Ford Issues Engine Oil Spec


LONDON – With the help of lubricants ally BP Castrol, Ford has created a proprietary engine oil for its innovative 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. It has begun recommending the SAE 5W-20 oil now for virtually all gasoline-fueled Fords in Europe.

This is the first time Ford has developed a new oil in conjunction with engine architecture,” stated Robert Haigh of Ford in a presentation to the ICIS World Base Oils & Lubricants Conference here on Feb. 24.

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The new specification, WSS M2C948 B, was activated in January. It defines an SAE 5W-20 multigrade, based largely on Europe’s ACEA C2 oil sequence. However, the ACEA C2 category does not currently include a 5W-20 viscosity oil, which Ford desired for its fuel economy benefits.

Ford also found that ACEA’s standard fuel economy test (the Daimler M111) was not relevant to the petite EcoBoost engine’s hardware, which uses direct injection and turbocharging and delivers very high power densities. Nor was there good correlation with the ASTM Sequence VID fuel economy test used for North America’s GF-5 engine oils; the VID uses a 3.6-liter V-6 engine from General Motors, he pointed out.

Hence, WSS M2C948 B contains additional requirements for in-house tests for fuel economy and piston deposit control, said Haigh, who is a senior lubricants engineer based at Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre in Basildon, Essex, U.K.

Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine is a keystone in its efforts to meet fuel economy needs and stringent carbon dioxide limits, he noted. It’s the latest in a turbocharged lineup that includes 1.6- and 2.0-liter models, each with four cylinders. In addition to turbocharging and direct injection, the 1.0-liter is loaded with fuel-saving technologies such as split-circuit cooling, a variable vane oil pump, variable camshaft timing and a “bespoke, optimized engine oil.”

Working with BP Castrol, Ford started with a list of key attributes for the new oil specification. The oil needed to offer a fuel economy improvement of 0.9 percent over current SAE 5W-20 factory fill, and be backward compatible with Ford Sigma and I4 Duratec powertrains. “My key deliverable was that it offer no compromise on engine durability,” he emphasized.

In his ICIS presentation, Haigh showed the result: a liter bottle of co-branded Ford Castrol Magnatec Professional E 5W-20 oil. The container label prominently says the oil is “For Ford EcoBoost Engines” and displays both companies’ logos, with Ford’s blazoned first.

Any brand of oil that meets the new specification may be used in Ford Europe’s cars and warranties cannot be conditioned on using a certain brand, Haigh acknowledged, but Castrol is Ford’s longtime close ally for oil development, “and Castrol is Ford’s recommended supplier in Europe.”

A critical part of the specification’s development was creating a fuel economy test procedure. Ford researched a number of options, including friction rigs, steady-state dynamometers, transient dynamometers and chassis rolls.

Primarily, it wanted a test rig with high repeatability; a transient operation that mimicked low and high speed torque cycles as experienced in the field; accurate controls for combustion pressures and temperatures; and fast-track implementation. The test also needed to show correlation with the standard European drive cycle (NEDC) used for measuring CO2 emissions.

Secondary requirements for the fuel economy test, Haigh said, were flexibility (“We wanted to be able to test our 1.6- and 2.0-liter engines on the same facility”) and manageable operating cost.

The transient dynamometer gave the broadest coverage of all these requirements, he added. It uses a full engine, has accurate controls, and can run a simplified version of the NEDC. “Fortunately, BP Castrol happened to have a transient dyno, and could make it available to us.”

Ford’s interval for oil changes with the new product will be 20,000 kilometers or one year, Haigh said; it may extend that to 30,000 km for commercial vehicles.

Asked whether Ford will offer the in-house fuel economy test to ACEA for inclusion in its oil sequences, he said that it’s unlikely to be of interest to the group since it’s tailored so narrowly to the EcoBoost’s needs. “We’re finding you need a specific fuel economy test for each engine,” he concluded.