April 2018 is latest ILSAC GF-6 first license date

At F+L Week 2016 in Singapore, Teri Kowalski, principal engineer of Toyota Motor Corp., gave an update on ILSAC GF-6, the upcoming engine oil category for passenger car motor oils. Since her update at last year’s conference, there have been several new developments, and the list of what’s left to be accomplished before first license has grown shorter.

Ford had been working on a replacement test for its VG sludge test, the Sequence VH. It was proposed for the new category, but had trouble with severity, as F&L reported in May 2015 (https://www.fuelsandlubes.com/ford-vh-sludge-test-running-mild-2/). In the fourth quarter of last year, Ford decided that since the VH test was running so mild, it would be best to abandon it from this category and replace only some hardware, including piston assemblies and using a new batch of fuel. This slightly varied version of the VG, designated as VG-A, will have parts available for the life of the test. The decision also has to be made as to whether VG-A will need to go through a precision matrix.

As Kowalski also mentioned at last year’s conference, this category is the first to involve Toyota’s Golden Stand concept for the IVB test, in which stands designed by Southwest Research Institute and distributed by the TEI are used to have as uniform testing conditions as possible. However, Kowalski said, “this is a wear test, and something will always come back to bite you.”

Indeed, the test showed issues with cam lobe failure. As oil companies sponsoring the test began to use the test to qualify their oils, Kowalski explained, the cam lobes exhibited significant wear. Kowalski said that evaluating the test components did not explain this, and that in most cases the cam lobe failure only happened during early phases of testing. However, Kowalski said, the severity of the test—which may or may not be at fault for the cam failure—is not easily reproduced. Right now, the test development team is investigating the stands, taking vibration measurements to make sure they are indeed producing similar results. If cam lobe failure persists into the precision matrix, Kowalski said, the test can be replaced with a new engine. After the precision matrix, though, an engine that has experienced cam lobe failure can be reused if it is properly cleaned, evaluated and rebuilt.

This new category has been a long time in the making; in fact, Kowalski refers to it as “the continuing saga.” The remaining tasks before the category include a decision on the certification mark for ILSAC GF-6B, the non-backward-compatible subcategory; the ACC technology demonstration period, and the API waiting period. The API Lubricants Group also has to formally accept the category.

Currently, April 2018 is the projected first license date for ILSAC GF-6. This would allow for OEMs to use GF-6 licensed oils in their model year 2019 vehicles, whereas any further pushback of the first-license date could mean that no such use will happen until model year 2020.–By Alison Gaines

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