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Old 05-03-2011, 10:30 AM   #18
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My family often asks me why I drive only manuals. Easy choice.

I learned long ago the manual is for me. 98% of the time shifting for myself adds to the fun of a drive but:

* 1% of the time in a long slow moving traffic jam

* and the other 1% of the time on steep hill with a jerk 6 inches behind my back bumper

* I wish I had an Auto-On switch.

Other thoughts:

* Manuals are cheaper to fix but are more likely to break
* Clutches eventually do wear out
* Running at the drags will help you buy a new stronger clutch sooner
* Launching manuals hard can break driveshafts and axles
* Manuals cars are a little lighter
* Manuals are cheaper
* Manuals get slightly better gas milage
* With a manual you will most likely buy a better shifter and cool shifter knob
* Autos are more consistent and usually faster at the drags
* Manuals are better for road racing (much!)
* Manuals are good exercise for your left leg
* With a manual in a Camaro SS you get 25 more HP!
* With a manual a higher percentage of those HPs make it to the rear wheels
* With a manual in a Camaro you can avoid cylinder de-activation
* With a manual in a Camaro you have less tune envy (easier to keep your warranty)
* With a manual you get more respect (Everyone asks, "Is that a six speed?")
* With a manual in a Camaro using the cup holders is a PIA
* With a manual you can blip the throttle at a stop light and between gears
* A manual Camaro is easier to sell
* An Auto Camaro will depreciate a little faster

If you enjoy driving a manual and you are buying a Camaro (V6 or V8), picking the 6 speed will add to the fun. Even for a daily driver.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:01 PM   #19
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Phase 3 sound system build

My Phase 2 setup did not sit right with me. I had a problem with losing the front channels off and on. I was not sure if it was the amp overheating or a loose connections.

To figure it out, it had to come apart. But if I was going to take everything apart I figured I might as well try the Infinity 4 + 1 Amp and dump my dual amp setup.

So I picked up one of these cute little amps and set about redoing my build.

After every thing was back apart I found what I was looking for, two loose connections! Now I can see why the two front channels drifted in and out.

The Infinity amp was much smaller and lighter than either Discus Amp. While I was at it, I trimmed the amp platform I built to make it easier to install the sub box.

I set everything in place and tested the amp. It sounded great! Better than with the separate amps. It sounded so good I ripped out the separate sub knob I installed under the dash. My Kicker 10 inch sub did not hit quite as hard but the sound was much improved. The front and rear speaker also kicked up the sound a notch with the new amp.

I put everything back together and was able to rid my SS of more than 25 pounds! (Pounds that I added.) The perfect thing for my track day coming up.

I did not touch the settings so my blinkers will wake the dead and the gain is up a bit too high with background white noise. I will get to that maybe tomorrow.





Anyone need a side amp board and two Discus Amps?
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:32 PM   #20
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looks good. I have the same sub hooked to a memphis 500
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:22 PM   #21
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Edit: So many typos!

A month or so ago I upgraded my SS suspension with BMR Parts:
  • Pro Cradle Bushings
  • Pro Differential Bushings
  • End Link Mounting Braces
  • Adjustable sway Bars
  • Sway Bar End Links
  • Toe Rods
  • Trailing Arms
  • Driveshaft Safety Loop




I wanted to wait and drive with the mods before I reviewed the changes and attend a Track Day to really understand the difference in the car. I also took a 1,000 mile trip in my SS to Niagara Falls. This car is my daily driver, but since I work from home I am putting on under 10.000 miles per year.

Race Proven Motorsports in Delaware installed the BMR parts. They took their time and I am happy with their work.

I chose not to lower my car. Besides scraping more often lowering springs also hurt you at the drag strip (edit: I have since learned a 1 inch drop has no or a very small effect). If later I get more serious I will spring for coil overs (sorry).

I kept my alignment specs stock. Street qualities are more important to me than track qualities

My goals:
  • Less understeer
  • Eliminate Wheel Hop
  • Eliminate rear step-out due to rubber bushing play
  • Feel more in control
  • Improved performance at the track
I was also hoping for a lighter feeling agile car. But I did not think these changes would help on that front. I was right.

I knew I would make some sacrifices. I found:
  • Slightly stiffer and more harsh ride. But long trips are still comfortable.
  • Noticeable drivetrain whine, especially in sixth gear. High pitched but not loud, I am already used to this.
Other than that, the handling feel of the car is notably improved. Cornering is much more stable and my SS now handles on a par with my departed 335i. Although the 335 had better steering feel and felt more agile, the cars are not that far apart.

Improvements:
  • Understeer: Big improvement but there is still some left. My Sways are still on the middle setting, my alignment specs are stock, and I am still running staggered stock tires. As I am no track superstar I think some understeer is a good thing for me right now.
  • Eliminate Wheel Hop: I have not been to the strip yet. But I tried a few hard launches and did not feel the dreaded hop. I did launch hard in the rain and the hop was still there.
  • Rear Step Out: Cured!
  • Feel more in control: Yes.
  • Improved Track Performance: While I have no before and after my SS feels at home on the track.
I attended a Track Day at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ on the ThunderBolt track. ThunderBolt they tell me, is a very technical track, but not all that fast. Sounded perfect for me to learn on.

Early in the morning there was a general driver meeting followed by a raffle. I won a set of Race Ramps!


Myra, my instructor has been racing for nine years, and currently races a Miata. She makes a living as an instructor. Getting ready for my first run I discover a flaw in the trakability of the 5th Gen Camaro. If you have a sunroof and you are six foot or more your helmet hits the roof. Track Camaro = no sunroof. After a while I got used to driving with my head tilted sideways.

Myra took the first few laps at the wheel explaining track day etiquette, flag meanings, and the racing lines of the track. She at first was put off by the size of the Camaro. But than as she became more comfortable she started smiling and going faster. Before too long we were running up the butt of a yellow C6 Corvette. She said, "Don't try this at home." I held on for dear life. afterwards she said "Big power, great brakes, no fade. This thing, although huge, can get around the track."

My turn. I was much slower. So slow in fact I had a train behind me for a few laps. After my first session I improved and created no more trains. With help from Myra I was able to master several of the turns. Turn 2 was fun. It is an uphill right hand sweeper. She convinced me to stay off the brakes and slowly dial in more power through the turn, "Trust the car." She said over end over. By the end I listened to her and it became my favorite turn. She also spent the day trying to get me to take her Miata racing line through the "Octopus". On my last run I (almost) nailed it twice.

By the end of the day only one C6 in my class could catch me and go for a pass. I lapped a couple of cars and ran down a few others. The car was very stable in the turns and I was able to steer through many of the turns with the throttle. In the Octopus I was I was able to rotate the car with the throttle after a strong push on the brake. I felt like a hero. (in the beginner A class, lol.) But in the end I felt like it was as much or more the car as me.

All in all I am very happy with my BMR suspension mods and there will be more track days and the drags in my future.






Most BMWs were no problem for the BMR SS.


Here the Vette has the correct line. I missed this apex in the Octopus.

Future Plans:
  • Hawk HP Pads - (didn't do it)
  • 18" Lightweight Wheels with 275s all around (not this either)
  • Front bushings (a little bit of this)
  • Performace alignment (Nope)
  • More power (Yes!))
  • Buy 1LE (Yes!)
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:56 PM   #22
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The car is looking spectacular and your track day sounds like it was tons of fun.
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:07 PM   #23
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Funny - I sold my BMW 335i for the Camaro also ! Glad you are racing your car. How are the stock brake pads when you are racing? I have just been AutoXing but going to track in October and buying some new pads to have on hand at track in case I need them.
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:00 AM   #24
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BigFlow LT and High Flow Cat Install

I installed my BigFlow 1 7/8 LTs with high flow cats on my LS3 yesterday.



Mostly everything wet smoothly. I started this install by watching a video and reading every thread I could find on the topic. Everyone should start here:

http://www.planetlsx.com/tech/How_To...0_Camaro_SS/98

After looking through the list and later reading about broken spark plugs I decided to take mine out.

There are two problem areas: O2 removal and Oil dipstick replacement.

As for the O2s I ran my car for a few moments and then drove up on the ramps and then sprayed all the sensors. The key is I think is run the car long enough to get the exhaust warm, but not long enough for the heat to travel up to the O2 sensor. Then I used my O2 removal socket. I have removed O2 sensors before, these things make the job easy and helps prevent i think O2 damage.


As to Dipstick replacement I placed tap on the valve cover where the dipstick end comes up by the top of the engine and where the dipstick bends down. Then before I removed the dip stick I felt under the starter where the dipstick enters the pan. This prep with a friend feeding the dipstick down made replacement a 2 minute job.

PlanetLSX says the car must be at least 2 feet off the ground. Way over kill. I did my install with 10 inch high ramps. the only problem I had was removing the drivers side manifold and cats. I jacked up the car another 4 inches and the ugly thing slid right out. I also heard that one guy removed the cats from the manifolds and installed LTs with less than 10 inches of lift.

One PIA was the O2 Plugs. They have these little pins you have to pull out that you do not need to put back in later. The 2 rear ones pull out with a pair of pliers. But the 2 in the back of the cylinder heads have these little plastic strings you can use to pull the pins out. You would never be able to put these back in. The clips hold the plug in just fine. Plug the front O2 sensors back in from under the car. My LTs needed the plug extensions.

The rest of the install went smoothly except for one thing but took all day until the night. Many say it could be done in two hours. Not by me at least. I did have a friend helping me by taking out a few bolts, and assisting with the dipstick replacement, and initial header positioning.

I am not voiding my warranty by tuning my car just yet. So I installed rear O2 spacers to help prevent the dreaded CELs. No CELs so far after one day.


After all my preparation and taking my time I was shocked when after installing the tubes I realized my cats were not going to fit. I was told by the people who sold me the long tubes that they would bolt right up to my stock cutback. Not so, they are three inches too long!

I was not sure what to do next. Put everything back together and the manifolds back in? Leave the car on the ramps and see if I could find shorter cats? My friend said he had a sawmill. I decided ti bit the bullet and cut. I tightened down the headers for position and carefully measured and then bravely took a big saw to my car. It turned out there was just barely enough room to fit the cats before the first bend in the pipe. But I did get it to fit.


One last thing. The passenger side has very little room to work. You just need to be patient and keep trying different extensions and combinations. I used my 1/2 and 3/8 socket sets. Why are the manifold bolts 1/2 inch standard? Because I everything is so tight I tore up the insulation on the firewall removing those back bolts. Why is the insulation so flimsy? I also tore up the back of my hands.


The big cut was from my pit bull. I opened that up a few times during the install. She is a little too excitable sometimes.

So at 9 PM I took the car out for the first time with the LTs. I was exciting. Since I am using the stock catback it sound almost stock most of the time. But wan you ht 4-5 K it starts to wail. The sound is a ripping sound sort of high pitched and loud. The car now has sort of a Jekyll and Hyde character. I enjoy cruising and I like the quiet side of the car for that. and I really hate drone. The car has none.

I definitely feel more power. Now when I open it up in first gear the traction control light is on until I hit second. Fun! I plan to keep cloves of garlic on the rear view mirror to keep away the CELs. Wish me luck.

Edit: One CEL so far. Nothing to be afraid of.
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:13 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r1concepts View Post
The car is looking spectacular and your track day sounds like it was tons of fun.
Thanks! Some else who likes the clean look. You know, I was thinking of IOM stripes painted on. But still not sure.

Try a track day if you get a chance. I would have to say that was the best day I ever had I my SS.
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:18 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojave View Post
Funny - I sold my BMW 335i for the Camaro also ! Glad you are racing your car. How are the stock brake pads when you are racing? I have just been AutoXing but going to track in October and buying some new pads to have on hand at track in case I need them.
The pads held up well. The brakes stayed strong all day. But then I am no Ayrton Senna, yet.

I will go with the Hawk HP pads once my stockers wear a little more. Less brake dust and they will eliminate the roller skates so I can fit 18 inch wheels.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:50 PM   #27
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Bringing the SS to my first car show ever. I did not think I would ever do this but it could be fun. So I decided to try spiffing things up a little.

I really like the engine without the cover, but then the cover is sort of like a blank canvas. I may have over done it.








Next orange bumble bee stripes. Vinyl prices have come way down.
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:36 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMR guy View Post
Sway Bars - As you continue to push your car you will get more comfortable with it. When you are ready to remove the understeer completely and neutralize the car all you have to do is put your rear bar on the stiffest hole (leave the front bar where it is). Our bars are designed so that when replaced together and using the same holes front-to-back, the overall roll stiffness is increased almost equally (slightly biased towards the rear). To effectively remove the understeer completely just stagger the mounting positions so that the rear bar is one setting stiffer than the front.

Alignment - You mentioned that you kept your alignment stock because "Street qualities are more important for me than track qualities". I can understand your thought process however a performance alignment will make a huge difference in how the car feels on the street or the track. If you set your car to our "Performance Street" alignment settings listed HERE, I can guarantee you the car will feel noticeably better and have very minimal impact on your streetability (slightly increased treadwear).

Just one other thing I noticed when looking at your pictures is that the rear sway bar is on upside down. The very slight bend on the outer lever arms mimics the OE curve and should face upwards. This will probably never be a problem on a stock height car but if you ever lower it, the bar can contact the subframe if you don't flip it over.
Today I decided flip the sway bars since my original install was upside down. Also I decided to tighten up the rear bar while I was under there. I used my race ramps and removing and installing the rear bar was easy with the ramps.









I drove around for a while and took a few curves. No more push! Now i will have to be careful exploring the limits of my SS the next time at the track. But the improved cornering feel is worth it.

Now I wonder. If i do later go to the same size tire front and rear would I go back to the middle sway bar setting?
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:17 PM   #29
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Bumble Bee Stripes

I added stripes to my very plain black SS.

I would not have done this if they were not so cheap.

Under $200 installed.







The local Sign A Rama did the install. The stripes are not a perfect fit over the spoiler. And the gills look a little too large for the indentations. Was it the stripes or the installer? Not sure. Quite a few little bubbles. The installer said these would disappear once the car sees some sun. The stripes are well aligned and the price was right.

If I tire of this look I can always take them off. But for now it looks good from a distance. Tons of likes and comments on my Facebook page. The bright orange was a scary choice.

Next, IOM door and dash panels?
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:44 PM   #30
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For several months now I have been running LTs and high flow cats on my LS3 with the stock catback. At first I was very happy. But over time a few things bothered me:
  • At high RPMs there was a very loud slapping sound.
  • The LS3 deacceleration pops were very loud
  • Overall the sound was raspy and somewhat high pitched.
After listening to many sound clips and other Camaros and Corvettes I decided to make a change. I would add an axle back system and get rid of the giant cans.

I did not want my exhaust to be overly loud and definitely no drone. With LTs you have to be careful if you want to keep the volume low. I enjoy long trips and not waking up the neighbors and my dogs late at night.

So i researched and listened to more clips. At the end I chose the MagnaFlow Street series Axle back. This system is reasonably priced and came highly recommended. The other axle back I considered was the Borla Touring which is also the street GMMP axle back. I chose the Magnaflow because I could find it cheaper than the Borla.

So I ordered it. Several days later the box arrived. The installation went smoothly. I was afraid to cut my mid-pipes too short so I made the first cut with the Sawzall close to the mufflers. Then I mounted the muffler with the extra connector pipe so I could mark the exact spot to cut on each side.

I used lithium spray grease on those pesky rubber connectors to make things easier. Then I made the last two final cuts and put on both mufflers and connector pipes. After that I went to the back of the car and made sure both tips were in the right spot and evenly matched. Finally I tightened down all the bolts.

Fitment was perfect and all the parts looked high quality. The only tight spot was on the drivers side where the pipe came pretty close to the BMR sway bar grease fitting.

After starting up the car I loved the improved sound. Much deeper and less raspy. THen I took the SS out for a long drive to visit my aunt and uncle out by the Mullica river.

My thoughts:
  • The MagnaFlow Street is perfect for me with the LTs.
  • Great sound all through the rev range. The slapping sound is gone. The MagnaFlows are a bit quieter at full throttle.
  • The deaccelertion popping is still there but very muted. Quieter than the stock exhaust without the cats.
  • My gas milage seemed to improve a little. I was seeing a 33 mpg average going 55 on a flat road. I never saw numbers like that before. Is this possible? (Edit: Now that the computer has adjusted to the change the milage is back to normal LS3)
  • The car seems a little slower. Maybe this is just beacuse the MagnaFlows are a bit quieter than the stock catback at full throttle. Hopefully this is just an impression. (Edit: After a few drives the fun is back!)
I recommend the Magnaflow Street series for anyone who wants a great sound with LTs while not making big noise.





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Old 10-22-2011, 10:13 PM   #31
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The Drone is here

To follow up on this install....

After driving around for a bit I found the Magnaflow install has pulled the exhaust lower and it was up against the rear edge of the tunnel brace. So I went to Lowes and bought longer bolts and a couple boxes of washers. I think it took seven washers on each bolt to get it low enough.


There may be better solutions, but this was simple and cheap.

As far as gas milage goes over time I have seen no real change. I have not replicated that first trip. My car must have been running a bit lean and now the computer has things right back to where they were before the install.

Also the performance is back too. Power shifting into second now brings on the traction control big time. I should really get out to the track to see what it will do.

Now the bad. Drone. It is there. My first rides were with the windows were down and I did not notice the dreaded drone. Now that the weather is cooler and the windows are up the drone is noticeable. The other day I was out with three passengers and the drone was pretty bad. in sixth gear from 50-70 and especially bad going uphill.

Shifting down to fifth is better. With just me in the car it is not quite as bad, but still there.

So what next? Maybe the Helmholtz solution. Or maybe some gears. I still have the LS3 resonators on, maybe they are the culprit.
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:00 AM   #32
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Hey - what's up? Was wondering if you already installed the Resonated X-pipe to eliminate the drone?
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:01 PM   #33
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A quiet exhaust solution

Lately I have seen a few posts here about having long tubes with a semi-quiet exhaust system. So i want to share my experience with my LS3 and a similar quest.

Some of us like to hear our motors but in a subdued way. While we like speed we also want to take our cars on long trips with our families and be able to listen to and enjoy music and books on tape. And there is a special kind of fun in having a fast car that doesn't sound fast or attract attention.

My car is an LS3 and i was looking to add long tubes and high flow cats while avoiding a loud exhaust and hopefully not spending a lot of money.

For starters I found a great deal on a set of used 1 7/8 Bigflow stainless LTs with a pair of high flow cats. I installed these myself in my garage. I started out by keeping the stock catback. I was hoping that this combination would keep things quiet while spending the least dollars.

One strange thing about the BFE cats is they are longer than most and require you to cut your stock sized cutback to install. But since I would only be cutting the stock pipes, I did not see this as a problem.

My results with the LTs and stock cutback:
The Good -
  • Almost as quiet as stock at lower RPM with a nice little growl.
  • No drone.
The Bad -
  • De-accel popping is very loud
  • Wide open at higher rpm is very loud with a very annoying slapping sound
Since it was quiet at lower speeds I did not mind it being loud at high rpm. But the high speed sound was awful to my ears. It had to be fixed.

I did not want to buy an expensive cat back and then cut it to install. So I looked around and decided to install one of the quieter axle-backs, the Magnaflow Street. This seem to be ideal. It would keep the car quiet, while saving some weight replacing the huge stock muffler cans.

My results with the Magnaflow axle-back:
The Good -
  • The tone was deeper than stock
  • The sound was much better at high rpm
  • De-accel popping was much quieter than before
The Bad -
  • Drone.
At speeds between 55-75 the thrumming, while not overly loud was very tiring on a long trip. And with 4 people in the car the drone was especially bad. More had to be done.

I put up a post talking about the drone and a vendor suggested I try the Magnaflow X-Pipe. This pipe (which looks like a muffler) replaces the stock LS3 H pipe and is also part of the Street Series cutback.

So I bought the pipe and had it installed in a local muffler shop today. It replaces the stock H-pipe and leaves the stock LS3 resonators. While they were at it they fixed a couple of exhaust leaks and let me know one of my sway bar brackets fell off. They also moved things around to give me a little more clearance over the rear tunnel cross brace.


My results with the X-pipe:
The good -
  • Quiet at low speeds
  • A nice deep tone at idle
  • De-Accel popping is almost imperceptible.
  • Quieter at high RPM
  • No drone.
The bad -
  • Some might think it too quiet (but not me).
Overall I would say my car sounds about 10 percent louder than stock at low speeds and 25 percent louder at speed.

For anyone looking for a quiet LT set up I can recommend LTs with the Magnaflow Street Series products. With the X-Pipe install cost I ended up spending almost as much as a full cat-back. If i were to do it over I would probably just buy the Street series cat-back and then cut it to fit the BFE cats. However then I would lose the LS3 resonators which may be the things that makes my setup work for me. Then again they may be contributing to the drone.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:02 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike.nite View Post
Hey - what's up? Was wondering if you already installed the Resonated X-pipe to eliminate the drone?
I finally got around to it. I am liking the result. But not everyone will.
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