Convergence of the API SP/RC (ILSAC GF-6) and ACEA-2021 specs

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It looks like the API/ILSAC and ACEA specs have converged in many protection requirements with API SP/RC (ILSAC GF-6) and ACEA-2021. The legacy ACEA categories (A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4, and C5) still lack LSPI and timing-chain wear protection and provide inferior valvetrain wear protection than API SP/RC (ILSAC GF-6) does. However, the new ACEA categories (A7/B7 and C6) provide LSPI and timing-chain wear protection and provide the same valvetrain wear protection as API SP/RC (ILSAC GF-6) does.

First, some background on how ACEA-2021 was developed:


Excerpt:
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Sequence IVB stands out as it is not meant to be a direct successor of any particular test but rather to fill the gap the TU3 left behind half a decade ago for a gasoline valvetrain wear test. The Sequence IVB is on Toyota hardware and has been developed for API SP / ILSAC GF-6. There is significant debate in AAA about suitable Sequence IVB limits for the ACEA Sequences. The starting point was to carry over the API SP limits, however, industry data gathered on representative ACEA oils suggest API SP limits are not appropriate as they would exclude about 50% of the tested ACEA lubricants with known good field performance.

The Sequence IX LSPI test is well known in the industry, it was developed on Ford hardware for the API specifications and was first introduced to API SN Plus. Its introduction into A7/B7 and C6 is planned at API SP limits, which is supported by all stakeholders.

The A7/B7 and C6 chain wear requirement is also specified by a test developed on Ford hardware for ILSAC GF-6 - the Sequence X. There are similarities to the Sequence IVB in the sense that the introduction at the proposed API SP limits would rule out 50% of the lubricants represented in the industry data gathering mentioned above. Discussions are ongoing about how to define limits appropriate for ACEA lubricants, which are subject to different chemical constrains than API lubricants. All parties agree with the need for chain wear protection. However, given the fact that gasoline direct injection engines have been the predominate gasoline technology in Europe for almost a decade, questions arise on how much additional protection is needed. One party not being prepared to give any compromise on the limit makes finding a mutually agreeable limit look unlikely.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

ACEA-2021 was finalized and released in 2021. Here is how the ACEA-2021 specs compare to the API SP/RC (ILSAC GF-6) specs:

Valvetrain wear (Sequence IVB, ASTM D8350, Toyota 2NR-FE):
  • API SP/RC: ≤ 2.7 mm³
  • Legacy ACEA A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4, and C5: ≤ 3.3 mm³ (22% more wear than in API SP/RC)
  • New ACEA A7/B7 and C6: ≤ 2.7 mm³ (same wear as in API SP/RC)
TGDI timing-chain wear (Sequence X, ASTM D8279, Ford EcoBoost 2.0 L):
  • API SP/RC: ≤ 0.085 merits
  • Legacy ACEA A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4 and C5: not tested, not certified for TGDI timing-chain wear
  • New ACEA A7/B7 and C6: ≤ 0.085 merits (same wear as in API SP/RC)
TGDI LSPI (Sequence IX, ASTM D8291, Ford EcoBoost 2.0 L):
  • API SP/RC: ≤ 5 events average and ≤ 8 events per iteration
  • Legacy ACEA A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4 and C5: no test, not certified for LSPI
  • New ACEA A7/B7 and C6: ≤ 5 events average and ≤ 8 events per iteration (same limits as in API SP/RC)
Foaming tendency (ASTM D892):
  • Same limits in API SP/RC and all ACEA
High-temperature foaming tendency (ASTM D6082):
  • Same limits in API SP/RC and all ACEA
Low-temperature sludge (Sequence VH, ASTM D8256, Ford Modular V8 4.6 L):
  • Same limits in API SP/RC and all ACEA
So, the legacy ACEA categories (A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4, and C5) provide less valvetrain-wear protection than API SP/RC does and do not provide LSPI protection and timing-chain wear protection. The new ACEA categories (A7/B7 and ACEA C6) provide the same protection as API SP/RC does in all common tests listed above.

OEMs can add their own tests and chemical/physical specs such as Noack, like GM dexos1 and various Euro-OEM tests, making the protection better or more vehicle/OEM-specific. Nevertheless, the current ACEA and API/ILSAC specs show that the API/ILSAC and ACEA specs now have more or less converged, and the legacy ACEA A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4, and C5 specs have already fallen behind API SP/RC (ILSAC GF-6) in some protection requirements.

The reason why the legacy ACEA categories (A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4, and C5) provide less valvetrain-wear protection than API SP/RC does and provide no timing-chain wear protection is because half (50%) of the existing legacy ACEA oils failed to pass the valvetrain wear test at the API-SP/RC limits and another, different half (50%) failed to pass the timing-chain wear test at the API-SP/RC limits, and ACEA compromised to agree with the Euro OEMs to lower the bar for valvetrain wear and omit timing-chain wear protection altogether, even though the latter test is crucial in TGDI engines. Note that virtually all legacy ACEA oils include some Euro-OEM approval, and these Euro-OEM approvals did not help these legacy oils to pass the valvetrain and timing-chain wear tests. However, if a legacy ACEA oil also carries an API-SP approval, it will ensure that it will provide the highest valvetrain wear, timing-chain wear, and LSPI protection.
 
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It looks like the API/ILSAC and ACEA specs have converged in many protection requirements with API SP/RC (ILSAC GF-6) and ACEA-2021. The legacy ACEA categories (A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4, and C5) still lack LSPI and timing-chain wear protection and provide inferior valvetrain wear protection than API SP/RC (ILSAC GF-6) does. However, the new ACEA categories (A7/B7 and C6) provide LSPI and timing-chain wear protection and provide the same valvetrain wear protection as API SP/RC (ILSAC GF-6) does.
Here we go, again... 🍟
 

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So, because these oils have not previously passed the IVB sequence (A3/B4 for example) how are we making the leap to inferring from this that they are providing inferior valvetrain wear protection? That sounds like a rather interesting series of mental gymnastics.

You'll note how many categories that are in this table that IVB is slated to apply to (8 if we exclude the two discontinued ones):
1668482936851.png


They make no mention as to which categories had issue with the test; which of the six legacy categories (A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4, C5) were represented in the 50%. Perhaps it consists wholly of low-SAPS oils? Perhaps only the full-SAPS ones? We don't know and they don't say, so this seems to be a rather bold assertion given the glaring lack of data and specifics with regards to what exactly the issue was, and what products it applied to.

I can at least see the argument about LSPI due to the higher levels of calcium in the full-SAPS additive packages, but the latter bit sounds like a fantastic bit of creative writing being presented as fact. I would encourage you to roll that one back and we can stick to discussing what we DO know for sure, which is that several of the API sequences are being adopted for these latest ACEA revisions.

I also think it imperative to note, and to keep in mind, that all the API oils all went through this same process recently. You saw the bit where they stated:
AAA debate about appropriate limits has not concluded yet. As a first measure, to mitigate the impact on current ACEA lubricants, it has been agreed to allow the Sequence IVA as an alternative to the Sequence IVB, at least for the legacy categories.

Of course Sequence IVA was the standard API sequence up until API SP. API SN and API SN Plus both used it. They imply that the legacy categories that may have issues with IVB could pass IVA; could pass the previous API SN/SN Plus sequence. This seems like the natural evolution of the process, and the ACEA testing protocols being updated will require reformulation of product to meet them, just like we saw with the API oils going from SN to SP. That's pretty standard fare. The issue here is for EXISTING formulations that may struggle to meet the performance requirements of NEW tests. This is why formulations change and evolve, that's not a deficiency or failing of the ACEA process or their approved products, it's a very natural part of the evolutionary nature of these categories and the protocols employed.

Mobil 1 0W-20 might have already met the API SP performance requirements, right? But didn't we just see a rather significant bump in phosphorous for the API SP version? We did! Perhaps that was necessary to pass IVB :unsure:
 
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It looks like the API/ILSAC and ACEA specs have converged in many protection requirements with API SP/RC (ILSAC GF-6) and ACEA-2021. The legacy ACEA categories (A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4, and C5) still lack LSPI and timing-chain wear protection and provide inferior valvetrain wear protection than API SP/RC (ILSAC GF-6) does. However, the new ACEA categories (A7/B7 and C6) provide LSPI and timing-chain wear protection and provide the same valvetrain wear protection as API SP/RC (ILSAC GF-6) does.

First, some background on how ACEA-2021 was developed:


Excerpt:
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Sequence IVB stands out as it is not meant to be a direct successor of any particular test but rather to fill the gap the TU3 left behind half a decade ago for a gasoline valvetrain wear test. The Sequence IVB is on Toyota hardware and has been developed for API SP / ILSAC GF-6. There is significant debate in AAA about suitable Sequence IVB limits for the ACEA Sequences. The starting point was to carry over the API SP limits, however, industry data gathered on representative ACEA oils suggest API SP limits are not appropriate as they would exclude about 50% of the tested ACEA lubricants with known good field performance.

The Sequence IX LSPI test is well known in the industry, it was developed on Ford hardware for the API specifications and was first introduced to API SN Plus. Its introduction into A7/B7 and C6 is planned at API SP limits, which is supported by all stakeholders.

The A7/B7 and C6 chain wear requirement is also specified by a test developed on Ford hardware for ILSAC GF-6 - the Sequence X. There are similarities to the Sequence IVB in the sense that the introduction at the proposed API SP limits would rule out 50% of the lubricants represented in the industry data gathering mentioned above. Discussions are ongoing about how to define limits appropriate for ACEA lubricants, which are subject to different chemical constrains than API lubricants. All parties agree with the need for chain wear protection. However, given the fact that gasoline direct injection engines have been the predominate gasoline technology in Europe for almost a decade, questions arise on how much additional protection is needed. One party not being prepared to give any compromise on the limit makes finding a mutually agreeable limit look unlikely.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

ACEA-2021 was finalized and released in 2021. Here is how the ACEA-2021 specs compare to the API SP/RC (ILSAC GF-6) specs:

Valvetrain wear (Sequence IVB, ASTM D8350, Toyota 2NR-FE):
  • API SP/RC: ≤ 2.7 mm³
  • Legacy ACEA A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4, and C5: ≤ 3.3 mm³ (22% more wear than in API SP/RC)
  • New ACEA A7/B7 and C6: ≤ 2.7 mm³ (same wear as in API SP/RC)
TGDI timing-chain wear (Sequence X, ASTM D8279, Ford EcoBoost 2.0 L):
  • API SP/RC: ≤ 0.085 merits
  • Legacy ACEA A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4 and C5: not tested, not certified for TGDI timing-chain wear
  • New ACEA A7/B7 and C6: ≤ 0.085 merits (same wear as in API SP/RC)
TGDI LSPI (Sequence IX, ASTM D8291, Ford EcoBoost 2.0 L):
  • API SP/RC: ≤ 5 events average and ≤ 8 events per iteration
  • Legacy ACEA A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4 and C5: no test, not certified for LSPI
  • New ACEA A7/B7 and C6: ≤ 5 events average and ≤ 8 events per iteration (same limits as in API SP/RC)
Foaming tendency (ASTM D892):
  • Same limits in API SP/RC and all ACEA
High-temperature foaming tendency (ASTM D6082):
  • Same limits in API SP/RC and all ACEA
Low-temperature sludge (Sequence VH, ASTM D8256, Ford Modular V8 4.6 L):
  • Same limits in API SP/RC and all ACEA
So, the legacy ACEA categories (A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4, and C5) provide less valvetrain-wear protection than API SP/RC does and do not provide LSPI protection and timing-chain wear protection. The new ACEA categories (A7/B7 and ACEA C6) provide the same protection as API SP/RC does in all common tests listed above.

OEMs can add their own tests and chemical/physical specs such as Noack, like GM dexos1 and various Euro-OEM tests, making the protection better or more vehicle/OEM-specific. Nevertheless, the current ACEA and API/ILSAC specs show that the API/ILSAC and ACEA specs now have more or less converged, and the legacy ACEA A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4, and C5 specs have already fallen behind API SP/RC (ILSAC GF-6) in some protection requirements.

The reason why the legacy ACEA categories (A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3, C4, and C5) provide less valvetrain-wear protection than API SP/RC does and provide no timing-chain wear protection is because half (50%) of the existing legacy ACEA oils failed to pass the valvetrain wear test at the API-SP/RC limits and another, different half (50%) failed to pass the timing-chain wear test at the API-SP/RC limits, and ACEA compromised to agree with the Euro OEMs to lower the bar for valvetrain wear and omit timing-chain wear protection altogether, even though the latter test is crucial in TGDI engines. Note that virtually all legacy ACEA oils include some Euro-OEM approval, and these Euro-OEM approvals did not help these legacy oils to pass the valvetrain and timing-chain wear tests. However, if a legacy ACEA oil also carries an API-SP approval, it will ensure that it will provide the highest valvetrain wear, timing-chain wear, and LSPI protection.
So, for BMWs requiring LL-17 FE+ oil, does this means that LM Top Tec 6600 0W20 (claiming both SP and C6 approvals), Castrol Edge 0W20 LL17 FE+ (claiming SP approval) and Motul 8100 Eco-Clean 0W20 (claiming C6 approval) should be preferred over BMW TBT LL-17-FE+ (claiming only SN approval)? I note that none of these oils claiming API approval feature a starburst or donut on their bottles, meaning perhaps that they are not really officially approved? If not, how can we trust their claim of C6 approval?
 
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So, for BMWs requiring LL-17 FE+ oil, does this means that LM Top Tec 6600 0W20 (claiming both SP and C6 approvals), Castrol Edge 0W20 LL17 FE+ (claiming SP approval) and Motul 8100 Eco-Clean 0W20 (claiming C6 approval) should be preferred over BMW TBT LL-17-FE+ (claiming only SN approval)? I note that none of these oils claiming API approval feature a starburst or donut on their bottles, meaning perhaps that they are not really officially approved? If not, how can we trust their claim of C6 approval?
You can't, at least not directly. For one thing it isn't an approval and there are no published lists of ACEA Sequence oils. API licensees aren't approvals either but you can cross-check a claim with the EOLCS directory.
 
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So, for BMWs requiring LL-17 FE+ oil, does this means that LM Top Tec 6600 0W20 (claiming both SP and C6 approvals), Castrol Edge 0W20 LL17 FE+ (claiming SP approval) and Motul 8100 Eco-Clean 0W20 (claiming C6 approval) should be preferred over BMW TBT LL-17-FE+ (claiming only SN approval)? I note that none of these oils claiming API approval feature a starburst or donut on their bottles, meaning perhaps that they are not really officially approved? If not, how can we trust their claim of C6 approval?
BMW has their own timing chain wear test based on the B48 consequently it cannot be used to determine whether it meets an applicable API requirement. If for piece of mind you want to use an LL17FE+ which also has API SP then by all means go ahead and use it.

FYI LM Top Tec 6600 0W20 also has LL17FE+ (LINK)
 
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You can't, at least not directly. For one thing it isn't an approval and there are no published lists of ACEA Sequence oils. API licensees aren't approvals either but you can cross-check a claim with the EOLCS directory.
Thanks. A search of the EOLCS directory produces some interesting results:
  • BMW has no entries in it at all (so all of their API claims are unofficial)
  • LM does have entries, but not for the LM Top Tec 6600 0W20 that they claim SP approval for.
  • Castrol has entries for 0W20 oils, but not for the LL17 FE+ one claiming SP approval.
 

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BMW has their own timing chain wear test based on the B48 consequently it cannot be used to determine whether it meets an applicable API requirement. If for piece of mind you want to use an LL17FE+ which also has API SP then by all means go ahead and use it.

FYI LM Top Tec 6600 0W20 also has LL17FE+ (LINK)
Yes, and Mercedes has been using two timing chain wear tests (and valvetrain wear tests) since at least 2009, the M 271 test and the OM 646 test, both of which have been evolved in subsequent revisions. Latest version of the M 271 test was updated to use the TGDI version of the engine (M 271 Evo), though I'm not sure if that applies to all of the testing performed with that engine or not, they are not explicit in those details.
 
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Thanks. A search of the EOLCS directory produces some interesting results:
  • BMW has no entries in it at all (so all of their API claims are unofficial)
  • LM does have entries, but not for the LM Top Tec 6600 0W20 that they claim SP approval for.
  • Castrol has entries for 0W20 oils, but not for the LL17 FE+ one claiming SP approval.
API claims are self-certified. BMW doesn't blend their own oil. It's re-labeled Castrol (USA) or Shell (ROW)
 
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You can search EOLC for brand names as well as companies. The brand name BMW has no entries.
Right but again API isn't relevant for BMW branded oil. They're not trying to sell oil to customers who shop API.

You know who's also not on the list? Mercedes Benz
 
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Right but again API isn't relevant for BMW branded oil. Their bottles don't even contain the starburst.
If it is not relevant to them, why do they claim an SL rating for LL01, SN for LL-17 FE+, and SP for LL-01 FE?

I already pointed out that none of the oils I mentioned feature a starburst on their bottles, and hence was skeptical about whether any of them have official approvals as claimed.
 
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Why is this relevant to me? Because @Gokhan said (see above) "if a legacy ACEA oil also carries an API-SP approval, it will ensure that it will provide the highest valvetrain wear, timing-chain wear, and LSPI protection."

I found one oil with BMW LL-17 FE+ approval that also claimed SP approval, one that also claimed C6 approval, and one that claims both, and asked whether they are superior to BMW's product which only claims SN approval. But apparently none of the API claims of approval are legit, and it is impossible to verify C6 approval. So how do we "ensure that [any oil] will provide the highest valvetrain wear, timing-chain wear, and LSPI protection?"
 
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If it is not relevant to them, why do they claim an SL rating for LL01, SN for LL-17 FE+, and SP for LL-01 FE?

I already pointed out that none of the oils I mentioned feature a starburst on their bottles, and hence was skeptical about whether any of them have official approvals as claimed.

BMW branded oils have a long history of having the API designation on their labels. I don't know why they do. Perhaps it's because the blender has told them it "also meets" but it's unofficial and as I said BMW doesn't really care about API. It's all about the automaker certification which is all that BMW cares about when offering oil to their customers.

Mercedes Benz isn't on the list either.
 
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Why is this relevant to me? Because @Gokhan said (see above) "if a legacy ACEA oil also carries an API-SP approval, it will ensure that it will provide the highest valvetrain wear, timing-chain wear, and LSPI protection."

I found one oil with BMW LL-17 FE+ approval that also claimed SP approval, one that also claimed C6 approval, and one that claims both, and asked whether they are superior to BMW's product which only claims SN approval. But apparently none of the API claims of approval are legit, and it is impossible to verify C6 approval. So how do we "ensure that [any oil] will provide the highest valvetrain wear, timing-chain wear, and LSPI protection?"
API isn't the be all end all in the Euro world. You either trust the tests behind the automaker specific Oil Cert or you don't.

Mercedes Benz, who's also not on the list, has their own timing chain and LSPI test.

I have no idea how these OE tests compare to those found under SN+ or SP but I know for a fact that they exist.

Oil blenders have a wider customer base so there's a financial incentive for them to obtain API licenses (Ex Liqui Moly, BP (aka Castrol)) for a variety of their products.

If you're so hung up on API SP oil then buy Pennzoil Euro 5w40 with LL01.
 
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