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Infineum Perspective


Infineum believes that the new category will represent a significant improvement over ILSAC GF-4 engine oils. This should be verified by introducing a Sequence VID SAE 5W-20 passing reference oil as well as an ILSAC GF-5 category demonstration oil. In addition to confirming the viability of the new category, such reference oils allow all stakeholders to recognise when issues develop due to changes in hardware and fuel over the life of the engine tests. Update #9, December 2009

Major oil marketers and OEM representative share timing for use of GEOS A (2011 MY vehicles) and its impact on the marketplace vs. ILSAC GF-5 Update #6, June 2009

Infineum View on Timing for September 2010 Launch (PDF 25 kB) Update #4, January 2009

Matt Snider, Project Engineer Fuels and Lubricants at General Motors Corporation, gives us his viewpoints on the needs for global engine oils and for GF-5, as well as GMs recently announced global GEOS A and B lubricant specifications.

Fran Lockwood of Ashland Consumer Markets shares her opinion of how GF-4 fluids are performing and offers her assessment of meeting future needs.

We support ILSAC GF-5 and its ability to improve fuel economy and emissions systems compatibility. However, we question the need to upgrade ILSAC GF-5 to further improve engine protection until such time as there are data to show an upgrade is needed. Internal Infineum data reveal that ILSAC GF-4 oils are doing an outstanding job of protecting today’s engines and the vast majority of engines for the foreseeable future.

* We support working cooperatively with OEMs to develop oils that meet the needs of new engine technologies, including development of appropriate tests that will ensure engine protection.

+ As new hardware is introduced, and if ILSAC GF-5 oils are deemed not adequate for those specific engines, the issue can be addressed in a timely manner via additional OEM specifications.

+ There may also be potential for a future category as use of new engine technology becomes more widespread. This is consistent with today's approach where ILSAC GF-4 is not specified for 100% of the North America fleet.

* We support improved Fuel Economy from the Sequence VID Consortium work provided that test shows acceptable discrimination and precision.

* We support improved emissions system compatibility from ESCIT work, retaining 0.08 wt% Phosphorus (P) max / 0.06 wt% P min, and 0.5 wt % Sulphur max.

* We support oils that should be compatible with E-85 fuel (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline)

* We support industry’s efforts to maintain and extend the life of existing engine tests that have provided tools for industry to develop oils that do an outstanding job in protecting today’s engines.


* ILSAC GF-4 is a robust category and as such, performance limits for current tests should be retained unless clear deficiencies can be demonstrated. Directional improvements in sludge and deposit protection are also in conflict with OEMs desire to improve Fuel Economy.

* We do not believe SIDI (Spark Ignition Direct Injection) or turbocharger protection should be included in ILSAC GF-5 because requirements are not well understood. Many turbocharged engines appear to receive adequate protection from ILSAC GF-4 oils today; the few that do not are appropriately addressed by OEM specifications.

* Although it is a marketer and OEM issue, we believe that the SAE 10W-30 should not be included as an ILSAC GF-5 viscosity grade as very few engines today or in the future will require it. The few engines that might can be attended to via OEM specifications.

Infineum research also indicates that almost all OEMs do not specify SAE 10W-30 now. In fact, some will not have specified this grade in more than 10 years by the time ILSAC GF-5 oils are introduced. Marketers and oil change facilities are doing a good job using the right oils, which can be seen by the growth of SAE 5W-20 and 5W-30 oils and the decline in SAE 10W-30 oils.

+ We believe that inclusion of a Starburst on this oil misleads consumers into using a viscosity grade that will not provide the same level of Fuel Economy as an SAE 0W-20, 0W-30, 5W-20 or 5W-30.

* Infineum supports the use of OEM specifications to address and incorporate specific engine builder needs in a timely fashion. These OEM specifications should build on an industry specification such as ILSAC GF-5 that is responsive to the needs of a majority of the vehicles on the road today and in the near future.

Why Infineum no longer supports SAE 10W-30 [PPT 212Kb]
Where we are today

Infineum agrees that the new Sequence VID test is an adequate replacement for the Sequence VIB using modern engine technology. We are disappointed, however, that the Sequence VID still shows significant differences among the various test laboratories, and test results still appear highly dependent on the age of the engine. Industry has made good efforts to get this test ready for the new category. What has made this task so difficult is the great job that OEMs have already done to take friction out of the engine.

Infineum has considerable concern over the ability of the Sequence VID to show differences among ILSAC GF-4 and ILSAC GF-5 engine oils. We also are quite uneasy about Industry’s ability to provide a true 0.5% fuel economy improvement in ILSAC GF-5 oils over ILSAC GF-4 oils as requested in the draft ILSAC GF-5 specification. The oil selected by ILSAC as the ILSAC GF-5 capable candidate for the Sequence VID precision matrix has not even come close to passing the Sequence VID limits proposed by ILSAC at the May 12, 2009 ILSAC/Oil meeting. In fact, with regard to retained fuel economy, the ILSAC GF-4 oils included in the precision matrix proved to be better than the ILSAC GF-5 capable candidate oil included in the matrix.

Another key issue is the ability of the Sequence VID to show statistically significant differences either among SAE 0W-20 and 5W-20 oils or among SAE 0W-30 and 5W-30 oils – or even SAE 10W-30 for that matter. Infineum has observed that the test is highly correlated to high temperature high sheer (HTHS) viscosity, and it does not appear to be capable of showing SAE 0W multigrade oils to be better in fuel economy versus SAE 5W multigrade oils. This does not mean that in the real world SAE 0W-20 oils will not provide improved fuel economy compared with SAE 5W-20 oils, but only that the Sequence VID cannot see a statistically significant difference between these two viscosity grades.

Based on our understanding of the test, we believe there should be only two limits – one for XW-20s and a second for XW-30s – and that

* Industry must also produce demonstration oils (one for each viscosity grade or set of viscosity grades) that can achieve whatever limits become the ILSAC GF-5 standard.
* There is a reference oil capable of passing the Sequence VID, as well as all other tests at the limits agreed to be included in ILSAC GF-5.
* The reference oil results are repeatable and reproducible among different engine test labs.

Another major issue concerns Sequence IIIG WPD (Weighted Piston Deposits). We strongly believe that the current limit provides adequate protection for the vast majority of vehicles on the road. Raising the WPD limit restricts improvements in fuel economy that ILSAC GF-5 oils can achieve. We are also troubled that the Sequence IIIG test continues to be severe and variable in its ability to measure improvements in this parameter. Raising the WPD limit will likely add significant cost without providing significant benefits to end users.

We think that it is time for ILSAC to drop the requirement for the TEOST 33C bench test. Data showing that this test improves turbocharger protection have not been provided to date. We also know that the test has discriminated against certain chemistries that give important benefits for some OEMs. Therefore, test use should be limited to those OEMs that believe it affords a benefit for their engines/turbochargers, and requirements should be provided through the use of OEM specifications.

Infineum is pleased with the progress made with the legacy engine tests to ensure that they can be utilized to define performance requirements of ILSAC GF-5 engine oils. Concerns over the new Sequence VG fuel batch appear to be manageable but only time and experience will confirm this supposition.

Although we fully endorse the new E85 compatibility test, we also feel Industry must ensure that the procedure is adequate and the limits of the test are realistic.

Finally, it is our belief that the technology demonstration period cannot start until Industry agrees on a realistic and achievable starting date, which ensures that all the key tests are final or at least close to being finalized. This includes establishing reasonable targets for the Sequence VID, and also confirming that key bench tests such as the E85 compatibility test and the ROBO test are finalized.

To play it safe, it's important to stick with licensed oils IMO. It's not that small blenders are not capable of making superior oils, but rather not knowing what you are truly getting in the bottle. I have faith in companies like Amsoil, who have been making syn oils for a long time. Some of the really small brands, I am often a bit skeptical of. I'd like to know the oil I am using passed all of the testing required, some of which is rather demanding.