Purchasing a used Daf CF85

Daf launched the CF85, or the ‘compact forte’ , in late 1992, offering a smaller cab than the XF’s ‘extra forte’ .

The 85 part of the designation was a logical follow-on from the short-lived Leyland Daf 80-series, which was essentially a hybrid that married a Leyland Roadtrain with Daf’s 11.6-litre WS engine.


The CF85 was a huge leap forward thanks to its modern cab, despite using the same 11.6-litre engine. At the end of 1997, that was replaced with the 12.6-litre XF engine, offering more power and torque, as well as better fuel consumption.

The XF engine was initially available in Euro-2 guise, in 340hp, 380hp or 430hp ratings. The standard gearbox was ZF’s trusty 16-speed synchromesh unit, with Eaton’s 12-speed Twin-Splitter as an option for those prepared to master it.

The next milestone in the CF85’s long career came towards the end of 2000, when Daf answered criticism that the cab was a tad small by adding 140mm (5.5ins) to its length and introducing the high-roof Space Cab option. The major mechanical upgrade at this time was the introduction of disc brakes. Daf was one of the last of the major manufacturers to adopt discs, insisting that drum brakes performed well and were reliable, although a 100kg weight-saving on a two-axle CF85 was instrumental in persuading Daf to switch to discs.

In mid-2003 Daf introduced the option of ZF’s AS-Tronic 12-speed automated gearbox, available as a £1,920 option on the standard ZF 16-speed manual. Timed to coincide with the implementation of Euro-4 emission limits in late 2006, the 12.6-litre engine was replaced by the 12.9-litre MX engine. The MX’s four ratings (360hp, 410hp, 460hp and 510hp) have remained through to the present Euro-5 version.

Added fuel-saving measures

The last series of revisions to the CF85 came with the incorporation of the ATe package of fuel-saving measures, introduced in early 2011. Most were added as standard to the MX engine.

The revisions included pistons made of aluminium, instead of steel (except on the 510hp rating), to save reciprocating weight; better oil-cooling for the pistons, to reduce the speed of the oil-pump (absorbing less power); thermal insulation around the exhaust manifold and turbine (to keep the inlet air cool); and an engine-idle shutdown timed to cut the engine after five minutes of idling.

The next chapter in the CF story is due when the latest set of revisions is unveiled at the CV Show on 9-11 April. The Euro-6 version of the MX engine, already unveiled for the new XF (CM 29 November 2012), will be at the heart of the revisions. We are also likely to see many of the XF’s other new features, such as a new chassis and lighter axles, cascading down to the CF85. There is also a good chance that a new 10.5-litre to 11-litre engine will be unveiled as an option for the MX in the CF. 

Popular in the market

According to Barrie Travis, the Red Book editor for LGVs at price valuators CAP, the Daf CF85 enjoys a good reputation in the used market because it is relatively cheap, thanks to the volumes sold new, as well as reliable.

“Its residual values are weaker than some of the other marques. This can also be attributed to owner-drivers’ ‘street cred’ attitude. It’s popularity among the own-account and rental companies does dilute its appeal to some degree,” says Travis.

You can find Daf CF85 tractors through every outlet from franchised dealers, to the open market network, and through the auctions.

CAP’s retail price for a Euro-5, 6x2 CF85, with a 12.9-litre 410hp engine and Space cab on a 59-plate with 360,000km on the clock is £28,000, whereas a 510hp is £29,500.

Product recalls by VOSA

There have been three recalls since 2006, but the one below is the most important. The other two were for potential oil leaks and brake pipes cracking. Ref: R/2010/161 wheel bearings may fail Product time span: 1/1/2010-31/8/2010

“Quality of some AKE bearings fitted to the 09N044 mid-lift axle (Hendrickson) may not be to specification. This could result in failure of the bearing and detachment of the wheel and hub. Recall all affected vehicles, check the type of bearing and, if necessary, replace with the correct specification bearing.”


Selective Daf CF85 parts prices supplied by Daf Trucks UK (retail prices excluding VAT)
Parts Price
Headlamp £142
Oil filter £35
Air filter £98
Front bumper £323
Rear mudguard £93
Windscreen £241
Turbo for 12.9-litre £992
Selective Daf CF85 parts prices supplied by Daf Trucks UK (retail prices excluding VAT)
Parts Price
Light bulb, rear £0.60
Headlamp bulb £7.50
Wiper blade £11.50
Brake pad set £77
Nearside mirror £43