More Delays for PC-11 and GF-6?


Straining under the workload of developing two new engine oil categories – PC-11 for heavy-duty diesel oils and GF-6 for gasoline-fueled passenger cars – oil, additive and testing companies want to see the deadlines eased.

At their June 12 meeting, the developers of the new heavy-duty category reviewed the status of the engine sequence tests that are needed for PC-11. The American Petroleum Institute’s New Category Development Team, which is chaired by Dan Arcy of Shell, had earlier decided that most of the current tests and limits for today’s API CJ-4 engine oils would be applicable to the new category.

Get alerts when new Sustainability Blog articles are available.


To gauge industry acceptance of that decision, the team asked ASTM’s Heavy Duty Engine Oil Classification Panel to run an exit ballot (or rather two ballots, since PC-11 is envisioned as a split category, PC-11A and PC-11B). The ballots identified the Caterpillar C-13 and Caterpillar 1N tests, the GM roller follower wear test, the Cummins ISB and ISM wear tests and the Mack T-11 as needed for PC-11A & B. All would be carried forward with their API CJ-4 limits.

As well, three new engine tests have been proposed: the Mack T-13 for oxidation and corrosion, Cat C13 aeration test and Daimler DD13 scuffing wear test. But critical decisions regarding how to conduct each new test’s matrix have yet to be made.

For a test to be ready to move along to matrix testing, the requirement is for the test to be run two to four times at each participating matrix lab, with results matching those seen at development laboratories for precision and discrimination. In addition, the initial test method needs to be essentially complete, even if it’s not quite the full ASTM version. Lastly, each participating test laboratory needs to be visited to confirm compliance with test-stand setup.

Both the Mack T-13 and Cat C13 were accepted for matrix testing, but the DD13 is still not ready. Given that, the NCDT decided that the PC-11 matrix would include only the first two tests and, as determined at the ASTM HDEOCP meeting last week in Indianapolis, would include three engine oil technologies.

Other details, such as the base oil component, also are being ironed out. The matrix design includes base oil interchange and viscosity grade read-across parameters, which are complicated by the inclusion of PC-11B. Once the base stocks and other components for the matrix oils are selected, the Test Maintenance Center will blend them; historically, this has taken about six weeks.

The PC-11 precision matrix could begin by March 2015, but the process still has other hurdles to cross. Next comes the technical demonstration, commencing in November 2015, followed by category approval by the API Lubricants Group in February 2016. API then has a mandatory one-year interval to assure a level playing field for all oil marketers, during which they can develop their technologies and run candidate oil test programs.

At this pace, first licensing of PC-11 oils would occur March 1, 2017. The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA), which represents the heavy-duty engine industry, had requested a first licensure date of April 2016.

Concurrently, the timing for GF-6 passenger car engine oils has been derailed by the longer PC-11 schedule. GF-6 development is being managed by the joint Auto-Oil Advisory Panel. This category has a number of new tests, too, which also need to be run in a test matrix. Obviously, GF-6’s matrix will be delayed by the PC-11 matrix. As it stands now, the GF-6 first-licensing date could be stretched out to as late as November 2017.

Neither EMA nor ILSAC, which represents U.S. and Japanese automakers, has agreed to these licensing delays, and both said the timing was being pushed back too much. The timeline remains a proposal and it doesn’t appear that the industry will see any meaningful movement until both NCDT and AOAP meet again in August.

Related Topics

Regulations Specs & Testing    Specifications