Preparing for ILSAC GF-6

Jun 7, 2019

Topics: Passenger Cars

A new motor oil standard, ILSAC GF-6, is being introduced into the marketplace. In this video, Martin Birze, Regional Business Manager, Passenger Car Motor Oils, and Marcos Abreo, Marketing Manager, North America, discuss what led to this next generation ILSAC standard, how it differs from API SN Plus, LSPI mitigation and more.


For more information, please contact your Lubrizol representative.

Video Transcript

Marcos Abreo, Marketing Manager: So Martin, there's a new motor oil specification, ILSAC GF-6, that's slated to be first licensed in May 2020. Can you talk a little bit about the market dynamics that have initiated this specification?

Martin Birze, Business Manager, Consumer Engine Lubricants, Americas: Yes, absolutely. The OEMs are faced with meeting new emission regulations. And the big one, for the first time, the EPA is regulating CO². The only way that you can reduce CO² coming out of the tailpipe is to reduce the amount of fuel that you're using. So, fuel efficiency is a big part. So how do OEMs get to this higher level of fuel efficiency? They're moving to smaller engines, smaller displacements, that are equipped with turbochargers. Hence the introduction of GDI and turbo GDI engines into the marketplace. And that's what's creating the new challenges associated with this new category. 

Marcos: So what are the specific needs that GF-6 is going to satisfy?

Martin: So the needs are really defined by the OEMs. They know that they're coming out with turbo GDI engines. The challenges are different, so the OEMs collectively assemble what are the performance requirements. And really there's probably 3 key things that they're going to look at. Fuel economy needs to improve. It's a different style of engine, so that's important. And fuel economy is measured in 2 ways. FEI 1, which is really the fresh oil fuel economy, and FEI 2. Take FEI 2 and FEI 1 together, that gives you the sum, and that's the durability part. That is critical for OEMs because as the oil ages in the drain, or in the oil pan, fuel economy can change. So one of the things we really look at closely is, not only where FEI 1 is and where is FEI 2 and where is the sum, because that's really a strong indicator of FEI durability, on which the OEMs are asking for.

Low speed pre-ignition is a new phenomenon associated with turbo GDI engines. And it's basically, combustion occurs at the wrong time, and it leads to catastrophic engine failure. And you want to make sure that you have the cleanliness, because GF-6A is backwards compatible, meaning that it needs to satisfy the requirements of older engines.

Marcos: So how does this differ from API SN Plus, are there any major differences?

Martin: Good question, Marcos. Huge differences. SN Plus was simply a supplement to the existing GF-5 category. So it had all the old engine tests but added on the protection for low speed pre-ignition. So as we move to GF-6, you now have seven new tests. Of the seven, five are replacement tests. Two are brand new. Absolutely brand new. One is the low speed pre-ignition, and in the 32 years I've been in this business it's the first time the industry has an engine test that actually measures a field issue. All the other tests really are designed to try and simulate, mimic. So they're close, and they're good, but this is really for the first time a real indicator of field performance. The other new test is called the chain wear test.

Marcos: Okay, so this sounds really complex. There's seven new tests, one legacy test for ILSAC GF-6. And I understand it's going to split into two specifications. Can you explain a little but between GF-6A and GF-6B?

Martin: Yeah, good question. Complexity is going to be an issue for the oil marketers and even for the end user, because how do you differentiate between the 6A and the 6B? Okay, so 6A is designed for all the legacy viscosity grades. It will identified in the market with the starburst, which is the standard. GF-6B is the new category that specifically addresses the lower viscosity grades. So what are they? Anything below a 0-20. So today, it would only cover 0w16. And the industry is working on a label that will actually show 0w16 approved for gasoline engine, so there's no misapplication. Because that's a big concern on the OEMs' part.

Marcos: Interesting, so we have 2 specifications, a number of new tests that are being introduced in the marketplace. How should oil marketers be prepared as they start to license a new generation of motor oils?

Martin: Preparation for the oil marketers, from a formulating standpoint, they really need to make sure that you get the right balance. In GF-5 the balance was between fuel efficiency and deposit control. Now with GF-6 there's a third element brought in, and that's balancing LSPI performance. So the detergent strategy that you use to achieve mitigation of LSPI, you have to be very careful, because it could take away from things like fuel economy.

Marcos: So what is Lubrizol doing in the way of LSPI mitigation, are there certain tests underway today?

Martin: Yeah, so the Sequence IX is specifically designed to measure LSPI, but it measures fresh oil LSPI. When we were looking at this specification, we wanted to understand, great you can measure and pass fresh oil LSPI, but what happens as the oil ages? So, what does that mean? Let's say you change your oil every 10,000 miles. The composition of the oil is going to change. You have contaminants that are being introduced, and also the additives are being consumed. So at 10,000 miles, you may have arguably no LSPI protection. So we designed a couple of tests, and that was really to understand how does LSPI propensity change over the drain interval? That's one. How does it change over the life of the vehicle? And how does oil composition, or the formulating approach, change or impact LSPI mitigation? We generated about 3 different SAE papers that are published, reporting our body of work. And what that has really generated is a lot of interest from OEMs. And OEMs that have turbo GDI engines, they understand that LSPI durability is very, very important. It's a lot of work that's gone on and there's a lot of work that still has to continue.

Marcos: Great, so there's a lot of work that's happening that's happening right now with this change. Many tests, many specs being introduced. The idea of LSPI mitigation throughout the oil drain. What value ultimately does ILSAC GF-6 have for an oil marketer or an OEM?

Martin: There's actually a third, the end user. So, turbo GDI engines, if you use the wrong engine oil, you can get LSPI failure. So that's number 1. Number 2, I talked about the fuel economy, the fuel efficiency. The engine oil has to enable the engine technology to perform as designed. If LSPI occurs, you're not going to get the performance. So from an OEM standpoint, they need to protect their brand and prevent warranty claims. From the end user, when I go buy a car, I look at it, I know what the performance is, I know the fuel economy that it's to deliver. If I don't have the right engine oil, there's a good chance I'm not going to feel the performance of the vehicle, and I'll be going to the gas station a little bit more often.