Emissions will stress lubes

Although engine makers have yet to finalize designs, the 2002 emission levels for heavy-duty diesel engines will undoubtedly place increased stress on engine lubricants, according to a senior technical expert at ExxonMobil.

Speaking at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Michael Ragomo said the lubricant industry is working under the assumption that those engines will use exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) systems. The proposed oil specifications for those engines, known as PC9, call for increased dispersency, higher total base numbers, better antioxidation control and new anti-wear strategies.

Ragomo, whose formal title is product adviser for heavy-duty lubricants but who also does a radio call-in show under the name Dr. Delvac, said the oil industry expects to finalize PC9 specifications by June. However, he explained that engine manufacturers could also issue subsequent oil specifications that go beyond PC9.

The major issue in establishing PC9 standards is balancing engine durability with current extended drain intervals, according to Ragomo. While recent upgrades in oil specifications have maintained backwards compatibility with older engines, Ragomo added that the new oils might be limited to 2002 and later engines.