The road to ILSAC GF-6

A summary of the ILSAC GF-6 specification developments and timings reported by Infineum Insight.

ILSAC GF-6 history of development

May 1 2020

ILSAC GF-6A and GF-6B First Allowable Use date - the first day that marketers can begin selling the next-generation engine oil under the 18th edition of API 1509, Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System (EOLCS), which was published in July of 2019.

Oils can now claim ILSAC GF-6A/API SP or GF-6B/API Resource Conserving (RC)

The North American passenger car engine oil market is expected to transition quite quickly to ILSAC GF-6 in 2020

January 2020*

Most suppliers well underway with ILSAC GF-6 product development

Requalification work underway in different base stocks to ensure oil marketers can continue to supply the breadth of products required

Customers can register oils with GF-6 data from January 2020, but cannot claim ILSAC GF-6A/API SP or GF-6B/API Resource Conserving (RC) until May

June 2019*

Industry approves ILSAC GF-6 specification and the first allowable use date

Work on API SP and SP Resource Conserving almost complete

First allowable use date for ILSAC GF-6A and GF-6B set to May 1 2020

April 2019*

Proposed limits for ILSAC GF-6 unanimously accepted at the Auto/Oil Advisory Panel (AOAP) meeting, representing real progress

ACC PAPTG agrees the Technology Demonstration Period will end on May 1 2019, two months earlier than previously established.

The first licensing date for ILSAC GF-6A and GF-6B balloted as May 1 2020.

API progresses trademarking of the new ILSAC GF-6B Shield Certification Mark.

May 2018*

API SN Plus category launched on 1 May 2018 - means Industry must now work to introduce two new specifications within a few years of each other.

Sequence IVB narrowly passed ballot at Auto Oil Advisory Panel (AOAP) meeting in May.

BOI/VGRA for the Sequence IX (LSPI) test have been approved and are now in effect.

December 2017*

Progressing the API SN Plus supplement has consumed significant industry effort. However, ILSAC says it will not impact GF-6 timings and that developments here must continue without delay to deliver the performance and fuel economy improvements required by OEMs.

With the seven new tests at different points in their readiness for BOI/VGRA matrix testing, the exact timing for ILSAC GF-6 remains unclear.

September 2017*

API SN supplement requested by OEMs to include an LSPI test to deliver turbocharger protection.

Still no FAU for ILSAC GF-6 - AOAP was waiting for a clearer picture of test development completion.

BOI-VGRA - matrix designs recommended to establish read across in the Sequence IIIH, IVB, VH, VIE, LSPI and Chain Wear tests.

June 2017*

Test development continued to be the major challenge, first allowable use date expected to slip well into 2019.

Cross-industry subgroup of API/ACC/ILSAC review remaining activities to look for ways to minimise further delay.

Official FAU date will not be published until all stakeholders are sure it is achievable and should not need to be delayed further.

April 2017*

Expected that FAU will slip into 2019. Many did not see ILSAC GF-6 being ready for MY 2019 vehicles.

Infineum said it felt the new categories need a minimum life of four to five years to justify the significant investment all stakeholders must make.

Category Life Oversight Group (CLOG) continued to plan ways to sustain older categories once the current legacy tests become unavailable. Provisional Licensing Guidelines for the current possible situations if more than one test is unavailable were being drafted to maintain the current API specifications and allow marketers to license oils against the current performance categories. 

December 2016

Test development continued to move forward slowly, but timing for ILSAC GF-6 was unclear and it appeared first allowable use (FAU) could slip into 2019 if any test experienced a significant delay.

Noted that it was essential for industry to get the tests right so that ILSAC GF-6 would provide the required performance and to avoid the need to develop ‘GF-6 plus’ type products immediately after the launch of ILSAC GF-6.
September 2016

The slow pace of test development and approval delayed the new category and first allowable use was not expected before Q4 2018. However, the new Sequence IIIH was in place with official registration set to begin. The Sequence VIE test was accepted by the Surveillance Panel.

Concern was expressed over the upcoming unavailability of Sequence VID and IIIG and the impact on sustaining the ILSAC GF-5 and API SN categories.
June 2016 

Industry stakeholders acknowledged that delay was inevitable and worked to define a new timeline. This was a significant concern for OEMs who wanted to use ILSAC GF-6 technology for their MY 2019 engines. Not all tests had started precision matrix work, and the ones that had were not without concern.

March 2016 

Precision matrices began for the chain wear, Sequence VIE and LSPI tests. The Sequence VG-A was expected to be ready by May 2016. The MHT-4 test was removed from the ILSAC GF-6 specification. ILSAC decided that only SAE 0W-16 would be allowed as an ILSAC grade for ILSAC GF-6.

December 2015 

Slow progress continued. The number of new tests meant industry was dealing with some significant test issues, which were expected to further delay the category. The Sequence IIIH test completed its matrix, but the results raised concerns over precision and acceptability. Sequence VIII unexpectedly hit an issue with a new lead bearing batch.

API was concerned about the high probability that up to four tests (VID, IIG, IIIF and VG) could become unavailable by 2016.

September 2015                

Timing slipped to April 1 2018. Real issues and debates arose concerning some of the new tests and only the Sequence IIIH had started its precision matrix. Fuel issues postponed the new Sequence VH test to after ILSAC GF-6 first allowable use. New issue reported, which concerned fuel economy requirements for the ILSAC GF-6B (SAE XW-16) specification. Task force formed to address precision and reliability concerns for the NOACK test for volatility

The memorandum of agreement for the precision matrices of the Sequence IIIH, IVB, VH, VIE, Chain Wear and LSPI tests was signed by all parties.

June 2015

Although tests had made good progress, none had started its precision matrix and none expected to start before Q3 2015.

FAU date was expected to slip to February 1 2018.

March 2015

It was expected that all the new tests would be ready to begin industry precision matrix work before 2H 2015. Sequence IIIH task force was declared ready for the industry matrices.

December 2014

Good progress on test development. Sequence VIE and VH almost approved. LSPI, oxidation and Sequence IIIH still required work. A ballot was passed to allow licensing of API SN for SAE 0W-30 oils.

Industry voted to amend ILSAC GF-5 so Starburst cannot be used before ILSAC GF-6 FAU for SAE xW-16 grades.

SAE Technical Committee 1 issued a ballot to allow SAE 8 and 12 grades to be defined.
September 2014

Tentative date of FAU for ILSAC GF-6 set to December 1 2017. Licensing for API SAE XW-16 prior to ILSAC GF-6 was a big topic for debate.

Auto-Oil Advisory Panel held a ballot on product labeling.

 June 2014 Appeared that ILSAC timing would slip possibly six months.
March 2014 

Acknowledged that, for at least some of the tests, it would be hard to achieve the end of second quarter 2014 target date for beginning precision matrix testing.

Infineum suggested it would be a disservice to the industry if ILSAC GF-7 had to be introduced early because of a rush to poor decisions with ILSAC GF-6. Also recognised that introducing new products would add logistic complexity and suggested it might be time for legacy products to be retired.

December 2013

Funding for precision matrices had not been finalised. With all the new tests, and escalating costs of engine testing in general, it was suggested that ILSAC GF-6 testing could cost up to $8 million dollars.

Highlights from industry meetings on test development were presented.

September 2013 First allowable use (FAU) date was pushed back from 30 September 2016 until 1 January 2017. OEMs committed to have their tests ready by Q1 2014 to meet the timeline.
June 2013 The SAE J-300 standard was officially modified and issued in April to include the new SAE 16 viscosity grade, which for the first time defined an SAE grade below 2.6 cP minimum HTHS viscosity. Infineum stressed the importance of retaining a nine month gap between the release of ILSAC GF-6 and PC-11 and predicted at least a three month delay.
March 2013

Industry agreed to push back the timing of ILSAC GF-6 until September 30 2016. Two key focus areas were Sequence IIIG development and LSPI test development. Development of Sequence VH, VIE, IVB were moving along at an acceptable pace.

September 2012

Recognised ILSAC GF-6 timing likely to slip at least a year. 

Selection and acceptance of a new oxidation/deposit test and the management of SAE 0W-16 oils were the key issues.
June 2012

Mixed progress on test development. Sequence VH, VID and IVA were proceeding on schedule. But uncertainty about the Sequence IIIG replacement. ILSAC decided not to lower the Noack requirement from 15% to 13% maximum.

March 2012

Seven new tests were proposed for ILSAC GF-6: the Sequence IIIH, VH, IVB, VID, aeration, turbo deposits and Low Speed Pre-Ignition test (LSPI).

February 2011 Discussion draft document was updated and formally presented as a Draft Specification for ILSAC GF-6A and ILSAC GF-6B at the Auto Oil Advisory Panel meeting. ILSAC GF-6 scheduled for January 1 2015.
October 2011 A document titled ‘Discussion Draft: ILSAC GF-6A and GF-6B’, the initial draft of the ILSAC Needs Statement, was presented at the joint ILSAC API Lubes Group meeting for industry consideration.

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