Lubrication experts at Chevron Products Co. believe that as fleets begin to do the math associated with the impending introduction of CJ-4 oil – required for all 2007 engines – they’ll realize that it won’t lighten their wallets nearly as much as they fear.
While the cost of engine and pollution-control technology upgrades to Class 8 trucks is pretty much fixed, the cost of new CJ-4 oil – mandatory for use in all ’07 engines – isn’t going to be as extreme as many fear, and may provide better protection in new and old engines, according to Nicole Fujishige, Chevron’s commercial marketing manager.
“Pricing is of course one of their top worries, but CJ-4 is only going to cost 10% to 15% more than CI-4 Plus oil,” she said. “In terms of fleet economics, it’s likely to prove much more cost effective to switch all trucks – with ’07 and pre-’07 engines alike – to CJ-4 compared to the cost of inventorying two oils and maintaining two different maintenance schedules.”
Fleets are also worried about CJ-4’s performance in both ’07 and pre-’07 engines, and in particular are concerned that oil drain intervals might be reduced. So far, Fujishige said, Chevron’s field-testing indicates CJ-4 drain intervals match those of CI-4 Plus.
“CJ-4 is reaching the same drain interval, certainly, but it’s also providing much better protection due to all the new additives we’re using,” added Jim McGeehan, global manager for Chevron’s commercial group. “We’ve demonstrated not only a 35% reduction in iron wear in ’07 engines using CJ-4 and ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel, but 30% to 40% drop in iron wear in pre-’07 engines burning regular diesel.”
He said the key to accepting CJ-4 by the fleet community is experience. “If they just had more experience with CJ-4 and measured its performance, they wouldn’t be as concerned,” McGeehan explained. “I believe we’ll see fleets use just one oil for their fleets – eventually CJ-4 – mainly to keep the warranties for their ’07 engines intact. You don’t want a misapplication of oil because that could void your warranty, potentially costing more money than if the fleet switched to using CJ-4 for all of its trucks.”
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