SAE Forum Tackles OEM Specs


SAE International will hold an open forum Oct. 7 to hear from heavy-duty OEMs, additive companies and lube marketers about the conflicting needs of OEMs who issue specialized lube requirements versus consensus standards that offer simplicity to lube suppliers and end users.

Dewey Szemenyei, chairman of SAE Internationals Technical Committee 1 on Engine Lubrication, and a marketing manager for Afton Chemical in Richmond, Va., said it is a complex issue that makes for a good topic for discussion.

Several diesel engine builders have decided the American Petroleum Institutes stringent CJ-4 category doesnt go quite far enough and have added their own specifications, with costly requirements for engine tests, field tests and other hurdles. Volvo Powertrain and Mack Trucks, for example, have added their own specifications – Mack E-O Premium Plus and Volvo VDS-4, respectively – on top of APIs. Cummins Engine urges new truck operators to use oils meeting Cummins CES 20081, John Deere asks for JDQ 78A, and Detroit Diesel wants engine oils that meet its 93K218 specification.

The goal of the SAE Fuel and Lubricants Council Open Forum in Rosemont, Ill, will be to provide a greater understanding of whats behind these diverse specification and their tests, how they can affect the development of new lubricants, and the impact that specialized requirements can have in the marketplace.

As weve been setting specs over time, the whole process seems to have changed quite a bit, going away from just straight industry-standard specs to a greater proliferation of EMA [Engine Manufacturers Association] and automaker specs, Szemenyei told Lube Report. It is quite a frustrating thing probably for everybody, because it indicates the OEMs cant necessarily get everything into the category that they would like. When they cant, they go their own way. Its certainly not necessarily the OEMs fault – they have to protect their engines. Its a decision call. Normally, somebodys got to bear the pain, and the question is, whos got to bear the pain.

Speakers scheduled for the forum include Greg Shank of Mack/Volvo, Ken Chao of John Deere, Shawn Whitacre of Cummins, Mesfin Belay of Detroit Diesel, Roy Sambuchino of Lubrizol, Dan Arcy of Shell and Todd Coady of Hicks Oil.

Szemenyei said he chose OEMs Mack/Volvo, John Deere, Cummins and Detroit Diesel because they each had specific items that they have put into their lubricant specifications.

Cummins was reluctant to go to CJ-4 when it first hit, and John Deere with some of their vehicles was reluctant to go to CJ-4, he said. Mack has special requirements theyve added on. Detroit Diesel has a variety of different oils depending on which engines and which supplemental requirements theyre going to add for old and new categories. Those four probably resulted in the most proliferation of types of oil in the industry – this is not a shot at them, its a situation we have to deal with. Our job is engine protection.

The open forum is scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m., Oct. 7, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Room 25, in Rosemont, Ill. The forum is in conjunction with the SAE Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress and Exhibition/SAE International Powertrains, Fuels and Lubricants Meeting. There is no registration fee for those attending only the open forum and technical committee meetings. For more information, visit

Szemenyei said SAE will follow up with another open forum, on passenger car engine oils, on April 21 in Detroit.

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