ILSAC GF-6 introduction pushed back to January 2018

The earliest release of ILSAC GF-6, the new passenger car engine oil category being developed for North America and Japan, will be January 2018 due to continued challenges relating to new tests for that category, according to Teri Kowalski, principal engineer at Toyota Motor Corp.

Speaking at F+L Week 2015 at the Pan Pacific Singapore on 12 March, Kowalski said the development of this performance category is unprecedented in several ways. Six engine tests are being developed for this category—four are replacing old tests (Sequence IIIG – Oxidation and Deposits, Sequence IVA – Valvetrain Wear, Sequence VG – Sludge and Varnish, Sequence VID – Fuel economy) and two are brand new (Timing Chain Wear and Low-Speed Pre-Ignition).

Additionally, a new heavy-duty diesel category, PC-11, is being developed in parallel to replace the current API CJ-4. With both being developed at the same time, Kowalski said, both human and material resources are being taxed, as many of the same people are working on both categories.

Because of these new challenges, it is not surprising that the category has so far been about four and a half years in the making. With only one new test, GF-5 took four years to develop, Kowalski added. But, she said, “we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.” All parties involved have signed the Memorandum of Agreement and agreed on the Needs Statement last December.

All funding for the precision matrix also has been collected. Matrix test labs and reference oils have also been designated. The precision matrix is expected to begin in May and will take at least three months.

There are two pressure points for completing the testing: first, four out of the five tests for the current GF-5 are going to cease being available in 2016 and 2017. “OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] want to take advantage of the fuel economy benefits of oils that comply to these higher specifications,” said Kowalski, “and they can’t do that until the oils are available in the marketplace.”

PC-11 will be introduced before GF-6 and the oil marketers have requested that there be a nine-month separation between PC-11 and GF-6 first licensing date.

Two sub-categories of GF-6 are being developed. GF-6A is fully backward-compatible, whereas GF-6B is designed for low-viscosity engine oils.