|Preceded by||Caterpillar D8K|
|Superseded by||Caterpillar D8N|
|Transmission type||power shift|
The Caterpillar D8L was the first of the D8 series of Crawler Tractor to utilize the patented elevated sprocket design. Released in 1982 it replaced the Caterpillar D8K model, weighing in at a little over 34 tonne, it was around 3 tonne heavier than its predecessor and the 3408 engine fitted to it boasted an extra 35 horsepower over the aged D342 from the D8K - despite the almost 150 cu in drop in displacement. It has a 335 hp (250 kW) Caterpillar engine.
The standard D8L was fitted with a 3 speed power shift transmission although there was a direct drive model produced for agriculture (usually designated with the SA suffix) offering 6 forward and reverse gears. The SA models were also about 2 tonne lighter than their power shift cousins and featured a 3 point linkage system.
Typically running with a 22" track shoe on an 8 roller frame, these were very capable machines for general dozing tasks, low ground pressure models were also available with wider shoes, out to around 36", LGP models in the D8L range did not have an extended roller frame.
The D8L had a 4 year production run and was replaced by the smaller D8N in 1987, to this day the D8L is still the most powerful D8 tractor that Caterpillar has ever produced and is (on paper at least) roughly the equivalent of a Caterpillar D9E circa 1960.