(first posted 7/1/2014) Say the words “big truck” to someone who grew up in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s, such as myself, and the first image to crop up will likely resemble the Mack R-Series, the ubiquitous dump truck, fire truck, tractor-trailer, garbage truck, and any other purpose truck of those decades. The same words said outside the United States in the local language will likely conjure up memories of the 1959-95 Mercedes L Series. Like the Mack R-Series, the Mercedes L Series came in a broad range of configurations and weight classes and acquired a legendary reputation for utility and durability. In the United States we rarely, if ever, see this truck except in photographs from foreign countries, but in many parts of the world, it is an everyday sight wherever work is done.
The L Series that debuted in 1959 introduced a design that moved the engine rearward into the cab to reduce the truck’s overall length, without being a full cab-over configuration. The short, rounded hood somewhat resembled the front end of a late 1950s Unimog, on a much larger scale.
Behind the uniform corporate cab design, there were many size classes and configurations with differences in their underlying structures. The chassis used straightforward solid axles with leaf springs, with U-section longitudinal frame members with cross-members riveted to them. Tractor-trailer models had additional L-shaped longitudinal members. Size classes ranged from the 7.5 ton L323 and 14 ton L327 to the 19 ton L332 and L334, under the arcane model numbering system used in the first several years of the L Series. A new four digit model designation system introduced in 1963 used two digits indicating the overall weight rating followed by two digits indicating the engine power rating, starting with 1113 for an 11 ton with 130 horsepower and ranging up to L2624 for a 26 ton, 240 horsepower model.
Mercedes took a major step forward with their truck powerplants during this L Series generation by introducing their first direction injection diesel in 1964. Called the OM352, it was a 5.7 liter inline six with 130 horsepower, used in 1_13 models and also in the Unimog. An optional turbocharged OM352A later boosted output to 168 horsepower. Larger and more powerful versions spread throughout the model range to replace preceding indirect injection diesels by the end of the 1960s.
The design features of the L Series set the stage for over half a century of use all over the world. Mercedes engineered a high degree of ruggedness and resilience into the L Series trucks, and it would be necessary in the harsh environments in which many would serve.
Popular in Europe and marketed with limited success in the United States, the L Series built its greatest reputation in various parts of the developing world. In the Middle East, Africa, and South America, they became well known as trucks that could carry loads grossly in excess of their manufacturer’s ratings in the harshest environments, and continue to do so year after year. Exports to those regions sustained Mercedes production of the L Series in Germany until 1995, after newer designs had superseded it in Europe.
The Mercedes L Series is a fixture throughout the Middle East. This tractor-trailer in Saudi Arabia is one of many that were the backbone of oil exploration work and freight hauling there in the 1960s. Many continue in service today throughout the region, most of them in the high visibility orange color that was the standard color in the Middle East for these trucks when they were new.
The orange L Series is especially ubiquitous in Iraq. Purchased in large numbers during the oil boom years of the 1960s and 1970s, they continued as the predominant large civilian truck while Iraq was starved of new civilian vehicles during the economic sanctions of the 1990s, and wars of the 2000s. With replacements not available, keeping them running as long as possible became necessary, so the durability of the L Series and the ability of Iraqi mechanics to keep them running made them almost immortal.
Even though new vehicle imports into Iraq increased during the relatively peaceful early 2010s, L Series trucks such as this 1924 dump truck continue to be a fixture at construction sites and in heavy cargo hauling.
The L Series is equally or even more common in Brazil. Seen here on the beach of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro is a large delivery truck body on a long wheelbase chassis, a 2113 if I recall correctly. A small engine struggling with heavy gross vehicle weight may account for this particular L Series being broken down on the side of the road.
Mercedes manufactured the L Series in Brazil starting in 1964, only five years after production began in Germany. The most common are the smaller 1113 or 1313 models, with 15 ton, 19 ton, and 21 ton models also numerous. They are the country’s standard dump trucks, tanker trucks, and delivery trucks, present at every construction site and involved in delivery tasks everywhere.
A Brazil-only restyling in 1982 substituted quad rectangular headlights and a new rectangular grille for the two round headlights and rounded grille of the original design. This slightly restyled model was then superseded after 1990 by a completely new L Series with a rectangular cab and modern technology and amenities including electronic engine controls, ABS, and air conditioning. So many of both styles of the original round-cab L Series were produced that they are seen practically every minute in any town or on any highway in Brazil.
Far from being only a working classic with examples living out their service lives two decades after the newest one was built, the L Series is still rolling off of an assembly line, in another country in the Middle East – the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran Khodro Diesel Company, a truck manufacturer that fills most of the truck market in Iran and has license produced Mercedes trucks since the 1960s, continues to produce the L Series in two models, the 1924 and 2624.
Iran Khodro produces far more modern designs, but it continues to build heavy L Series trucks for use as dump trucks, tractor-trailers, and crane trucks, apparently short-haul duties in which modern amenities for driver comfort are not a priority and the simple, proven old design is favored. Continuing in production 55 years (and counting) after entering service is a testament to the fundamental soundness of its 1950s design and its ongoing effectiveness in many roles.
Photo credits: www.trucksplanet.com (1, 3, 4), autowp.ru (2, 5), www.globalcarbrands.com (6), commons.wikimedia.org (7), www.imcdb.org (8), www.ikd-co.com/ (13), mercedes-benz-truck.persiangig.com (14)
Related reading : Mercedes L319 Camper Van Mercedes 207D and Other Vintage Mercedes Vans
Nice post on one of my favorite trucks. Has a truck ever exuded a more purposeful and timeless character?
Robert didn’t touch on it, but these actively were sold for some years in the US, and used to be a not uncommon sight. This was probably during the early-mid seventies. I saw quite a few in Baltimore at the time. Maybe right after the energy crisis, as there weren’t that many mid-sized diesel trucks then. IIRC, they were imported from Brazil, not Germany, but I could be wrong.
I’ve long hoped to find one in the US, but no luck so far. I know there’s still some around.
I have memories of having seen these trucks in the Washington, DC area in the late 1970s/early 1980s. I believe that a major catering company (Ridgewell’s) used them. They were distinctive looking with their round cabs and the big three pointed star in front, so they were quite noticeable.
The English-language sales literature that I reproduced was for the U.S. market, so the sales effort definitely was there, even if volume was not high.
I could not find any good information about sales of these trucks in the US, though, so I felt that I couldn’t say anything definitive or useful, other than to briefly mention that they were sold in the US.
I did a bit of looking too, but nothing came up readily. What’s pretty obvious is that MB decided to enter the US market sometime in the early-mid 70s, and mainly sold these. They might have sold some COE units too, but I’m not too sure of that. Developing a dealer network from scratch would have been a huge obstacle.
So when Freightliner became available in 1981, that was obviously a solution, and gave them a major entry into the US market. As another commenter said, these L-series continued to be sold for a few more years at Freightliner dealers.
I have a L1116 for sale 1983 call me at 540-479-7084 ask for Greg
June 7, 1995:
I recall seeing these in the past, but haven’t seen any in years.
I work at a European vehicle repair facility, and we just purchased a 1990 L1139 cab-and-chassis. It used to have a beer delivery body on it, which has been removed. It runs and drives, starts on first crank. Call (870) 735-5966 if anyone is interested. We have a title, and are an Arkansas Used Car dealer as well.
I saw a few of these trucks in Central Florida in the 1970s.
My grandfather who was the superintendent of Public Works in Rolling Meadows Illinois back in the 60s.
He started a in-house garbage collection service and bots a couple garbage trucks for the city. They had them for a very long time. Here’s a picture of me standing in one of the trucks in the mid-80s.
The trucks were bought in 1969
I’ve heard of these Mercedes-Benz trucks, and I’ve read magazine articles about them, but I’ve never seen one in person. They weren’t by my knowledge sold in the United States. I’ve never seen any in the Northwest region (Seattle Washington, Portland Oregon, Boise Idaho, etc.)
They were sold in the US, there’s no doubt about it. Not for very long. But I remember seeing ads, reading an article or two about them, as well as seeing them on the road. Distribution may have been spotty; most likely just in certain major metro areas. There were a fair number in LA too, during the 70s.
During this time MBZ was also selling their small van-based buses in the US. San Diego Transit had a whole fleet of them, for their smaller routes. They obviously were trying to get a toe hold in the US market at the time.
MBZ bought Freightliner in 1981, so at that point there was no real point in importing trucks anymore. Mercedes had bought its way into the US market, and in a big way.
I’ll chime in and agree, these were sold here, I remember seeing them on the road, I remember them having stacked square headlights instead of he round headlights that most of the trucks in the photos feature. I even moved one of these about 40 feet along a dock when we exported a well beat one to Haiti.
I remember the 3 wipers, and giant 3 pointed star, which was a major item if you could grab one, they were the perfect size to make a giant oversized Mercedes-Benz necklace ornament or to slap one on the front of a Microbus.
I had no idea these were made for so long, 1959-1995, wow.
The earliest ones imported were before the “facelift”, with the stacked rectangular lights. I saw both versions back then.
Here’s a pic of a Benz bus in service.
That’s exactly what San Diego Transit used, but I think without the AC. Didn’t really need it there.
Haven’t seen one in years, but these were not too uncommon in North Carolina in the 80’s and into the 90’s. I remember more of the stacked quad lamp models (were all of those Brazilian built?) than of the round-lamp trucks.
The D-series buses, on the other hand, I had never seen until I ran across one in Durham, NC in 2010. This one had been converted to run on Biodiesel, but unfortunately there was no one around to ask further questions about it. As good shape as it was in, I would not be surprised if this one is still running around Durham…
Why do you reckon they weren’t successful in North America?
I don’t know that they weren’t, actually. These trucks were fairly common in many big metro areas at the time, as several commenters have affirmed. I don’t know just how relatively successful (or not). I’m not an expert of the truck market of the times then. In any case, it must have been a challenge to enter such a huge market from scratch.
What MBZ had in its favor was that the brand had a very favorable image at the time, and I suspect that helped quite a bit. But making serious inroads with only one or two models of trucks against the very large and well-established competition at the time would have been hard.
Buying Freightliner was a great solution, because it gave MB inroads into American-style trucks that are quite different than European ones, yet allowed them to increasingly integrate certain technology globally. It was realistically the best outcome for MBZ, to really be competitive in NA.
I did see a Mercedes-Benz van/bus, kind of a pre-Sprinter vehicle. I didn’t get a chance to get into the van, because it belonged to someone else, and I didn’t get a chance to talk to the owner about it.
They were very very common NYC/NJ area. In this era International Harvester had a hammer lock on medium duty. It is the most competitive segment of the truck market. Ford. IH . GM . Dodge. And the USA has extreme logistics to overcome.
If they were sold in the USA, I’ve never seen any. They must not have been sold in very large numbers. You see plenty of Mercedes-Benz Sprinters around. I’ve seen lots in the Northwest area (Seattle, Portland, Boise) sold as the Dodge Sprinter, the Freightliner Sprinter, the Winnebago Sprinter.
I still see these trucks around the metro New York City area. In the late 80′s-early 90′s my Uncle and Aunt and cousin driving an 87 Cherokee were rear ended by one of these in Hoboken, NJ. They were Ok (had to wear neck brace for a while) but as you can imagine the Cherokee was not. There was little or no damage to the truck.
We purchased a new 1982 Mercedes Benz Truck Series L1113 in 1983. Our Son has the truck and is restoring it. The only problem is he needs a shop service manual and we are having a difficult time finding one. We live in Washington state. Any suggestions?
I am looking for parts for a 1983 L1116 Mercedez benz truck. Where is he getting his parts?, please reply.
He is having a hard finding parts for the 1982 MB. Years ago we purchased a 1984 L1117 MB for parts. We drove it home. It was purchased for the turbo engine. We thought the truck would be good for parts but after 82 they changed styles and most of the parts do not fit the 1982. Do you know what parts you need? The 84 parts may fit the 83 truck. Research to see if the 83 parts you are looking are the same as the 84.Let me know. Maybe we can help you.
Hi, I am interested in some spares for my 1984 L1117. Maybe some air brake parts like the actuator cans or other assemblies. Any nice interior parts? Always looking for sources. I live in Washington state.
I have gotten parts from ebay, finditparts.com and also mailed from Brazil where they were made. Also saw them on European websites but have not ordered. Search the internet with the actual MB part numbers. You will need a parts catalog. MB Electronic Parts Catalog is very good, covers any Mercedes, and I have seen print catalogs on ebay. Takes a little patience but they made a lot of those trucks worldwide and most parts can be found.
Hey Chris would be interested to hear where you got to with your sources for parts I have a 89 l1319. Thanks
hello ,I recently purchased a 1984 1113 Mercedes truck .I am trying to find parts . I need parts. for the air brakes .is your truck equipped with air brakes?i live in Washington state.thanks
Search parts with the Mercedes part number on the internet. Freightliner has some and they may show up on finditparts.com. I have gotten compressor parts, diaphragms, boots and control valves that way.
Guess I do not check this site too often.
You have no idea how less anxious you have made me about my recent purchase of a 1319 that I am creating a tree service truck from! I am all ears for links for parts and will share any I find .vancouver island bc Canada
Unimog Canada is a good source based in Langley bc . Hans and Tyler are your guys.
I need type of this truck,. CC Global: 1959-95 Mercedes L Series Trucks how do I see one shipped to my location????
I live near Lake Chelan, how about you?
Maybe a bit late? But I have a thorough break down of the OM352 motor (in english). Shows the step by step of rebuilding. It’s hard to find any ligature on the L series. Or any for sale. I bought this toy hauler/camper. Then drove it home 500 miles. I love the style. It looks older than it is. 1980.
I’m interested in any resources for parts.
Nice looking truck. The OM352A struggled with its’ 160hp engine. Its’ reliability was its biggest asset. Simple Bosch “A” pump that was easy to
work on and set. I have a complete set of the L Model Workshop Manual (with last 1994 update) as well as OM352(A) and OM366LA Engine Manuals. I have copied pages out of the manuals for persons who were restoring or working on these. I was one of the M-B Instructors from 1987 until end of production in 1990. I only know of two complete sets and I have one.
I need the section Group 30, Accelerator Control, from Workshop Manual, Volume 2 for a a 1984 L1117. Willing to pay.
Chris, firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks
Hey jon , I feel I must become your friend ! I’ve just recently acquired a 1319 from 1989 with only 115k miles in the clock . It has the 366la motor . Thanks
Interested trying to buy this 1986 1117. Do not have vin number yet.
Is it possible to get the specifications for this Mercedes with the vin number? Curious about HP and rear ratio etc…
Thank you for your time, George
Did you find a shop manual ?
I owned a 1974 MBZ 1113 for nearly 20 years. It was my dream truck. I sold it but have full manuals for it by MBZ and a lot of filters and related items for sale. Let me know if you are interested! Jim
I’m interested, I’ve two trucks 911 one is 4×2 and other is 4×4 as well as a 1113 4×4 truck.
1993 tour from Tehran to Esfahan and back was spent in a red L-series bus. No A/C; no TV. One of the most memorable trips in my life. Entertainment provided by group singalongs.
Needless to say, it was my first exposure to Mercedes outside a yuppie context.
I don’t think any buses were built on the L-Series truck chassis, except maybe crude ones built overseas. The bus you pictured is an OH-321 with rear engine, as were pretty much all MB buses except the smaller van-based ones.
That very bus was the subject of a post here: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/niedermeyers-lust-object-of-the-day-1961-mercedes-oh-321-rv-conversion/
That distinctive “grille/face” was used on a wide range of MBZ commercial vehicles for some years.
Yes, they’re fully cabover; this grille just stole my attention, as did the memory of that very hot, very long trip.
Here’s an example of a “not so crude” version. You could see them everywhere as urban buses in Santiago de Chile during my childhood in the 80’s. Still remember their sound!
a shot of the interior…
The (not-)suspension was amazing. I liked it as a 7yr old boy… evry trip an adventure!
That’s exactly what I was visualizing. I suspect there were other countries that did the same thing too. “Crude” might be a bit strong, but yes, they wouldn’t have had as nice a ride as a rear-engine MB factory bus.
Mercedes-Benz liked one of the Argentine “colectivos” enough to put it in their museum in Stuttgart.
I never liked that droopy face on the Mercedes COE-trucks from that era.
To me it says something like “Mommy, I don’t want to be a big truck….I really don’t…”
That’s right. it must have been a sad day at MB when they drew this up. The could have flipped the grille upside down and it would have been like Mona Lisa smile.
Mercedes 302 autobus.great memories.
These were few and far between in Cincinnati in the 70s and 80s. Home City Ice had at least one of these that they tested against the Internationals they normally used, in the early 80s, along with one GMC Topkick?. The drivers seemed to prefer the International S1700 and S1900 straight trucks to the MB or GMC.
Wow, these are still being made? Neato. Nice looking trucks and I wonder if any of them got a sleep cab attachment? So what are the “Marshmellows” on a stick for?
The little round things on the rods near the front fenders are to help the driver judge where the front bumper is.
My guess is that those allow the driver to see where the corners of the cab are, since it would be difficult to see the ends of the fenders from up there. Tap something with the “marshmallow” and you know to stop going that direction, lest you ding a fender.
I do remember a few of these in the U.S., they were imported in the late 70’s-early 80’s. Not sure exactly which models were brought here, but I did see L1113’s and L1116’s. Had a reputation for being well built and reliable, but were also expensive and SLOW compared to domestic trucks. When Daimler took over Freightliner I think some Freightliner dealers carried these trucks.
Extremely durable trucks. The German competitors MAN, Hanomag-Henschel and Magirus-Deutz built similar heavy-duty trucks with a relatively short nose. Most of them were 6×6 dump trucks, like this Mercedes LAK 2624. As explained above: 26 tonnes GVW and 240 hp. Most Euro truck makers have a similar model numbering system. Look at the door of the Ford Transcontinental from last saturday: 4435, 44 tonnes and 350 hp. An exact copy of Mercedes’ system.
Mercedes didn’t switch over to that numbering system until some way into the L-Series’ long life. The earlier designations (L323,L327: medium weight; L337, etc for HD versions) had no specific relation to their capacity; just model numbers. The new model numbering scheme came in 1963. Sure makes it easier 🙂
MAN 26.240 DHA. Right, 26 tonnes and 240 hp. The number of the beast is on the truck, also a 6×6 dump truck. Same quality, durability, GVW and power as the Merc. It’s a 1981 truck.
(26 tonnes is 57,000 lbs)
Might as well show the other L-series’ German competitors from my (very) younger years, the early seventies. The Hanomag-Henschel 6×6. As you can see Germans like to have a star of some sort on the grille.
….and a Magirus-Deutz 6×6. The brand’s logo is the Ulmer Münster, the tallest church of the world. This truck had by far the most square, almost military looks of these mud- and sand wrestlers. (Photo: Charles Feijts Groep)
I remember the sound of a Magirus. You could immediately identify them many blocks away. Hanomag-Henschel had a plant on the way to my relatives house outside of Kassel. And M A N stood for Munchen Augsburg Nurnberg, which I assume was where the primary plants were located.
Along with the L Series Mercedes… great memories there.
Great Write up!!!
Reminds me of the indestructible Ford C Series form 1957-1990.
Oh, those will destruct. Get one wet and see what happens. Many of the later versions had the 8.2L Detroit Diesel, a diesel known for fuel economy but not for durability, particularly the turbo’ed versions. Manual transmission shifter was a joke, I remember slugging the metal dash trying to get reverse on a few occasions. Nonetheless, the Ford C was around for a long time and most served well.
I’ve seen plenty of these trucks over the years.
I definitely remember seeing these trucks in the Northeastern US in the 70s and 80s. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen one in Portland Oregon although my only regular sighting of old Mercedes trucks is a similar vintage cabover owned by a bark dust company in the Beaverton/Tigard area.
I also occasionally see new Mercedes trucks on highway 26 in Hillsboro around 6:00pm as Freightliner test drivers return from the coast.
Once in a Blue Moon I will see a Mercedes Benz that looks kind of like this one* traveling on U.S 26 between Sandy and Zigzag. Looked like it was hauling a 53 footer and a 20 or so footer. Real bizarre scene, most trucks in Northwest Oregon do no look like that.
That’s a brand new MB Actros (low-deck) tractor from Poland, 450 hp.
Jack Rousch has an Engineering Facility in Portland, and they do quite a bit of long-term testing for Mercedes (think Freightliner here, as the connection). The pacific Northwest offers a wide variety of road and climate conditions, and GVW limits are higher than in Europe. I understand they have 4 Actros running the I-5 corridor and sometime into Eastern Oregon/Washington.
A triumph of industrial design. My only real exposure to these was TV and movies. Any story that took place in Europe or the developing world would have these in the background. I recall that these were sold as Matchbox toys as well.
Yes a nce very popular truck in NZ our army bought a huge fleet of Unimog from MB too along with the ARA bus fleet MB did big business here back in the day easy trucks to drive in most cases they feature syncromesh transmissions and fairly bullet proof engines, Little wonder they are still made in Iran those guys seem to like durable vehicles they still build 405 Peugeots too.
This Mercedes Zetros 6×6 must be its spiritual successor.
Have seen a lot more japanese and korean trucks than these. Like old trucks.
Good story. Hope to see more.
This one was dispensing craft beer last month at the San Luis Obispo Concours D’Elegance — about the most agreeable duty for a truck I can think of.
(More background info on it here — http://www.centralcoastbrewing.com/the-truck/)
Sweet looking truck. I’m afraid I’ve never visited there. I’ll have to check it out. 🙂
Other views of this gem …
… from the front
Absolutely beautiful colour. Like an insect’s carapace.
And, these were used by Sam Trans (San Mateo County, California) during the 70s …
I’ve owned one, and they are nothing short of fabulous. Big enough for a mobile office, one big open bay, yet short enough for a single standard parking bay in my case (4.9m). Will always love the 508, 608, 613 etc.
I always thought these actually were Unimog cabs until Paul corrected me awhile back. I remember seeing lots of them when I was young and they were still a fairly common sighting here even up until the early ’00s. I’ve been on the lookout for one ever since they came up the last time, and I actually spotted TWO different ones – both moving trucks hard at work in Manhattan – last summer, but they were too speedy and far off for me to get a picture. Both of them were also the Brazilian-built models with the low rectangular headlights, so apparently those were sold in the U.S. at some point, too.
Almost all the L-series I remember from my youth were refrigerated box trucks (most with the classic grille) doing local deliveries, which seems like a pretty hard life for a truck. Might not sound like much compared to hauling the entire population of a small village through the Sahara desert, but rush hour on the Cross Bronx or BQE may actually be harsher.
Great write-up on a remarkable vehicle that I knew very little about until recently! I never would’ve guessed they were still in production anywhere, but it figures that it’s Iran Khodro (of Paykan fame) building them. Can’t imagine the insane amount of mileage those Iraqi L-series have racked up. I wonder if most are still on their original M-B diesel or if they’ve had transplants.
This isn’t my picture (it comes from So Cal Metro on Flickr), but here’s at least one L-series still working in Brooklyn:
What a great photo all around and it is cool how they all have bull bars.
Another great article, Robert. These are part of my childhood; seen during trips in Europe, the occasional one around Melbourne and its environs, and as JPCavanaugh reminds me, as a Matchbox toy. Loving your stories.
Here’s another now-rare (in the U.S.A.) Mercedes-Benz truck I encounter regularly. I’m not sure what the correct name for the series is; seems like they were known as the “NG” in the rest of the world, but as the “LP” in the U.S. (which was the name of an earlier M-B truck elsewhere. Somebody must’ve really liked those letters). Specifically, it’s a “L1419 Diesel” model, which is kindof redundant since all of them were diesels.
When I first encountered it I did some research and found that M-B actually built them at a factory in Virginia; their first foray into building any type of vehicle in North America. Despite being built domestically, I don’t ever remember seeing them nearly as often as the L-series. Seems like they weren’t in production here for that long, only a few years in the mid-80s.
I spotted two other trucks I’d never seen before recently, too. No pictures, but I figured they were worth mentioning – one was a BERING with a dump bed and the other a DAF box truck, which were both roughly Isuzu NPR-sized cabovers. I know all about DAF but had no idea they were selling trucks in the U.S. now, and Bering I had never heard of at all. Apparently they were a Korean company that flamed out after only a few years in business circa y2k. I took a peek inside the cab and it looked much more ornate than most trucks of that size – miles and miles of fake wood!
The Benz L1419 is (what else?) a refrigerated delivery truck working for a Chinese seafood wholesaler. Looks like some kind of street urchin has defaced the proud three-pointed star 🙁
Sean, does DAF sell trucks in the US ? I must say that this Kenworth very much looks like its DAF brother. As a matter a fact, this cab is used by DAF, Kenworth, Peterbilt, Mack, Renault and Volvo. Talking about cab sharing….
Originally it was a DAF-Renault job. (Photo: Kenworth)
I didn’t think so, but the one I saw had U.S. plates on it. I checked specifically because I was so surprised to see the DAF badge! Can’t imagine that someone went through all the trouble of importing one…
After poking around Google, I’m positive it was a DAF LF45, just like this one:
That’s a DAF LF alright, an older model. This is the current model, as you can see exactly the same face as the Kenworth (Photo: DAF Trucks)
Look here, a nice overview of the 6 brands that use the same DAF/Renault cab. Scroll down until you read “Midlum: Mack, Volvo & DAF”
There was a company in Arlington Texas in the late 80s that had a fleet of these L1419 as box trucks. I remember seeing them coming and going from their warehouse such a reare sight. I think they still make them badged as Kenworths. Or the Kenworths are rebadged Brazilian VW trucks. I can not remember.
The original L series with its round nose I remember seeing quite a few as dumps and Box trucks in Texas in the 70s and 80s. haven’t seen one in years.
Is this the Kenworth you’re thinking of? I didn’t realize it when I replied up above, but this is either the same cab DAF uses (like Johannes mentioned) or it’s actually just a rebadged DAF. The truck in his picture is a newer version with a re-styled front end.
I’m clearly not a truck aficionado – I see these Kenworths all the time and it never occurred to me that they’re nearly identical to the DAF:
yes, but i remember an even earlier model that more closely favored the benz with the bigger square headlights in the bumper.
DAF and Kenworth are just part of the PACCAR range now K200s share a chassis with DAFs both are quite common in NZ, I drive one configured as a milk tanker during the flush season, MX13, 18sp RR Meritor diffs.
And the other one I have of the MBZ…
This is the Kenworth based on the Brazilian Volkswagen truck.
These were ubiquitous in Essex County, NJ, where I grew up. A local dairy used them as did several other beverage companies and other companies for non-long-haul trucking needs. Moving companies too. I still see them often in NYC where I now live. I remember as a child when the first double-headlight models started coming out. I’m surprised that they weren’t and aren’t common anywhere else in the country. Will try to get a pic of the next few I encounter.
I am actually looking for one of these for a project
When I was living in the Rocky Mountains in the early 1990s, these were quite common vehicles. There really wasn’t anything else that could take the abuse of prospecting in the high Rocky Mountains. These trucks were famous for going places no other truck could go, in addition to always starting. They could be overloaded like nothing else on the road. Finally, they did not fall apart like the standard American 5 tons of the era did. The basic cab and chassis were very sturdy on these trucks. The direct injection diesel would run five million kilometers easy without any kind of serious work being done. For that reason they always sold really well in Western Canada.
Good looking , hard working trucks these are .
I spotted one with a badly rusted out Bobtail bed in North West Pasadena a few years back .
They were everywhere when I lived in Guatemala , 1976 .
I’m sure these Mercedes-Benz trucks were sold and used in the United States, probably some in the Northwest region, including Washington state, Oregon, and Idaho. And I’m sure I’d know if I saw them.
This is the truck that I remember from my child hood. You could say this truck hauled the stuff of the “Wirtschaftswunder” (econimic miracle) and “Wiederaufbau” (resurrection) of West Germany. People were building homes and these truck hauled away the soil from diggin out the basement and foundation, hauling in the bricks, the concrete, the rafters and shingles for the roof.
I had a summer job at a winery and they had one of these trucks as well. It was mostly used to deliver wine to customers. I always enjoyed going on the delivery route. Riding in a truck and getting paid for that was a nice change o f pace. As a small business they received a tax break for making the truck available for military use, just in case. It was the cold war era after all.
Actually Mercedes Benz in Brazil produces the Atron.
I love these. One of them for sale here:
I have a bunch of the Lseries trucks but I just can’t find parts for them anymore. I love them. One of the toughest trucks I’m ever owned. We have a Nursery Tree Farm. Does anyone out their know where I can get parts.
We purchased a new 1982 Mercedes Benz Truck Series L1113 in 1983. Our Son has the truck and is restoring it. The only problem is he needs a shop service manual and we are having a difficult time finding one. We live in Washington state. Any suggestions?
He is replacing the head gasket and needs to know what the torque is.
I have manuals for 1983 L116 they might have the same engine.
I will let my Son know.
You can download a copy of the OM352 engine rebuild manual from Barrington Diesel Club, http://www.barringtondieselclub.co.za/.
We produce bumpers for this trucks from 40 years… mostly sold in the middle east market. here is a recent picture attached, we have old pictures showing the bumpers all stacked up! thanks. email@example.com
I am looking for a bumper for a 1982 L1113. Do you have one available? Thanks!
Hi, You can buy parts from Brazil, online, and translate Portuguese to English with the google translator. Let me know if you want to go over the process.
Hello , yes I would like to know how to go through this and any contacts you may have. Many thanks
I recently got parts from Barnato Pecas in Rio Bonito, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Marcos Silveira was my contact at firstname.lastname@example.org. He was very professional. Parts were very reasonable in cost, shipping can be expensive. They seem to have everything. I typed in English and then just googled translate to Portuguese then emailed but we also communicated in English. Worked Well.
Try Hans Mross, (email@example.com), at Mross Import Service near you in Langley, BC He is an Unimog specialist but he knows the L series and orders parts from Germany on a regular basis. I got very good service.
hey does anyone know where i could get the diagram for the gear box of the L 1419 MODLE. i have one of these trucks but it wont engage second third forth or fifth speeds (only first gear and reverse)
Probably the shift cover. Parts breakdown on the Mercedes electronic parts catalog. Repair manuals come up on ebay once in awhile.
Hey I bought a 1986 L1117 from a Craigslist ad a few months ago in Texas. Was being used to haul hay in from the field, Runs & drives great but needs a few minor repairs.
If anyone can point me in the direction of parts suppliers that would be great. It has some brake system issues, it has a WABCO 8.1 bar all air system with auto slacks.
I collect W123’s and W116’s and have dreamed for years of owning a Mercedes truck.
I am very happy with my purchase and it will stay with me til I am dead & gone
Try calling Jim at Eurotech in Oregon (541)837-3636.
It may take time,and getting him on the phone is hit and miss,but he gets you OEM parts-his shop is Mercedes parts certified as “dealer” and mainly works on Unimogs-which also use similar engines.
Try finditparts.com for Wabco parts. Search by the parts numbers.
I want to purchase the -l series 1113 1324 1924 and 2624 call +260 0979541922
I live in USA,and own 1 L1116 and 2 L1117’s,currently trying to rebuild OM366LA engine in one of the L1117’s (Brazil made)–having NO LUCK with pistons OR VIN or engine numbers,any help?-I have exhausted all possible suppliers in the USA.
I am to the point now I will just re-sleeve engine and re-use pistons with new rings.
The MB part # on the crank and rod shell bearings dont do any good either HELP!!
I have been able to order parts from Brazil. Kind of fun to translate messages from Portuguese to English. Also parts get listed on ebay from time to time, set searches for what you want. Never know what will turn up.
Buy the electronic parts catalog for Mercedes. Has every vehicle, breakdowns of all the components and part numbers. Can find it on ebay sometimes for a reasonable price.
I finished the OM366 rebuild not long after I asked the question above.
Motor runs like new!-and has been in use every day since–I ended up re-using the pistons which were in good shape–and after checking all crank journals (which were still at factory spec’s) I installed new shells-Parts I found in a complete kit on EBAY made by MAHLE,pistons/gaskets/shells/rings,complete kit sold by an outfit located in Georgia and Texas.
The pistons were months-out on backorder,I got the kit discounted without them.
Rebuild info for engine was in a PDF manual from Barrington club (see link several posts up)-it has all the numbers you need except torque numbers for clutch pressure plate (which I found on EBAY from “Carolina clutch” (USA))
I bought the WIS DVD manual (EBAY) but navigating it is painfully hard,I can find assy’s and part numbers but nothing pertaining to mechanical repairs.
I dont know where Jim Ince at Eurotec went,he hasn’t answered or returned calls in months-so as usual finding parts is like finding a Do-Do-bird (extinct)-only option for parts is to learn African or Portuguese and find some Brazilian contact.
As it is,Im searching for clutch master and slave cylinder new or rebuild parts–yes searching for a “Do-Do” again–good thing these trucks are so durable,,,there are three I service now,Used to get parts from Freightliner in the 90’s–no more there–back to loosing my patience.
PS,two tips,,the ’87 L1117 would not shift into certain gears at all–broken slider rod for shift forks,,VERY easy to get to and repair,,we had a machine shop make a new one
Second truck (86 L1116) was hard to shift into 3 and 4–worn shift forks,the synchro ring had worn into the fork (nothing else was worn)–had the worn area filled with silicon bronze weld and re-machined to size,all is happy now,,again VERY easy to repair.
I hope someone finds this info useful–
Slave cylinder repair kit A0002900811 cost $90 at finditparts.com. Mis-labeled as fuel injection repair kit at finditparts but I bought one and it is slave cylinder kit. New slave cylinder A0002957207 costs $400 there.
I am ordering some parts from Barnato in Brazil http://www.barnatoloja.com.br contact Marcos Silveira. For example 2nd 3d transmission shift rod costs $30 and freight is $90 although I ordered several other parts.
I find these trucks very fascinating and would really like to buy one I have seen many in Guatemala but not really up close and personal even seeing a 4×4 model and one in Texas that had isuzu npr cabs stacked up on it
But back in the day around the mid 80’s my father exported many vehicles to central America and he would tell of places in the northeastern states such as new Jersey where he would get these trucks, for what would be considered dirt cheap by today’s standards, and said that the guy had hundreds of them in all conditions and models.however he had also purchased some in California and Colorado. Anyways he says that the Haitians are the ones who practically purchased all of them and shipped on boats.I was always kinda sceptical but I was talking with another older gentleman who described the exact story which couldn’t have been a coincidence
Here is another picture
We looked 5 yrs for the right one to come along. We are retired and now age 65, and our 1979 1116 L will become our Expo rig to travel the great parks of the SW and Alaska one day, if health allows.
Fortunate for us, we found one in budget, and super condition, with low miles and all the maintence records from date of purchase in 1980. Good Luck to all that are looking to own one of this rare gems! No, sorry, ours is not for sale yet, but at age 65 know that some day she too will be sold. Happy Trails to all that love Mercedes craftsmanship and real quality. Jerry in TX and beyond! Join me @ jerry marcy on facebook.
How about some some pictures of your truck? Sounds great.
I’ll just leave this here for today.
This clip shows off the flexibility engineered into the frame. The article’s reference to the rivits used for assembling the frame reminds me that the same method was used on the Ford Model T and A. A restorer’s manual I read cautioned to never use nuts and bolts in place of tbe rivits because a tightly bolted frame would tear under high torsional stress whereas the rivited frame would flex freely.
It’s amazing how long these old truck designs stick around. I’m familiar with the Mack MR series trucks and their design dates back to 1978. Most of out trucks were from the early 2000’s, and had the same old cramped design of the 70’s.
I used to see these L series around the Oklahoma City area during the ‘ late 70’s early 80’s into the 90’s. Both with the twin round headlights and quad rectangles. They weren’t an every day sight, like the Ford C series, or IH Loadstar, but it wasn’t unsusual to see them either. I saw them mostly with dry van bodies and there were a few long wheel base with moving van bodies.
In 1980, The ice plant that I worked for while I was in high school had a variety of International and Ford route trucks, but then they bought a single Volvo cabover. The owner’s son told me that they looked at the Mercedes as well, but thought it looked too old fashioned. From a business stand point, I’m sure there had to be other reasons why they picked the Volvo such as operating cost, dealer support and so on.
We still have some of these babies on duty in our national response service in Danmark. They are kept ready for emergency dispatch to catastrophe-ridden areas where there’s actually a chance that these can be fixed should they break down.
The ones I have been aquainted with were 911s.
My grandfather was the superintendent of Public Works in Rolling Meadows Illinois from 1955-1973. He implemented a in-house garbage collection service that is still in service today. His first purchase were three 1969 Mercedes-Benz garbage trucks.
Here is a old press photo.
They ended up keeping one of the trucks all the way up til 1990 (when the city eventually auctioned It Off). Although the truck hadn’t been in service for some time, they still used it has a parade truck through the 80s.
Here I am standing in a 1969 garbage truck from Rolling Meadows Illinois. Photo taken sometime around 1988
Here is the link that has a very detailed description of the 1969 Mercedes-Benz garbage trucks that the city of Rolling Meadows used. They received a little bit of fanfare when they were first introduced.
Here is another photo (it was a black and white photo that I tried to colorize.
It’s it’s a 1969 garbage truck, Rolling Meadows (Illinois)
Hey Laz, I have a 1976 L1113 and can’t get it to go into 2nd gear, when you fixed your transmission did you have to pull transmission or just cover ? Any info would be helpful. Thanks Craig
These were still widespread in South Africa in the 1980s when I was a lad.
Indeed if you asked me the definition of what a truck or lorry was, I would have a picture of one of these in my head!.
They are still popular in South Africa. I have a 1970 L1113 dropside tipper myself.