What is possible is that Ford has a design in it's current product (6.7L PSD) that might actually be so sensitive that it needs a few hundred more ppm of Phos. Possible? Yes. Probable? We don't know because they won't share info. Why not share the details? The list is nearly endless ... If Ford has discovered a component(s) issue that is sensitive to CK-4, then they have a moral responsibility to speak up; I applaud that. But the other half of that obligation is to speak out about WHY it's now a directive to avoid the CK-4.
What I find a bit disingenuous is that they make a blanket statement about all PSDs; don't use CK-4 at all. At least given the info I've read posted in many places to date, it leads one to believe that CK-4 is to be avoided in all previous diesel engines. Am I to believe that they have done extensive testing on older 7.3L, 6.0L and 6.4L PSDs with CK-4? Is the same failure mode present in former engine designs? (I.E. do all manner of PSD have the same failure mode, or does each have a unique failure mode? Cams, bearings, rockers, rings, whatever ....)
Have we seen a statement from Navistar about the previous three generations of LD diesels that they in fact designed and manufactured? There are plenty of trucks and buses still running the older engines in fleet ops; what is Navistar's position? Admittedly, the split between Ford and Navistar was not pleasant, so they are not really concerned with the opinion of the other ...
Further, now that they have their (secret) data, what do they do with it? They make a new Ford oil spec.
Are they going to put any effort into addressing the core issue? Cannot they find a means to make their components compatible with CK-4? Does a component material spec need to be updated? A rocker arm redesigned? A cam lobe profile changed? A bearing widened? Whatever the root cause, are they going to address it moving forward, or just blame the CK-4 and then mandate the oil be compatible or else??????
It would be nice to know how quickly this problem manifests itself. Will one OCI of CK-4 start the problem, so much so that degradation is eminent to a point of true component failure? Or, will it take 50k miles of CK-4? Or 100k miles of use? or only 20k miles of use? Again- because Ford won't share, we're at a loss here.
I don't see a good exit for Ford here. There is no way out without some form of penalty in loss of credibility. They either cried wolf and made a mistake, or they have a component/system problem on their hands and their easy solution is to blame another industry.
I understand that Ford may have stumbled onto a true concern here, but until they speak up fully, giving details (even at the risk of real sales pain), they are just a cautionary tale.
If I owned on of these engines, I would tend to agree that the prudent thing would be to not use the CK-4 at the moment. But I'd also be beating on my dealer, and every point of Ford Customer Service contact I could find, and encouraging every other owner I know, to demand full disclosure of the issue. I doubt it will ever come, though.
I suspect what we'll eventually see is that Ford will address the issue in the mechanical sense; they will update/upgrade some component(s) to be compatible with CK-4. But their current position allows them a very valid way out of class action lawsuits. Ford can essentially state this:
We made a product (6.7L) that was compatible with another industry's product (CJ-4). That industry changed the product quicker than we were able to fully vet the effects, and now know the successor fluid (CK-4) is not compatible with our 6.7L product design parameters. We're currently engaged in efforts to make our product compatible with CK-4. We made the concern known in public broadcast and offered an alternative so as owners can avoid the failure mode. Any undue failures based on use of unapproved lubes is not our fault. We told you so. Caveat Emptor.
- GM/Allison went through this, although it was an internal lube change and not an industry change. Depending on who you talk to (Whitewolf or TJ), you're going to get a different version of the event. But the end result was that GM updated a seal to be compatible with a potential chemistry issue in DEX VI. Allison established a serial number cut-off and informed customers about the concern in detail (" ... on units prior to # xxx-yyyy, DEX VI may harden/crack a pump seal under certain conditions"). Although internal corporate sources may diverge in their opinion as to it's true effect, at least the OEM gave owners a reasonable explanation and made a product change to assure compatibility moving forward.
- GM also did a similar thing with the same transmission in terms of the high-idle warm-up feature and non-PAO fluids. At uber cold temps, the use of the Duramax warm-up protocol may cause the trans to heat non-PAO fluids to a point of significant fluid expansion and it will burp fluid out the vent. So GM advised it's owners and dealers of the root cause of the issue, and told them how to avoid it by offering a lube alternative and/or altering fluid levels and/or altering operational parameters (avoiding prolonged high-idle periods).
Ford could take a few notes from GM here. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem; Ford did that. However their statement is devoid of significant details.
The rest of the solution is to describe the concern fully and publicly, and then also commit to a change with nullifies the concern.
It's OK for Ford to state not to use something, in the short term. But tell us WHY the concern exists, in detail. Then tell us what you're doing to fix it in the long term. And the answers better not include blaming someone else.