http://www.noln.net/technical/Tech_tips_0609.php Additional info here:
GM Unveils Dexos Oil Spec I attended the SAE World Congress in Detroit, Michigan, last month as a panelist representing the Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA). The panel discussed a variety of topics, but one that should concern every fast lube operator was GM’s introduction of Dexos motor oil, the newly renamed proprietary specification formerly known as GEOS. (Editor’s Note: Look for a full write-up on Dexos motor oil in next month’s issue of National Oil & Lube News.) GM plans two distinct categories of Dexos: Dexos 1 for gasoline engines and Dexos 2 for diesel engines. According to GM, it is creating Dexos for the sake of environmental protection, increased product performance and greater ease of product management. In order to meet both robustness and fuel economy requirements, Dexos will most likely have to manufactured from Group III synthetic base stock and an anti-wear additive containing molybdenum. Group III is a very highly refined petroleum base stock that meets the performance definition of traditional “synthetic” motor oil made from man-made polyalfaolefin (PAO) Group IV base stock. Either way, expect Dexos to be a synthetic motor oil, and expect it to be priced accordingly. Further adding to the price of Dexos will be the inclusion of molybdenum, a rare trace element that costs as much as $37.25 per pound. Compare that with zinc, the most common anti-wear element in motor oil currently on the market, which costs around 65 cents per pound. Based on discussions among panelists, the per-quart price of Dexos will likely be 40 to 60 percent higher than industry-standard motor oil currently licensed by the American Petroleum Institute (API). Additionally, if past experience applies the quart price of Dexos will involve yet another disparity between dealerships and other service providers. Four times what dealerships pay is the typical increase for non-dealership purchases of licensed proprietary products. And speaking of licenses, GM also mentioned licensing fees for distributors in the range of $1,000 to $5,000 per year, as well as an “underhood” royalty of 32 cents to $1 per oil change, a fee that would apply to automotive service facilities. I’ve written a letter to my congressmen urging action against this planned product via an oversight opportunity connected to the GM bailout plan or by any other process they see fit. I urge other operators to do so, as well.
Signposts on the Road to GF-5 By Nancy DeMarco TUCSON, Ariz. – ILSAC GF-5, the new passenger car engine oil specification slated for completion in December, will put better oils in motorists’ crankcases. But its development involves tradeoffs between fuel economy and robustness, according to an expert panel, and North America is becoming a much more complicated place to make and sell engine oils. John Robinson of American Refining Group moderated the panel on GF-5 at the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association meeting here last week. Robert Stockwell of ConocoPhillips addressed the need for GF-5. Lubrizol’s Mayur Shah, speaking on behalf of the American Chemistry Council, described the changes incorporated in GF-5, its key dates and its impact. Mike Brown of SK Energy looked at formulating GF-5 engine oils from an API Group III base oil supplier’s perspective. “Why do we need GF-5?” asked Stockwell. “Because oil quality is critical.” U.S. and Japanese automakers, through their International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee, or ILSAC, raised the bar in 1992 with GF-1, their first engine oil spec. Oil and additive companies responded. The American Chemistry Council adopted its Code of Practice for engine testing and additive adjustments, requiring that all engine test results must be reported, not just passing scores. The American Petroleum Institute issued base oil interchange and viscosity grade read-across guidelines. ILSAC, in cooperation with API and ACC, now is finalizing the latest upgrade, as always associated with government-mandated emissions and fuel economy standards. “When I asked Hannah Murray what Toyota considered most important for GF-5, she said, ‘fuel economy, fuel economy, fuel economy and maybe fuel economy.’ Jim Linden of GM said about the same thing,” said Stockwell. U.S. law requires Corporate Average Fuel Economy to reach 35 miles per gallon by 2020, a 30 percent increase over the current fleet average. “OEMs want fuel economy first and foremost, plus emissions system protection, oil robustness, turbo coking protection, cam phaser protection and general engine protection,” he continued. But the future of engine oil specs is gaining complexity. “General Motors’ new global spec, to be called Dexos, is the first high volume North American specification that is not built on the API/ILSAC spec. Dexos will be different,” Stockwell said. The picture is further complicated by a growing number of OEM specs for both factory- and service-fill. “One may argue that since oil is a highly engineered, vital component of an engine, the OEM requirements are more important than the industry standard.” Nonetheless, Stockwell concluded, GF-5 is an important step in the right direction. Mayur Shah of Lubrizol gave ACC’s perspective on GF-5. “There is only one new engine test with GF-5, but many significant differences,” he noted. The spec, which is not yet final, must meet three primary needs which have to be balanced: fuel economy and fuel economy retention; protection of emissions systems; and oil robustness. The Sequence VID engine test was developed to measure fuel economy performance of engine oil, said Shah. Only 0.5 percent of fuel economy improvement over current GF-4 oils is expected to come from the lubricant, and limits for the VID (pronounced six-D) have not yet been established. But the ACC anticipates a move to lower viscosity grades and continued use of friction modifiers to deliver fuel economy benefits. For emissions control system protection, a new Sequence IIIGB test will analyze how much phosphorus remains in used oil, with anticipated limits of 78 to 80 percent phosphorus retention, Shah continued. A variety of engine and bench tests, plus more stringent limits for existing tests, are under consideration for oil robustness. The tight GF-5 timeline is a particular challenge, said Shah. The Sequence VID matrix has just been completed, and a six-month technology demonstration period is planned from June to December. The first license date is likely to be in the third or fourth quarter of 2010, with mandatory licensing a year later. GF-5 won’t come cheap. The approximate cost of the core testing program, assuming a first-time pass on all tests, is $180,000, said Shah. The most expensive test is the Sequence VG, at about $55,000. The base oil interchange/viscosity grade read-across program costs about $60,000 to $100,000, depending on the additive company’s customer’s requirements. The BOI/VGRA guidelines have not yet been established, Shah cautioned. “GF-5 will cover 80 percent of all new vehicles in the United States in 2011 plus all existing cars,” said Shah. “But there are tradeoffs between fuel economy and robustness.” A shift to lower viscosity grades will be driven by fuel economy, and base oil choices will change. “The U.S. market could get more complex,” Shah noted, agreeing with Stockwell. GM’s proposed global specification, combined with the projected growth in diesel passenger cars and the introduction of hybrids, including plug-in electric cars, all contribute to complexity. “The timing is a challenge and the tradeoffs are a challenge,” Shah concluded, “but GF-5 is a significant upgrade over GF-4.” SK Energy’s Mike Brown wrapped up the panel with a look at the base oil requirements under GF-5. “Fuel economy is driving the shift to improved viscometric properties of 5W and 0W oils,” he said. Onboard oil change indicators prompt consumers to seek synthetic oils for extended drain protection, and GM’s proposed global specs have an appetite for low volatility Group III base stocks. OEMs are already recommending lower viscosity grades, Brown continued, replacing SAE 5W-30 with 5W-20. Ford and Toyota specify 5W-20 for service fill, and 0W-20 is recommended for some Toyota engines. “SAE 0W-20 can be formulated entirely with Group III base stocks or a Group II/Group IV mix,” Brown noted. Other OEMs continue to shift from 10W-30, but it’s mixed, Brown said. Honda mainly recommends 5W-20; Nissan mainly 5W-30; while BMW and GM are still 5W-30. The higher fuel economy oils are also the fastest growing, on both the passenger car and heavy duty side, Brown continued, although their market share is still small. Looking forward to 2015, “expect SAE 0W-20 to grow, although U.S. OEMs are not going to follow until GF-5 is in place. And you don’t need to use PAO to make 0W-20.” For light-duty diesel vehicles, Brown expects OEMs to recommend 5W-30 and 5W-40 grades to maximize fuel economy. The 0W-30 will require mostly Group III base stocks, although some level of PAO may be needed for volatility and cold-cranking viscosity corrections, depending on the amount of additives and viscosity modifier used. Group III availability is not an issue, Brown said. Group III supply in North America today, including imports, is about 34,250 barrels per day. With new volumes from Neste and others, that number should reach 97,280 b/d by 2012. The bottom line, said Group III supplier Brown, is “higher viscosity index Group III base oils give better fuel economy.”