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About the Proposed ILSAC GF-6 Specification
Consumers expect trustworthy lubricant performance in their vehicles. Oils that comply with specific standards offer end users assurance that they have made the right choice. The International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) issues GF- engine oil specifications to allow for improvements in fuel economy, emission system protection and engine oil robustness for gasoline engines. Oils meeting the ILSAC standard are identified by a certification mark, the ILSAC starburst. ILSAC GF, along with the API S categories, represent the primary engine standards in North America.
ILSAC GF-6A and GF-6B
ILSAC GF-6 actually encompasses two potential specifications: GF-6A and GF-6B. The principal difference between the two categories of oils concerns viscosity grade and high temperature, high shear (HTHS) performance. GF-6B oils would provide the same performance as GF-6A, but with the added aim of lower HTHS to deliver potential further fuel economy benefits. This offers the possibility of potential GF-6B oils operating at viscosity ranges of less than 0W-20 once these new viscosity grades are defined and accepted by SAE.
More about ILSAC GF-6A
The proposed ILSAC GF-6A specification would replace the current ILSAC GF-5 specification, represented by the Starburst/Certification Trademark, and would provide a new performance level of an engine oil for spark-ignited internal combustion engines. The final standard would have to result in a balance among these equally important needs listed below. This performance standard would provide improvements relative to ILSAC GF-5 in the following categories:
- Fuel economy and fuel economy retention
- Engine oil robustness to provide performance levels required to protect engines in the global markets
- Adjustments in physical limits to allow improved performance while maintaining overall durability performance
- Increased fuel economy throughout the oil change interval. Fuel consumption remains a critical issue for automotive and oil industry customers and automotive manufacturers are facing increasingly stringent regulatory requirements
- Enhanced oil robustness for spark-ignited internal combustion engines is required to ensure acceptable engine oil performance required for regional markets (NA, Japan, Europe, etc.) due to service requirements, fuel, environment, etc.
- Formulations to ensure against the occurrence of engine oil caused low-speed engine pre-ignition. To improve overall vehicle fuel efficiency, automotive manufacturers are planning for increased numbers of smaller displacement, boosted intake engines which may be susceptible to LSPI.
- Provide wear protection for various engine components including timing chains, valve train components, etc. including components in Idle Stop engines, PHEV, EREV, HEV (frequent starts, starts after extended periods of downtime, etc.)
- Minimum HTHS150 of 2.6 mPa-sec
More about ILSAC GF-6B
The proposed ILSAC GF-6B oils would provide the same performance as GF-6A, but with the added aim of lower HTHS to deliver potential further fuel economy benefits. This offers the possibility of potential GF-6B oils operating at viscosity ranges of less than 0W-20 once these new viscosity grades are defined and accepted by SAE.
Why Are New Tests Being Developed?New CAFE standards. Environmental requirements. Increasing consumer demands. These all add up to changes in passenger car engine hardware. And next generation direct-injection turbocharged engines need next generation lubricants. The proposed ILSAC GF-6 specification acknowledges that GF-5 era tests simply won’t measure up to the demands placed on modern lubricants. As a result, ILSAC GF-6 will include six new engine tests with the only one carry over from GF-5 being the Sequence VIII engine test. This will be the greatest number of new engine tests ever seen with a new specification, bringing all the associated challenges, complexity and cost.
|New Tests & Availability|
|IIIG||Replaced with GM and/or Chrysler deposit test|
|VG||Replaced with VH
|VID||Replaced with VIE, appetite/sensitivity|
|Chain Wear||New Test|
Original Equipment Manufacturers and GF-6
Global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are on the front lines in terms of responding to governmental regulations calling for greatly improved fuel efficiency and lower greenhouse gases in gasoline-fueled passenger vehicles. At the same time, engine durability, performance and reliability are of primary importance to vehicle owners and operators. As OEMs seek to accomplish these goals, hardware and emission system changes will place new demands and even greater stress on engine oils. The new GF-6 specification is being designed with these demands in mind.
Additive suppliers and oil marketers will need to respond with engine oil technologies formulated to protect the engine; keeping the emissions system working at top efficiency; and deliver fuel economy. All stakeholders—OEMs, oil marketers and additives suppliers—must work together to accomplish the critical goals of durability, fuel economy and low emissions.
Video: Working with OEMs to Enable New Technology
- Final ILSAC GF-6 Needs Statement
- ILSAC GF-6A Recommendations for Passenger Car Engine Oils - DRAFT February 13, 2014
- ILSAC GF-6B Recommendations for Passenger Car Engine Oils - DRAFT February 13, 2014
- Fuel Economy Improvement Chart (PDF)
- Using the proper engine oil infographic (PDF)
- Turbocharged Direct Injection Is Engine Oils Next Big Hurdle (PDF)
LinksAPI Motor Oil Guide - A PDF guide developed by the American Petroleum Institute (API) that describes API’s certification mark and service symbol which helps end-users identify quality motor oils for gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.
Timeline based on information from AOAP. Please check back for further developments.
Demanding CAFE regulations are driving OEMs to design lighter, smaller, more efficient vehicles that emit less greenhouse gases. In fact, to meet the 2025 light-duty vehicle CAFE goal of 54.5 MPG, OEMs have requested that the Draft ILSAC GF-6A engine oil specification have significant FE contribution improvement over previous specifications.
The U.S. CAFE Requirements graphic illustrates the magnitude of the CAFE requirements dating back to 1978. Fuel economy rates have increased by ~ 40% since the beginning of CAFE.
The graph below shows the relative FE contribution from SAE 5W-30 engine oil from 1995 to 2016. In past specification upgrades, FE improvements have been made but not of the magnitude requested for ILSAC GF-6A.
What is the major challenge facing the passenger car industry today? Delivering enhanced fuel economy—while still providing the performance and equipment durability that vehicle owners have come to expect. Engineers are designing smaller engines to meet stringent CAFE standards. But downsized engines work harder and run hotter, and that can result in sub-standard vehicle performance. In response, new hardware technologies such as gasoline direct injection (GDI); turbocharged GDI (TGDI); and superchargers to boost operation are entering the market. As hardware changes, engine oils must evolve as well. Fortunately, engine oil formulators have a number of strategies available for delivering higher performing lubricants for higher performing engines.
A new approach to hardware
Vehicle manufacturers are combining two hardware approaches—gasoline direct injection (GDI) and turbocharging/supercharging— to allow downsized, smaller displacement efficient gasoline engines to perform as well as naturally aspirated engines with much more displacement.
In GDI engines, gasoline is injected directly into the combustion chamber providing significant improvements in power and efficiency over traditional port fuel injection. Combining GDI with turbocharging (TGDI) also greatly increases power and improves fuel economy. However TGDI engines can be impacted by low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI), which may lead to mechanical damage on engine pistons and connecting rods. Vehicles with TGDI engines need a matching high performance engine lubricant for maximum protection against premature failure. As a result, automakers have included LSPI as a performance parameter in the proposed ILSAC GF-6 gasoline engine oil standard.
Original equipment manufacturers drive specifications based on the needs of the engine hardware they plan to introduce to a region. For instance, in Japan, the inclusion of lower viscosity oils, as part of ILSAC GF-6B, is largely being driven by Honda. Upgrades like ILSAC GF-6 ensure that the right quality lubricants are available to meet changing engine demands. This is certainly the case in mature ILSAC markets like North America, Japan and Australia and to an extent, South Korea, where ILSAC GF-6 builds on already established requirements.
The GF-6 specification is likely to have a greater impact in growing ILSAC markets like China and Latin America where new vehicles entering the market for the first time will create a demand for high quality lubricants.