Chevron officially launches its CK-4 and FA-4 oils

Lubricant maker says the fully synthetic Delo 400 CK-4 and FA-4 oils will launch in the first quarter of 2017 in order to clear out CJ-4 synthetic stocks.

Chevron Products Co. is officially launching its new line of Delo 400 CK-4 and FA-4 oils this week; the end result of five years’ worth of Proposed Category 11 or “PC-11” research, development, and field testing.

“Previously, when we introduced a new generation of diesel engine oil, we would release two or three new reformulations,” explained Shawn Whitacre, Chevron’s senior staff engineer for engine oil technology, during conference call with reporters.

“Here, with CK-4 and FA-4, we’re talking upwards of six new oil formulations – all happening at the same time,” he said. “And those new oils represent thousands of hours’ worth of engine lab testing and field tests.”

Leveraging Chevron’s proprietary ISOSYN Advanced Technology additive package, the new Delo 400 product line is comprised of six diesel engine oils, according to Leonard “Len” Badal Jr., Chevron’s global Delo brand manager:

  • Delo 400 XSP SAE 5W-30 – Full synthetic meeting API CK-4
  • Delo 400 XSP SAE 5W-40 – Full synthetic meeting API CK-4
  • Delo 400 XLE SAE 10W-30 – Synthetic blend meeting API CK-4
  • Delo 400 XLE SAE 15W-40 – Synthetic blend meeting API CK-4
  • Delo 400 SDE SAE 15W-40 – Premium base oil meeting API CK-4
  • Delo 400 ZFA SAE 10W-30 – Synthetic blend meeting API FA-4

Whitacre, who also serves as chairman of the ASTM [American Society for Testing and Materials] heavy-duty engine oil classification panel tasked with the final development of PC-11 oil requirements, noted that all of Chevron’s CK-4 and FA-4 oils – regardless of viscosity – offers three key benefits versus the previous CJ-4 oil classification:

  • Oxidation control is improved by up to 35%;
  • Wear protection, which Whitacre considers a “most critical area,” is improved up to 68%;
  • Piston deposit control, which helps keep diesel engine cylinder “healthy” and prolongs the time to when an engine needs to be rebuilt, is improved up to 46%.

“All three of those characteristics lead to longer engine hardware life and longer oil life and intervals between oil drains – significantly improving the bottom line for our truck customers,” Whitacre said.

Badal added that Chevron conducted extensive on- and off-road field tests using both CK-4 and FA-4 blends.

One in particular, wrapped up just three weeks ago, involved five trucks from refrigerated fleet based out of Jacksonville, GA, just south of Atlanta, hauling perishable foodstuffs cross country.

Operating 2013 model Kenworth T680 tractors equipped with PACCAR MX-13 engines, Badal said this fleet uses team drivers, so its tractors accrue anywhere from 160,000 to 190,000 miles per year.

Chevron recently completed an engine teardown from one of those test trucks at the 530,000 mile mark; an engine running Chevron Delo 400 FA-4 oil replaced at 40,000 mile intervals.

Not only to the truck demonstrate a gain of 2% in fuel economy, the cleanliness of the pistons and bearings, plus the general condition of the engine at teardown were all in “fantastic shape,” he noted.

“And this is not ‘new’ 2017 model engines,” Badal stressed. “Even though FA-4 is not considered ‘backward compatible,’ it performed very well in an ‘older’ engine.”

He added that, based on the condition of the engine and the fact that this fleet’s test trucks operating on FA-4 were achieving an average fuel economy of 7.3 mpg they could “easily” have pushed oil drain intervals out to 60,000 miles.

Whitacre noted, though, that it will take time for fleets to switch over to the thinner viscosity FA-4 oils in large numbers, even if it proves backward compatible to a degree. “At the earliest, I think it will take two to three years; the worst case scenario is four to five years,” he emphasized.

Badal explained that fleets operating a “mix” of new and older trucks, as well as brands, will most likely stick with the “traditional” viscosities being offer with the CK-4 oil blends.

“The vintage of their hardware is really going to dictate the oil viscosity grade they use,” he said.

“But if I am a fleet operating largely one brand name of truck and engine, in the right equipment age range, they won’t have to wait to gain the maximum fuel economy advantage offered by FA-4,” Badal pointed out. “They can look to move ahead take advantage of those potential fuel savings now.”

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