The original expectation was for the industry to have oil suitable for cooled-EGR diesel engines available by 2004,” says Dan Arcy. “But development of the next API oil-service category, which we expect will be called CI-4, got pushed up two years because of the consent decree engine makers signed with EPA.
“Cooled-EGR engines will be for sale by October '02,” he adds, “and major lube suppliers will have CI-4 oil formulated by then as well.”
According to Arcy, the biggest issue facing oil formulators in meeting the '02 challenge revolves around dealing with increases in acidic components and higher levels of soot and oxidation.
“Things have been moving along very well,” Arcy reports. “As of now, we expect oil that's certified to meet API CI-4 — meaning it will carry that designation in the ‘donut’ on the label — will reach the marketplace by next August.”
Arcy says the CI-4 category will be distinguished by three new engine tests that will determine if oil formulations pass muster for use with cooled-EGR engines.
“The Mack T-10 test evaluates protection against ring and liner wear, as well as bearing corrosion,” he explains.
“The Cummins M-11 with EGR test examines the oil's ability to handle high levels of soot and protect the valvetrain from wear. The Cat 1R test looks at oil consumption and piston deposits, and is applicable whether the engine is equipped with EGR or not. It replaces a Cat 1Q test proposal that was dropped earlier this year. Taken together,” Arcy adds, “these tests plus those carried over from the current CH-4 define the new API category.”
As the category comes together and October '02 draws closer, what impact cooled-EGR engines and CI-4 oil will have on drain intervals is probably the biggest unanswered question remaining for both oil suppliers and fleet owners.
“The hope is that we can continue to see drain intervals extending out to 50,000 miles, given specific conditions for certain engines,” Arcy advises. “But I don't see oil drains being pushed out any further for '02 engines at this time.”
He says the reality is oil suppliers and fleets alike will have to see exactly how cooled-EGR engines fare in real-world service before making any final pronouncements.
“One thing to keep in mind,” says Arcy, “is that the sump on a Class 8 truck is about 11 gallons. You have to think about the amount of soot that much oil can reasonably handle. And with the soot levels we are expecting, it will be just about like pouring a 10-lb. bag of charcoal into that sump. That's a lot of material to handle.”
If it seems like things are happening faster on the oil front than they did the last time new emissions regs kicked in, they are.
“The engine makers specifically asked API to ensure that oil could be officially licensed — rather than just meeting a proposed spec — by the time the new engines hit the street,” Arcy relates.
“Engine makers asked that API shorten its traditional 12-month qualification period until first licensing of a category to just nine months this time around. The thinking is that the majority of testing is usually completed within nine months, and it is still long enough a time span to ensure the playing field remains level for all suppliers in the oil market.”
Arcy says that API still has to vote on this policy change. However, he's confident it will pass, noting that the same thing happened when the last diesel-oil category was in the works.
Each month this column looks at emerging truck technology issues through the eyes of a leading engineer.
Name: Dan Arcy, product manager, heavy-duty engine oils, Pennzoil-Quaker State Co., Houston
Background: With a B.S. in industrial technology from Iowa State University, Arcy joined Pennzoil in 1989 in the technical services group. In his current position since '97, he is responsible for the testing, formulation and development of all heavy-duty engine oils. Arcy is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers and serves on the American Petroleum Institute's Diesel Engine Oil Advisory Panel and the Detroit Advisory Panel.