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Old 11-27-2012, 01:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Project YJ-2a

I have been looking for a decent flatty for the last few years. The ones I have found here in Utah all seem to be either beyond saving or have a crazy asking price and are in mediocre shape. I have also been following Mieser's Rango build and the more his project progressed I saw that “rebuilding” a flatty in my price range would be basically starting from scratch anyways. So shy not just start from scratch?

Last year I picked Mieser's brain a little bit over on Expo and it really got the wheels in my head turning.......Mieser your a bad influence! Needless to say there is going to be another “Mieser frame” here on the board!

My plan is to build a frame, slap on a new tub and stuff as much of a YJ drivetrain into it as possible. Easier said than done! Reason for the YJ drivetrain I have a spare YJ just sitting around that needs to get used somehow. Some random thoughts I have about the conversion:

Engine:
2.5l four banger strait out of the YJ (starting to get tired but can be rebuilt later) Will be pushed as far forward as I can get it to hopefully have an acceptable rear driveline.

Transmission:
Stock AX-5, nothing exciting here.

Axles:
Front: YJ Dana 30. The disconnect housing is not ideal but it works. I do have a set of axle shafts to upgrade to larger760x joints. Probably do some sort of posi-lock to eliminate the vacuum garbage from the factory. When I regear I will probably upgrade to a housing without the disconnect.
Rear: Ford exploder 8.8 (discs, 31 spline limited slip) bought for another project but changed direction.

T-case:
the NP-231 is going to need a super short SYE kit from JB Conversions. Should be 3” or so shorter than a regular SYE

(pic grabbed from conversions)

Fuel system:
Thinking of going with YJ 87-90 15 gallon fuel tank/pump/sending unit. From what I gather it should be narrow enough to fit between the rear frame rails. In 1991 they switched to a larger tank. My 1992 has a 15/20 gallon tank so its way too wide.
87-90 tank:

91-95 tank:

(pics borrowed from '90 YJ Daily Driver Trail Rig Build - Page 2 - JeepForum.com)

Suspension
YJ leafs SUA. Initially I will mock it up with stock springs and then by buy some lift springs to get things where I want it height wise. I do have some composite Teraflex springs and cross over steering WJ knuckles I saved for this jeep but I think it would end up way too tall.

The Dana30/ 8.8/ four banger/ AX5 are far from being hardcore drivetrain components, but in a lightweight rig, running 33” tires and a gutless motor they will be stout enough for my uses (moderate 4wheeling, camping and occasional daily driving)

The axles are a bit wide but with the right wheels it should be manageable.


Probably need electric fan (maybe even a pusher fan up front) to get the drivetrain forward and get a workable driveline length

I plan on using the YJ steering box

The YJ brake and clutch pedal will need some modifications but I have some ideas to make them work that I am playing with.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I found a donor tub while I was working this summer in Montana. Its a rusted pile of scrap metal but once I get a title for all it she be donating the a VIN and a few other small parts. It was free and rightly so.............




While I was in Montana I cleaned a few extra cabins on the side to make extra money to buy a new tub. I was goofing around on the internet and found a fiberglass tub that was on sale, I entered some extra 30%+ free shipping code and to my surprise it added the discount to the sale price. Long story short a week and $800 later:


Fiberglass was not my first choice but the price sure was right. Also not having holes pre-cut was a big plus as many of them I would just be filling in later anyways. I was really hesitant to buy fiberglass after reading some of the horror stories online but in the end I am happy with the choice I made. Most of the complaints about fiber tubs were that they were not true to the original tub. I measured both tubs and came to the conclusion that the critical measurements are close enough. Hell as mangled and bent as the sheet metal is anything is better!

I started on the frame this last weekend and didn’t get too far on it due to other obligations. I have one frame cut and tacked as well as the metal work for the bumpers started.


Bear with me as this is probably going to be a slow build. Hopefully by spring I can have a rolling chassis of sorts, weather permitting........sadly most of this build is happening outside on the dirt, in the winter, in northern Utah, after work in the dark. Hopefully a build thread will keep me motivated to get out and work on it when I can

P.S. I apologize for the shitty cell phone pics. I do have a nice camera and I like using it but I am too lazy to re-size images sometimes

Last edited by Wjeeper; 11-27-2012 at 01:46 AM.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Bad influence? me?

Are you going to widen the frame slightly for the YJ front axle? With that fiberglass tub you pretty much have a blank canvas. What is the wheelbase goal? Getting the ax5 and np231 to fit should be interesting.

Cool project!
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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jp magazine just finished a 2.5 swap into an early cj5..so the engine placement should be very similar to your goal....should be on their website..

Last edited by xjandyj; 11-27-2012 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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i have a DJ 3a in storage i was thinking of putting a yj/tj 4 banger in for a daily driver, this will be interesting to watch
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if you don't roll it over once in a while you aren't trying hard enough

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Old 11-27-2012, 10:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm also interested/watching.

With the YJ springs being wider than the stock springs you loose some of the inherent advantage of the sideplates Mieser used. (you can still use them, just you'll have to cut the ears off and weld on new spring hangers which IMO was part of the beauty of the side plates to start with).

If it were me I'd lay out your plans in cad (or pencil and paper still works!) and set your wheelbase, spring, drivetrain location and frame dimensions to match your combo and personal needs. When you're trying to pack 10lb of poo in a 5lb bag that is a flatfender, every little bit helps. You may find that his frame shape is exactly what you need, but I would work it out on paper upfront to know. Maybe you already did... I dunno.

I like your parts choices. I've pondered doing something similar at times. I saw on BWscrambler's build he used a toy v6 2wd housing which looks like a great alternative to the 8.8 if you wanted something different. It might be lighter, might be stronger... I'm not sure. no c-clip anyway. It's kind of special in that it shares the bolt pattern with your D30 and uses the stronger 4wd sized third and axles, (or at least I think it does.) Not sure what kind of gearing the 2wd's came with but 4.10 toyota 4wd thirds are extremely common and 4.56/4.88 were available factory. I understand using what you've already got, just thought I'd throw that out there.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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You could also narrow that front diff pretty easy if you re tube the
Long side with a Cherokee long side ( no disconnect) and while you're at it
Cut it down to use a CJ7 Dana 30 axle shaft
Also a big +1 on the Toyota mini truck rear diff ( the 8" ring gear version)
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This is awesome! I have wanted to do this exact thing for a long time. I almost went this route with my build before deciding to go another direction.

I'm so glad that SUA is making a come back!
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mieser View Post
Bad influence? me?

Are you going to widen the frame slightly for the YJ front axle? With that fiberglass tub you pretty much have a blank canvas. What is the wheelbase goal? Getting the ax5 and np231 to fit should be interesting.

Cool project!
I mean bad influence in the best of ways! I think its awesome that you shared the frame dimensions with everyone. Having a baseline to design off of really gave me a head start. Its cool to see people taking your measurements and modifying it to suit there needs!

The frame is going to be about 3.5 inches wider to mount up the YJ axle. I will have to do a little bit different grill mount, but all in all I think it will work out nicely. I also added 2.5 inches to the rear so that the rear crossmember/ bumper sticks out past the body work a bit. Mostly personal preference, partly to help mount the longer YJ springs. The bumpers also ended up a bit wider too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xjandyj View Post
jp magazine just finished a 2.5 swap into an early cj5..so the engine placement should be very similar to your goal....should be on their website..
Thanks for the intel! I will have to check it out.

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I'm so glad that SUA is making a come back!
SUA in a jeep has always been my personal preference even when it was not cool
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Forgot to mention that I am shooting for an 86-88 inch wheelbase. +3
in the rear and 3-5" up front............
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:57 AM   #11 (permalink)
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No problem. That was the biggest hurdle for me when I went to make a frame. My design isn't perfect but at least it gets the ball rolling for folks. I couldn't find ANY measurement data. That is why I did what I did. I designed it for what I wanted in the end but once you have some numbers to work from its pretty easy to change it to what you want. I think the only thing I haven't seen yet is someone do a completely stock replacement? Everyone is stretching things here and there.....

As Jalbrecht42 mentioned, that was the original intent with the side plates. It provides a datum point for frame assembly and measuring. You don't have to do it that way, but it sure helped me out when building the frame.

Some days I still can't believe that I basically built a vehicle from the frame up...errrrr built the frame then built it from the frame up last year in my garage
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:45 PM   #12 (permalink)
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As Jalbrecht42 mentioned, that was the original intent with the side plates. It provides a datum point for frame assembly and measuring. You don't have to do it that way, but it sure helped me out when building the frame.

Some days I still can't believe that I basically built a vehicle from the frame up...errrrr built the frame then built it from the frame up last year in my garage
I can totally see how the side plates would give you a good benchmark to go off of.........too bad the way I am going to be doing it wont really allow me to use them It will take me longer to do it the way I have planned. A coupla people have told me I am nuts for starting from complete scratch, but in the end it should mean a rig without the compromises of 65 years of rust, dents, bondo, booger welds and metal fatigue.

Tonight I worked on reassembling the Jeep a bit so that I can get a VIN inspection next week. I tacked the fenders, windsheld and hood to the tub so it looks more like a jeep and less like a pile of scrap metal. I forgot just how mangled this thing is! Nothing sits level or mounts like it should Good thing I am only reusing the grill and the VIN!


Here is how the frame sat as of this morning. I spent some time capping off the bumper ends.......took way me longer than they should have but at least they are done!




Forgive my messy "shop" floor..........its been awhile since it was mowed
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:16 AM   #13 (permalink)
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An idea....

Shorten the rear rails slightly and then lay the rear bumper flat? The would make the rear bumper stick out past the body, give you a better shackle location, and should keep you from having to cut the rear body flange.

Basically make the rear bumper 2" tall instead of 4" tall.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:25 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Only have made a little bit of progress the last couple of days. It rained a good portion of the afternoon so I only got an hour or so in. The whole frame is lightly tacked together and I just need to square it all up and burn it in place. Then its time for suspension mounting!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mieser View Post
An idea....

Shorten the rear rails slightly and then lay the rear bumper flat? The would make the rear bumper stick out past the body, give you a better shackle location, and should keep you from having to cut the rear body flange.

Basically make the rear bumper 2" tall instead of 4" tall.

That is certainly and idea. The way I am doing it right now I am not cutting into the rear body flange. I will be cutting the last 1-1.5" of the frame down till its 2x2 and then the rear bumper will step down 2".........If that makes any sense, if not I outta have it tacked together here in a day or two.

Measuring the fiberglass tub I found that the rear floor slopes to one corner about 3/4" front to back and 1/4" from side to side.....if you look at one of the above pics you can see how the front of the tub lays flat and the rear portion is not, not really a huge deal, just a minor annoyance to build around.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:14 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Hopefully a shitty ass cell phone pic makes more sense than my last post! Cut a 2.5x2 notch out of it. Here is how frame notch worked out with the rear body flange:

Once I get the shackle mounts figured out its probably going to be getting a gusset to give it some of its strength back (not so sure it matters much on a light Willys anyways)

The basic structure of the frame is all welded up. I even welded on some plates to cap off the ends of the 2x4 where they are slash cut. Tonight I tacked up the spring mounts for the rear suspension. (I apolligize that the pics will always be a day behind, the sun is long down by the time I finish for the night and I don't really want to go through the hassle of setting up a tripod/ flash/ remote shutter release for night photography)

Going with outborded springs in the rear, Its way more of a pain initally to set up but the added stability should be worth it. I was a bit concerned that using wide axles mounted with the springs so far inboard. The main concern was an unstable ride at speed.....this Jeep will be pulling DD duty in the summers. Granted the highest speed limit in the area is 60....about all a 4banger is capable of within reason.....it would be nice to hit 60 without being too "wandery". The "10LBS of shit in a 5LB bag" principle says I don't have room for any swaybars. I also feel that with a properly set up suspension swaybars have a negligible benefit in a tiny flatty. If I am wrong I can always add it later

Pulled the 8.8 out of the weeds. It was sitting a full 6 feet in the air on a gooseneck trailer tongue but it still had weeds growing all over it......needless to say this build has been far too long in the parts collection phase!


Just a stock 8.8 nothing special. The one of the diff tags says 3L73....does that mean its a 3.73 ratio limited slip? Its been a few years since I yanked it at a pick-n-pull, I coulda sworn it had a 4.10 ratio
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:36 PM   #16 (permalink)
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jp magazine just finished a 2.5 swap into an early cj5..so the engine placement should be very similar to your goal....should be on their website..
Its been a few years since I subscribed to JP.......seemed the majority of the tech was not applicable to what I was building......I let my subscription laps too soon apparently! What Verne built is pretty much what I was planning on to a "T".......same drivetrain (2.5L/ ax5/ 231 with JB conversions super short SYE/ fuel tank/ etc) only drivetrain diffrence I can see is the choice in rear axles. Even the frame is pretty similar (although a "Mieser" frame is better IMHO)

If anybody is curious here are the links:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

What do you think about their rim of choice?

Imagine this wheel on a red flatty. Its pretty cheap, has a backspace that will keep the tires from sticking out a mile and keep some "nostalgia" in the build.................I wish I woulda seen these articles when I was in the planning/ design [email protected]

Last edited by Wjeeper; 12-03-2012 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:22 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Looking good!

I think some high backspacing (5"?) wheels like that would look VERY cool on a flat fender.

Brace that rear frame joint when you get mockup done. I added another full 2x4 crossmember ahead of mine, but with your full tank plans i would wouldn't. Try and spread the load out a bit if you can. With the wider axles you should be able to go to the outside a bit without getting into anything.

As long as you keep the overall height down I don't think you will have too many stability problems. Little tip, nn a conventional SUA front shackle arrangement, keep the spring mount slightly lower than the shackle mount. Basically you want the spring to slope slightly. Try and do this both front and rear. A little more on the front than the rear if you can.

You could also outboard the rear springs if you want a little more rear end stability.

What size tires are you thinking?

Looking good...making progress...can't complain!
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:52 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I used these wheels on my willys, I really like them. Got them from Summit racing. Wheel Vintiques 41 series. And I just didn't order the cover for them, as obviously the hub wouldn't allow for a center cover. I like the bare look anyway.

Wheel Vintiques 41 Series Ford Pickup Rallye Silver Wheels - SummitRacing.com










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Old 12-04-2012, 10:07 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Looking good!

You could also outboard the rear springs if you want a little more rear end stability.

What size tires are you thinking?

Looking good...making progress...can't complain!
Already a step ahead of ya:

Just got the rear outboarded and tacked into place. Once I get the shackles and fuel tank figured out a bit better the rear crossmember will be getting some extra bracing.


I am shooting for a 33's (most likely be 33x10.50 BFG MTs) I bolted up some springs and set the frame/ body over the 8.8 just to see how wide the axle looks under there. The tires and wheels I have for rollers are around 9.5 wide on 15x7 w/ 4 inches of backspace, and they stick past the body 5 or so inches past the fenders. So bumping up to a 10.50 wont make them way too wide. I like the stance of the wider axles! I was worried they would look goofy, but so far it looks like it will be ok
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I used these wheels on my willys, I really like them. Got them from Summit racing. Wheel Vintiques 41 series. And I just didn't order the cover for them, as obviously the hub wouldn't allow for a center cover. I like the bare look anyway.
Since a my YJ d30 doesnt have lockout hubs I can run the caps up front. You just dont see white wheels or baby moons anymore. I think the white on red will look "vintage", I am really digging the way it looks in my head.

Looking at the Wheel Vintiques online they come with a similar backspacing as my temporary rollers so they should work great. Only bummer is the ones I l want are over $90 once you get the hubcaps........pretty spendy for some steel wheels. This winter I am going to keep my eyes peeled for some OEM steel wheels.......not exactly something folks are searching for in the junkyards! I can get steelies for like $8 at a pull-it-yourself yard, and Les Schwab can powdercoat them for $30

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Old 12-05-2012, 08:05 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Nice progress. Your almost ready to flip that over!

I would only tack the spring hangers for now. Once weight is on the springs things will move a little bit.

On a YJ axle I think you can go up to about 5-5.5" of backspacing on a 15" wheel right? That would get the overall width down some. The tires are still going to stick out a bit, but the scrub radius would be excellent.

I can see the red body with white and chrome wheels. I think it will look really sweet!

Keep up the good work!
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:40 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Since a my YJ d30 doesnt have lockout hubs I can run the caps up front. You just dont see white wheels or baby moons anymore. I think the white on red will look "vintage", I am really digging the way it looks in my head.
Oh, that will open up alot of options then! The wheels I chose were one of the few that had the center bore hole large enough for the hubs, WV makes lots of other wheels too, which have a smaller diameter center bore hole, sounds like you would have lots of options if you wanted something new. In either case, I look forward to seeing what you run on there, I agree, some vintage looking moons might look very good!
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:41 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Nice progress. Your almost ready to flip that over!

I would only tack the spring hangers for now. Once weight is on the springs things will move a little bit.

On a YJ axle I think you can go up to about 5-5.5" of backspacing on a 15" wheel right? That would get the overall width down some. The tires are still going to stick out a bit, but the scrub radius would be excellent.

Keep up the good work!
Its actually been flipped for a few hours now!

(the springs are sitting SOA in the pic so it sits stupid tall, didnt have u-bolts/ plates to mock it up SUA)
The spring brackets are just tacked with some heavy tacks for now. Once the drivetrain is mocked in place then I will tack in the shackle mounts and take it in for an alignment. The only reason its going in for one is to make sure the thrust angle good so that she will go strait down the road. Caster and toe are easy enough to set on my own.

If memory serves me right a YJ can run just over 4.5 inches of backspace with 10.50 tires before they start rubbing on the springs at full lock. I am planning on running as much backspace as possible to keep the width down. Speaking of track width:

The rollers I have are 15x7 with 4 inches of backspace and about half of the tire is past the body work. I think that with the stretched wheelbase and the added ride height will keep it somewhat proportional looking.


The back wall of the tub has a 3/8" bow to it. I am planning on adding a spare tire carrier to the back so it will be hidden anyways. Not really concerned about it, but I see why folks complain about the fitment of a fiberglass tub.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:25 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Are you dont' yet? How about now?

I would suggest plating the overlap in the frame rails after mockup. Just a piece of 1/8" plate should be more than enough....
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:27 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Also....

If your going to go SUA please take the extra time and make some high clearance spring plates. They make a BIG difference in eliminating a very annoying snag point.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:47 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I like this build a lot, keep up the work.
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