If you recall, in part one of this two-part series, we took a look at the challenges facing the trucking industry with regard to the EPAs 2007 low emission standards for 2007 heavy duty diesel engines. These standards include the use of ultra low sulphur diesel (ULSD) fuel, improved in-cylinder combustion, exhaust aftertreatment devices and new API CJ-4 engine oils.
The trucking industry has come to understand that regulatory changes are inevitable, and theyve taken a proactive stance to continually anticipate, and plan for, such changes. Doing so helps to streamline the entire transition process. The same applies to HDEO manufacturers. To ensure that the best possible product hits the market at the best possible time, it is of utmost importance for the manufacturer to employ a meticulous planning, development and testing process. This process should begin years in advance of any anticipated regulation ever being finalized.
In part one we also touched on user concerns such as costs, drain intervals and backwards compatibility.
We were told, by oil manufacturers, that the CJ-4 oils will indeed be backwards compatible. And that fleet managers are being encouraged to either implement a check process to ensure that the correct oil is used or to switch exclusively to CJ-4 for all of their engines both new and old. Doing so will negate the costly mistake of using an incorrect oil for their engine.
As for drain intervals, the default is to adhere to the recommendations of OEMs. But CJ-4 oils are designed to deliver improved performance and may even extend drain intervals. This, of course, will depend on several factors, including nature of use, type of driving, load weight and the use of ULSD fuel.
The cost factor isnt quite set in stone just yet, but if industry estimates prove true then CJ-4 oils will come in at a 15 20% premium. This increase is due to the substantial investment (said to be approximately $1-2 million) that each manufacturer has incurred during the testing and development stages of their product.
Choosing Your CJ-4 Yes, shifting to a CJ-4 oil is only one aspect of complying with the 2007 low emission standards, but choosing the absolute best product available will play a big role in easily conforming to the latest OEM specifications for their 07 low emission engines. These engines will be equipped with an advanced exhaust aftertreatment device called the diesel particulate filter (DPF). And just how well the DPF operates and is protected is directly linked to the quality of the engine oil that is being used. For instance, when choosing an oil it is imperative to make sure that it meets the ash restriction of 1.0% max (ash content comes directly from the engine oil). Not to mention the new limits set regarding oil content such as phosphorus, oil volatility and sulphur (sulphur is one of the DPFs biggest enemies).
Of course with any product, you get what you pay for. So when purchasing an HDEO, which is essentially the lifeblood of any fleet, it is imperative that the right decision is made. Choose an inferior product now, and it will almost certainly cause some problems later, including the possibility of premature maintenance and drain intervals.
The Next Few Months It will be interesting to see how pricing will affect the transition to CJ-4. Some have speculated that due to the higher cost of CJ-4, fleets may take the chance and choose to stick with CI-4 oil until its absolutely necessary to change (which will be when pre 07 engines are off the roads completely).
Still, its important for users not to lose sight of the benefits of CJ-4. The fact is, this is a category upgrade and users will benefit from the new formula and its premium performance offering.
Some Food For Thought Lost in the shuffle of all the worries and concerns about CJ-4 pricing, drain intervals and back-serviceability is the simple fact that this really is a good thing for the industry and, most importantly, for the environment. Protecting and improving our environment is a joint effort between all of us, and conforming to the EPAs 2007 (and future) standards is a way for the trucking industry and OEMs to do their part.
By Colleen Flanagan, Category Manager, Commercial Transportation Lubricants, Petro-Canada Lubricants
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