Detroit Diesel Launches Oil Spec


So much for precluding the development of diesel engine oil standards by individual engine manufacturers. Detroit Diesel Corp. announced a specification for oils to be used in its 2002 and later engines last week, just four months after the launch of API CI-4 Plus, an upgrade that was supposed to put an end to spec proliferation.

The new specification is Power Guard 93K214, and Detroit Diesel recommends that oils certified as meeting it be used in trucks model year 2002 and later that are equipped with its Series 50, Series 60, MBE 900 and MBE 4000 engines. The company used CI-4 Plus as the core of its spec, but said it was compelled to go beyond the industry standard because of rapidly changing engine designs. In particular, officials said they needed a way to identify oils that provide adequate lubrication in engines that use cooled exhaust gas recirculation to reduce emissions.

Get alerts when new Sustainability Blog articles are available.


Over the past couple of years we have seen a proliferation of OEM specifications and requirements for emission controlled engines that are quite dynamic, Senior Chemist Mesfin Belay said. As a result, DDC has strengthened its oil specifications to provide better engine durability and performance.

At least two companies – ChevronTexaco and BPs Castrol Heavy Duty Lubricants – say they have oils that meet Detroit Diesels specification already available.

The American Petroleum Institute began commercial licensing of CI-4 Plus oils in September after OEMs and the oil and additive industries developed the specification as a mini-upgrade from CI-4. They developed the spec largely in response to the higher soot levels that engines are being forced to carry and in hopes that it would assuage engine manufacturers from taking standards into their own hands.

Ironically, the first OEM to introduce a spec after the launch of CI-4 Plus is Detroit Diesel, a manufacturer that has relied upon API standards in the past.

Its fair to say that there is some disappointment that DDC felt the need to introduce its specification, said one industry observer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Marketers are not happy with the prospect of having more specifications for which they have to qualify.

As Detroit Diesel noted, other major diesel engine manufacturers already have their own specifications. Mack Truck and Cummins are among those that do. Those who would rather see the trucking industry follow the example of the passenger car market – where industrywide standards prevail – will now have to wait until fall 2006 to see if the situation changes. Thats when the next diesel oil upgrade, PC-10, is scheduled to come to market.

Related Topics

Market Topics