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A Ford illustration shows

direct injection in action.


engines, placing the oil under
more stress.

Direct- The higher temperatures,

often combined with higher

injection Is fuel dilution, can lead to oxida-

Hot and Engine Oil’s

Next Big
tion, oil thickening, deposits
and sludge. Studies show that
fuel quality is critical to the
reliable operation of TGDI

Stressed Hurdle
engines. This is a particular
concern when these engines
are introduced to developing
countries. Although fuel in

major urban areas is well con-
trolled, the quality in many
he relentless drive to outlying areas can be very
improve engine effi- poor, containing more so-
ciency and perfor- called “heavy ends” and sulfur.
mance has led to the devel- These constituents lead to
opment of small turbo- increased fuel dilution and
charged, gasoline direct- acid generation compared to
injection (TGDI) engines. As high-quality fuel, causing sig-
governmental regulations nificant oil degradation.
on emissions and fuel effi- Under these operating con-
ciency become increasingly ditions, severe deposits can
more stringent worldwide, form on some of the very hot
original equipment manu- surfaces within the engine,
facturers are using TGDI to such as those within the tur-
improve fuel efficiency and bocharger bearing housing,
reduce carbon dioxide emis- and lead to bearing failure. In
sions versus comparable addition to these hard
port fuel injection technolo- deposits, the increased oxida-
gy, while maintaining or tion can generate significant
improving power output sludge that blocks filters and
and performance. oil galleries. Fortunately,
It is predicted that 50 per- engine oil formulators have a
cent of new passenger cars lot of weapons in their arsenal
sold by 2020 will be to meet these challenges.
equipped with GDI or TGDI
engine technology. These DI: The Good and the Bad
engines feature increased In a GDI engine, gasoline is
power density, squeezing injected directly into the
more performance out of a combustion chamber, rather
smaller package. However, than into the intake port.
they have the adverse effect This arrangement provides
of running hotter and hard- significant benefits in power
er than conventional and efficiency over the tradi-
Figure 1.
Direct Injection and Oil Viscosity

Tests show that

viscosity increases
at a much faster
rate in turbo-
charged direct-
injection engines
than in conven-
tional port fuel
injector engines.
(Source: Lubrizol

tional port fuel injection become an issue, and low speed/load map where pre-
method. Adding a turbo- SAPS oils — low in sulfated ignition can occur. In severe
charger to gasoline direct ash, phosphorus and sulfur cases, LSPI can damage pis-
injection engines greatly — will be needed, just as they tons, degrade performance,
increases power, cuts CO2 now are in diesel engines. lower fuel efficiency and
emissions and improves fuel A second issue is that the increase emissions.
economy. particulates entering the oil Investigation is under way
However, with direct injec- via blowby gases increase to determine the connection
tion some of the fuel does wear rates. A number of between engine oil and the
not fully vaporize, with the OEMs have noted issues LSPI phenomenon. Several
result that GDI engines gen- with cam-chain wear when OEMs have expressed inter-
erally have relatively high they switch from port fuel est in investigating and mini-
levels of very fine particulate injectors to GDI. mizing LSPI, and automakers
matter in the exhaust. This Third, the combination of have included it as a perfor-
leads to a number of conse- higher torque and smaller mance parameter in their
quences, but most especially engines inevitably results in proposed ILSAC GF-6 gaso-
health concerns that are increased bearing loads. line engine oil standard.
spurring governments to Many OEMs are looking to
place strict limits on emis- reduce viscosity to improve The Oil Challenge
sions of GDI particulates. fuel economy and CO2 emis- A number of studies have
In fact, pending Euro 6 leg- sions, but lower viscosity been undertaken to investi-
islation will include limits on puts these highly loaded gate oil-related issues in
GDI particulate levels that bearings at risk. Improved TGDI engines. In one study,
may require the use of partic- antiwear additive technology tests were run on a small
ulate filters on gasoline will be required to allow a TGDI engine to examine
engines, such as required on move to very low viscosity sludge generation using a
diesel engines. Many OEMs engine oils. test cycle similar to that of
believe they will be able to One of the lesser under- the M111 sludge test previ-
meet the new legislation by stood issues that plague ously used in Europe’s ACEA
improving combustion, but TGDI engines is low-speed Oil Sequences. Although the
environmental groups are pre-ignition (LSPI). The abili- TGDI engine was run on a
already calling for the univer- ty of these engines to oper- slightly different test cycle,
sal adoption of particulate fil- ate at high torque and low more suitable for this engine
ters on GDI engines, even if speed is of great value to the type, the severity of the
limits are met. Ash blocking driver, but it places the cycle was considered similar
of these filters will then engine in the area of the to that of the port fuel

Figure 2.
Sludge Performance in TGDI Engines

Low tier = API SG

High tier = ACEA A3/B4 plus added

performance for developing markets

injected engine. sembled, large amounts of cles are then transferred into accumulate more in the oil
The study revealed that sludge were found in the oil the oil, increasing the pan and accelerate the
the oxidation was much pan and valvetrain area. The sludge-forming tendency. degradation of the engine
more aggressive with TGDI, high tier oil was an ACEA Again, the higher-quality oil.
and a rapid viscosity increase A3/B4 lubricant with addi- oil showed significantly bet- For this trial, the impor-
occurred much earlier (see tive technology developed ter performance in these tant goal was to determine
Figure 1). One conclusion specifically for use in devel- conditions. The turbocharg- whether poor-quality oils
from this test is that running oping markets, mainly to er shaft and bearings were would break down in a simi-
for an equivalent distance on address the issues of poor much cleaner, the oil feed lar way to that predicted on
the road can have cata- fuel quality. This oil has holes were clear, and the the engine dynamometer.
strophic effects on oil condi- improved antioxidants, possibility of the turbo shaft Therefore, the same low tier
tion and, therefore, on the detergents and dispersants seizing was greatly reduced oil was used.
engine. The situation can be designed to minimize (Figure 3, page 5). In the road test, viscosity
significantly improved by sludge deposits. At the end began to increase at about
using oil formulations that of the test, this oil produced Countering Poor Fuel Quality 6,000 kilometers and
include more oxidatively sta- sludge deposit ratings close A major concern of TGDI rose rapidly at 8,000 km.
ble base stocks and more to 10 out of 10 for cleanli- OEMs is the wide variation Inspection showed that the
robust additive packages. To ness (Figure 2). in fuel quality outside major oil had broken down, and
verify this The hot gases in the tur- urban areas in developing the same oil filter blockage
conclusion, a test was bocharger turbine area cre- countries. To assess the occurred. Sludge deposits
performed to compare a low ate a very harsh environ- effects of low-quality fuel in were deep and broadly simi-
tier oil and a modern, high ment for the oil in the bear- an actual, on-road environ- lar to those seen on the
tier oil. ing housing. This is proba- ment, Lubrizol ran a field dynamometer test.
The low tier oil was an API bly the most severe area in trial in Hangzhou, China, on
SG quality level, which is the whole engine for the oil, a medium-size vehicle, pow- Future Oils
technically obsolete but can with oil temperatures ered by the same small The knowledge gained from
still be found in developing exceeding 350 degrees C for TGDI engine used in the these investigations has
markets. When the test short periods. dynamometer test. The greatly helped in developing
reached about 180 hours, Under these conditions, route was a mix of urban, oil formulations. The foun-
viscosity rose rapidly, and lower-tier oils can produce highway and hilly roads. The dation to any good quality
sludge blocked the oil filter hard carbon deposits on the trial used a poor-quality fuel, engine oil is the right choice
to the point where the turbine shaft and bearings. designed to represent those of base stock. Two key para-
bypass valve opened, allow- These deposits can build up in less-developed areas of meters for TGDI use are oxi-
ing unfiltered engine oil to the point where the shaft China. In particular, the fuel dation stability at higher
through to the valve gallery. can seize in the bearings, contained some heavy com- temperatures and volatility.
When the engine was disas- and many of the hard parti- ponents that are known to There is a great deal of

Figure 3.
Bearing Deposits in TGDI Engines

Low tier oil: High-

temperature oxidation
drives viscosity increase
and sludge deposits.

High tier oil: No signifi-

cant sludge deposits

focus on API Group III base sure dictate the use of par- engine tests have also been
oils because they provide ticulate filters, ash, phospho- proposed for North
very good performance in a rus and sulfur content will American specifications.
cost-effective package and have to be limited to levels Individual OEMs need to
are widely available from a similar to those used in protect their versions of
number of suppliers across ACEA C Oil Sequences. these engines, and several
the globe. Performance is Finally, all the chemistries TGDI engines have recently
close to that of Group IV need to be combined in a appeared in OEM oil specifi-
polyalphaolefin base oils. balanced formulation, cations. In developing mar-
In addition, additive tech- including suitable viscosity kets such as China, domestic
nologies are available to pro- modifiers. This is where the OEMs have normally relied
vide the much-needed pro- knowledge and skill of the on industry standard specifi-
tection from each challenge formulator makes a real dif- cations, but they too are
facing the lubricant. For ference to the finished fluid. looking at their own specifi-
example, a good combination cations, including tests on
of antioxidants and deter- Industry & OEM Actions their TGDI technology.
gents can significantly reduce Industry specifications for TGDI engines have many
the formation of oxidized engine oils are generally benefits and will be used in
species that create sludge, slow to adopt the latest greater numbers, especially
and a balanced mixture of engine types in the list of as fuel economy and CO2
detergents can reduce required performance tests. emissions are increasingly
deposit formation on the pis- However, industry organiza- the dominant drivers of
tons. Finally, optimized dis- tions and individual OEMs engine development.
persants can solubilize are recognizing that tests Because of the stress these
sludge, preventing its separa- based on older engines can engines place on the oil,
tion from the lubricant. no longer guarantee the pro- high-quality oils are essential
While the amount of fuel tection needed for modern to provide the necessary
dilution depends on engine TGDI engines. An example protection. Experts from the
design and combustion char- can be found in the oil and additive industry, in
acteristics, once fuel is in the European ACEA Oil close cooperation with
oil, good antiwear technolo- Sequences, where a sludge OEMs, are responding to
gy can compensate for the test using a TGDI engine is the challenge by developing
fuel’s thinning effect. Also, currently under develop- the next generation of Keith Howard is a technical
antioxidants and detergents ment. Also, a TGDI oxida- engine oils to enable these manager in the Engine Oils
can keep the engine clean if tion/deposit test has been hot and hard-running Group at Lubrizol Ltd.,
fuel quality is poor. proposed, with deposits in engines to provide years of Hazelwood, U.K. For more
If future emissions legisla- the turbo bearing area being clean, efficient and reliable information, e-mail him at
tion and environmental pres- a key parameter. TGDI operation. ❚