker to take those wheels down. Be careful
Joe
 

187

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I bought the A3 about a year ago. The CAT 3116 appealed to me, as well as the air assist steering and the split brake system. However, I want an A2......

I've been kicking around selling the A3 because I also bought a M151 A2 over the winter and I don't have enough time it seems for both. Good problems to have I guess.
 

Scar59

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187,
thanks for the follow up. There was three other trucks that sold with mine, thought you might have had one of them.
JC
 

187

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Lol, I kind of wanted a tan A3. I bid on a few on eBay. Ended up making the trek up to almost Wisconsin. Great hobby and great website!
 

trukhead

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Dennis,
You're air leaks in the wheels are the main O ring seal. Water get between the wheel halves and rust forms under the O ring mating service. Split the wheel and clean,treat, and paint both inboard/outboard wheel half. Install new O ring w/
good seal lube. Torque tie bolts/studs to425 ft/lb,any less,they will leak. All 4 wheels I had leaking were the main seal.
have not had a CTIS valve fail a wheel. I wish I was closer to you, I have all the big tools and bead breaker to take those wheels down. Be careful
Joe
Hi Joe
I have some help here for the next week and I think we are going to tackle 4 leaking wheels. I've got a 12 ton bottle jack, lot of blocks and a 1 inch cheapo HF air impact gun and an adapter and 3/4 inch impact sockets. It zips the wheel nuts and lug nuts so quick it's funny to work with it. Pure quick aggression on fasteners. I'm going to have the rusty surfaces sand blasted and repaint the surfaces and use Freylube on all the sealing and mating surfaces. We have used a cherry picker engine hoist, straddling the tire from the back side to pull the rear half of the rim out of the stubborn tire.
Dennis
 

Diecorpse

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After reading a lot of the replies, I am glad I got an A2. Lot less issues and very basic. When I tell people it does not have power sterring, they say "Omg!! How do you handle that?" I say "It keeps your arms strong and it's a great anti cell phone talking/texting system!" But really I hear about a lot of issues with the A3 and the availability of the parts.
 

Scar59

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Dennis,
I used the AME Mod# 71600 bead breaker tool. $139.00 at Northern Tool. It worked like a champ. A little time consuming working around the big wheel, and a lot easier than the eng. hoist method. Get a handful of small wooden blocks and work around the wheel and the halves pop right out. You'll need a 30mm socket and racket.
JC
 

Karl kostman

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You know The A3 is somewhat attractive (IN THEORY) but then you really have to look at the long term expense to own, if its the singles that really get you going, just put singles on an A2, if its the CTIS system that really gets you going you may need some professional help? If its the automatic trans that is your hot button and that is all that matters then buy an A3! is an A3 a nice truck? Yes it is but then reality gets in the way of fantasy an you need to get you money out. I looked very hard at getting an A3 and at that time I priced our certain components that ARE going to need replacing sometime, Wheel bearings, good Timken bearing for the rear inside bearing of an A2 34.00$ each for the A3 rear inner wheel bearings 700.00 each, Thank you CTIS! Like what was said before the A3 looks to be built by a committee looking to extend the life of the Deuce, it failed!!! Good luck in your decision.
KK
 

Scar59

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Yes, the A3 could lead to increase cost due to certain components requiring change out. The truck, if maintained, will last your life time. Ensure it is properly serviced and lubed and you'll never have to replace the inboard bearings. The engine is a 200K + mileage design. Filters and dryer canisters are cheap, change them out. I own both models; A2 and A3 because they are different, and is sure helps the cause when your wife says she wants to drive the one with power steering. In the end, no one can have just one truck.
Have fun.
 

glcaines

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Dennis,
You're air leaks in the wheels are the main O ring seal. Water get between the wheel halves and rust forms under the O ring mating service. Split the wheel and clean,treat, and paint both inboard/outboard wheel half. Install new O ring w/
good seal lube. Torque tie bolts/studs to425 ft/lb,any less,they will leak. All 4 wheels I had leaking were the main seal.
have not had a CTIS valve fail a wheel. I wish I was closer to you, I have all the big tools and bead breaker to take those wheels down. Be careful
Joe
Be careful assuming that the air leaks are from the large O-rings. Although leaking O-rings are possible, 100% of the air leaks on my A3 were caused by leaking grommets on the valve stems. It is a bad idea to break down an A3 wheel and not replace the valve stem grommets. I would recommend using new brass nuts as well, since they are often rounded off. Remember to torque the nuts to 45 - 60 LB-FT, or they will leak. Sealant is not necessary. For rust in the area of the O-ring seal, I simply sanded with 220 grit wet/dry paper using water, primed and painted with gloss black rustoleum. Sand blasting can really eat up that area, killing the sealing surface. Be careful sanding as the lip can be very sharp and you can easily slice your hand open - ask me how I know!
 

Scar59

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Good point Gary, valve stem grommets were not the leak, however I did replace all 4 and two gland nuts while I had the wheels apart. Erik's had all the parts available.
 

olly hondro

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Cost of renewing my 1999 A3 in AZ :

Fees for a 1 year renewal are:
Veh License Tax$81.82
Registration$8.25
Diesel$10.00
Commercial Reg$4.00
Weight$162.00
Air Quality$1.50
Motor Carrier$91.00
Total$358.57
 
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