Section 5.2 Lubricating Oil

Section 5.2
Lubricating Oil

The selection of the proper lubricating oil is important for achieving the long and trouble-free service Detroit Diesel Series 55 engines are designed to provide. Only oils displaying the American Petroleum Institute (API) Symbol shown below are recommended. This symbol assures that the lubricant meets the minimum performance levels necessary for proper engine performance and durability.‪

Section 5.2.1
Lubricant Requirement

Lubricants meeting these criteria have provided maximum engine life when used in conjunction with recommended oil drain and filter maintenance schedules. The API symbol for this is shown in the next illustration. See Figure "API Symbol" 1. ‪

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Figure 1. API Symbol

Lubricants meeting these criteria have provided maximum engine life when used in conjunction with specified oil drain and filter maintenance schedules. Only oils licensed by API may used in Detroit Diesel engines. Lubricants meeting API Service category CG-4 are intended for use primarily with low (0.05%) sulfur fuel and may be used in all Detroit Diesel Series 40, 50, 55, and 60 engines. ‪

API CF-4 oils may be used when CG-4 oils are not available; however, their use may require a reduction in oil drain interval depending upon the application and the fuel sulfur level.‪

At ambient temperatures below -20°C (-4°F) when sufficient starter speed cannot be achieved with SAE 15W-40 oils, the use of 5W-XX and 10W-XX oils, where XX is 30 or 40, may be used to improve startability provided they are API CG-4 and have demonstrated field performance in Detroit Diesel engines. These oils must possess a HT/HS of 3.7 minimum. Monograde oils should not be used in these engines regardless of API Service Classification unless reviewed and approved by Detroit Diesel.‪

When the use of high sulfur fuel (greater than 0.5% mass sulfur) is unavoidable, higher alkalinity lubricants are recommended. High sulfur fuels require modification to oil drain intervals. Refer to the note under "Oil Change Interval."‪

Section 5.2.2
Oil Change Interval

The length of time an engine may operate before changing oil depends on the lubricant and fuel used, engine oil consumption, and operating cycle. The maximum interval the engine may operate before changing oil is listed in Table "Maximum Oil Drain Intervals" . Oil analysis may be used to determine whether this interval should be shorter, but should not be used to lengthen the interval.‪


Oil Drain Schedule‪

Highway Truck and Motor Coach‪

15,000 miles (24,000 km)‪

Table 1. Maximum Oil Drain Intervals

Note: The use of fuels with sulfur content above 0.5% will require a shorter drain interval, and/or the use of a higher TBN oil. Refer to DDC Publication 7SE270, Lubricating Oil, Fuel, and Filter Recommendations , for details.

Extending Oil Drain Intervals: Some oil companies may promote engine lubricants with a claimed useful life that would allow customers following certain maintenance and operating parameters to elect to extend oil drain intervals beyond the recommended periods. The ability of such lubricants to maintain their protective qualities over a longer period and the acceptability of maintenance and operating parameters must be established by the oil company and the customer. Claims for engine failure attributable to the inadequacy of the lubricant are not covered under the terms of the engine's limited warranty. ‪

Section 5.2.3
Statement of Policy on Supplemental Fuel and Lubricant Additives

The Series 55 engine will operate satisfactorily on the commercial fuels and lubricants of good quality regularly provided by the petroleum industry through retail outlets.‪

Supplementary additives include all products marketed as fuel conditioner, smoke suppressants, masking agents, deodorants, tune-up compounds, top oils, break-in oils, graphitizers, and friction-reducing compounds. The regular and continued use of supplementary additives in fuels and lubricants is not recommended.‪

Note: DDC is not responsible for the cost of maintenance or repairs due to lack of required maintenance services performed or the failure to use fuel, oil, lubricants and coolant meeting DDC-recommended specifications. Performance of required maintenance and use of proper fuel, oil, lubricants and coolant are the responsibility of the owner. See the OEM's guidelines for details.

Section 5.2.4
Filter Selection and Change Intervals for Series 55 Engine

The engine oil and fuel filters recommended for use on the Series 55 engine are as follows:‪

  • Engine Oil Filter:
    • Full Flow - DDC Part No. 23550401
  • Fuel Filters: Spin-on:
    • Primary: OEM supplied
    • Secondary- DDC Part No. 23518482

The change intervals for oil and fuel filters are listed in Table "Maximum Lubricating Oil and Fuel Filter Replacement Intervals" .‪


Replacement Intervals (Fuel Sulfur Content Less Than 0.5 wt.%)‪

Highway Truck and Motor Coach‪

15,000 miles (24,000 km)‪

Table 2. Maximum Lubricating Oil and Fuel Filter Replacement Intervals

Section 5.2.5
Used Lubricating Oil Analysis Guidelines

These values indicate the need for an immediate oil change, but do not necessarily indicate internal engine problems requiring engine teardown. Characteristics relating to lubricating oil dilution should trigger corrective action to identify and find the source(s) of leaks, if the values listed in Table "Used Lubricating Oil Analysis Guidelines for Immediate Oil Change" are realized. Contact your DDC distributor or dealer regarding oil analysis services. ‪

Warning Limits‪

ASTM Designation‪

Condition Measured‪

Series 55 Limit‪

Viscosity at 104.0°F (40°C) cS Maximum Increase-% Maximum Decrease-%‪


Engine & Oil‪



Carbon (Soot) Content, Maximum - Mass %‪

E-1131 or LEMSM*‪

Engine Combustion‪


Pentane Insolubles - Mass %‪


Engine Combustion‪


Total Base Number (TBN) Minimum‪

D 4739‪

D 2896‪





Water Content (Dilution), Maximum - Vol. %‪

D 1744‪



Fuel Vol., % Maximum‪

D 3524‪



Antifreeze Maximum‪




Iron Content, Maximum - ppm (Fe)‪

D 5185‪

Engine Wear‪


Copper Content, Maximum - ppm (Cu)‪

D 5185‪

Engine Wear‪


Table 3. Used Lubricating Oil Analysis Guidelines for Immediate Oil Change

*LEMSM is a patented soot measurement process by Analysts, Inc.
NOTE: These limits are intended to be used for guidance when a single oil sample is tested. Actual limits are dependant on engine, application, and oil type. Refer to DDC Publication 7SE398 to determine the warning limits specific to your application.

Section 5.2.6
Miscellaneous Fuel and Lubricant Information

A list of "brand" name lubricants distributed by the majority of worldwide oil suppliers can be purchased from the Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA). The publication is titled EMA Lubricating Oils Data Book for Heavy-Duty Automotive and Industrial Engines . The publication shows the brand names, oil performance levels, viscosity grades, and sulfated ash contents of most "brands" marketed.‪




Series 55 Service Manual - 6SE55
Generated on 10-13-2008

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