Engine Oils specificationsStratson
Engine Oil Specifications:
There has been a great deal of comment lately concerning engine oils. The State of California is looking to remove all of the oils that only meet obsolete specifications’ from the store shelves. API (American Petroleum Institute) has released new Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oils Specifications CK-4 and FA-4. New Diesel Engines from Ford exhibit excess valve train wear with these new oil specification oils, and other news items.
Engine oils have been divided into two (2) main classes since the 1930’s, C for compression engines such as diesel, and S for spark ignited such as gasoline. The first specifications being CA and SA, then continuing up the alphabet as new specifications and requirements were adopted. The older specifications such as SA and CA were basically oil with little or no additives and designed for engines where you changed the oil every 200 miles.
Today’s oils are a balanced complex mixture of performance additives and oils designed to meet the challenges put forth by modern engine technology, emission requirements, and fuel economy performance. Some of these older specification oils are still available for use in older vehicles, so if you owned an early 1970’s car it was designed to use a SF specification oil, the same goes for older diesels that required CC, CD, etc., oils they are still available at many retail outlets. Today’s oils are backwards compatible so you can safely use them in older vehicles. Certain engines such as the Ford flathead with tappets need extra anti-wear additives for valve train protection.
What’s the problem?
Unfortunately the older less expensive specification oils are on the shelf next to pricy current specification oil and the consumer looking for the lowest cost oil buys the lower priced older specification oil and then wonders why their engine failed. The older specification oils will not protect and perform in modern engines. So to protect the general public the State of California has proposed legislature to ban older specification oils from most auto parts stores and retail outlets. They are considering specialty outlets for antique and custom car enthusiast.
CK-4 and FA-4
On December 1, 2016 API allowed the first sales of the new CK-4 and FA-4 Heavy Duty Engine Oils (HDDEO) for use in 2017 and newer diesel engines. The CK-4 is backwards compatible and can safely be used in pre-2017 engines. FA-4 is designed for use in 2017 and newer engines that meet the new Green House Gas regulations ONLY. FA-4 oils are NOT backwards compatible. The primary differences between these oils and previous oils specifications such as the CJ-4 (SWEPCO 308) are :
- lower zinc and phosphorous levels requiring alternate anti-wear additive technologies;
- better shear characteristics for better stay in grade over long drain intervals, and;
- better oxidation resistance for longer life and less sludge.
FA-4 oils are ONLY available in 5W20, 5W30 and 10W30 viscosities, CK-4 oils will be available in 5W20, 5W30, 10W30 and 15W40 viscosities only. The lower viscosities tend to help with better fuel economy.
Excessive wear on valve trains with CK-4 oils
After the new specifications were released, Ford announced that they were experiencing excessive wear on the valve train in their 2017 diesel engines using the CK-4 oils. They are recommending using CJ-4 oils until they can redesign their engines.
Engine Oils specifications of SWEPCO 310
SWEPCO 310 will be available later this year and is designed to meet both the CK-4 and the FA-4 specifications, so you can recommend one superior product to all your customers. As this product is backwards compatible with older equipment, it will be ideal for mixed fleets of older and newer equipment.
Contact your SWEPCO agent for more information and questions.