Do we really want to use "SM" rated Oils?

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272
Location
Ellicott City, MD
Sounds like "Politicians buying your vote." How will these oils "help" my engine or be better? On Friday the American Petroleum Institute's Lubricants Committee met in telephone conference to discuss the results of its ballot on how and when to launch the new GF-4 and SM passenger car engine oils. The ballot, which was issued Feb. 24 and closed April 9, included two items relating to licensing of the new GF-4 engine oil specification, and 12 more items relating to its companion API Service Category upgrade, SM. The items regarding the ILSAC GF-4 engine oil specification, issued by automakers earlier this year, led off the balloting and received unanimous approval. First, it was agreed, engine oils meeting GF-4 will be licensed to show API's trademarked "starburst" logo beginning July 31, and GF-4's planned life is through July 2009. Second, the final date for licensing GF-3 quality oils will be April 30, 2005. Few of the ballot items relating to the API SM category were so crystalline, and the group was unable to resolve critical issues such as the category's final definition and when to begin licensing these new oils. Every committee member -- 10 oil companies and three chemical additive companies -- had completed each item in the formal letter ballot, and a representative of each was present for the nearly two-hour telephone conference, as were representatives of ILSAC (the lubricants committee of the U.S. and Japanese auto industry). API's ballots offer four voting options: approve, approve with comments, disapprove and abstain. A two-thirds majority of votes is necessary for an item to pass, so long as more than half of the voting members have submitted a ballot. Each "approve with comments" must be discussed, and to further foster compromise, disapprovals on passing items are also discussed, with the hope of persuading the dissenter to reconsider and change its vote. Four of the SM items were approved by the ballot. First, the GF-4 performance standard for fuel efficiency was adopted as the basis for allowing SM oil marketers to display the words "Energy Conserving" in the lower part of the API "donut" logo. Second, a minimum phosphorus level for SM oils was adopted; and third, this floor was set at 0.06 percent mass. "There was very little data presented to support the need for 0.06 percent," commented Infineum on its ballot. "However, in accepting GF-4 with a minimum phosphorus limit the industry has set a precedent, and the same criterion should apply to SM ILSAC grades," it said, voting to approve. Fourth, oils meeting the GF-4 standard can be licensed as GF-3 and API SL, effective April 15. The ballot originally included permitting SM products to be licensed as SL, too; this proposal was removed because SM has not yet been finally defined. With this approval, API formally has declared GF-4 as backward compatible with its predecessors. All approved balloted items became effective on April 12, except where an alternative date was indicated. Four controversial ballot items bit the dust -- all related to a proposal that would have redrawn the API "donut" logo and/or allowed licensees to label their products as emissions system compatible -- and were not further discussed. That left four crucial ballot items for further consideration: the definition and description of API SM, and the first dates that licensees will be able to display "API SM" in the top of the donut and "Energy Conserving" in the bottom. Earlier API Service Categories had first-licensing dates that ranged from a minimum of nine months to a maximum of 12 months following their final approval. Everyone has acknowledged that the interval from category approval to first licensing of SM oils and their Energy Conserving versions will be shorter than historical patterns. The ballot's proposed date of July 31 was not approved. As an alternative, suggestions were made to consider first licensing based on the approval date; specifically, from four to six months after approval. This issue will be considered at a committee meeting in Cincinnati on May 4. A new ballot will be issued near the end of April, and the process requires a full month for voting. So the first licensible date for SM, under the most favorable conditions, would be the end of September -- with a later date possible. SM's Sticking Points Conceptually, defining and describing SM boiled down to a debate over equivalency vs. flexibility. Auto manufacturers have insisted strongly that, for viscosity grades covered by their own GF-4 specification (0W-20, 0W-30, 5W-20, 5W-30 and 10W-30), the new SM category must be equivalent except for fuel efficiency, a pattern that has been followed in all previous categories. The flexibility concept, on the other hand, has been promoted just as strongly by many oil companies, particularly those with international operations, who have argued they need formulating flexibility to meet differing resource constraints worldwide, especially in base oils. A peripheral technical item involved the Sequence IIIG-A engine test, which measures low-temperature pumpability and is required for all ILSAC GF-4 grades. Numerous committee members opposed the idea of requiring IIIG-A tests for additional SM viscosity grades beyond the five covered by ILSAC. Such a move would lead to unnecessary testing costs, it was thought, since formulators do not have recourse yet to "read-across" guidelines for this new test. Although expanded "read-across" guidelines are being balloted by ASTM, the process is not complete. This technical issue was left unresolved. The levels of phosphorus and sulfur, however, remain the core of the equivalency/flexibility debate. After much discussion, a number of oil companies backed off their "flexibility" positions, and the committee voted 12 to 1 in favor of equivalency, settling on a maximum phosphorus level of 0.08 percent mass. They also set sulfur limits to match GF-4's (0.05 percent mass for 0W-20, 0W-30, 5W-20 and 5W-30 oils, and 0.07 percent for 10W-30s). So all GF-4 grades and their five corresponding SM grades will have identical requirements, except for fuel economy improvement. Shell alone, with 40 percent of the U.S. engine oil market and a large international presence, voted against the motion. There are no phosphorus or sulfur limits for non-ILSAC multigrades or monogrades. API staff was instructed to complete a new SM category description reflecting the decisions made (except for timing) and send it out quickly for comment, with a response sought by the end of this week. It is to be followed immediately by another written ballot. The Lubricant Committee's unprecedented finish-line sprint, in striking contrast to more than a year of plodding, reflects the heat it is feeling to get this category concluded so that oil marketers can finish testing, make final label adjustments and get their oils to market. Valvoline's Fran Lockwood chaired the teleconference. The ballot response form with comments was 24 crowded pages. Valvoline's Thom Smith summarized the ballot status and outlined options in a document that came to committee members early on the day of the meeting. His document was considered instrumental in bringing the discussion into focus, and its just-in-time arrival demonstrated the value of electronic communications in moving a professional group past seemingly unbridgeable positions.
 
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7,788
Location
Oklahoma
I agree. I don't want to use the new SM oils. I am totally convinced that the more ZDP, the better for your engine, until something else comes around and proves it to me.
 
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555
Location
south texas border
Shmoe, what kind of results would you predict for using straight zdp with no oil additive to mess up its efficiency? [Big Grin] Actually, I was thinking, how much ZDP is in motorcraft 5w20 and 5w30. Not sure, but I think its not that much....yet....seems to do rather well. I could be wrong, I just haven't noted a large dose of that stuff in those oils. (btw I use Torco, no Zinc in that stuff [Wink] ) [Cheers!]
 
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7,788
Location
Oklahoma
From some of the UOA's that I've been seeing, ZDP aren't "all that" but make up for it with gobs of calcium and boron. Starting to notice Magnesium coming into play. Seems like everyone is experimenting with different formula's in anticipation of the new SM requirements. Oils like Chevron Supreme and Pennzoil have best of all worlds. Synergy is looking REALLY good, just don't know the HTHS numbers. I'm still old school on the following: thicker is better and the more ZDP, Mo and B you can get, the better. Where there is no zinc, there is something just as much or probably more to make up for if for AW agents. [ April 23, 2004, 10:55 AM: Message edited by: Schmoe ]
 
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871
Location
98245
With "SM", do the new lower P limits apply to 40 & 50 weight oils? With "SL", 40 & 50 weight oils were exempt from the P limits. They could have lots of P and still be API "SL". If "SM" exempts 40 & 50 weight oils from the P limits, that's good news for owners of competition cars and motorcycles...
 

Patman

Staff member
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22,017
Location
Guelph, Ontario
quote:
Originally posted by novadude: Patman is going to think twice about those GC flushes once SM hits the market and his supply of SL GC dwindles... [Wink] [Big Grin]
[Razz]
 
Messages
22,187
Location
Colorado Springs
quote:
Originally posted by Schmoe: So, what I'm reading is, the SL oils will be obsolete once the SM has come into the full market place?
That's what I got out of it, until they pass the backwards compatible "clause". But they can't until SM has been 100% defined. What I want to know is, will the High Mileage oils adopt SM, or stay with SL. If this backwards compatible thiong passes, then it could be labled SL, but still cary SM levels of ZDDP. [I dont know] I guess we will know how good this new deal is untill UOA results show up about the end of this summer.
 
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9,427
Location
Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
OK, I've read the posts in the thread, and I'm still puzzled. Can someone cut to the chase and explain just what added benefit the SM standard is supposed to offer over and above the SL standard?
 
Messages
584
Location
Ontario Canada
I agree with Schmoe. Thicker and more ZDDP is better. That is why I'll be mixing 4 litres 10w30 /2 litres 15w50 of Mobil 1 in my car. Also, you can buy the GM Engine Oil Supplement which has ZDDP in it and use that with the new SM oils. [Wink]
 
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34,480
Location
NJ
Use what works via a UOA. Mobil 1 0w-20=API. Motorcraft=API. Both work exceptionally well. I do beleive ZDP is a good thing and want more of it. It's clear racing oils use a boat load of it. Not sure if daily drivers really need much but for hard driving, it's a +. Remember, other additives will be replacing ZDP and rumor has it they are as good or better then ZDP. Time will tell. One last thing, have any of you ever worn out an engine on an API oil? I sure as **** havn't.
 
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8,937
Location
SC
quote:
Originally posted by ekpolk: OK, I've read the posts in the thread, and I'm still puzzled. Can someone cut to the chase and explain just what added benefit the SM standard is supposed to offer over and above the SL standard?
It wasn't really discussed in this article, but SM/GF-4 will require tighter limits on oxidation, volatility, low temp pumpability. These three things are what is driving the need for better base oils, just as they did with GF-3. Where new additive technology comes into play with GF-4 is in the more strict fuel economy requirement over the life of the oil as well as the reduced levels of zinc and phosphorous. Oil companies have known for some time that this is where GF-4 was going so this is why you've seen new and interesting FM/AW additives appearing in otherwise ordinary oils. For example, look at a VOA of Mobil 1 5w30 and Pennzoil, Chevron, or Havoline conventional 5w30. You will see almost identical levels of moly, boron, and calcium, which means these companies are already using FM/AW packages that are designed to work with less ZDDP, yet one is a $4.00+ fully PAO synthetic and the others are garden variety $1.00-$2.00 Group II based oils.
 
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2,602
Location
The Tropics of Antartica
So for those worried there is really no reason to rush out and stock up on SL GF-3 oils . With a Phos cap of .08 % on the 30wts the oils still can have around 1000 ppm of zinc and like G-man said ....better basestocks will be used . Currently many are using at least some group I blended in with the group II . Most all the 5w-30's use more of group II+ blended in than the 10w-30 made by the same company .Even when the makers use group II , some of the 5w-30's have some group II+ blended in Group II+ is but a small tick behind fake group III synthetic . It's the VII's, additive pack , quanity , quality of thats sets some apart from the rest . Here is a VOA of the newest version of the Motorcraft 5w-30 that now uses moly. That phos is very near the proposed .08 cap for API SM . it does not take much imagination to guess that the zinc will be aplenty still when they drop the phos down . It will still be over 1100 ppm . Moly 42 Magnesium 18 Calcium 2077 Phos 921 Zinc 1285 Vi 11.11 Ooops , thats the 10w-30 ..the 5w-30 VOA which I have not posted is a 12.2 cSt oil .It's the one that say's it uses hydrocracked/synthetic basestocks on the newest label . I have 6 new VOA's I need to get around and post . [ April 23, 2004, 06:03 PM: Message edited by: Motorbike ]
 
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