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Friday, 21 November 2014

New GF-6 motor oil specification will satisfy major changes in engine design.

Significant changes to environmental regulations and engines have resulted in a new GF-6 motor oil specification for passenger cars. For the first time, there are likely to be two iterations: one for current and future engines and another compatible with older engines.

Joan Evans, Infineum industry liaison advisor, explains, “For the new GF-6 motor oil specification, ILSAC GF-6, there is an urgent need
to develop new tests to replace those for which the current hardware will shortly no longer be available. In addition, there is a need to develop new tests to evaluate lubricant performance in emerging hardware platforms. Engine hardware design changes are being dictated by the need to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions to meet stringent new environmental regulations.” 

Requirements for the new GF-6 motor oil specification for passenger cars.

ILSAC GF-6 is a new GF-6 motor oil specification proposed for licensing by the new Auto-Oil Advisory Panel, between June and September 2016. The Auto-Oil Advisory Panel, co-chaired by Teri Kowalski of Toyota and Luc Girard of Petro-Canada, replaces the ILSAC/ oil category development system— though it is comprised of basically the same people.

 The new category calls for improvements in fuel economy and better engine protection than currently exists at lower viscosities. For the ILSAC timeline, four requirements were identified:
  • Improved fuel economy. This must be maintained throughout the oil change interval. 
  • Adequate wear protection during frequent starts in micro hybrids. These engines experience frequent starts and/or starts after extended periods of downtime. 
  • Enhanced oil robustness. This applies to spark-ignition internal combustion engines and is necessary to ensure acceptable synthetic engine oil performance in regional markets due to service requirements, fuel availability, environment issues, etc. 
  • Protection against low-speed engine pre-ignition (LSPi). This specifically refers to LSPI attributed to engine oil.

New GF-6 motor oil specification requires upgraded testing.

“For the tests measuring new parameters, the key to establishing a performance- based dynamometer test is to use oils with proven field issues and which demonstrate discrimination between good and bad performance,” Evans says. “For this reason, test development is always a difficult and time-consuming process.”

One condition that the proposed testing must identify is low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI) which is a concern as it has been observed in the new generation of smaller-sized direct-injection turbo powered engines. Many automotive OEMs believe the occurrence of LSPI is related to fuel and lubricant properties. With the proliferation of downsized turbo engines it is important that GF-6 has a meaningful test to screen for lubricant- and fuel-related LSPI events. But whether a GF-6 category should go forward without a test to measure the effects of LSPI on engine oil is currently being debated within the Auto-Oil Advisory Panel.

Chris Castanian, OEM liaison manager for Lubrizol in Wickliffe, Ohio, explains, “In severe cases, LSPI can damage pistons, degrade performance, lower fuel efficiency and increase emissions. Investigation is underway to determine the connection between engine oil and the LSPI phenomenon. Several OEMs have expressed interest in investigating and minimizing LSPI, leading ILSAC to include LSPI in the new GF-6 motor oil specification needs statement. It would be a mistake to move the category forward without a performance-based engine test addressing LSPI in GDI engines, which are emerging as the leading light-duty gasoline engine technology in the world.”

A number of changes to test limits have been proposed by ILSAC. Five of these are as follows:

Sludge and Varnish formation.

The Sequence VH will test an oil’s ability to prevent sludge and varnish formation. As with the Sequence VG, the new test will reproduce the stop-and-go operating conditions of delivery vehicles and city driving in general.


As with its predecessor, the Sequence IVB test will evaluate an oil’s ability to prevent wear of camshaft lobes by duplicating light city driving conditions. Wear requirements will be similar to Sequence IVA. This test will also replace the Sequence IVA 1994 with an engine more representative of cars currently on the road.

Viscosity and Piston Deposits 

GM and Chrysler are both offering potential tests to replace the IIIG with IIIH. Only one of them is expected to be included in the final version of the new GF-6 motor oil specification. The significant difference over IIIG is the simulation of high-load conditions, evaluating thickening resistance and piston deposit prevention under high-temperature conditions.

Phosphorus Volatility

The new phosphorus volatility test, the Sequence IIIGB measures the percentage of phosphorus retained in the test lubricant during the Sequence IIIG test. To date, in Europe, there has been no activity to develop any industry standard test to look directly at the impact of the lubricant on any aspect of the after-treatment systems, including 3-way catalysts, NOx control devices or diesel particulate filters.

Fuel Economy

The current Sequence VID test measures the fuel economy contribution of engine oil. It is not scheduled to be replaced, only upgraded for higher fuel economy limits and perhaps renamed to Sequence VIE. The test engine will be a 2012 GM Malibu engine rather than the 2009 engine used in the current Sequence VID test. The new GF-6 motor oil specification Needs Statement demands improved fuel economy performance standards for both new and aged motor oil.

In addition, ILSAC proposed two new engine tests for chain wear and aeration. A new bench test to measure low speed pre-ignition has also been proposed, but no test apparatus, procedure or limits have been as yet identified.

SAE will introduce a new viscosity grade for the new GF-6 motor oil specification (currently proposed as SAE 16), to its J300 specification. This viscosity grade has been established primarily for the fuel economy benefits of low-viscosity oils. Aeration remains a concern (ILSAC included an aeration test in its Draft Needs Statement for GF-6), but a test has not yet been proposed.

For future engines it will be important that engine oil specifications address the substantive needs highlighted by the OEMs. Consequently, it would be appropriate to see tests for low speed pre-ignition, turbo deposits, chain wear and fuel economy durability included in ILSAC GF-6.

Subcategories of the new gf-6 motor oil specification.

With the new GF-6 motor oil specification, two subcategories (one backward compatible and one not) are a given. The two subcategories will be called GF-6A and GF-6B.

GF-6A is the successor to GF-5 and will be backward compatible. It will include SAE 0W-20, SAE 0W-30, SAE 5W-20, SAE 5W-30 and SAE 10W-30 oils. The minimum high-temperature/ high-shear viscosity for all GF-6A grades will be 2.6 mPa-sec.

GF-6B is a subcategory meant for the SAE 0W-16 and SAE 5W-16 viscosity now being developed. They will not be backward compatible. GF-6B may have the same performance requirements as GF-6A except for a high-temperature/high-shear viscosity of less than 2.6 mPa-sec.: The viscosity of GF-6B may be too low for older engines.

The future of the new GF-6 motor oil specification.

It’s apparent that future engines and lubricants (and, in some cases, fuels) will need to be developed simultaneously with an eye on optimal fuel efficiency and energy conservation applied to the entire system. Although this side-by-side development is relatively new, the effects on quality are already apparent. In 2012 the average age of passenger cars and light-duty trucks on the road in the U.S. was at a record high 10.8 years. The new GF-6 motor oil specification is expected to continue prolonging engine life and improving performance.

Market confusion over the new GF-6 motor oil specification is of concern with endusers facing two new categories. To minimise this confusion the API process is being updated to ensure that the labeling of the two categories is unambiguous to customers and end-users.

Until the introduction of the new GF-6 motor oil specification, you can rely on high quality full synthetic engine lubricants produced by Habot Oil. You only need to call our professional staff to find an engine oil that will meet all your requirements.