New 980L Medium Wheel Loader Features Added Power, Greater Fuel Efficiency, Drive-Train Refinement, and Operator Comfort and Safety Enhancements

New 980L Medium Wheel Loader Features Added Power, Greater Fuel Efficiency, Drive-Train Refinement, and Operator Comfort and Safety Enhancements

For Release in South America, Africa, Middle East, Turkey, CIS, Asia Pacific: January 2017 
Release Number: 22PR17

The new Cat® 980L medium wheel loader applies proven technologies systematically and strategically to meet our customers’ high expectations for reliability, productivity, fuel efficiency, and long service life. The new 980L medium wheel loader is more powerful and fuel-efficient than its predecessor, featuring significant drive-train and hydraulic-system refinement, operator safety and convenience enhancements, proven Z-bar linkage, Cat Performance Series buckets, and options such as automatic traction control, enhanced ride control system, and Cat Connect Technologies. 


Rigorous design and machine validation processes have delivered unmatched reliability, durability and high uptime for generations. Components used to build Cat wheel loaders are designed and manufactured to Caterpillar quality standards to ensure maximum performance even in extreme operating conditions.  Heavy duty components, such as Caterpillar designed ACERT™ engines, transmissions and axles, reduce the risk of premature wear resulting in increased uptime and reduced operating costs over the lifetime of the machine.

The 980L uses a productive and fuel-efficient Cat C13 ACERT engine with a maximum gross power rating of 303 kW (412 metric horsepower) and approximate operating weight of 30 090 kg. The power-dense engine uses a combination of proven electronic, fuel-injection and air-systems.


The 980L’s updated and refined Cat ACERT engine offers increased engine power by 5 percent compared to the 980H, greatly improving machine performance and response.

The 980L uses a 4F/4R power-shift transmission. A high-capacity torque converter uses a lock-up clutch for efficient grade and high-speed performance, and the Caterpillar Advanced Productivity Electronically Controlled (APEC) control system maintains torque flow during range shifts for faster acceleration on ramps and smoother shifts in the transmission’s direct-drive mode.

In addition, the Integrated Braking System (IBS) regulates downshifting in proportion to the required braking force, resulting in smoother downshifts and increased deceleration control. The IBS prolongs service brake life, lengthens axle-oil change intervals, reduces axle-oil temperatures, and improves transmission-neutralizer performance—resulting in faster cycles.

An extensive range of work tools and bucket styles are available to customize these machines for our customers’ operations. Buckets, such as Performance Series general purpose buckets, heavy duty quarry rock buckets, slag buckets, waste handling buckets or woodchip buckets are available either with pin on or quick coupler interface. A 980L equipped with a quick coupler is a much more versatile machine. Buckets and other work tools, such as forks or specialty work tools, can be changed without leaving the cab – allowing the machine to quickly move from task to task.

Fuel efficiency

The 980L is designed for maximum fuel efficiency and low fuel consumption while maintaining high performance. The 980L is not only more powerful, but also features up to 25 percent less fuel consumption compared with its predecessor, the 980H.

The power-dense ACERT engine burns less fuel by providing power and torque when needed.  The innovative powertrain, hydraulic, cooling and electronic systems intelligently lower average working engine speeds and reduce overall system heat loads resulting in significantly improved performance and fuel efficiency. Furthermore, the productive Economy Mode provides maximum fuel savings with minimal productivity impact.

Axles for the 980L feature modifications that reduce parasitic loads and enhance positive lubrication. Available as an option, the automatic traction control system is fully automatic and requires no operator input which improves traction and reduces tire wear.

The efficient load-sensing hydraulic system features proportional flow for fast, smooth hydraulic response with optimum controllability. The system is designed to deliver more engine power to the wheels at partial hydraulic flow, allowing faster cycle times in load-and-carry and ramp operations, as well as higher rimpull when digging.

An on-demand fan further enhances fuel efficiency and lowers sound levels.  In addition, the engine-idle-management and the engine-idle-shutdown systems that reduce or stop the engine after a pre-set idling interval, not only save fuel and reduce sound levels, but also reduce hour accumulation, helping extend service intervals and warranty.

Operator comfort and safety

The new best-in-class operator environment features a four post Roll Over Protection System (ROPS) cab providing unmatched comfort, visibility, and efficiency.  Seat-mounted, electro-hydraulic implement controls and programmable (in-cab) kick-outs provide optimum work-tool control, complemented by automatic cylinder snubbing that protects the machine structures and enhances performance. A new, streamlined control panel includes easy-to- reach, highly utilized machine controls to increase operator efficiency.  Powerful heating and air-conditioning systems keep operators comfortable in any climate while viscous mounts reduce vibration and cabin sound levels.

For added safety, stair-like steps along with a large entry door to the cab reduce the angle of entry and grab bars provide safe access to machine platforms. Floor-to-ceiling glass in the windshield, large mirrors with spot mirrors, and a standard rear-vision camera combine to provide all-around visibility. An available new ride-control system with dual accumulators allows faster cycles, improved material retention, and a smooth ride for the operator.


The front and rear frames of the new 980L are fabricated with high-strength, robotically-welded materials to ensure long-term durability and reliable performance. Additionally, the frames are designed to dissipate forces associated with aggressive loading and digging. The articulating hitch system which joins the front and rear frames provides exceptional bearing-force capacity.

Field-proven Z-bar front linkage produces optimum bucket and lift forces. The Cat Performance Series buckets are designed to provide excellent penetration into the pile, high breakout forces, superior roll back angles, and faster cycle times, resulting in extended tire life, superior fuel efficiency, and exceptional production capabilities.

Improved hydraulic-hose routing reduces potential wear.  Full-flow filtration, with additional loop filtration, protects key components and extends service life.


The one-piece tilting hood with side and rear access doors provides easy access to daily fluid level checks fueling points and full engine compartment when required.  Electrical and hydraulic service centers provide grouped, ground-level access to such items as S•O•SSM (Scheduled Oil Sampling) ports that facilitate collecting fluid samples at optimum points in a circulating system.  The new external calliper disc parking brakes are easily accessible for inspection and service. The updated cooling system is readily accessible for clean out and maintenance; the hydraulic-oil cooler and air-conditioner cores swing out providing easy access to both sides for cleaning.


Cat LINK technologies, such as the Product Link™ system, help fleet owners manage equipment utilization and lower owning and operating costs through the online VisionLink® interface, which tracks critical items, such as location, hours, fuel usage, diagnostic codes, and idle time.

Cat PAYLOAD technology, such as optional Cat Production Measurement system, accurately weighs materials being loaded and hauled to improve productivity, reduce overloading, and track material movement.  Provides simple, accurate, on-the-go weighing to assist operators in delivering exact loads and working more efficiently.  The intuitive user interface, within standard touch screen display, provides essential payload information in an easy-to-read, user-friendly format.  Site managers can wirelessly access data via the VisionLink web portal to measure production and monitor efficiency.

Cat DETECT technology, such as the integrated rear vision camera, enhances visibility behind machine to help operators work safely.


Note to Editors: Caterpillar rolls out products and services in each of its territories at different time intervals. Although every effort is made to ensure that product information is released only after Caterpillar has received confirmation from our dealer network, our plants, and our marketing subsidiaries that products and services are available in the relevant region, editors are kindly requested to verify with their local dealer for product availability and specifications.

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VisionLink is a trademark of Trimble Navigation Limited, registered in the United States and in other countries.

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