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Whew. It took me 4 days, but I've finally read through the entire thread from the start! Wonderful journey you've had with this car and I love all of the creative solutions you have come up with for problems. Thank you very much for sharing!

The one thing that I don't see, and think you would really benefit from, is joining the rear subframe mounts to the frame rails of the car. I know you installed that safety devices rear tower brace, but afaik it only mounts to the trunk floor, which is completely separated from the RACP that the subframe mounts anchor to.

If you haven't yet, I'd definitely recommend looking at the Vincebar and SME solutions for the RACP issue. I bet you could come up with another creative solution and tie it into your existing bracing.

Some good info here - let me know if you'd like more!

https://forums.m3cutters.co.uk/threads/sme-introduction-and-rear-bracing-options.202102/

Edit: I'm guessing you've also looked into adding a baffle in the oil pan since you're tracking oil pressure drops in turns. Adding a baffle completely eliminated some starvation issues that I was having during autocross events.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Whew. It took me 4 days, but I've finally read through the entire thread from the start! Wonderful journey you've had with this car and I love all of the creative solutions you have come up with for problems. Thank you very much for sharing!

The one thing that I don't see, and think you would really benefit from, is joining the rear subframe mounts to the frame rails of the car. I know you installed that safety devices rear tower brace, but afaik it only mounts to the trunk floor, which is completely separated from the RACP that the subframe mounts anchor to.

If you haven't yet, I'd definitely recommend looking at the Vincebar and SME solutions for the RACP issue. I bet you could come up with another creative solution and tie it into your existing bracing.

Some good info here - let me know if you'd like more!

https://forums.*********.co.uk/threads/sme-introduction-and-rear-bracing-options.202102/

Edit: I'm guessing you've also looked into adding a baffle in the oil pan since you're tracking oil pressure drops in turns. Adding a baffle completely eliminated some starvation issues that I was having during autocross events.
Glad you enjoyed the thread so far. will be a lot more to come.

Regarding the rear floor, at the time I did it was the first one we'd done so just plated the underside of the floor, changing the diff bushes so they sit direction against the boot floor rather than pivoting on the standard studs has reduced a lot of force going into the floor too. Since then a few friends have gone in through the top and tied the diff mounts into the cage in the rear. This maybe something I look at in the future but considering I only repainted the car this summer I'm going to shelf the idea for a little while.
Yeah i run the oil just over top of max on the dip stick and have the oil cooler on there too so slightly raised capacity but under braking the oil pressure does drop down to 8-10psi. I am adding the oil pressure into the logger now with a number of other changes so i can get a better idea of what is going on, seems to be reasonable in the corners at the moment but under braking there is a drop.
I know someone who has just baffled his sump, will let him test it and then if it works carry out the same adjustment when I do an engine rebuild later in the year.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #24 (Edited)
Update

So at the moment I'm working from home and have two weeks off as well so plenty of time to do a few little jobs and pass some time too.

First job on the list was to try and tidy up the wheels, they were a mess from the last track day in March, mainly the rears where I was running the cheap brembo pads, between each of the spokes and all the the inner dish of the wheel was covered in metal particles from the brake pads.




My usual wheel cleaner wasn't shifting it so invested in some different wheel cleaner as well as from fall out remover.



Spent Saturday afternoon cleaning the wheels, it took a good two hours of soaking, scrubbing and jet washing to get the wheels back to looking like new again, I then gave them a polished and resealed them ready for when they go back on again, hopefully being able to change the pads with the new proportioning valve will cut down on this as the RC6's aren't too heavy on dust and wear



Gave the wet wheels the same treatment.


Took the steering wheel off to give it a good scrub and a tidy up, It has started to fade in the sun so may look at getting some dye to bring it back to black


While the car was on axle stands for the weekend sorting out the wheels it was a perfect chance to do a few more little jobs.
Swapped the rear brembo pads out for the spare set of RC5's. No fun going through half a set of brembos on a track day and the dust from the cheap pads is terrible. Back to the RC5's now I've got the Tilton proportioning valve in


Dropped the diff oil out of the diff, this was the freshly built diff with the 3.73 final drive in. Wanted to check the oil to give an indication everything was ok.


However the main reason for dropping the diff oil was so that I could fit a temperature sensor, this has been a job that i've wanted to do for ages, I know a few people running diff cooling set ups on E36/E46 and a conversion with company that builds race cars especially E46's said they had experienced high diff temps not only with plated diffs but with helical diffs. Only way to find out is to monitor the diff temp myself.
Diff temperature sensor fitted and the wiring ran up along the diff cradle and into the brake line holders on the underside of the boot floor before entering the cabin with the brake lines.


Did a little more wiring, one wire for the rear diff temp sensor above, another for an additional fuel pressure sensor for the swirl pot so I can keep an eye on what that's doing. Another reason for this Is the current fuel system is running about 64psi at the rail which is about 10psi too high. The standard ECU copes with it fine with the fuel trims and the AFR's are solid on the dyno but it's something i'm looking into at the moment... Pressure in the swirl pot is 10PSI so there's no problem there so will swap the fuel pressure regulator this week and see how it goes from there.
Ended up swapping the fuel rail from a 328 fuel rail to the M50 fuel rail as the regulator from the M50 was a slightly different diameter and with the old seals it wouldn't seal correctly. But with the M50 rail on there 50psi. Going to replace the regulator in the 328 rail as that is pointing towards the higher fuel pressure.



Gave the interior a good clean, blowing out any dust with the compressor and giving it a hoover and wipe down


Hasn't moved off the drive since it was washed after the last track day but I thought it wouldn't harm to be washed again this weekend


Gave the car a coat of wax to try and keep it clean between washes, also moved the splitter back a little and to the side to make sure it was central with the car



That is pretty much it now until it goes out in the future, just need to swap the fuel pressure reg over one evening and test the rail pressure


Last job this week has been to adjust the overlay for the Data logger. Added in some more data fields in the bottom right corner. Merged the dial for the RPM to be part of the speedometer and created front and rear brake pressure bars to be the same as the throttle. Not all the data will be visible on video edits but it's there to be shown If i decide to leave them in.

 

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I know a few people running diff cooling set ups on E36/E46 and a conversion with company that builds race cars especially E46's said they had experienced high diff temps not only with plated diffs but with helical diffs.
Whoa I did not know that helical lsd's got hot too. Makes me feel better about leaving the finned cover on the Z4 diff that I am installing.

Can't wait to see your results and what custom cooling setup you come up with!

"So I picked up some thin aluminum sheet, cut some intricate fins to match the profile of the diff, and started welding them to the cover..."
 

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Great build up, Inspiring, I am looking to build an e46 to track/rally and time attack but I am looking at building a sedan. Sedans are actually naturally stiffer than the coupes. I like the look of the sedan as well.
Good Job.
 

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Great build up, Inspiring, I am looking to build an e46 to track/rally and time attack but I am looking at building a sedan. Sedans are actually naturally stiffer than the coupes. I like the look of the sedan as well.

Good Job.
Sedan with a solid rear seat (non-folding) is significantly stiffer than any other e46 model and definitely the best chassis for a track car
 

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Sedan with a solid rear seat (non-folding) is significantly stiffer than any other e46 model and definitely the best chassis for a track car
Yes I have discovered this, I even found some numbers.

I initially got them from a forum, cant remember exactly where, but I believe I saw them here as well

BMW E46 Sedan (w/o folding seats) 18,000 Nm/deg
BMW E46 Sedan (w/folding seats) 13,000 Nm/deg
BMW E46 Coupe (w/folding seats) 12,500 Nm/deg
Sport wagon (w/folding seats) 14000 Nm/deg
Convertible 10,500 Nm/deg



This is a nice build writeup, I want to do the same except I want to build a M52B30
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Lock down update. Only small things but I thought it was a good chance to sit down on a Friday evening and pass some time writing down a few things i've found and been messing with along the way.

Carrying on from the last update were I was adding in additional sensors, one of the sensors I added in was a pressure sensor into the top of the swirl pot. the idea behind this was to tell me a little more about what was going on in the system. I started this train of thought because ever since I swapped the fuel system to a pot, high pressure pump and return style rail i've had a fuel pressure around 60-65psi with and without vacuum, never really had an issue with it, car ran fine on the dyno with the standard ECU. I thought there might have been some back pressure in the pot potentially but this sensor has told me there is around 8-10psi in the swirl pot which is perfect for feeding the pump for the rail.
Popped out the regulator in the rail for spare i had knocking around and perfect 51psi. Really strange, ordered a new one to replace it with as the history of the spare was unknown. Got to the bottom of that mystery eventually.



With the car going no where soon with the lock down but with a lot of messing with it, the odd start and having the ignition on from time to time i thought it was a good idea to get a trickle charger for it. Nice and simple wiring onto the battery with a plug on it, really easy to get the car on charge now, only takes a minute to plug it into the car.



A week or two into the lock down I found myself stuck at home, nothing to do and facing a couple of weeks off work so decided to play with an idea i've had for a long time but never really started it because I knew it was going to be quite time consuming.
I've already got the Arduino data logger on the exhaust tunnel of the car which collected data from the CANBUS, a handful of analogue sensors as well as GPS data and writes it to an SD card. This is great for looking at information afterwards but real time live data I only really have the coolant temp on the dash and the oil temp gauge which only gives me a rough idea and an alarm set at 120 degrees.

Ordered a couple of bits of Amazon to kick off the ball rolling, starting off with another Arduino Mega and a 3.5" colour and touch screen LCD. Only a cheap one to get me going, can always develop and spend more in the future if it works.


I already had the data available on the logger Arduino so i started off making a couple of screen to display the data on.

Temps which would be nice to be able to see while driving.


Pressures


Another way of viewing oil and fuel pressure min and max over a session out on track


Added a basic alarm functionality to each of the temps for the Oil, Coolant and Diff. The beauty of making this myself is I can make it do what ever I want. At the moment a basic alarm with a flashing red ! mark.


Spent a bit more time developing the casing and the mount for it to bolt into a hole in the exhaust tunnel, mounted it in a black plastic case and powered it through a USB cable so it's nice and tidy.


The beauty of it is that it's connected to the CANBUS of the car which enables it to receive all the data from the ECU but I have modified the code on the logger to broadcast the analogue sensor values that it's reading onto the cars CANBUS so it can be read by the screen and displayed.

Touching the screen enables you to cycle around the 3 different screens of data. Automatically comes on with the ignition


This will probably be something I continue to develop further in the future with more sensors, data, bigger screens with gauges, I've got a few ideas for using this screen more but that's not too difficult to develop now I've got the basic functionality.


Another large parcel turned up in the post for me this afternoon too, another M54B30 complete engine which i'm going to be stripping down and using as a donor for the new engine build, this enables me to get on with the build while still having the car in one piece and being able to use it should I have the chance to get out on track.




Couldn't help getting it on an engine stand this evening and popping off the cam cover for a look inside checking the part numbers on the cams and the block Will have some more photographs of this as I strip it open this week.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
I was going to save this for one but update but with the amount of photographs and steps I thought I would break it up a little bit and write down some of the progress so far. This obviously isn't every step I've gone through so far just some of the stages I've taken photos of.

Engine strip down

Started by removing a lot of the parts from the engine to get it back to a bare block. Put all these parts in a plastic box out of the way for now, not a lot of these are going to be used on the car so will just be kept for spares


Plugged up any holes and covered the engine in degreaser, lots of scrubbing with a stiff brush and finally jet washing the engine to get rid of 120,000 miles or dirt and oil.


First job was to take the head off complete, I wont be using any of this so I've removed it with the cams in place and put it on ebay for sale.


Oil drained and the sump and oil pump removed, again not something i'm going to be using as I'll be using the oil pump from the current engine with the Vac motorsport shaft and nut kit.


Engine broken down into it's main components


Lots and lots of cleaning and scrubbing to get to this stage, everything will be disassembled and cleaned in the parts washer before reassembly but it's nice to get rid of all the old oil from everything


Old head and new head sat side by side in the garage.


For comeparison here's the different between the intake cam standard vs Shrick 272 with 10.9mm lift
Standard


Schrick


I dropped the block off at the machine shop for machine work doing.
Skimmed the deck and honed the bores to give a nice fresh canvas for the engine build. I know someone will eventually ask what I am doing with the threads in the Aluminium block, I was going to have inserts put into the block but I have since decided to spend the money on ARP headstuds. I've tracked down some ARP studs which are longer than the kit that they sell for the M50 steel blocks which give more thread engagement inside the aluminium block. Main advantage is these can also be reused and transferred to another block should I need to.


Masked up the faces on the block




Painted the block a nice silver, Painted nice and easily after the block had been through the parts washer at the machine shop.


Cleaned out the oil squirters and refitted them back into the block checking the oil galleries in side the block and inside the squirters where cleaned and blown through before refitting


Before refitting the cams to the head or the head to the block I did a quick leak down test with some white spirit to check the valve seats on this head as it if freshly built to make sure everything is as it should be, no issues with leakage just evaporation with the heat yesterday


First few parcels with engine parts started to arrive a the end of last week. First ones being the Vanos rebuild kit


Stripped the unit open and pulled out the seals


Cleaned the pistons in the parts washer and refitted the new seals


Time for reassembly


Done...


Bit of paint to tidy up the tired vanos unit too.


Engine building parts arrived yesterday so I was able to crack on with the first bits of putting the engine together.


Checked the ring gaps in the bores, all checked out ok pretty much in the middle of the BMW tolerances


Piston rings fitted to the pistons


Popping the pistons into the bores with the new rings fitted


6 pistons fitted into the block, even though the bores and the rings are new i've kept everything numbered and orientated throughout the cleaning process. Trying to make the process as simple as possible when rebuilding


Set of King Racing bearings for the rod bearings this time,


King Racing rod bearings and brand new mains bearings fitted ready for the crank to be dropped in


To be continued when the remainder of the parts i'm waiting for arrive.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Engine building continues. I was waiting for the mains bolts to arrive so I was able to start to put the crank in and assemble the bottom end.
While doing this I checked the bearing clearances on the mains and the big end bearings. all of these were right in the middle of the factory tolerances.



Another expensive but worthwhile purchase for this engine build turned up. Set of custom ARP studs and nuts which are loner than the M50 kit ARP sell giving full thread engagement in the block. Decided to go down this route rather than spending the money have timeserts fitted to the block.



ARP head studs fitted into the block


The new ported head fitted to the block and torqued down. What a stressful job that was getting the head torqued down, still worrying about pulling the threads out of the block but with the longer engagement on these ARP's and only pulling on the threads in the block rather than turning at the same time the head is torqued down and ready to go


Dropped the cam trays, lifters and cams into the head and torqued down the cams


Before I could go any further with finishing off the engine building there was some other jobs which needed tackling first. One being the sump. I was seeing oil pressure as low at 8psi under braking and it was dipping in some corners. No wonder as the sump has zero baffling it. I started by drilling out the little tray that is in there from factory


I drew up some ideas for some basic baffle plates go so inside the sump to stop the sloshing of the oil under braking and cornering, these were cut from card using a laser cutter from the CAD drawing


Test fit in the sump, highlighted a few areas which needed adjustment


Finally made the final version from 2mm aluminium, ready for welding into the sump tomorrow.


Also been busy on the lathe, I looked at the coolant system I'm running and by removing the heater matrix It has become apparent that I have introduced a coolant loop which isn't required now I dont run a heater matrix so wanted a nice soluation to save running the pipes along the block while they're not needed. Aluminium plug made with grooves for orings


Added a plate to the top of it so I can be bolted into place so it doesn't come out of the block due to coolant pressure


While I was waiting on parts I thought I would spend a few hours in the evening this week getting the car ready for removing the engine.


A few hours later it was ready to lift out, found it was nice and easy to bring the engine and gearbox out of the front of the engine back by lowering it down with the subframe and gearbox mount in position


Removed the gearbox to find someone had already fitted a single mass flywheel. I thought someone had but couldn't find proof of it in the service history.
This will be going back in with the new engine


I dropped the sump off as I want to use the oil pump from this engine as it has the uprated oil pump kit in it from Vac Motorsport. I dropped the sump off to find this...


The bolt has also managed to unwind it self half a turn. Luckily due to the design of the bolt not being able to unwind it's self fully due to it hitting the sump this prevents the gear from falling off the shaft and completely losing oil pressure. However what the gear has done is be moving backwards and forwards on the shaft causing it to wear and damage the gear. Luckily the shaft is hardened and the shaft can be reused without issue


I took the oil pump with the Vac Motorsport shaft in it to work with me with a spare gear I had on the shelf and machined the centre of the gear to match the keys on the Vac shaft.
the Vac motorsport kit comes with an ARP left hand bolt which is pre drilled so when this is built up I will be wire locking this from both sides to try and maintain the balance of the shafts.
Amazing the issues that the harmonics of this cranks shaft cause.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Just because I've taken some decent photographs of the porting on the head here's the comparison.

Standard inlet side


Ported inlet side


Standard exhaust side


Ported exhaust side (to match the S50 exhaust i'm running)


Engine building continues this weekend, I will be cracking on with wiring in the engine bay as well as finishing off the last jobs on the engine when the sump is back from welding I can finish off the timing of the engine and finish it off.
 

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I agree with everyones comments about the build, you have done a cracking job with the car!

Also loving the new engine build too, in particular the new cylinder head i'm very jealous of! always loved a nice N/A build.

Would you be interested in making another sump baffle at all? I'm based in the UK and it's on my list of things to sort on my car!
 

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Looking great! Scary that the oil pump bolt backed out. Definitely want to use loctite and a wire this time!

Oh and good luck with welding that baffle into the oil pan. It was a massive pain in the ass for me. The pan is just one giant, very effective heat sink. The best method I've seen is one guy that put the whole pan in a large outdoor grill to heat up to 450-500F, then was able to use the alumiweld sticks and a torch to braze the baffle in place.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Looking great! Scary that the oil pump bolt backed out. Definitely want to use loctite and a wire this time!

Oh and good luck with welding that baffle into the oil pan. It was a massive pain in the ass for me. The pan is just one giant, very effective heat sink. The best method I've seen is one guy that put the whole pan in a large outdoor grill to heat up to 450-500F, then was able to use the alumiweld sticks and a torch to braze the baffle in place.
I've finished building the engine now, oil pump is build with lock tight and lock wired on both sizes of the bolt to keep it secure as well as trying to maintain balance when spinning at such high RPM's.
Should get around to doing a proper write up at the weekend hopefully. The sump baffle is all welded in now. Welded quite nicely



I agree with everyones comments about the build, you have done a cracking job with the car!

Also loving the new engine build too, in particular the new cylinder head i'm very jealous of! always loved a nice N/A build.

Would you be interested in making another sump baffle at all? I'm based in the UK and it's on my list of things to sort on my car!
Really looking forward to seeing what happens with this new motor and what the dyno graphs look like. At the moment the CAD drawings aren't refined enough in regard to their fitment to start making these. I only really set this up to make the one for myself.
 

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No Worries, if you do decide to knock anymore up i would be interested in having one.

With the combination of the head/cams/manifolds and a good tune i reckon you will see a nice increase, the mapping with be key to getting the most out of it!
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Weekend was here again which gave me a few hours each day to get on with the engine build.

First job before starting to think about putting the engine in was to get the engine bay cleaned and a few jobs in their tidied up. A good jet wash and degreaser with a scrubbing brush brought off the 17 years of dirt.


When I did the ABS delete on the car I ran copper wires around the engine bay. This was fine for the function but the appearance of the bent copper line wasn't really in fitting with the rest of the car so decided to get some braided lines made up for the engine bay. Cant really see them unless you point them out which is good really.


I have stripped back some of the wiring loom just to tidy it up and remove some of the excess plugs and the silly plastic box that is part of the BMW loom on these which is unsightly and doesn't fit with the inlet manifold I am using. Retaped up some sections of the loom to removing some of the plastic outer covering.


Baffled sump arrived back from welding. Nicely done, the rivets I put in to hold it together have been replaced with weld now and the 3 different plates have been stitched welded together before welding into the sump with a few small welds.


Finished off the timing of the engine and got the Vanos assembly bolted into postion. Ended up doing this a couple of times making sure the timing was perfect. It was a good job I bought the full kit fo the M54 dual vanos as without it you wouldn't be able to time up these with both cams being variable



Spark plugs, new rocker cover gasket and it was torqued down in the place. Actually starting to look like an engine now.


Once the engine could be lifted into the air again, it's a little awkward with this engine as you need the flywheel on to be able to time up the engine so can't leave it on the engine stand. I have gone back through the bottom end and fitted my ARP Rod bolts as well as the oil pump from my original engine. This time with the replacement oil pump gear and the ARP bolt in the Vac Motorsport shaft wire locked to prevent it from coming undone again in the future.


One finished M54B30 ready to go back into the car. Quite a lot of the parts, sensors and pipes onto the engine while it is nicely accessible on the garage floor.


With the M50 Inlet placed on it.


Other jobs I've been working on at the same time is having 1/8th NPT Stainless bosses fitted to the exhaust to be able to fit a Thermocouple. Will add EGT's to the data logger purely for reference. Might as well put them in there while the exhaust and engine is out and accessible.


After months and months of emails back and forward and data sent to Tilton it turns out that Tilton have admitted there is a major manufacturing fault with a large quantity of their proportioning valves. To the point when they bench tested some to send to me they weren't able to send a replacement that actually did what the technical documentation says it should. This is something they're going to be looking into post Covid 19. But for the moment I've got a refund on the valve I purchased in Feb and replaced it with a Willwood valve. When the car is running again I will be collecting some data from these valve and will share it and compare it too,


Mounted the gearbox onto the engine with the S50 (E36 M3) manifolds into the position on the engine. Continued to use the adaptor plates which I manufacture for this conversion as they space the manifolds off the black by 10mm which means they clear the engine webbing and the bell housing.
This photo gives a good view of the exhaust manifold set up into a 2.5" single v band.


Swung the engine and gearbox into the engine bay and mounted it in position.


Started to build up the engine bay around it. I've made a few changes to the oil cooler set up. I've flipped it upside down and mounted it higher up in the kidney grills so it's directly in the air flow rather than being slightly hidden behind the bumper


Spent the day putting the engine bay back together. Nice to take my time with it and tidy up and clean things as it goes back together. It was also time to try the first start on it too. Filled all the usual fluids with oil, water and power steering before leaving the injectors unplugged and cracking the engine over for 30 seconds to get some oil flowing around the engine.
Time for the first start. Engine fired into life after a couple of cracks. Let it build oil pressure for 15 seconds or so then turned it off to check for leaks and top up the fluids.
Ran it again for a further minute afterwards, not enough to get any temp into anything and nothing about 1000rpm for the moment but enough to get the engine full of oil and look for any leaks. So far it seems to be ok, sounds similar to the old engine, will run it again this week when I have the laptop handy and can get the engine for fault codes and the likes and look at the engine data on INPA/ISTA.



Got another 4 weeks till the car is booked in for running in on the dyno but it gives me time now to check everything over and work through a small list of other jobs on the car. Still feeling pretty apprehensive about the new engine but today was a big step in the right direction. Will hopefully feel more confident with it when it's up and running on the dyno and making some power hopefully.
 
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