As I put the finishing touches on a feature in the June issues of Truck News and Truck West about the impending PC-11 heavy-duty engine oil category, I received word implementation of PC-11 has been moved forward from Spring 2017 to December 2016. The reason for this is the engine OEMs want to use the fuel-saving benefits of PC-11 as a means of complying with GHG Phase 2 requirements, which will be brought in on 2018 model year trucks.
The PC-11 category will be divided into two sub-categories; one will be a backwards-compatible direct replacement oil for what you’re using today. The other will be a lower-viscosity oil designed to significantly improve fuel economy. While it’s widely been said the fuel economy grade oil won’t be backwards-compatible, Shell oil guru Dan Arcy revealed in an interview with me that he’s not yet convinced that’ll be the case.
“Shell has gone out and we’ve run our low-viscosity PC-11 B oils in all the manufacturers’ engines out there,” he said. “We’ve been able to show equivalent wear protection (to today’s oils). If we go back to CJ-4, originally the engine manufacturers during the development process said ‘We don’t think this is going to be backwards-compatible.’ It turned out enough data was generated and they allowed for it. So what I’m really saying is, although we say it may not be backwards-compatible, I think the jury is still out on that one. We’ll have to wait until we get closer to get a definitive statement from each of the individual OEMs on what their position is on it.”
If you missed our update on PC-11 in the June issue, you can check it out online here and start planning your oil strategy for 2017 and beyond.
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