Planning for PC-11: Three Key Traits to Look for in CK-4 and FA-4 Oils

by on May 26, 2016 8 Comments

OxidationOil_Blog_052616Changes in engine design to meet new emissions and fuel economy regulations have raised some concerns in the industry. However, the new PC-11 oils being developed go beyond typical attributes of current engine lubricants. They’ve been designed to help extend the life of new diesel engines, promote longer oil drain intervals and offer more choices to users.

The standards for new PC-11 heavy-duty motor oil (HDMO) have been raised significantly and offer potential long-term maintenance and cost saving benefits.  However, there are key issues to consider as you start planning your PC-11 oil purchase in 2016.

As a reminder, the PC-11 oils are divided between two subcategories:

  • Oils in the API CK-4 category are going to be backward compatible with previous generation oils and will meet the needs of new and older engines in both on- and off-highway applications.
  • The API FA-4 oil category is designed for some heavy-duty on-highway diesel engines scheduled for introduction in late 2016 or early 2017.


Traits of Superior Performance

The common thread between FA-4 and CK-4 oils is that both will deliver superior performance over the current CJ-4 category, especially when it comes to new challenges for equipment users. When considering your PC-11 oil purchases, three of the most important traits to look for are:

  1. Oxidation stability
  2. Wear protection
  3. Piston deposits

Let’s break these down one by one.


Oxidation Stability

Performance tests for the new category of oils reflect the industry’s focus on meeting the new challenges users face. Along with seven stringent tests used for current oils, the new oils also must pass two additional, very demanding tests.

In particular, the aggressive Volvo T-13 test addresses oxidation, or oil’s propensity to break down at high operating temperatures. Oxidation is especially harmful to engines because it causes oil to thicken and form deposits, and it fosters corrosion.

Oxidation stability in the new PC-11 oils is intended to address those issues. It is also a key factor allowing OEMs to consider extending recommended oil drain intervals. In fact, Chevron recently added an oxidation indicator to its recommendations for used oil analysis. Finding an oil that can maximize protection against oxidation will be crucial.


Wear Protection

Maintaining the durability and reliability of your hardware is critical to keeping vehicles on the road. PC-11 products have been developed to enhance engine longevity, measured as the time between overhauls. This is critical for the first owners of new engines as they plan for a pre-determined service life that eliminates the need to rebuild engines. It could also help boost the resale value of used equipment and make it more attractive to buyers.


Piston Deposits

Piston deposits can be especially troublesome in engines because they can have a snowball effect:

  • They cause a loss of oil consumption control, which requires more make-up oil refills between changes. That adds costs not only for extra oil, but also for the labor to replenish it.
  • As engine oil is consumed it can accumulate in the emission control system, driving more frequent Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) regeneration cycles, which in turn means more frequent DPF cleaning intervals.
  • Additional regeneration cycles have a fuel economy penalty as well.

For both on- and off-highway engines, new PC-11 oils address oxidation, wear protection and piston deposit control needs to offset any potential downtime, maintenance and fuel costs. These oils won’t sacrifice performance to meet emissions or fuel economy standards, and their advanced properties will provide vehicle and equipment operators with improved engine durability.


How Can Chevron Help?

CLICK HERE to learn more about how new PC-11 oils will meet the demands of operating conditions, and protect today’s and tomorrow’s on- and off-highway heavy-duty diesel engines.

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About the Author ()

Shawn’s career spans nearly 20 years focused exclusively on research and engineering dealing with heavy-duty engine lubricants, fuels, and materials. Before joining Chevron in 2013, he spent 12 years leading global fluids and materials engineering activities for Cummins. He also spent five years conducting lubricant, fuel, and emission research for the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO. At Chevron, he is a Senior Staff Engineer primarily responsible for product formulation of the Delo Brand of Heavy Duty Engine Oils. He is currently the lead formulator responsible for development of Chevron’s PC-11 product line upgrade. Whitacre is the new chairman of the ASTM Heavy-Duty Engine Oil Classification Panel, which is tasked with the final development of the Proposed Category 11 (PC-11) requirements that take effect in late 2016.

Comments (8)

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  1.' John Perry says:

    Will it be as good as delo 15/40 /400?

  2. Shawn Whitacre says:

    Absolutely! These new specifications incorporate all of the same performance requirements met by Delo 400 LE SAE 15W-40 and include new, even tougher, tests that will make API CK-4 one of the most demanding industry specs for heavy-duty motor oils ever released.

  3.' Stephen Tweneboah says:

    That is good. But I do not see any big addition being that CK-4 is 20% higher than CJ-4 on oxidative stability. Wear protection and others are similar if not the same. FA-4 is 70% fuel economy due to lower HTHT viscosity. Anyway this is my opinion in the field lubricant and lubrication and engines mentor. We are hoping to meet ck4 and fa4 early next year,and I know that they will do better jobs. Thanks

  4. Shawn Whitacre says:

    You are correct that these new standards serve to upgrade the performance of current oils through improved oxidation control, shear stability, and aeration protection. They also expand the range of viscosity grade options to give end users even more flexibility when seeking fuel economy improving oils. We too are excited about these changes!

  5.' Tim Chris says:

    Is this oil compatible for older 2 cycle Detroit Diesel engines for low ash content?

  6. Shawn Whitacre says:

    No. In general, multigrade oils like those being introduced here are not recommended for use in Detroit Diesel 2-cycle engines. Instead, Detroit Diesel recommends the use of monograde SAE 40 or SAE 30 meeting requirements of API CF-2. Consult your owner’s manual for specific direction related to your exact make and model.

  7.' Shakti says:

    Considering that SAPS level of both CJ4 & CK4 are same , I feel that customers will still prefer to use CJ4 ( at the cost of lesser drain interval as compared to CK4) with Euro-VI Fuels.

  8.' Harry says:

    Thanks for the info. I am a retired mechanic and diesel instructor from the military when we use to teach troubleshooting. I have used diesel grade oil in my gas rigs for years knowing that the diesel oil deals better with heat and have gotten some excellent service on my vehicles.


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