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December 20, 2017

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Ford Progresses on 6.7L Diesel Test

HOUSTON – Ford continues to progress in its development of a shorter test for valve train wear in heavy-duty diesel engines and expects to incorporate it into the company’s WSS-M2C171-F1 engine oil specification by mid-2018, an official told the Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oil Classification panel here earlier this month.

Ford’s Ron Romano also suggested the company could eventually recommend a supplement the API CK-4 specification if and when its new test is adopted by ASTM and incorporated into the supplemental industry spec.

Last year Ford declined to buy into CK-4 and its companion oil sequence, API FA-4, after they were adopted as long-awaited updates to the North American industry standard for heavy-duty oils. Ford issued a position paper stating that it would not recommend FA-4 oils for its vehicles due its low viscosity and that it would void warranties if CK-4 oils were used because of concerns that they can lead to accelerated wear.

As a result of this concern, Ford issued WSS-M2C171-F1. API CK-4 products can be approved under this specification by showing evidence of proven field performance or by passing the 600-hour Ford 6.7L Valve Train Wear Test. The test that Ford is now working on is a shorter version of the Ford 6.7L, meant to save time and money for oil marketers.

Addressing the HDEOCP at the December ASTM meeting here, Romano reported that the new Ford 6.7L test was delayed but recently made progress and is now doing a good job discriminating between passing and failing reference oils. Romano said Ford aims to complete a precision matrix in 2018 and that the new test should complete prove-out testing in participating labs later in the first half of 2018. He intends for the procedure to eventually become an ASTM-approved test, and he suggested that this could be a step toward its inclusion in an API specification, which could lead to Ford recommending that specification.

“It’s Ford’s desire to work with and recommend industry standard oils whenever possible, but when API CK-4 was introduced, some new technologies caused some concern, requiring their use of a special Ford specification that goes beyond the industry specification,” Romano told Lube Report during a follow-up interview. At the meeting he also noted that at some point in the future he may request a supplemental “API CK-4 Plus” category, which presumably is where the new Ford 6.7L test could be included.

“This would be a similar direction to the API SN Plus supplement,” he said, referring to a partial upgrade of passenger car engine oil specification API SN, now being developed by API. Automakers asked the oil industry to develop the supplemental category after deciding that they could not wait for the much-delayed ILSAC GF-6 to introduce a test for low-speed pre-ignition protection.

“It is too early to begin work on a CK-4 supplement, and Ford will wait for more progress of the new test in other labs,” Romano said. “Until then, the Ford OEM specification will continue to supersede the industry spec for products labeled API CK-4.”

Lubes’n’Greases asked about Ford’s potential use of FA-4 and was advised that the company will recommend oils meeting that specification in a new, smaller engine. A new 3.0-liter diesel engine will become available for the very popular Ford F-150 pickup truck during 2018, and this engine has been designed to operate on the lower viscosity API FA-4 engine oils.  He emphasized, though, that, “this only applies to this new engine and not the existing 6.7L diesel engine.” Ford will recommend SAE 5W-30 and SAE 10W-30 FA-4 for the new engine and will have a corresponding Ford specification that will mirror API FA-4.

Lubes’n’Greases reviewed the Ford WSS-M2C171-F1 approval list and noted that it contains many oils – more than 180 SAE 15W-40s and more than 120 SAE 10W-30s, plus an assortment of other grades, including 35 SAE 5W-40 products. An investigation of shelves at one major retail store found that only the Ford Motorcraft product prominently displayed the Ford WSS-M2C171-F1 designation right on the front of its five-quart container, and most major brands did not even show this OEM approval on the back of the label. Some were also not listed on the Ford approval list, which may push Ford owners to the Motorcraft product. Ford recently updated this list on Nov. 27, and a complete listing can be found here.