Ford L-Series

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Ford L-Series Trucks)
Jump to: navigation, search
Ford L-Series Trucks
1989 Ford LN8000 Diesel dump truck, red.jpg
1989 Ford LN8000 single-axle dump truck
Manufacturer Ford
Production 1970 - 1998
Assembly Kentucky Truck Assembly, Louisville, Kentucky
Body and chassis
Class heavy-duty truck
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Predecessor Ford N-Series
Successor Sterling Trucks: A-Line, L-Line, Acterra

The Ford L-Series trucks are a range of heavy-duty trucks that were built by Ford between 1970 and 1998. The first dedicated Class 8 truck produced by the company, the L-Series range replaced the N-Series short conventional (derived from the F-Series). The Louisville Line encompassed a wide range of models through the Class 7-8 GVWR ratings and for medium-duty, severe-service, and vocational applications; many were produced as semitractors. The line would become one of the most popular series of trucks Ford ever produced.[1] The Aeromax L9000 was one of the most aerodynamic trucks in North America upon its introduction in 1988.

The L-Series was produced in the Kentucky Truck Plant near Louisville, Kentucky, which eventually gave rise to the nickname "Ford Louisville Line" trucks.[1] As a result of the 1996 sale of the Ford heavy-truck line to Freightliner, the L-Series/Aeromax ended production under the Ford brand, living on as the Sterling line of trucks that were produced until 2009.


In 1963, Ford produced its first Class 8 conventional with the introduction of the N-Series Super Duty, replacing the Super Duty models of the F-Series. While the N-Series still retained the cab of the F-Series, an all-new chassis design placed the cab much higher with a shortened hood; it shared its grille with the H-Series cabover.

By the end of the 1960s, Ford sought to modernize and streamline its heavy-truck line. Rather than adapt a light-truck architecture into a heavier-duty vehicle, a heavy-duty truck was designed from the ground up. In replacing the N-Series and the heaviest-duty models of the F-Series, Ford would introduce the L-Series range of trucks for 1970. With an all-new heavier-duty chassis, the L-Series boasted a larger cab; to improve serviceability, all models had a front-hinged hood.

First generation (1970-1995)[edit]

1981 Ford LTS 9000 cement mixer

For 1970, the L-Series was introduced in 4 size ranges, two hood lengths and grille styles, and with single or tandem (denoted by the "T" in the model designation) rear axles. Powertrains included a wide range of gasoline and diesel engines, based on GVWR.

First generation (1970-1995)
1993 Ford LTS 9000.jpg
1993 Ford LTS9000 dump truck
Type Medium-duty truck
Heavy-duty truck
Model years 1970-1995
Body and chassis
Class Class 6-8 Truck
Related Ford LTL-9000
Ford AeroMax

In 1971, Ford introduced a set-back front axle configuration. For the rest of the 1970s, the L-Series saw few major changes. In 1976, the LL/LTL-9000 was introduced. Designed as a truck for long-haul drivers, the LTL-9000 was a competitor to the GMC General, Kenworth W900, Mack Super-Liner, and Peterbilt 359. Fitted with a set-forward front axle and a longer hood, this version had more room for larger powertrains. In 1978, Ford gave the LL/LTL-9000 its own grille and headlight styling, including one of the first uses of the Ford Blue Oval in North America.

Although the L-Series would see few revisions throughout its production, elements of its design would see use in other Ford vehicles. In 1974, the W-Series cabover received a larger grille similar to the chrome version on the L-Series. For 1978, the F-Series/Bronco grille was given a similar eggcrate grille pattern. In the 1980 redesign of the medium-duty F-Series, the hexagonal shape of the grille was carried over; it is a theme used in all Super Duty trucks since their 1999 introduction.

In 1984, the rest of the L-Series became one of the last North American Fords to adopt the Ford Blue Oval; as with the LTL-9000, it was placed above the grille. In 1988, the L-Series changed its grille design from an eggcrate design to that of horizontal chrome bars; the Ford Blue Oval became centered. In addition, rectangular headlights became standard.

1992 saw the introduction of the set-back front axle version of the LL/LTL-9000, designated the LLS and LTLS-9000, along with the corresponding Aeromax versions that had more aerodynamic bumpers and optional chassis skirting.

Aeromax (1988-1995)[edit]

1995 Ford Aeromax dump truck

As a response to the aerodynamic Kenworth T600, for 1988, Ford introduced its own aerodynamic semitractor. Named AeroMax L9000, the new design was an extensive upgrade of the L-9000. While sharing the same cab and the hood of the medium hood LS-9000, the Aeromax used a set-back front axle to add a form-fitting front bumper with swept front fenders. For the first time in a North American truck, automotive-style composite headlights were used. Other aerodynamic enhancements included skirted fuel tanks and a specially designed "Aero Bullet" sleeper unit.[2]

Following its introduction as a semitractor, the AeroMax line expanded into the vocational truck lineup alongside the rest of the Ford L-Series. A later LA-8000 was introduced for "Baby 8" intra-city delivery.

1992 saw the introduction of the extended hood, set-back front axle Aeromaxes designated LLA and LTLA-9000. These featured optional full-length chassis skirting, along with the same aero headlights and bumpers of the older medium hood LA series.

Models and designations[edit]

Ford LTL9000 dump truck

The L-Series came in a total of four size ranges, designated by GVWR. As with previous Ford heavy-truck tradition, gasoline-engine trucks received a three-digit model number while diesel-engine trucks were given a four-digit model number. L-600/L-6000 and L-700/L-7000 series were Class 6/7 medium-duty trucks, typically sold as straight trucks. L-800/L-8000 trucks were Class 8 trucks, typically sold in severe-service configurations. L-900/L-9000 chassis were available in all axle configurations, but were typically sold as semitractors; the LTL-9000 was only sold with a diesel engine.

Designation Configuration Notes
L 4x2 Standard model

Medium Hood

LT 6x4 Medium Hood

Tandem axle

LN 4x2 Short wheelbase/hood

Almost the same wheelbase as LS

LNT 6x4 Short wheelbase/hood

Tandem axle

LS 4x2 Medium Hood

Set-back front axle Shorter wheelbase

LTS 6x4 Medium Hood

Set-back front axle Tandem axle

LL-9000 4x2 Extended hood
LTL-9000 6x4 Extended hood

Tandem axle

LLS-9000 4x2 Extended hood

Set-back front axle

LTLS-9000 6x4 Extended hood

Set-back front axle Tandem axle

AeroMax LA/LTA-8000/9000 4x2


Medium Hood

Aerodynamically-enhanced lower body Set-back front axle

AeroMax LLA/LTLA-9000 4x2


Extended Hood

Aerodynamically-enhanced lower body Set-back front axle

Second generation (1996-1998)[edit]

1996-1998 Ford Louisville in Poland
Second generation (1996-1998)
Ford LT 9513 Truck - Flickr - Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden.jpg
Ford Aeromax 9500 in Europe
Type Heavy truck
Model years 1996-1998
Body and chassis
Class Class 8 truck

For 1996, the Ford heavy-truck lines were redesigned. As the medium-duty F-Series had moved upward in size and capability during the 1980s and 1990s, the second-generation heavy-truck line was nearly exclusively for Class 8 weight ranges.

As was the case previously, the heavy truck line was split into aerodynamically optimized semitractors (the newly renamed Aeromax 9500) and vocational/severe-service trucks. In the case of the latter, the popularity of the Louisville nickname led Ford to drop the L-Series nomenclature and adopt the Louisville nameplate officially.

In the redesign, both the Aeromax and Louisville gained a wider cab with a sloping windshield. Although Aeromax models would lose their composite headlights, it gained a much larger slope to the hood. To aid ergonomics, the Aeromax and Louisville would borrow many interior controls from other Ford vehicles.


At the end of 1996, Ford completed the sale of its heavy-truck operations, selling the rights to the Louisville, Aeromax, and Cargo to Freightliner. Ford would end production of the Louisville/Aeromax in 1998; the truck lines would re-enter production as Sterling Trucks from 1997 to 2009; both lines were produced concurrently by Ford and Freightliner during 1998.


  • American Truck & Bus Spotter's Guide: 1920-1985, by Tad Burness.
  • Ford Trucks Since 1905, by James K. Wagner.
  • Ford Heavy Duty Trucks 1948-1998, by Paul G. McLaughlin.
  • Ford Truck Chronicles: by the Auto Editors of Consumers Guide.


External links[edit]