Changes are coming for diesel engine oils, whether your fleet is off-road, on-road, old or new. Farmers and fleet managers need to be aware of these changes to be sure the right oil goes into each engine.Diesel engine oils are changing as of December 1, 2016. The new oils are intended to provide significantly improved oxidation control, anti-foaming and shear stability protection versus previous products.
The changes, known as Proposed Category 11 (PC-11) will take effect on December 1, 2016. The new oils come in response to on-highway diesel engines, which were designed to meet government emissions and fuel efficiency requirements. This puts greater demands on engine oil. As a result, the American Petroleum Institute (API) has set standards for new classes of oil that meet increased engine demands and the increasing fuel efficiency requirements.
PC-11 oils are intended to provide significantly improved oxidation control, anti-foaming and shear stability protection versus previous products. These new oils will also be offered in lower viscosities for enhanced fuel economy in new engines. The PC-11 name was a placeholder that was dropped once API made the new categories official earlier this year.
There will be two types of PC-11 diesel engine oil:
- CK-4 oils will be “backwards compatible” with all ages of on- and off-road diesel engines. They will stand up to thermal breakdown better than CJ-4 oils.
- FA-4 oils will provide improved fuel economy and protection for some newer on-road engines. API FA-4 oils are not backwards compatible but some OEMs may allow limited backwards compatibility, so they should only be used in on-highway engines that recommend them.
Taking a Closer Look“The improved oils will require paying attention to oil selection. Newer engines can use lighter oils that might not be appropriate for older engines, so watching label changes will be important to make sure you are using the correct oil.” – Andrew Hamilton, CHS technical services and quality manager for Cenex brand lubricants.
Andrew Hamilton, CHS technical services and quality manager for Cenex® brand lubricants, says the improved oils will require paying attention to oil selection.
“Newer engines can use lighter oils that might not be appropriate for older engines, so watching label changes will be important to make sure you are using the correct oil,” says Hamilton. “We will still see SAE 10W-30 and SAE 15W-40 oils, but we expect API to add designations to labels that will help users differentiate between the new CK-4 and FA-4 oils. Final labeling decisions are still being made.”
Steve Haffner is the North American market manager for crankcase additives for Infineum USA, LP, which formulates engine oils for Cenex lubricants. Anticipating the challenges of Tier 4 diesel engines, Infineum has been working to develop oils that deliver improved fuel economy performance at lower viscosity levels without compromising engine durability or performance. This work provides the foundation for new heavy duty diesel engine oils that will be marketed by Cenex.
“We believe PC-11 will add complexity to the supply chain, and new products could create some confusion for vehicle and equipment owners. The benefits of the new oils will make that adjustment worthwhile, though,” says Haffner.
“When used properly, CK-4 and FA-4 oils will provide better engine protection than the current oils on the market. The new options should ensure drain intervals can be maintained or even increased under certain operating conditions. On-road diesel fleets moving to new FA-4 oils may see up to 2 to 3 percent fuel economy improvement versus a typical SAE 15W-40 oil, depending on the driving cycle.”
Impact for Farm Equipment
Off-road diesel engines ask a lot of lubricants, including protecting sensitive areas of the engine, such as the piston ring, cylinder liner interface, bearings and valve train components. These stresses will be addressed by the new CK-4 engines oils, Haffner says. Tier 4 Final engines must use oils that are compatible with “after treatment” equipment for meeting exhaust emission standards. In addition to providing exceptional oxidation and wear performance in Tier 4 Final engines, CK-4 oils are expected to help address those concerns.
Hamilton says the change to new, better-performing oils will be positive for customers. “Cenex retailers are prepared to guide vehicle and equipment owners through the transition by answering questions about the right oil for each fleet’s trucks and tractors. Viscosity grade trends evolve slowly, so SAE 15W-40 oils will remain the primary viscosity grade for some time. In fact, it may take a couple of years for these new low viscosity oils to be fully acceptable due the back serviceability concerns and the number of engines that cannot use these newer lubricants. We expect SAE 10W-30 CK-4 engines oils will see the largest growth first with fleet operators, as they can be used in both old and new engines. As fleets modernize, we anticipate owners to transition from CJ-4 to CK-4 then to new FA-4 for increased fuel economy.”
For more information on new oil formulations and Cenex lubricants, visit www.cenex.com.