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Thread: Caretaking and progress updates for my '73

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    Default Caretaking and progress updates for my '73

    Hi everyone, I'm starting a thread to document my progress and share my experiences in the caretaking of my '73 240Z.

    I don't remember the first time I saw an S30 Z-car, but I've been preoccupied if not obsessed with them for several years. After taking some advice from Carl Beck and taking into account 1) that any project takes me months longer than it should and 2) my limited mechanical and fabrication skills, I decided I should shop for a running Z in fair to good condition. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would have to travel cross country to find such a car when I found this one while perusing random Craigslist cities in Michigan.

    First to introduce the car: I bought this car from its original owner (who was also named Brian) this past May. It's VIN HLS30-151534, it was built in March 1973 and purchased in Massachusetts in February 1974. It was daily driven for almost a year, then shared driving duties with the owner's wife's car in the winter of '75-'76. In 1976 he and it moved to Michigan, at which point it was garaged in the winters. The car has 63k original miles and is almost completely original & stock, down to the spare tire from 1973, the flat top carbs (boo) and emissions equipment. For some reason, he even kept the original wheels and tires when he changed them, and wrapped the hubcaps up in newspaper dated 1977.

    Picking up the car
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    EhlersRS likes this.
    Brian
    73 240Z HLS30-151534

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    The car and I made the 150 mile drive home from the PO's house, despite tires so old they didn't have a DOT code that I could read. I drove the car all of three times on short trips around town before the left rear tire finally gave up. As I've mentioned in another thread, this happened during my girlfriend's first ride in the car

    The tire shop dated these to roughly 1985!

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    Due to the aforementioned spare tire from 1973, a flat bed was required to get the car home. Whether it was coincidence or negligence, the key decided to stick in the ignition as the flat bed operator was pull the car off. We pushed it into the garage. Not a glamorous day.

    So the car went up on jackstands so I could get new tires and troubleshoot the ignition.

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    With the car up in the air I got to see just how much work I get to look forward to! The bushings are cooked, the ball joint and tie rod end boots are ruptured and dumping grease everywhere, and the steering gear bushings fell apart when I removed them. I couldn't get the joints separated so I took the whole filthy assembly to a friend's shop for separating and cleaning. These pics were taken after I'd already removed a third of a pound of gluey old ball joint grease from the joints.

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    Brian
    73 240Z HLS30-151534

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    Brian,
    Looks to be a nice car to bring up to date. Enjoy the work to be able to enjoy the ride.
    Mike

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    Thanks Mike, I'll continue updates as I progress. I have some more progress made by now but it'll have to wait for another time.
    Brian
    73 240Z HLS30-151534

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    Welcome Brian and you found a nice looking Z! Glad you were able to find it so close to home too!

    Robert S.
    1971 240Z HLS30-21244

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    Quote Originally Posted by bacarl View Post
    The car has 63k original miles and is almost completely original & stock, down to the spare tire from 1973, the flat top carbs (boo) and emissions equipment.
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    First off, that car is a beauty! I love the color and the original condition.

    Also, very glad to hear your ’73 has the flat tops and smog equip. That usually means the previous owner hasn’t messed with the car too much and you have a very nice original vehicle…sweet.

    I am guessing the ‘boo’ reference to the flat tops is that you have previously owned a Z with flat top carbs and they did not perform well for you. If not, you have most likely heard from others on this site who have never owned a Z with flat top carbs, and they have bad mouth the flat tops. In my opinion, they are given a bad rap. I had a ’73 with flat tops and they performed wonderfully, even in hot LA traffic. No way I would trade them out. It is getting very rare to see a ’73 or ’74 with the flat tops, so you would do well to keep them, in my opinion. Just my thoughts

    Anyway, congrats again on a beautiful find. I love it. All that baby needs now is those hubcaps installed. I love hub caps….as long as they stay on when you rip around the corners.

    Best regards,
    Rich

    HLS30-02614 in the Cocoon
    HLS30-40147 Very Yellow Daily Driver
    HLS30-40498 Next resto
    SPL311-27444 It lives
    http://www.rcdeng.com

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    Wow, great buy! You're lucky to have such an original car. I wouldn't change a thing (besides those awful wire wheels ).
    2/74 260Z

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    Very nice 240z Bacarl and congrats on taking over the ownership and care of her. Looks like you have ALOT of things going for you on it. The paint and body look great, chrome bumpers look awesome in the pics, and if the interior looks as good as the body you are in a great spot with it. Bushings and ball joints are just par for the course with these cars. Luckily all the parts are readily available and not very expensive. It just takes time as you are already experiencing but the payoff will be 10 fold in the way it handles and performs. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!
    08/1970 240z Series-1 #8011 - Silver, black int., 2.4L I-6, 5spd, 90% restored.
    06/1973 VW Karmann Ghia - Black convertible, 4spd, 1600cc air-cooled engine.
    11/2013 Scion FR-S - Silver, 6spd, a car with the soul of a Z for the modern times.
    Restoration thread of my old '72 240z -> http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/o...1972-240z.html

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    Thanks for the nice replies, guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by motorman7 View Post
    ...
    Also, very glad to hear your ’73 has the flat tops and smog equip. That usually means the previous owner hasn’t messed with the car too much and you have a very nice original vehicle…sweet.

    I am guessing the ‘boo’ reference to the flat tops is that you have previously owned a Z with flat top carbs and they did not perform well for you. If not, you have most likely heard from others on this site who have never owned a Z with flat top carbs, and they have bad mouth the flat tops. In my opinion, they are given a bad rap. I had a ’73 with flat tops and they performed wonderfully, even in hot LA traffic. No way I would trade them out. It is getting very rare to see a ’73 or ’74 with the flat tops, so you would do well to keep them, in my opinion. Just my thoughts
    Rich, you're right, the PO didn't mess with it hardly at all. He seems to have taken great care of the car but I don't think he was particularly mechanically inclined so he didn't mess with it or install aftermarket parts. You're also right that my opinion of the flat tops has been colored by what I've read here as well as input from a local Datsun shop and ZTherapy (which must be taken with a grain of salt since they're trying to sell a non-flat top product). But also, the car runs pretty terribly and definitely exhibits the difficultly with warm starts that I've learned is common with the flat tops. The carbs need an overhaul, and I'm not sure whether to refurb the flat tops or change over to SUs. I didn't go into this intending to keep a very original car but given this one's condition it doesn't seem right to mess up too much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hardway View Post
    ...
    The paint and body look great, chrome bumpers look awesome in the pics, and if the interior looks as good as the body you are in a great spot with it...
    Thanks Hardway! The car is pretty solid but there are soft spots in the floors and you can tell there's rust in both rockers. I'd like to completely re-do the car eventually but I have neither time nor money for that now. Since the car is pretty solid I just want to put the suspension back together and address driveability and have fun with it.

    The chrome is decent, just a little dull and slightly pitted. I haven't looked into polishing products/techniques yet.

    The interior is really nice, I'll get some shots since I just finished putting it back together.
    Brian
    73 240Z HLS30-151534

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    Re: flat tops and smog, just look at this mess. Wouldn't you rather have a shiny set of properly sorted ZT SUs sitting in there without all that other nonsense?

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    I'm lucky to have a facility nearby that allows all kinds of DIY machining and fab work. I'm trying to get in to use their powder coater for my front suspension but there's a long wait to take the certification course. So the suspension has been apart for weeks. In the meantime I've been working on the interior. The passenger window wasn't working well and the driver side lock wasn't working so I removed the trim panels and poked around inside the doors. I was able to fix both issues and added a bunch of RAAMmat (Dynamat type stuff) to the door panels.

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    The choke lever was so stiff I could barely pull it back, so I also removed the console and choke cables, cleaned and greased them, and reinstalled the choke lever assembly welded onto a metal plate as suggested by ZTherapy. The lever feels so smooth now! Unfortunately I failed to take any photos of this process, I don't know what I was thinking. "While I was at it" I replaced the completely MIA shifter bushings, so the shifter feels much better.

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    Once I get the powder coating done I'll really be able to make some progress. My bead blasted control arms and knuckles are just sitting and waiting (and rusting).

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    Here's the before... gross.

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    Last edited by bacarl; 07-26-2013 at 10:26 AM.
    Brian
    73 240Z HLS30-151534

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    I don't know if this product is suitable for powder coating, you could probably ask Eastwood. I use Eastwood's "After blast" on parts after I strip them. It is an acid product with some other additives it works a lot like "Ospho" but with out the varnish like finish. It turns the parts blueish gray like Phosphoric acid does and they can sit for months in my shop and not develop any surface rust. You might want to look into it... FWIW no relation with either company...
    Charles

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    Time for an update. I finished my first batch of powder coating! Everything turned out well I think, for my first time. Here are some before & during shots while sandblasting the parts:

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    Sandblasting is great but awfully time consuming.
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    Everything sandblasted!
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    Brian
    73 240Z HLS30-151534

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    After sandblasting, the parts should be cleaned with Tri-Sodium Phosphate then wiped down with acetone. They rust extremely quickly at this point so it's important that they’re dry and to get the powder on quickly, then get them into the oven. I didn't get many pics of the process since I was working alone and getting parts cleaned and in and out of the ovens was keeping me busy.

    Here's raw powder on some parts:
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    And some of them cured:
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    All done! Pretty pleased with these results.
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    Brian
    73 240Z HLS30-151534

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    I had new bushings pressed into the control arms and was getting ready to re-install everything, but my hubs and struts are just as nasty as everything else and I'm having a hard time bolting the nice new stuff back onto it. I can't afford new shocks at the moment but I'm tempted to take the strut housings and hubs in to powder coat while I have everything else apart. I'm replacing the soft brake lines at each corner, so while I have the brakes apart I'd also really like to have my brake calipers refurbished by PMB Performance... All of this of course delays getting the car back on the road so I'm still going back and forth.

    Here are some shots of the crusty brake line connections. I wasn't even sure how these came apart but after some PB blaster and some FSM, I figured it out. Can anyone tell if the brackets have been cut? I don't think that slot in the first pic is supposed to be there. I suspect that when the shocks were last changed (in 1975), the mechanic cut the bracket so he didn't have to separate the brake lines to remove the struts... just a guess.

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    Kind of an amusing story about the shocks - during my first test drive I could tell they weren't doing much so I asked if they were original. Brian proudly told me that he'd had Koni shocks installed "a few years back". I got a lot of paperwork with the car and it wasn't until I spent some time going through it that I found the receipt for the shocks, dated 1975! Yeah, they're basically brand new

    I wanted to post this up, too. While I was waiting for the powder coating situation to sort itself out I did some work on the cooling system. The water pump and water inlet both seemed to be leaking so I replaced them. I started sandblasting the water inlet, intending to reuse it and this is what I found. 40 years of coolant-turned-acid will do this to aluminum, apparently. No wonder it leaked.

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    Last edited by bacarl; 08-22-2013 at 11:38 AM.
    Brian
    73 240Z HLS30-151534

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    Update: It turns out that me and my obsessive compulsiveness are highly susceptible to the "while I'm at it" affliction, which results in me diving deeper into projects than I originally planned and getting hung up on a lot of little details I have a hard time skipping steps or leaving things done improperly. Good thing I don't have a time table for this thing.

    I had not intended to remove the front crossmember & steering rack, but I ended up doing it anyway. I powder coated the crossmember and partially disassembled, cleaned and painted the rack.

    K-member Before
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    Sandblasted
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    After
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    Rack Before
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    Wire wheeled
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    After (sorry for the seizure-inducing epoxy floor chips!)
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    Brian
    73 240Z HLS30-151534

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    I had wanted to have PMB Performance restore the calipers, but I found a local place that specializes in caliper rebuilds so I went with them in the interest of supporting local business (and saving lots of money). Before they reassembled everything, I went ahead and powder coated the calipers (like a crazy person).

    They're loaded with Carbotech pads, which I've used as track day pads in my daily driver and liked. These are a less-aggressive "performance street" compound which is supposed to provide excellent modulation and initial bite, low dust, and low noise.

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    Here's a close up of the finish, which turned out really nice. This is a fairly high-temp powder (600F) which recommended a clear coat for exterior use/UV resistance. So yes, I clear coated my calipers. Told you it was an affliction :-/

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    Here's the before
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    And most recently, I've just put my struts back together. I used to be a chassis guy at work, so things like springs and dampers are near and dear to me. I wanted adjustable shocks (never had those before) and I would have loved to play with spring rates, coilover style, but I don't want to hack up my struts. So I went with the tried and true Illumina + Eibach combo.

    Before
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    After - powder coated struts and spring seats, Tokico adjustables, Eibach Pro-kit, poly jounce bumpers, and new isolators. You can't really tell in the pic, but I did the gland nuts in a different color - a powder close to "Datsun blue" - just for fun. One of the best things about powder coat (maybe the best thing) is ease of cleanup. Changing colors is as easy as blowing out the gun with compressed air and dumping the new color into the hopper. Makes it possible to do silly things like blue gland nuts with a bunch of other black parts.
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    Here are some shots of the nice crusty strut housings during the process.

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    Last edited by bacarl; 12-05-2013 at 12:51 PM.
    Brian
    73 240Z HLS30-151534

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    Hi Brian:
    Great progress - that is the only way to go about it - do it right the first time and you won't have any regrets later. Keep the progress pictures coming -

    Carl B.

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    I can't believe it's been 10 months since I updated this thread, but here's an update on where I'm at with the car. Over the winter I reassembled the front suspension and started in on the rear. I took a lot of photos to help me remember how things go together, but most of them aren't very good for showing progress updates...

    Here's the front suspension going back together and the rear coming apart.
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    I spent the next few months gradually disassembling, cleaning and powdercoating each piece of the rear suspension. Here are a few pretty undramatic disassembly/before pics.
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    Sandblasted rear brake backing plate
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    Before/After of a powdercoated bracket, pretty exciting stuff...
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    I was planning on changing to new springs, so just for fun I experimented with a new powder and did the old springs in a Datsun blue color. At least this way they'll look pretty sitting on my shelf!
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    I'll get some shots of the completed rear suspension and continue my update a little later...
    Last edited by bacarl; 10-07-2014 at 12:30 PM.
    Brian
    73 240Z HLS30-151534

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    I don't have any good in-progress pics of completed rear suspension parts, or reassembly, but here are some of the final product.

    Rear corner with refreshed brake drum
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    Rebuilt rear brakes
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    Rear suspension powdercoated and rebuilt. I had to just paint the mustache bar because I retained its original inner bushings.
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    And a couple of the front put back together
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    Patcon likes this.
    Brian
    73 240Z HLS30-151534

  20. #20
    Registered User
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    CZCC-29189
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    Apr 2013
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    Farmington, MI
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    35
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    And finally, some shots I took just yesterday of the car all back together and actually running and driving.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here are a couple interior shots to add to the thread. The PO had the steering wheel wrapped in a vinyl cover so I'd assumed the original wheel was worn. I was super excited when I removed the vinyl and saw what good condition the wheel is in.
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    Dash is pretty good with just one small crack
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    So that's that! Unfortunately my next projects are somewhat uncharted territory (for me, anyways): the engine. I think over this winter I'll rebuild the flat tops to see if that helps with driveability before I change over to SUs. Of course I've read a lot about how bad the flat tops are, but as was stated earlier in this thread, they should be adequate if tuned properly, and are an interesting orignal part of my car. I no longer have stalling/hot start issues, or dieseling/run on issues, and all I did was change the fuel filter, fill up with 93 oct, and add a can of Seafoam. They're "sputtery" though, especially on start-up, and the car sure smells rich, so I'm sure some TLC would be appreciated.

    I'd also like to get the seats re-done this winter. I haven't decided whether I'll tackle that myself or look for an upholstery shop to help me out.
    EhlersRS likes this.
    Brian
    73 240Z HLS30-151534

  21. #21
    Registered User
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    Almost forgot my most recent addition. I love the hubcaps and have no intention of getting rid of them, but I love Panasports on Z's too, like so many others... And since I have two sets of wheels for my other car (granted they're for summer and winter tires) I decided that having two sets for the Z is totally reasonable

    This is one of my new-to-me, NOS Panasports test fitted on the car.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I found them on eBay; the seller had just purchased them from an estate sale and was selling them for $700. They're 15x6 et+10. I would have preferred a 7" width, but I hadn't seen a +10 offset before, which is great because I want to avoid fender rub issues. I don't know how long they've been stored for, but they've never been mounted. My plan is to keep the steel wheels, which are refreshed and powdercoated, for an original look, and get some sticky tires for the Panasports. The trouble is finding a 15" performance tire anywhere close to the stock diameter, so I'll probably have to use a smaller tire.
    Last edited by bacarl; 10-08-2014 at 06:45 AM.
    Brian
    73 240Z HLS30-151534

  22. #22
    Registered User Hardway's Avatar
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    CZCC-26208
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    Jan 2012
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    Austin TX
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    Good work and progress on the Z! The end result of your suspension rebuild looks fantastic. The new Panasports will definitely enhance the look of your Z as well. On the topic of your seats, recovering them is a total DIY job and will be much easier than your suspension rebuild. Check out my thread of when I recovered my seats. Once you have everything together they only take a few hours each.

    http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/i...-pictures.html
    08/1970 240z Series-1 #8011 - Silver, black int., 2.4L I-6, 5spd, 90% restored.
    06/1973 VW Karmann Ghia - Black convertible, 4spd, 1600cc air-cooled engine.
    11/2013 Scion FR-S - Silver, 6spd, a car with the soul of a Z for the modern times.
    Restoration thread of my old '72 240z -> http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/o...1972-240z.html

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