The FLD can take a licking
Owner-operator Steve Lyons values a truck’s durability. That’s why he won’t be giving up his reliable 1994 Freightliner FLD 120 anytime soon.

By Jeff Barker, contributing writer

Some older trucks get to play in the dirt. In the case of this FLD 120, it certainly reminds you of the well-known Timex commercials in that it “takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”

Steve Lyons of Erin, Ontario loves the old, reliable 1994 Freightliner FLD 120 truck he drives – and the dirty part of his job. The truck is part of the Jim Brown Trucking fleet based in his home town.

He pulls a 42-foot belly dump hopper trailer, often at gross weight of 90,000 pounds. His summer trips into asphalt pits to load gravel are very hard on equipment, not to mention having to navigate rugged terrain to drop his loads. He hauls road salt during the winter months.

With the short summer road construction seasons in Canada, Steve’s boss is not interested in going to any equipment newer than the 1994 Freightliner FLD 120s and 2000 FLC 132 Classic XLs he currently runs. He is aware of the downtime that many other fleets have because of numerous problems with late-model emission-controlled engines.

“One load of asphalt that doesn’t make it can cause a very costly interruption,” Steve said.

Breaking down in the cold winters with a load of road salt on board that needs to go isn’t an option either.

After seeing how well this truck has held up in some of the worst conceivable conditions there are, Steve is seriously considering buying it if it ever comes up for sale.

“It’s not exactly pretty but I love the old girl,” he says. His employer has a good maintenance program in place, and he has been driving this truck long enough to know its idiosyncrasies.

The truck is equipped with the wildly popular Detroit Series 60 12.7-liter engine set at 470 horsepower, backed by a 15-speed Eaton-Fuller transmission, and backed by 3:90 rear ends on Freightliner air ride. LL