Citrojim's Activa, 207 and Bike Tales

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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Post by Xaccers » 09 Jun 2008, 02:21

Yes that sheared bolt was a suprise!
You know how it's funny that after you've done something, you find out there was an easier way?
Well, with the tensioner, it has a sealed needle bearing, and the seals on the old one had perished, allowing grime inside to destroy the bearing causing the bolt to shear.
When I removed the old tensioner, it left the inner tube fixed to the cradle.
We spent ages gingerly winding the broken bolt tip out, when really all we needed to do (which I had to do anyway to fit the new tensioner) was pull out the tube and then use our fingers to unscrew the bolt tip!
Still, at least now we know.

Although the HDi 90 box appears to be the same at low speeds, it really isn't. Oh boy is it not the same! :D
On the motorway, it pulls, and it pulls and it pulls :twisted:
If you ever need a new gearbox, get hold of a HDi 90 one!

As for the clutch, well I'm not keen on how light it is, but it's not as light as Jim's old TD, and was only £50. Will be interesting to see how long it lasts.

The main crack in the windscreen was only about 10cm long, until I went through a car wash and it raced all the way up the screen!
So they'll be coming out on Tuesday at work to replace it.
That'll teach me to leave things on the windscreen :)
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Post by CitroJim » 09 Jun 2008, 16:59

Xac wrote:We spent ages gingerly winding the broken bolt tip out, when really all we needed to do (which I had to do anyway to fit the new tensioner) was pull out the tube and then use our fingers to unscrew the bolt tip!
Still, at least now we know.


Ahh, now that is useful information :D So the job can/could have been done without going to all the bother of removing the cradle then ](*,)

Xac wrote:Although the HDi 90 box appears to be the same at low speeds, it really isn't. Oh boy is it not the same! :D
On the motorway, it pulls, and it pulls and it pulls :twisted:
If you ever need a new gearbox, get hold of a HDi 90 one!


Brilliant :D So, you don't want your old 'box back again after it's been rebuilt I take it :lol: Is the speedo reasonably accurate at 70?

Xac wrote:As for the clutch, well I'm not keen on how light it is, but it's not as light as Jim's old TD, and was only £50. Will be interesting to see how long it lasts.


You'll learn to love it :wink: It just takes a bit of getting used to. When I drive my old TD I'm still staggered at how light it is. Lighter, in fact than the hydraulic ones on my 2.1 and Activa :o

We could always put a really strong spring on the operating arm to make it feel heavy if you like :lol:

Xac wrote:The main crack in the windscreen was only about 10cm long, until I went through a car wash and it raced all the way up the screen!


I'm still feeling incredibly guilty about that :oops: :oops: and :oops: again. I'll refund the excess it cost you. Make sure the fitter reseals the scuttle panel...
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Post by CitroJim » 09 Jun 2008, 21:55

This week I'm using my Activa as my daily driver. Mainly because it has been criminally under-used of late and the 2.1 has a full tank of diesel raedy for a trip to Somerset and back on Friday when we go to collect the keys to dad's new pad and have the carpet fitters in. Chances are, I'll score highly as no doubt the price of diesel will have gone up by 10p come the weekend :twisted:

I filled up my Activa today and what a joy. 114p for Shell. Seems cheap after 129p and 131p for diesel :lol: When does it become more economical to use my Activa as my daily driver and save the 2.1 for special occasions?

I promised myself I'd take the Activa gently and see what sort of fuel economy I could squeeze out of it but that went out of the window as soon as I left the filling station. The station I used is on a busy dual-carriageway and I had to give it some welly to make a safe exit into traffic. I so enjoyed it that I have given it welly everywhere this evening :lol: :lol: So much for fuel economy but great fun!

My Activa was rattling terribly at the rear end and on some early journeys this evening, running my girls to Brownies and Guides, I diagnosed the rear Activa Ram bush was worn and wondered if I could find time this week to make a new one and install it. I do actually have two genuine pukka ram bushes but won't use them as they are worth in the region of £250 so I'm saving those to barter for fuel when it gets really expensive :roll:

I make ram bushes from engineering grade Nylon66 in the lathe for pennies but the stuff I use is hard and not totally slient. It sure wears well but it may also contribute a little to the Harsh (by xantia Standards) ride.

I'm contemplating trying to get hold of some polyurethane rod and making a ram bush from that. It should be more compliant and a tad quieter. Polyurethane, although a bit soft and squidgy at room temperature can apparantly be machined rather effectively if you freeze it first. I'm intrigued by that and I'll have to figure out how to keep it frozen in the lathe and how to stop it heating whilst being machined. Make a batch in the deep midwinter perhaps?

Anyway, in the end it was not my ram bush at all. It was a can of that puncture repair stuff that seals and blows up your tyre all in one go (apparantly). It was rattling around in the boot :oops: :oops: I swear it sounded just like a duff ram bush...

This evening was a bit of a unique one. I managed, totally randomly, to park next to two Xantias on two separate occasions. One was an incredibly tidy silver 2.1TD Hatch and the other a blue 1.8 16V. I see that one regularly as it does the same job as mine on a Monday evening: a Girl Guide taxi.
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Post by myglaren » 10 Jun 2008, 00:12

Jim wrote:My Activa was rattling terribly at the rear end and on some early journeys this evening, running my girls to Brownies and Guides, I diagnosed the rear Activa Ram bush was worn and wondered if I could find time this week to make a new one and install it. I do actually have two genuine pukka ram bushes but won't use them as they are worth in the region of £250 so I'm saving those to barter for fuel when it gets really expensive


Getting into Mad Max territory there Jim :).

I'm intrigued by that and I'll have to figure out how to keep it frozen in the lathe and how to stop it heating whilst being machined. Make a batch in the deep midwinter perhaps?


We used to buy dry ice from a local chemical suppliers, would likely be just the job for that sort of thing.
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Post by Xaccers » 10 Jun 2008, 00:35

citrojim wrote:Ahh, now that is useful information :D So the job can/could have been done without going to all the bother of removing the cradle then ](*,)


Probably, but removing the pump and alternator wasn't hard so it'd be a close call.

citrojim]
Brilliant :D So, you don't want your old 'box back again after it's been rebuilt I take it :lol: Is the speedo reasonably accurate at 70?
[/quote]

Definitely don't want the old one back. It's as accurate, or rather inaccurate as the old one (ie about 77mph on the gps shows 70mph on the dial)

[quote="Xac wrote:
As for the clutch, well I'm not keen on how light it is, but it's not as light as Jim's old TD, and was only £50. Will be interesting to see how long it lasts.


citrojim wrote:I'm still feeling incredibly guilty about that :oops: :oops: and :oops: again. I'll refund the excess it cost you. Make sure the fitter reseals the scuttle panel...


Wasn't your fault Jim, I'm the one who left the mount arch on the windscreen!
Will be sorted tomorrow some time so yes, I'll be making sure he'll reseal the scuttle panel.
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Post by CitroJim » 14 Jun 2008, 20:16

It's been a busy week just gone and invariably it has taken me away from the forum rather more than I'd like. I've had a few moments to activate new members but precious little else. Still it's all in a good cause and the process of moving dad to Somerset is coming along a treat. Today was something of a relaxer, hence I'm here!

Dad and I went to Somerset yesterday amid fuel shortages but were OK. I 've been using my Activa all week and left the 2.1TD with a full tank ready for Friday just in case. I also filled a 20L Jerry can with diesel "just in case"

I filled up with diesel again in Somerset and really nursed it back last evening. Never above 3000rpm, never above 60 and I still have a 3/4 full tank after 150 miles :D

I tried my 3G mobile broadband whilst down in Somerset. It works at my uncle's house but not at my dad's new place three miles away :(

After the week I've just had, I needed some serious relaxation and therapy today and given the fuel situation (around here at any rate) a good blast in the Activa was out of the question :cry: so I contented myself with some Activa jobs that had been waiting all the time I've owned it :roll:

First up was a new rear ram bush. Until now I'd been running on a home-made nylon one. It was fine but there was a little noise from the rear so I decided to finally bite the bullet and fit one of my precious genuine bushes. They're quite a task to fit as they are a very tight fit in both the ram eye and the yoke. A couple of sockets, a few big washers and a long M10 bolt saw the job done and at last, a totally silent rear :D Worth doing as the slight (and I mean slight) noise from the nylon bush was upsetting what otherwise is a very quiet car and detracting from my enjoyment of it a little.

In previous ownership, both corners of the front bumper became badly scuffed from, I guess, less than complete care when parking. One side had a nasty gouge in it where it might have caught a low wall perhaps. being a MK2, the bumpers are made of a white resin and these scuffs really showed and botherd me. Whilst the car overall is far from concours and just a notch or two up from "lived in" or "scruffy", these blemishes really stood out, as they have for 18 months. They are no more :D A touch of filler, a bit of wet and dry, a few coats of paint and lacquer and it looks significantly better and no longer shouts "look at my front bumper!" every time I go near it :lol:

It also used to shout at me complaining that the passenger side door mirror was not an Activa item. At some time it had lost a mirror and it had been replaced by a low-spec mirror without a colour-coded back or an external temperature probe. The surround was also grey rather than black and looked decidedly odd.

I had a replacement from the estate Richard and I dismantled but it had a sliver back. I carefully prised off the back (only cracked one lug :roll: ) and resprayed it. I could not find any Citroen Storm Grey Metallic but found that Ford ( :shock: ) Levantine Grey Metallic is almost a perfect match :D If anything it is a little on the blue side of grey compared to Storm Grey but from a distance it is unnoticeable.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the door cards come off a MK2 once you realise there are three screws under the speaker grille holding the card on as well as a number of "poppers".

Whoever last swapped the mirror did not realise the presence of the screws behind the speaker grille so I had a bit of bodgery and damage to repair.

I'm not good with paint or bodywork but I'm relatively pleased with what I've done today. Next I'll have a go at the (badly - by me) touched-up stone chips on the front edge of the bonnet.

At least I now no longer have an Activa that nags me as soon as I look at it and who knows, one day I may be able to lift its appearance from "scruffy" to "tidy" :lol: It sure looks better now for the bumper and mirror having been sorted out and as a bonus, I now know what the outside temperature is :D
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Post by andmcit » 17 Jun 2008, 20:41

Don't stop Jim, facinating and helpful insight into the saga of
maintaining more than one needy citroen!! ;)

If I kept a regular blog putting thoughts into text I think they'd
probably send the men in White coats around to take me away
to 'help me' mind... :lol:

How straightforward is the rear ram bush as I haven't felt the
inclination to attempt a fix though my Activa seriously needs it:
my OTHER strut top and squeaky seat repairs are more
pressing in urgency first I guess!?

All the best,
Andrew
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Post by demag » 18 Jun 2008, 22:31

Hi Jim,

I haven't been on here for a while. Thanks for an entertaining read :D .

Sorry to hear you suffered from stress related problems. I think a lot of us have been down that road. Thankfully my experience was probably not as severe as some others. It was job related so I packed the job up. I'm glad you found your therapy in these wonderful cars. I don't know what it is, it's like a magnet they keep drawing you back. I've just bought another Bx and am really looking forward to getting it back to something resembling a car!

I enjoyed the read. Keep it going! :D
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Post by CitroJim » 18 Jun 2008, 22:44

I'll not stop Andrew :wink: Pleased you're findng it worth a read..

I wouldn't worry too much about the men in white coats, we're all pretty good fodder for them when you think about it :lol: But then again, consider that it was one of those men in a white coat who told me I needed an absorbing pastime (basket weaving) and running a fleet of Xantias fit the bill perfectly for me. Be nice if Xantia spares were available on the NHS though... How about an Activa Ram for the price of a prescription?

Ram bushes are not difficult but there's a little trick or knack to doing them. Firstly, choose two sockets as mandrels. One needs to be just a tad smaller than the outside diamater of the bush and one a little larger to allow the bush to slip inside it (in effect, slightly larger than the diamater of the ram eye. Find an M10 fully threaded bolt and nut which is at least an inch and a half longer than the two sockets combined. About 4 inches say. Have some sturdy washers. A day before you do the job, pop the new bush in the freezer. An M10 nut and bolt is necessary as you'll soon find the old bush will be very reluctant to be drawn out and the bolt needs to be able to take some fair torque.

Support the rear on axle stands, drop low and depressurise. The Activa system will still have pressure in it and the ram will still be under tension. Wait about 30 minutes at least for the pressure in the ram to subside a bit.

Remove the tie-bar across the rear subframe ( 4 x 13mm bolts). This bar impedes access to the ram.

Arrange a trolley jack under the N/S trailing arm and ensure you can jack it up sufficiently to lift the trailing arm to the position it would be in if the suspension was under load and on low setting (i.e. right up). Jack the trailing arm up about half way. Loosen the 8mm allen bolt in the ram eye. If it feels really tight coming out, jack the trailing arm up or down until it eases. You're looking for a point where the ram and suspension have reached a neutral point. Remove the bolt.

Jack the trailing arm right up until the ram eye is right out of the yoke and you can pull the ram forwards to fully expose the eye. Using the socket mandrels and bolt, extract the old bush. It'll be very tightly held in there. Take great care when doing this (and drawing in the new bush) that you don't damage the ram leakage return pipe spigot. It's a bit on the delicate side and hard to repair.

Carefully remove one rubber end washer from the new bush so that the mandrel you use to push it into the eye does not damage it. Draw the new bush into the eye. I suggested freezing it as it'll shrink it slightly and make the job a little easier. Pull the bush in and ensure it is central in the eye so that the inner part of the bush pokes out an equal amount each side. It's hard to see exactly so at intervals, when you are close, remove the mandrels and check. Replace the rubber end washer.

Then carefully lower the ram back in the yoke. You'll need to hold the ram above the yoke in more or less the right spot as you let the jack down slowly. The bush is tight going back into the yoke. Ensure the bush is properly aligned in the yoke as otherwise it is impossible to get the bolt back in. I used a long tapered punch to finally align the bush to the yoke holes.

Replace the bolt, tighten up and as Mr. Haynes says, everything else is now a reversal of disassembly.

Take the car for a spin and be dazzled at how quiet the rear now is :D One thing that you learn from doing this and how tight that bush fits is that you only need the tiniest, weeniest bit of play in the bush, either up or down or sideways in the yoke for it to make the most awful racket!
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Post by CitroJim » 24 Jun 2008, 13:02

Just a quickie, just to say I'm back after my very busy few days. Things will shortly return to normal now..

I'll write a full update on my adventures in due course :wink: :roll: :lol:
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Post by CitroJim » 29 Jun 2008, 19:49

My last post to say I was back was a bit premature :( I really am now though. Life is more or less back to normal after a really hectic couple of weeks one way and another... I apologise for delay in responding to emails and PMs. I'm catching up on those. Apologies also to new members who may have had to wait a bit longer than is the norm for activation.

The move of my elderly parents to Somerset went really well :D They're both happily settled in their new sheltered bungalow and I'm just about back happily settled in my house.

My 2.1TD discharged it's duties splendidly in five runs to Somerset and back over the past two weeks. Fuel economy was excellent and the best was 53mpg :D For one trip I used the Activa for a change (a nice change :lol: ) and got 38mpg out of it :D :D The real reason for these seemingly excellent figures is that the A34 and A303 is absolutely littered with mobile speed cameras and you just can't take a chance. Poor old Vicky Butler-Henderson, who seems to live inside my Tom Tom went hoarse telling me about all the cameras :lol: Trouble is, they like to site these mobiles at the bottom of hills on otherwise straight dual carriageways. Beware the hill before the final hill that runs to the A34/A303 junction. There was one there on Thursday last and I have a horrible feeling it got me :cry: :evil:

For the heavy move I hired a Luton van which turned out to be a Volkswagen with the 4 cylinder (1.9?) TDI engine. What a cracker of an engine, nearly as good as an XUD and incredibly economical. We used about £80 worth of diesel to do 300 miles or so. The VW was an arm and leg in front of a tranny van both in terms of economy and driving pleasure :D The only criticism perhaps is that with a full load in the Luton body it struggled a bit uphill. Mind you, It looks like an engine out job to change an injection pump if it packs up though :?

My lad got made redundant this week and had to hand his company car back; no loss really, it was a Corsa :lol: He's now temporary custodian of my 1.9TD but he does not like it. He's a big lad and can't get comfy in it at all. The steering wheel, even when set to maxium height and the seat on the lowest still is not sufficient to clear his legs. He hates the comfy, floaty suspension and the brakes. He'll learn!!! His mates laugh at him waiting for it to rise, not cool apparantly :lol: My old 1.9TD is an original sinking Xantia.

Actually he is after a 1.9TD 405 or 406 so if anyone knows of a good 'un, let me know.

Anyway, Got a call from him today "It's peeing green fluid and leaving a puddle when parked up.." He was worried sick he'd broken it. It was just a perished front strut leakage return pipe and luckily I had one in stock although the other side wants doing as well, along with the handbrake cables that really do look to be on thier last legs, the outer sheaths are cracked and the outers are beginning to break up. Apart from that it is running like a clock and enjoying being regularly used. The other problem I heard was a strange rattle from the back. That had a very simple cause, a case of energy drink cans in the boot rattling around. He lives on those dammed things... Kids... :?

The Saxo owner came over to see me. "Battery keeps going flat, can you have a look please.." No worries, I got my voltmeter and waddled over. "Start her up mate and I'll check the charging voltage.." The only problem was he keyed the immobiliser keypad number in wrongly three times and locked it out. Wait 30 minutes..

It was not charging much at all. I condemmed the alternator but as I was condemming it I wriggled the wires to it. Both loose. When we replaced the engine, someone forgot to tighten up the nuts... It was not me. Tightened, 14.4V on charge and all good.

In the garage, I'm looking at a Rover diagnostic system with a duff CD ROM which is pretty essential to it's use. Trouble is, it's a a slightly odd laptop type dating from 1997 and finding a suitable replacement may just be a challange. Like a Citroen Lexia, it's nothing more than a very rugged laptop although it does have a touch sensitive screen rather than the big mechanic-friendly red rubber buttons on the Lexia. Again, like the Lexia, half the secret of fixing it is working out how to get inside it in the first place. All diagnostic systems seem to have been desigined by people with an unhealthy interest in Tetris :twisted:

As I say, life is all back to normal :lol: :lol: :D
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Post by CitroJim » 06 Jul 2008, 17:24

Sorry for no updates for a while but it's all been very quiet on the Xantia front. Won't speak too loudly, Xantias have ears :D

The owner of a 205D I owned a few years back called me in the week with a tale of woe. Terrible vibration at the front. It had just passed its MOT and the tester pointed out the lower engine mount was looking a bit sad. He thought it had failed but luckily, the problem was much simpler. He'd put new pads and discs on for the MOT and had not tightened the wheelnuts :lol: He's still trying to live that one down...

The Rover diagnostic machine is all working again with a new CD ROM fitted but it gave me a bit of a run-around for a bit. The machine runs Windows 95 and despite the CD ROM being good and testing good, the diagnostic application cold not see it. I got to windows to have a look at it was Drive D: as expected. Much head scratching and looking at .ini files hinted that the application wanted to see the CD ROM as drive Z:. After dredging the memory for Win 95 knowledge, I remapped it to be drive Z: and all is happy now... It's boxed up and ready to go back to its owner. It's a supurb piece of kit..

I've got back into MSN Messenger and published my address on the forum (click the "MSNM" button in my profile or in my sig) so if anyone wants to have a quick chat by that means, please do!

On IT matters, my ISP called me in the week to say I'm getting near their proposed usage limits. My uplink is carrying a lot of traffic. they may at some time in the future introduce caps which means I'll have to move to their PRO service which will cost a lot more. As my Internet link carries the forum database, it is pretty critical. I'll keep you posted on developments but whatever happens, I'll do whatever is needed to keep the forum up and running.
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Post by CitroJim » 15 Jul 2008, 21:09

Until this Sunday it has been very quiet on the Xantia front although quietness there was more than made up for with every other aspect of my life where things remain as hectic as ever. Bored? I hardly know the meaning of the word but I'd have it no other way. Life is good :D

Sunday was the CCC National Rally at Godmanchester and it was truely excellent. I missed the turning for the CCC rally field and ended up driving around the animal shelter next door looking for the rally. One attempt took me down a muddy track that spoiled the work I'd done the evening before in washing the Activa for the show :twisted:

It was great to meet the family Gareth (XantiaMan583) and Colin (C.J.) along with a group of BX Club forum members and droll over all the classic Citroens. I was staggered at how many BXs turned up. A few good bargains were had in the autojumble and gave hours of fun rummaging :lol:

The big news from the weekend is Gareth and I acquiring Activas. The full story is in this thread so I'll say no more here.

Gareth has a leaky diesel injection pump when he runs his 1.9TD on high veg. ratios and is coming over to see me this weekend so we can investigate and rectify.

He is worried it is leaking past the distributor head as well as from the timing covers. As I'd not disassembled a pump as far as the distributor (the cast iron bit on the end with the four spigots where the injector pipes connect), I had a look into the task of disassembling it on my experimental pump.

DISASTER! In doing so I discovered a hidden and fatal problem in removing the armour and a massive risk in removing the distributor from the body of the pump. It is so serious that I have to reconsider the viability of DIY repair to an armoured pump and to the ability of anyone except those highly skilled in the art to successfully remove and replace a distributor.

Essentially, to remove the armour, it is necessary to exert some considerable brutality on the tamper-proof screws, of which three secure the distributor head to the pump body. In doing so, there is a real risk, given the sheer violence that needs to be used to extract these screws, that the distributor head can tilt in its housing. If it does, even a tiny bit, the quill shaft on the end of the main drive shaft will snap. It is only about 6mm in diamater, finely machined into the casting and as brittle as anything. It's just looking for any excuse to snap :evil: Thus revealed, I consider now that DIY removal of the armour is too risky to contemplate and is a job best left to the pros. Unusual for me to say such a thing but that is what I believe.

And that is not all. When you do pull a distributor apart, a whole collection of springs, washers and rollers all take an opportunity to make a bid for freedom :evil: As far as I can see, to get it all back together requires that the whole pump is disassembled to the last component and even then it is fraught with risk.

Luckily, having looked at Gareth's pump on Sunday it appears it is only leaking from the oval timing cover O rings and what Gareth thinks is the distributor leaking is more than likly the O ring on the timing servo immediately below it. Luckily, all these are easily replaced after removing the pump from the car and there is no need to disturb the armour to do it :D

The distributor head seal is an O ring but unlike those on the timing covers, works on the sphere seal principle in that increased pressure will make it seal better. So with any luck it is not that one leaking on Gareth's pump.

On a more upbeat note, my Estate took another small step to becoming a VSX/Exclusive this evening. It now sports a leather steering wheel :D
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Post by XantiaMan » 15 Jul 2008, 21:43

Well fingers crossed its not the seal behind the distributor part of the pump, whatever seal has gone is enough for air to leak in over night and when i did see it leaking from the area of the pump, it did look like it came out the side of the distributor housing, still we shall see as its bound to cure at least one leak and prevent further ones!
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DickieG
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Post by DickieG » 15 Jul 2008, 22:36

Jim,

To confirm your concerns re armored diesel pumps, I noticed a few days ago that there was a diesel pump for sale on Ebay that IIRC had suffered the very same damage that you fear may be caused by dismantling one, by the sound of it a wise move to leave it alone.
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