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PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Since September 2002, when the Engine Manufacturers Association first asked for a new heavy-duty engine oil category, ASTMs Heavy Duty Engine Oil Classification Panel has been hard at work. At ASTMs mid-June meeting here, attendees heard an update on PC-10, the proposed new heavy-duty category which upon final approval will likely become API CJ-4, some time next year.

Chaired by Chevrons Jim McGeehan, the panel is now face-to-face with its most important and certainly most costly task: making sure that the three new engine tests at the core of PC-10 are technically fit for inclusion in the PC-10 test battery. This process is called matrix testing, and PC-10s multimillion dollar program is by far the most expensive matrix testing program that the industry has ever faced.

In brief, the industry is betting between $5 million and $6 million that the precision and repeatability of all three tests – the Mack T-12, Cummins ISB and Caterpillar C13 – will be acceptable to the members of McGeehans panel. Testing began in late May and almost 60 tests will be run over a period of five months.

Is this bet a wise one? The industry had no choice except to place it. Is an acceptable outcome for each of the three tests a sure thing? No, but Volvo Powertrains Greg Shank, who serves as chairman of EMAs Lubrication Committee and co-chairs the joint EMA/API Diesel Engine Oil Advisory Panel, stated, I am confident based on the improved cooperation and flexibility that was demonstrated by all the parties during the CI-4 Plus and pre PC-10 matrix process that we will be successful in meeting both the performance and license needs.

There is agreement all around that the planned date for having this new oil available in the market cannot slip beyond late 2006. OEMs need this oil to lubricate their new engines which are designed to meet tightened emissions standards that go into effect in 2007, McGeehan pointed out.

Shank echoed McGeehan. The need for PC-10 oils is very important, he said. For the first time, an oil specification with chemical limits is part of the emissions solution. The oil must be compatible with engine manufacturers aftertreatment [devices]. The oil also must be backward compatible to legacy engines.

However, if one or more of the tests does not meet industry standards at the conclusion of the matrix and cannot be included in the PC-10 test battery, there would likely be a substantial amount of rapid regrouping and realignment to ensure that all necessary test parameters required by OEMs are covered by another test. Further, it could lead individual OEMs to issue their own specifications.

Good news: The matrix is finally off and running, remarked Shank, Volvo Powertrains senior staff engineer for lubrication performance. However, with the completion date for the C13 not until mid-October and following the current timeline, the date of first API license would be January 2007. That is unacceptable for EMA. We are working within the Diesel Engine Oil Advisory Panel to find a way to speed up the licensing process. The goal is to have oils available as early as possible – with October 2006 as the latest date acceptable to EMA.

PC-10s Triple Crown

The three new tests now undergoing the planned matrix testing include:

1) The Caterpillar C13. This 500-hour test (plus an additional five hours for warm up, break-in and cool down) measures piston deposits and oil consumption. It uses a specially modified on-highway (truck) Caterpillar C13 diesel engine, rated at 440 hp and operated at 1,800 rpm. The in-line, 6-cylinder engine, with a displacement of 12.8 liters, uses mechanically actuated, electronically controlled unit ejectors and is equipped with Caterpillars latest ACERT emissions control technology to meet EPA 2002, 2007 and Tier 3 emission standards.

The severe, nearly three-week-long test is operated under steady-state rated power conditions to accelerate the formation of excessive piston deposits and/or several years worth of oil consumption in field service. It costs roughly $125,000 per candidate test run, the highest by far of any ASTM engine sequence test.

Going back to 1937, Caterpillar has sponsored at least one lubricant engine test for every heavy-duty category. All its previous lubricant engine tests, however, have been based on a single-cylinder engine; the multi-cylinder C13 is a first for Cat.

With 26 test runs planned, the C13 test matrix calls for more than half again the number for the two other new tests (the Mack T-12 and Cummins ISB). This is because because test precision alone is needed for the latter; the C13 test runs must generate enough data to establish base oil interchange guidelines as well.

Caterpillars Abdul H. Cassim coordinates developmental efforts for this engine. He noted, The development of a piston deposit test to discriminate between fully formulated modern oils is one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish, especially in a multi-cylinder engine. A prime consideration with any test is to produce repeatable and reproducible results that also address potential and real in-field problems.

We have been able to demonstrate all these requirements, he continued. The C13 matrix tests were commenced as soon as the C13 Test Development Task Force and the ASTM Classification Panel gave approval. The tests are proceeding well and we hope to keep to the end of September 2005 completion. All test parts are available, and the test procedure is complete. I am confident that the diverse industry team players will once again win the day in delivering PC-10 oils on time.

2) The Mack T-12, sponsored by Volvo Powertrain. This 300-hour (12-and-a-half-day) test is designed to measure cylinder liner wear, ring wear, bearing wear, oil consumption and oxidation. Its four-cycle diesel test engine is a modified Mack E7 E-Tech 460, with a variable geometry turbocharger and exhaust gas recirculation. This hardware is much the same as Macks earlier T-10 test, which measures the same parameters.

The first 100 hours of the Mack T-12 test are at rated speed and power to generate soot and reduce Total Base Number (an indicator of the oils additive reserve). The next200 hours are over-fueled at peak torque rpm to maximize wear rates on the rings and liner, and run at 260 degrees F oil temperature, for oxidation. The test will cost roughly $95,000 per candidate test run.

3) The Cummins ISB. This 350-hour test (about two weeks, plus an additional 80 hours of break-in and warm-up) measures camshaft lobe and sliding-follower wear. The test engine is a 5.9-liter, in-line 6-cylinder medium-duty Cummins ISB diesel. It generates 300 hp at 2,700 rpm and is equipped with exhaust gas recirculation.

The actual ISB test begins with 100 hours of steady-state operation at 1,600 rpm to accumulate 3.5 percent soot, followed by 250 hours on a 28-second cycle simulating a front-end-loader operation. The test will cost roughly $70,000 per candidate test run.

The ISB Test is a particularly important wear test as the industry develops PC-10 oils, said Cummins consultant Dave Stehouwer. It combines high soot with sliding wear contacts in the engine overhead, which is sensitive to phosphorous antiwear additives. The chemical limits put in place to protect aftertreatment devices for 2007 will limit phosphorous content. The ISB Test will ensure that wear protection continues to be adequate.

Getting It Done

Following the test runs, the next step is to evaluate the data generated and determine if the test meets the industrys and OEMs needs. For each of these three tests, statisticians have determined the number of test runs required to ensure statistical rigor for data analysis. John Zalar, director of ASTMs Test Monitoring Center located at Pittsburghs Carnegie Mellon University, has been designated matrix project supervisor.

The PC-10 matrix continues to progress against a very tight time schedule, he observed. The key to completing any matrix program on time is minimizing the number of aborted or invalid tests. Unfortunately, the occurrence of an aborted or invalid test is frequently beyond the control of the testing laboratory and is, therefore, unpredictable. Barring any significant delays, the entire PC-10 matrix program is on a pace to be completed by mid-October.

Chevron Oronite statistician Jim Rutherford has participated in earlier matrix evaluations and will do so again for the PC-10 matrix data analysis. The completed evaluation will be provided to the PC-10 developmental task force for consideration.

Rutherford noted, Data analysis will be done by our group of about four statisticians from oil and additive companies with one or more conference calls or face-to-face meetings, depending on complicating issues. A complicating factor in the T-12, for example, was our awareness before the matrix began that new rings would be introduced during the matrix. While the ISB analysis is likely to be pretty straightforward, the much larger C13 matrix is more complicated because it has been designed to develop base oil interchange data as well as precision data.

Looking ahead, McGeehan summarized, At our December 6 meeting in New Orleans we will make the final decisions on whether to recommend inclusion of these tests in the PC-10 test battery and the test limits. One way or another, that is the drop-dead date for finalizing the test battery.

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