Six New Engine Tests, Defined

The proposed GF-6 specification will bring an unprecedented number of new tests. Here’s what you should know about each new test.

As the proposed ILSAC GF-6 specification inches closer toward first license, many in the industry are in preparation mode, and for good reason–the proposed specification sets an unprecedented level of new testing concerns. Where past specifications have usually included one or two new tests, GF-6 is expected to include six new tests–and it’s worth brushing up on the new tests and the effects they will have on the passenger car lubricant market.

The reasoning for the record number of new tests is twofold:

First, each of the new tests address requests by OEMs based upon the needs of modern, high-tech engines–with these new technologies come new requirements of the lubricants that enable them. OEMs, spurred by fuel economy and emissions concerns, are innovating, and thus, the lubricant industry innovates with them.

Secondly, the new tests address the increasingly limited availability of older engine parts–simply, the engines used to run tests under GF-5 are reaching the end of their useful life, and parts are limited or unavailable, necessitating replacement tests.

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The six new tests reflect the challenging and severe nature of the proposed GF-6 specification upgrade. With the right partner, oil marketers can rest assured that engine test programs will be completed in time to support their new GF-6 product launch timing and that those products will meet the performance requirements. New testing stands have been installed at Lubrizol’s facilities where applicable, enabling Lubrizol to be at the forefront of test development, and as such, at the forefront of GF-6 product development.

Below is a breakdown of each of these new tests and their implications:

Sequence IIIH (the Chrysler Oxidation and Deposit Test / GM Oxidation and Deposit Test)

First we have a special case–two tests are concurrently being developed in order to replace the existing Sequence IIIG test. These two tests are being developed by Chrysler and General Motors, respectively, and as of today, it is undecided which of the two in development–or both–will become the final replacement.

Why? The parts available for the IIIG test are running out. Currently, the test is run on a 1996 GM Power train 3800 V-6 engine, which is no longer in production, requiring a successor to the test.

What does the test accomplish? Both the Chrysler and GM tests evaluate oxidation and thickening in a lubricant by running the test at an elevated temperature, which stimulates the potential for both oxidative thickening and deposit formation.

How Lubrizol is staying ahead: Lubrizol has installed both the Chrysler and GM equipment for the oxidation and deposit tests in-house to better understand the tests as GF-6 is further developed. Installation of the engines allows Lubrizol to participate on matrix’s testing and helping to better understand the test itself, its appetites, and what the necessity of passing either or both of these tests means for Lubrizol’s customers.

Sequence VH Test (The Sludge Test)

Why? The Sequence VH test is set to replace the current Sequence VG test under GF-5. The Sequence VG is one of the oldest tests under the GF-5 regime, run on a1994 Ford 4.6 liter V8 engine, and hardware is becoming scarce. The replacement test will utilize a 2013 version of this same engine.

What does the test accomplish? The Sequence VH test evaluates a lubricant’s ability to prevent engine deposit buildup, or “sludge and varnish” as it’s commonly referred to.

The nature of the proposed GF-6 specification will likely require the VH test to set more stringent limits for deposit buildup; however, the engine technology of the replacement engine effectively remains the same. One major point of differentiation between the two engines is each engine’s control unit; the new engine utilizes a significantly more modern computer system.

How Lubrizol is staying ahead: Lubrizol will be installing the new test at its facilities pending full part availability, which is anticipated toward the end of 2014.

Sequence VIE Test (The Fuel Economy Test)

Why? The Sequence VID test for fuel economy is currently run on an engine that is no longer in production. In this case, the VIE test utilizes a 2012 GM Malibu 3.6 liter engine to replace a 2008 2.6 liter Cadillac engine utilized in the current test.

What does the test accomplish? The Sequence VIE test evaluates a lubricant for its effects on fuel economy, one of the driving factors in the proposed GF-6 specification and the industry at large.

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Upon initial research, test developers anticipated that the Sequence VIE test would perform very similarly to the VID test. However, durability issues and oil consumption limits became problematic during development, prompting further research.

How Lubrizol is staying ahead: Lubrizol has been the leader in actively resolving issues that have presented during test development, including burnt valves, long-term viability and durability challenges that have arisen throughout development.

Lubrizol has a strong history delivering superior fuel economy lubricants and fuel economy continues to be a strong driving force in the passenger car industry. Lubrizol led the charge in development of the VID test, the precursor to VIE, and Lubrizol will continue to lead on this front.

SequenceIVB Test (The Cam/Wear Test)

Why? The new test will be run on a Toyota 1.6 liter 4-cylinder engine, which will replace the Sequence IVA test, currently run on a 1994 Nissan 2.4 liter engine–like other tests, the hardware for this old model engine is becoming increasingly scarce.

What does the test accomplish? The Sequence IVB test evaluates a lubricant’s ability to prevent wear on the cam load throughout multiple locations on an engine. Currently, specifics on what is expected of the proposed new test are limited–however, it is anticipated that the new test will likely involve repetitive and continuous testing at varying operating speeds.

This test will usea “golden test stand,” meaning that the test is not allowed to be redeveloped or modified, and a new way to measure cam wear will likely be required.

How Lubrizol is staying ahead: Lubrizol has installed the new engine at its testing site and plans to participate in the precision matrix by the end of 2014.

The Low-speed Pre-ignition Test (LSPI Test)

Why? The LSPI test is a new test, developed in response to gasoline direct injection (GDI) technology OEMs are utilizing to reach fuel economy goals.LSPI can occur at low engine speed and high loads that are prevalent in GDI end TGDI engines. The new test will be run on a Ford 2.0 liter EcoBoost engine.

What does the test accomplish? The LSPI test is currently under development. Lubricant chemistry and the effects it can have on the potential for low-speed pre-ignition is not yet fully understood–LSPI is a “random” problem, and whether or not it will occur can be difficult to predict. Thus, recreating the conditions that reliably produce LSPI has been a challenge.

How Lubrizol is staying ahead: Lubrizol is a part of the development team that has been tasked with tackling the LSPI problem. Currently, the timeline for anticipated matrix testing is undetermined.

The Timing Chain-wear Test

Why? The Timing Chain-wear test is another brand new test and is being developed in response to new engine technology. Contaminants from combustion enter the lubricant sump as a result of blow-by and accumulate in the lubricant leading to increased chain wear. Also like the LSPI test, a Ford 2.0 liter EcoBoost engine will be used to run the chain-wear test.

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What does the test accomplish? The test will effectively measure a lubricant’s ability to minimize timing chain-wear as it relates to the soot-like material particles produced by GDI engines.

How Lubrizol is staying ahead: Lubrizol is actively involved in the development of this test. The greatest challenge here involves accurately recreating the field severity of an engine dyno that accurately and repeatedly reproduces chain-wear.

In all, the inclusion of six new tests in the proposed GF-6 specification is a drastic change from that of older specifications, necessitating major investment from industry stakeholders. The implications for oil marketers are severe, and the new tests will require innovation and dedication to keep pace. Each test has its challenges, and through industry collaboration and innovation, those challenges will be met.

Lubrizol has made the investment and is applying its testing expertise to finding solutions to these new challenges.Creating high-quality, repeatable tests is necessary to break the established boundaries of fuel economy and emissions.

To discover what a partnership with Lubrizol can bring to you, contact your sales account manager.

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