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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Liberal, KS
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    Default and so it begins

    Well, as some of you know I totaled my 96 Formula back on Feb 28th. I got out of school for the summer on May 8th. That day I started tearing the car apart to get the drive train out and part the rest of it for money. The plan for this summer is to put the LT1/T56 combo into my 79TA and make it driving again. I don't have a lot to spend so I'm doing it cheaply but correctly. Unfortunately, in order to get the car rolling down the road again with the LT1 in it, I need to do brake work as well. So I'll be updating this as I go with more than just the LT1/T56 swap. I plan to get pretty detailed once I get into the LT1 swap part itself. I figure it is bound to help someone with a second gen. There aren't too many of us here yet.

    For now though, I'll start with tear down photos of the TA and some clean up. I'm moving quickly on the car so I'll have more to show soon. It's just a matter of getting the pics uploaded and replies typed up.

    Yes, the motor is green. Laugh all you want. I do not care. What you're looking at is a heads/cam 403 with a TH350 behind it.







    As you can see, I'll have some rot repair to do also. No way this is going back on without being fixed or replaced first. I have some plans though for strengthening it before I put the core support back in. I'll be building for function not restoration.



    She is actually running in this picture. I had to get the car from behind the shop into the shop. It's the last time that engine ran in this car. The person who bought the drive train has a 79 SE TA. He's using mine to teach his sons how to work on and build engines. He already has a motor in his TA.



    Hood fenders inner and out removed.





    More of the rot from the battery. The battery is being relocated to the trunk as part of the swap.



    Front clip completely removed at this point



    And now the subframe is stripped and ready to pull



    This picture shows what the subframe looked like before I started cleaning away the rust, dirt, and grime. You can also see a section I have completed and my tool for getting this mess off the metal. Aside from sand blasting, the wire wheel on the end of an electric die grinder works tremendously well. You have to wear gloves, eye protection, and ear protection. The thing is a monster. The only downside is getting into tight spaces. It really can't do that very well but if you're working quickly and on a tight budget, this thing works wonders. It'll also tear through undercoating pretty well. The wire wheel won't harm the metal like you would think it should.



    All clean and wiped down with Ospho to convert any rust still on the metal.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Here it is all primed and painted. From using the wiring wheel to clean the metal to painting, all I did was clean away any crap still left around with different solvents. I didn't need to work the metal any more as far as sanding goes or anything. See, the wire wheel doesn't harm the metal.





    And back on the front of the car. I have GW 1/2" drop body bushings on the car. To align the subframe, there are two alignment holes in the body right by the forward body mounts. You'll need a 5/8" dowel to slide into the holes in the subframe and the body to get the alignment right. It turns out that my 1/2" ratchet extensions are close enough to 5/8" that I used them to get the subframe aligned correctly.



    Well, I don't have the close up picture of the paint any more. Apparently, some of my files got corrupted and I've lost a number of them. I had some fun ones of my setting the water in the gas tank on fire. Those were cool.

    Here's the fuel pump and sending unit out of my 96 Formula. My 4th gen tank was metal so I was also able to cut the top off so I could have the mounting ring and seal to adapt to the 2nd gen tank. The sending unit is spring loaded to force the pump down onto the bottom of the tank. It also has a decent range of motion so you should be able to use it in many different tanks. The gauge sender even has full range of motion inside the 79 tank so I will have accurate gauge readings. It does not have it's own sump or internal pressure regulator like a late LS1 4th gen would have. Again, I'm on a budget and this will work just fine. I'm crossing my fingers that this fuel pump with 177k miles on it will still live for a while yet in my 79's tank.



    Here's the 79s tank with the outline of where I plan to cut the tank and install the 96's pump.



    I ended up cutting further than I thought becuse of a large cylinder object on the inside of the tank around the return tube inlet. Notice the raised ring? That's got to come out as a unit.



    The idea of how the 96 pump will sit in the tank. It should be obvious at this point that it will indeed work just fine. I'll have to change the metal lines coming out of the unit but that's no big deal.



    Poster board mock up of the replacement panel.



    New panel and mounting ring from 96 welded in place. I had some more in between photos of what I did but they too were corrupted. It's pretty self explanitory though. Just make a panel that hold the mounting ring and tuse fuel pump in the correct location. The later larger 2nd gen tanks need to make sure they are far enough into the large section to not have the gauge sender float get caught on the lower section. It won't read accurately then. You early 2nd gen guys with the shallow tank should still be able to use this pump and sender if you desired. You'll have to shorten the arm on the fuel lever float though.

    Also, my welding sucks at this point in time. I'm getting better though. Feel free to laugh at it as well. If you can tell what I may need to work on in terms of my skills, speak up. I'm never above learning a new way or listening to advise.

    I did add a couple baffles to each side of the tank. Nothing fancy really. I'm not even sure if they will work. What I did was lean them in towards the pump. Each baffle is about 6" long and I set them against the back wall of the tank. It's not formed to the curvature it's just against it for the most part. Each one was cut about 3/4 of the way through in the middle. I then took the metal and bent it away from the cut. They look like funnels for the most part. The idea was that as you turn the gas will slide up and over the one baffle but not back out to one on the opposite side of the pump.



    All painted and protected since it was 22ga steel and I removed the zinc off the tank to do my welding. Notice I taped up where the seal will seat to make sure nothing interfers with that seal working correctly. The tank and new panel shouldn't leak..... too much.

    Trey

    "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."
    ~ Jon Hammond

    1979 WS6 Trans Am stock LT1/T56 drive train out of my Formula. BMW M-parallel rims. C5/C6 brakes

    build thread https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ghlight=begins

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    7,513

    Default

    man those year TAs are so boss...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Hackettstown, NJ
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    1,006

    Default

    Not harm for having a green engine. One I did for fun in a 78


    Its very close to Mopar's Lime green. I actually tinted it with black b/c the original color blinded me in the sun light.

    Good luck with the swap. the t56 install is not that bad, but you will need some custom items such as x-member, driveshaft and a viper tail if you want the shifter to be in the stock 4spd location. my build has some pics. I also installed a 4th gen fuel pump in a 2nd gen tank. the gauge should read semi accurate, but I'm leaving the stock unit in there initially to test it.

    keep the progress coming.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Houston, Tx
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    2,227
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    looks good Trey!
    Colin Russ

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Amsterdam,The Netherlands
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    881
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    Default

    Sweet! Did you changed motor mounts on the sub for your LT1 combo?


    Cliff
    1968 Firebird
    Project Cheyenne Pro Performance

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Liberal, KS
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    Yes, Cliff. My next round of pictures will show the new location and I'll add the old location in there too.

    Thanks guys
    Trey

    "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."
    ~ Jon Hammond

    1979 WS6 Trans Am stock LT1/T56 drive train out of my Formula. BMW M-parallel rims. C5/C6 brakes

    build thread https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ghlight=begins

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Dallas, Ga.
    Posts
    444

    Default

    Looking good Trey, glad to see some progress and your workmanship looks top notch.
    Tommy Parker

    1973 Camaro- fast burn 385, FAST EFI, Bowler 700R4, Hotchkis,Baer, Forgeline SP3P's, completed 2007, updated 2010
    1972 Camaro-Project Fool's Gold- LD 3-link,DSE sub-frame,C6 Z06 brakes,TKO 600, LS2 stroked to 402, Forgeline, in progress

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    29

    Default

    looks good so far, ill be keeping an eye on this. hoping to swap and LSx + T56 into a 79-81 TA this winter

  10. #10
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    Aug 2004
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    Liberal, KS
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    It'll be very similar Shawn. My original plan was a stroked LQ along the same lines as Tommy's car only more budget friendly I wanted to be able to say I had a Gen 3 6.6. Since the accident though, I obviously changed my mind. The ultimate plan at this point will be to build a turbo LT1. My goals are around 500 rwhp and lots of torque. I've got some tricks I think I'll try to bring boost in as early as I can. Overall though, the engine will be simple and reliable and still make my goals. Once I get the engine into the car this summer, I'll have a better idea of how things will fit. At this point, I'm just envisioning things in my head. Besides, it'll be a few years before I can build it anyway. I graduate next year and will start working. I have no idea where I'll end up. I may end up in northern Canada working for an oil company or Dubai even.

    Thanks Tommy. I need to check for updates on yours too.
    Trey

    "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."
    ~ Jon Hammond

    1979 WS6 Trans Am stock LT1/T56 drive train out of my Formula. BMW M-parallel rims. C5/C6 brakes

    build thread https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ghlight=begins

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Ma.
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    4,997
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    Nice work the subframe and tank look great..
    Wayne
    Car FINALLY home !!!!!! lol
    Project FNQUIK https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ghlight=FNQUIK

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Marietta, Ga.
    Posts
    135

    Default that looks like fun

    Trey,

    looks like fun. keep at it and keep the progress pics coming.

    Alan

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Liberal, KS
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    Just a short update this week unfortunately. I've got to make money so that takes up my time on my own car.

    I got the front suspension back on and detailed. I didn't want to black everything out so I found a gun metal gray to paint on the steering components. I would have preferred a darker gray but this will do.


    In these two pictures, you can compare the engine mount locations between the 403 Olds and the SBC. The SBC sits higher and further towards the front of the car.





    I've pulled everything off the driver's side of the firewall in anticipation of cutting and welding the panel to hold the clutch master cylinder. Some of the holes won't be needed any more anyway. MY Ta was fairly loaded from the factory in terms of options. It appears that all they did to accommodate these options was to hole saw the firewall and install a grommet. There is a lot of add on harnesses under the dash. Some of it will be cleaned up this time around. The final and next time I go in to this car, everything will be custom and much cleaner. More on the electrical later though.

    Now you seem them



    Now you don't



    The square hole that was filled by the wiper motor is where the factory throttle cable came though. I'll be switching to a Lokar cable and that requires a round hole. Also, I rev match on downshifts constantly. So, I may be moving my gas pedal or brake pedal if they don't feel right once I have the new brake pedal in. Remember, my car was an auto. I've never driven a 4 speed 2nd gen. All the 4 speed vettes I have driven had bad pedal placement. So if I move my gas pedal over, I'll have to move the throttle cable too.

    Here's the booster all cleaned down and ready to paint. I really do not like cad coating. It just looks bad. I've painted the booster a semi gloss black just don't have a picture yet.



    This is just the back end area around the gas tank. I've wire wheeled it down and treated it with Ospho as well. I've got it painted black now just need to also take a picture of it.





    Well, that's it for now. Welding those holes up on the firewall was a pain. I couldn't get my welder to act right. I'm learning as I go so I did my best. Thinking back, I think I should have turned up the power. I couldn't get the weld to stick as first. Anyway, it's done well enough for me. Eventually, everything will be redone and better anyway. That's years from now though.

    Next up, is to continue to play with the clutch pedal and getting the clutch MC mounted. My pedals came in today. Hopefully, I can get through my customer's cars and back to mine. I'll also be showing what I plan to do with the fuel lines in the back of the car at the tank area. Stay tuned.
    Trey

    "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."
    ~ Jon Hammond

    1979 WS6 Trans Am stock LT1/T56 drive train out of my Formula. BMW M-parallel rims. C5/C6 brakes

    build thread https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ghlight=begins

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Liberal, KS
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    Well, it took me a long time to orient the clutch pedal correctly. I didn't use anything pre-made or anyone else template. I got it done though. Before I sold off my M6 pedals out of the Formula, I measured a bunch of different points on the pedals so I could replicate the clutch MC's location in relation to the pedal.

    Here's where my quick measurements told me the MC would come through the firewall at. The hole that's already in the firewall is where the factory 4 speed clutch rod would have come though.



    I crossed my fingers and cranked up the die grinder to make room.



    And here's the MC mocked up. I was close with my initial cut. I did take a little more out to move the MC up some.





    I checked the pedal travel and it does not hit the MC before it moves the MC rod the needed distance. I'll more than likely need to make a pedal stop though.

    I talked with a number of other people that have done this swap before an 2 inches from the pedal pivot is the consensus on what the best location is to connect the pedal to the MC rod. Taking measurements to confirm that the pedal would move the MC rod the needed amount verified that 2inches was going to work on my car as well. Sure, these cars were the same for many years but I wanted to verify and know why, not just blindly copy and hope it's the same. I decided to tap my pedal instead of drill a through hole and use a bolt and nut.



    Moving back to the firewall, I confirmed the angle of the mounting plate with my angle finder. I needed around 12 or 13* to replicate the factory mounting orientation for this MC. I ended up right around 11*. I'm sure this will be fine. To verify that the car was not tilted and thus throwing off my angle readings, I took an angle measurement at the brake booster location. This part of the firewall is perpendicular to the brake pedal and my 12 or 13* readings on the factory M6 pedals were with the booster mount part straight up as well.



    Here's an ugly mid progress weld up of the mounting plate. My welding is getting better but still sucks as far as I'm concerned. I'm glad grinding disks exist.



    All finished and ground down. Like I said, thank goodness for grinding wheels. This setup with be plenty strong. I used 16ga steel for the plate and the angle plates. The brake booster and the steering column will both help strengthen the firewall in this area. I'm not worried one bit about any flexing of the firewall.



    Trey

    "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."
    ~ Jon Hammond

    1979 WS6 Trans Am stock LT1/T56 drive train out of my Formula. BMW M-parallel rims. C5/C6 brakes

    build thread https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ghlight=begins

  15. #15
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    Aug 2004
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    Here's the mounting plate all finished off and beautified as much as I care to make it. Obviously it's not show quality but it works and I'm happy with the way it looks.



    I am missing pictures again. I had a couple with the booster and clutch MC in place. I'll have to get them later I guess. Here are inside shots of everything all done. I wish I had a pneumatic nibbler so I could have made the firewall look better from the inside. All I have is a cutoff wheel and sawzall. Oh well, I've retained all mounting holes and locations so I should be able to cover up most of it. Here's the pedal completed



    One a side note, my brake pedal and clutch pedal pads are communist I had to channel the clutch pedal pad though. I was told it was the same size as the brake pedal. I bought two brake pedal pads since no clutch pedal pad was listed. It was too wide for the clutch pedal. I've remedied that problem though.



    One other thing I did was move my accelerator pedal over towards the brake pedal by 3/4". This will allow me to rev match my downshifts easier. I typically have half a foot on the brake pedal and just roll my foot over to rev the engine. I can't do that crazy heel on one pedal and toes on the other form of heel toe shifting.



    Here's the engine in its new home. This is just mock up though. I'll get pulled back out again. It was a royal pain in the but to get in the subframe. The motor mounts took a lot of persuading to do what I wanted them to do. The engine looks good in there though.



    I was not expecting this though. This isn't going to work. It won't allow me to get shims in there to adjust the alignment even after I've removed that spark plug loom. I need to come up with a solution. I my just have to switch over to C4 accessories now instead of later.



    I'm also thinking I should just lower the engine into the subframe some more instead of cutting my floor. Look at all that space between the engine and subframe. I can go down maybe an inch and still have the oil pan above the subframe bottom. We'll see though.



    I did get the T56 mocked up as well. There's going to have to be some cutting of the floor if I don't lower the engine. I have 1/2" body drop solid bushings on the subframe. I may have been able to get the trans in without cutting the floor if I did not have those bushings. I'm not worried about it though. I already needed to cut a hole for the shifter. Next week I'm going to attempt to get all that situated and hopefully have the engine and trans fully in the car with the transmission cross member made up and everything. Only time will tell though and it's still just for mock up anyway. I've got brake lines I have to bend up before I can leave the engine in. I may even have power steering lines to bend up as well. That will depend on if I stay with this accessory bracket or do I move to a C4 bracket.
    Trey

    "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."
    ~ Jon Hammond

    1979 WS6 Trans Am stock LT1/T56 drive train out of my Formula. BMW M-parallel rims. C5/C6 brakes

    build thread https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ghlight=begins

  16. #16
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    Nov 2006
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    Ma.
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    Nice progress it looks good
    Wayne
    Car FINALLY home !!!!!! lol
    Project FNQUIK https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ghlight=FNQUIK

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Liberal, KS
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    Ok so I missed my last week's update because I was out of town. Thought I'd get another one in before I leave town tomorrow as well.

    I'll start off where I left off. I did indeed have to cut the floor on the car. I'm not sure if the 1/2 drop body mounts where the reason or not. It matters not now as the floor is done.

    This was my initial hole size. I cut from under the car because my interior is still in the car. I got covered in sparks. Next time, I'll cut from the inside of the car, lol.



    Here's the transmission raised up into place. I had to go much larger than my initial cut out but it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to get.



    I used poster board over the cut out to make a template for the new tunnel. You can see the shop light shinning through the poster board. This allowed me to mark where the whole was and where the new panel would sit. I wanted some over lap for welding and strength. I also used some metal strips to simulate the curvature of the new tunnel.





    Here's the new panel tacked into place and with some forming already done. I used 16ga again which was not easy to bend. However, it's strong and free so I'm using it.



    This will work out well I think



    I don't know why but I don't have any of the panel finished from the inside of the car. I fully welded it around the seams and formed it tot he floor rather well I think. I have no training or experience in metal working like this. I simply used a hammer and dolly along with vise grips to get the penal into place and to fit the floor well.

    Here's a couple pictures of the new panel from under the car. I welded the under side the same way as I did the top side. This may be overkill but it was worth the time. The new panel is rock solid.

    As you can see, I had to cut into the brace that the factory had running side to side just under the seats. I really wish I had sub frame connectors because I would have built a similar brace/ transmission cross member to what DSE offers. That's on my list for future upgrades though.

    I ended up cutting too far into the brace but that's ok I'm sure. I should have cut this better the first time around but I cleaned it and squared it up before I started to close it out and reinforce it.



    All closed off and reinforced. It's not pretty but it will hold. I have no idea why the top welds turned out so poor. Could this be because I'm welding upside down and gravity is doing it's thing? There was plenty of heat penetration into the new tunnel panel.

    I used my new favorite die grinder attachment to clean up the welds, a flap wheel. I had no idea it would grind so well and leave a nice smooth finish. Before, I was just using a grinding disk. No more from here on out. I'm only using the flap wheel.


    Trey

    "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."
    ~ Jon Hammond

    1979 WS6 Trans Am stock LT1/T56 drive train out of my Formula. BMW M-parallel rims. C5/C6 brakes

    build thread https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ghlight=begins

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Liberal, KS
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    The factory transmission cross member can be used to hold a T56 up. It will need to be modified of course. I'm not sure if the 4 speed one is different or not but this is what a TH350 xmember looks like for 79



    I had to shorten the brace because the sub frame changes shape right where the brace will now mount. This is an initial line I drew as a guide. I tried using my cutoff wheel to cut the xmember. It will work but I was impatient so I grabbed the chop saw



    After a couple trial fits to make sure the width of the member was right, I cut the mounting pad off and cleaned up the old welds. From here, I'll need to drill holes in the sub frame so I can properly mount the xmember. I'll then flip the mounting pad over and weld it on the in the proper location. I'll be attaching it in such a manner that I can put spacers between it and the transmount. This should allow me to get the drive line angle dialed in better.



    I'll have to get the engine and transmission back in the car first though. I hope to do that next week. We will see.

    I did get the clutch fluid reservoir mounted as well. It should work out well right here.



    I leave you this time with a picture of what's to come soon as well. mmmmmmmm Kore3 parts



    Trey

    "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."
    ~ Jon Hammond

    1979 WS6 Trans Am stock LT1/T56 drive train out of my Formula. BMW M-parallel rims. C5/C6 brakes

    build thread https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ghlight=begins

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    7,513

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    damn Trey.. talk about head first into the project..

    itll be great tho.. the subframe and parts look serious.. now you gotta make the rest match.. LOL!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    haha not going to happen this time around. School starts back in a month(August 17). I'm not going to have this running by then like I was hoping. I'm shooting for getting it back on the road by the end of the year. My two biggest expenses to come are gauges and rims/tires. I'm doing my best to find some rims/tires used but it's not working out so well. I still have to buy rear brakes too. One day it will all be done though and then I'll start on another one.

    Thanks
    Trey

    "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."
    ~ Jon Hammond

    1979 WS6 Trans Am stock LT1/T56 drive train out of my Formula. BMW M-parallel rims. C5/C6 brakes

    build thread https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ghlight=begins

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