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2003 325i Touring
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All my manual e46s have had to be turned the whole way off and back on again to restart. VWs are the same way. It's just the German way of doing things, not a side effect of way you are handling the swap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
All my manual e46s have had to be turned the whole way off and back on again to restart. VWs are the same way. It's just the German way of doing things, not a side effect of way you are handling the swap.
Fair point. Don't have personal experience so took it at face value from reading through this thread. That's good then.
 

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01 330iT 6MT, 98 M Roadster
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Marking the bolts with just a regular paint marker. Picked up the trick from the dude that built our Subaru rally engine. You reckon the paint might cause some issues?

Ended up getting a replacement viton O-ring for the oil pump pressure regulator.

On that topic, would anyone from the more abundant localities have a spare manual cluster laying around, or are heading to the junk yard sometime soon? Small detail but I'd really like one of those cluster backing plates that blanks out the automatic display. Don't rate my chances of ever finding one locally at all highly. Should be easy enough to chuck in the mail in just a regular envelope. Would pay for it of course. Please let me know if someone would be up for it, would be greatly appreciated.
View attachment 965688

(Picture from this brilliant thread)
Wow, I just checked RealOEM…. I would have expected this to be available from BMW, but no. The cluster apparently is only available as a complete unit. I had a Nissan I added cruise control to and needed to replace a couple of these “lenses” (Nissan’s term” and they were readily available and cheap. In fact, every component of the cluster was available.

Should be some folks here with a dead manual cluster around. Happens enough that it’s a thing (I’ve started calling it Clusterfuk). I replaced a cluster on my first E46. They can be kinda sensitive. You may want to post something in the WTB section.
 
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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
Continued assembling the block but stumbled onto an issue with the chain sprocket. Noticed that the rubber/plastic parts on it are visibly cracked and chipped away. I assume they serve as additional vibration dampeners so don't feel comfortable reusing it in this state. Have put an order in on a new one that will hopefully arrive beginning of next week.
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Will get onto other tasks in the meantime. Picked up a cheapish ultrasonic cleaner that I've been using for cleaning up all sorts of bolts and smaller parts. Works a treat. Not industrial grade by any means but does the job. Using it with warm water and Simple Green concentrate for 5-8 minutes at a time. Eats away all of the lighter stuff and the rest of the varnish comes off easily with a little scrub. Time consuming process but well satisfying.
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Will put the lifters through the same treatment and get onto cleaning up the intake manifold whilst waiting on the sprocket.
Also, picked up a set of X5 heated seats as well as ordering a dash button panel off eBay. The seats are a bit worse for wear with some nasty rust on the rails as well so will need to be reassembled and repaired, with the leather needing some decent treatment too. The dash will need to come apart at some point as well so not really looking forward to that. Way down the list of priorities for the moment though so probably a project for next year.
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Discussion Starter · #72 ·
Hit a big milestone over the weekend which I'm super excited about.
Picking up where I left off, hung the engine up from the stand to install the rear main seal. All the bolts nice and clean and put a dab of high-temp thread sealer on the two big bolts to prevent those pesky leaks. The two small plugs on the front and rear also went in with the thread sealer.
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Also bashed in the new pilot bearing in anticipation.
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The shiny new sprocket arrived so I could box on with installing the chains and front cover.
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Bought a brand new set of iwis Racing chains. Not exactly sure what the difference is with the regular ones but at only a couple of dollars' difference, figured I might as well. The oil pump chain does seem to have a bit less slack to it but might be wishful thinking.
Got a slotted oil pump nut from ECS Tuning that went on with a bit of blue thread sealer for good measure. For whatever reason, the safety wire included with the kit was stupidly short, so short that I really struggled tying it down properly and ended up making a total mess of it. You pay something like US$18 for a bloody nut and they cheap out on you with a couple of cents worth of wire... Had to go out to get a whole new roll of SS wire and had another go. Came out much better the second time around, and now have a spare 12.8m of wire left to no doubt satisfy a lifetime's worth of safety wire needs...
1st attempt
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2nd attempt
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Front timing cover went on, as well as the crank pulley that I ended up just rattling on with an impact wrench. Quite a crude and probably not the ideal approach but really don't have access to or any leads on a torque wrench that would handle the required 410Nm. The impact wrench approach seems to have worked for quite a few people before so good enough for me. The crank pulley looked in good nick with no visual imperfections on the rubber ring on the back so was happy enough to reuse it after a good clean, with a brand new crank bolt of course. Gave the oil pan a final clean too and that went on next, with a brand new oil level sensor and a magnetic oil plug I'd inherited. Also a dab of Corteco EVO300 on the block joins to the RMS and timing cover, as recommended by @malapane. Not sure if it makes much of a difference to regular RTV but "keep it classy, keep it OEM" I guess.
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Then onto the big one - the cylinder head install. This was the part I was the most nervous about so had to ask a mate around for some emotional support.
First off, checked the sealing of the valves. Threaded in some old spark plugs and poured in some petrol, then blew compressed air into the intake and exhaust sides. No drop in the level and no bubbling from the compressed air so looked all good.
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Installed a pair of brand new dowel pins to the top of the block as I'd managed to mangle up the old two when removing them. Then the new standard size head gasket and cylinder head after a final clean.
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Having read through one too many an account of the threads stripping out and recommendations to preventatively timesert the block and whatnot, I was dreading this part of the whole project the most. Turns out I needn't have worried. Applied a light coating of oil to the new bolts so that they were covered but not dripping, then torqued down to 20Nm, 40Nm and two doses of 90 degrees, all in the correct sequence. All went much smoother than I would have imagined. The resistance on the bolts felt very consistent throughout and no funny creaking or squeaking at all.
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Don't mean to jinx it but looks a straight line to the finish from here on. Was a massive relief getting over this hurdle successfully, now just a matter of cleaning up the last bits and bolting everything together. Was so excited that was tempted to chuck an all-nighter and not show up to work on Monday but after a few celebratory drinks, exhaustion got the best of me. Will box on in the coming days. Still harboring hopes of getting the car up and running before the end of 2022 but will see how we go.
 

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Looking good! I just turned the corner on a large engine project. Once you get that timing set and the bulk of the cleaning is behind you, the rest is all downhill from there. Have fun :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 · (Edited)
Had Friday off and got a good 3 days of 12-13 hour shifts in over the weekend.
Disassembled all the lifters and spent a good half a day cleaning them out.
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Some of them didn't look in too good a shape. Contemplated using the lifters and trays from the 325 but unfortunately managed to mix them up when removing the head. Not good practice mix and matching so stuck with the 330 ones.
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330i 161,XXXkm on the left, 325i 226,XXXkm on the right. This is probably the worst one of the lot but clearly see the difference regular oil changes make. Will do for now but new lifters is on the list of potential future maintenance.
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My Aliexpress timing kit worked well and setting the timing was generally quite a straightforward affair. Only gripe I had was with the timing chain sprocket alignment tool that places the sprockets too close together so that the chain is left with too much slack. Luckily I had a second set of sprockets that I zip-tied together when removing and used that as a template. Here's how a correctly aligned set sits on the tool.
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I cleaned and reused the timing chain tensioner but replaced the spring. A couple of mm difference between the old and new.
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VANOS installed.
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Then spent too many hours cleaning out the valve cover. The waffle pattern is an absolute pain to get clean and next to impossible to get perfect. Managed to get all the chunkier crud out which took at least a good 10 flushes for the water to stop coming out all brown.
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Valve cover installed followed by new spark plugs and coils, cam, crank, knock and temp sensors, oil filter housing and whatever else I had access to. Pretty much at the point where I'm happy to mate it up with the gearbox and drop it in the car. Will need to tidy up the wiring loom and possibly hook it up prior. Will leave the intake manifold install for when the engine is in the car.
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The intake manifold got fully disassembled and properly cleaned inside and out with a variety of brushes. New O-rings on the tested and cleaned injectors and air distributor rail, new temp sensor, CCV and hoses and vacuum caps. Thoroughly cleaned out the throttle body and ICV, lubed up the latter as per the guidance from jjrichar's thread. Ready to throw on with just the rebuild DISA to install after the intake boots are fitted.
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On the car front, finally removed the remaining stubborn power steering line. Annoyed the hell out of me. Would not budge at all pressing the white clip in. Tried jamming in a cut up strip from a plastic bottle to no avail. Resorted to cutting it open with a rotary tool in the end. Stupid thing. Managed without any damage to the cooler pipe and have a new return line to go on anyway.
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Tasks left on the to-do list prior to engine install:
  • Give the car a good wash - outside, underside and engine bay.
  • Install new heater hoses and heater regulator.
  • Clean up wiring loom and replace crumbling corrugated piping.
  • Figure out the power steering situation - either get a new LF-20 or get new pressure line and go with LF-30. Will probably disassemble and replace O-rings if I go with the latter.
  • Install flywheel, clutch, pair up engine and gearbox.
 

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Discussion Starter · #75 · (Edited)
Ho ho ho bimmerheads. Merrily having myself some festive wrenching here. With the engine rebuild near enough finished, I'm now just tying up all the other loose ends to hopefully drop it in before the end of the year.

First off, got a nice wee letter from @yjsaabman in the mail the other day with a manual cluster backing plate thingy. Absolute legend, made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Thanks mate!
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Had a bit of a dilemma with the power steering situation. The donor car came with an LF-30 pump that I had already pulled apart, cleaned up and refreshed with all new seals. Was prepared to bite the bullet and get a new high pressure hose from BMW for something like NZ$400+ as those are different between the LF-20 and LF-30. Got a quote from BMW a few weeks prior and was told it's available on order from within the country. Gave them a call to get one in and was instead told it'd need to be ordered from Malaysia and would be unlikely to arrive until sometime in January at the earliest.
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Looked over the current LF-20 hoses and they're actually in decent enough nick, problem is the LF-20 pump itself seemed to have some play in the shaft making an audible rattle, which left me a bit uneasy. Ended up going for another scavenger hunt to Pick-A-Part, hoping to either find a pressure hose for an LF-30 or a decent enough LF-20. Out of the 7 E46's there, the LF-20's had either been taken or they'd come with LF-30's so I ended up grabbing a pressure hose for the latter for just $16... then took it to a hydraulic shop and dropped $300 to get it refurbished. Smort.
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The steering rack itself seems in decent nick and I found this engraved in it when wiping it down.
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It seems to say "03.15 209k" so wondering if it's been refurbished in March 2015, at 209k km? Bit weird as I bought the car at 214k km's in 2021 and it's unlikely it'd only done 5k km in the 6 years, so assume the rack must have come from some other car at some point. Anyway, tangent.

Tackled the wiring looms next. Did a thorough inspection and gave everything a clean, cleaned off a few oily connectors with some contact cleaner and replaced the bits of plastic corrugate sleeving in places where it had crumbled away it. Also removed the auto transmission / O2 sensor loom from the ECU/relay box and tidied up the reverse light wiring I'd left in a bit of a dodgy state previously. Properly crimped and heat shrunk everything in place and culled or tidily tucked away the remaining automatic transmission wiring bits going into the cabin. Also found some sort of... repair someone had taken on previously?
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Bolted up the new dual mass flywheel and clutch kit and mated up the engine and gearbox. Finally found a good use for two old bean bags my partner's been nagging me to throw away for a good part of two years now. Make a good cushy bed for the engine to take some pressure off the crane.
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There's two E14 bell housing bolts that are longer on a manual box than they are on an auto so I made sure to order those in (part no. 23001222894). Looking at it, the auto ones would probably do the job but wouldn't engage the threads fully so best to be safe.
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Got pretty annoyed when I got onto bolting on the main tensioner and it started spewing oil all over the place. Frustrating as it's barely a few years old. Bought it from FCP Euro as well so would be covered by warranty but can't imagine the return shipping costs would make the exercise worthwhile. Also discovered that I'd bought the wrong type of AC tensioner so have ordered new ones of both, should be here beginning of the coming week.
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Gave the exhaust manifolds a good scrub and will look to throw those on prior to the engine install. Not a fun task bolting those on in the car.
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Gave the whole car and the engine bay a good clean, it'd done a great job collecting pollen, dust and bird shit these last few months. Getting really annoyed at the horrid state of the paint now. All going well with the mechanical side of things, I suspect a full respray is on the cards in the not too distant future.
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Have rolled the car back into the garage finally, tidying up the last few bits and will start tackling the engine install.

Plan is still to get the car up and running, break the engine in properly, go for WoF and start tackling the other missions that will knock the wheel alignment out of whack. Front subframe will get all new control arms, bushes, wheel bearings and tie rods, whole rear subframe will be refurbished and will probably throw in adjustable camber arms for good measure. With the subframe out, also aiming to tick off the reinforcement plate mission. Got a full kit from CMP as well as the weld in beam that goes along the back of the rear seats. Not sure if I'll end up going all the way with it but best to have it on hand anyway. Will also try out their solid steering coupling. Currently has a poly coupler that is a squeaky little piece of shit so definitely getting rid of that; more on it in a future post. 330 brakes are still waiting to be rebuilt. Some might have also noticed boxes of suspension bits on the shelf in one of the photos. Got a set of Eibach Pro Kit springs and Bilstein B4's all round on a decent deal. Big pile of plans there but should feel brand new when I'm done with her.
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As far as more immediate tasks, will probably take the driveshaft to a shop to get tested/balanced. Paid extra to get the rear part of the driveshaft send over along with the manual conversion from the UK but the dude didn't mark it at all when removing so no idea how it's supposed to line up. Bit silly.

Also haven't quite settled on what to do with the exhaust. Lined the 325 & 330 ones side by side and apart from the flap at the tail pipe on the 330, they seem to be pretty much identical? Leaning towards going with the 325 one if so. Am also thinking I'd like a bit more volume out of it so keen to hear some suggestions as to the best course of action, short of dropping a few grand on a full new setup. Don't want it to be stupid loud but in stock form it seemed barely even noticeable so just after a slight increase. What sort of difference would cutting out the secondary cats / resonator make? I assume deleting the muffler is sure to make it obnoxiously stupid?
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Discussion Starter · #77 ·
Nice progress!! Did you ever get the cluster delete strip I sent you?
No mate not yet. Regular mail from the US tends to take forever though so hopefully it's still in transit and didn't end up lost somewhere. I did receive the one @yjsaabman sent me so I might end up with two once that arrives but have a mate that recently converted his SMG Clubsport to manual that I reckon will definitely be keen, so both will go to good use. Much appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #78 ·
Further to the previous post, finally got this in the mail earlier this week. Awesome stuff, owe you guys one. Feel like a bit of a dick for ending up with two of these but both will go to good use as I previously mentioned.
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Really grateful for this community and all the folk eager to help on here, would never have had the courage to tackle any of this stuff without all the resources and advice provided. Thanks guys!
 

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Discussion Starter · #79 ·
Boxed on with tidying up the engine bay. Took off the steering rack and dropped the front subframe to get a bit more wiggle room to the engine install. Cleaned off all the grime I now had access to as well as the transmission tunnel. Installed the new heater valve with brand new heater hoses.
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Gave the heat shields a good going over as well.
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Freed up and reinstalled the exhaust manifold studs that had come out along with the bolts. Wanted to get onto bolting up the exhaust manifolds and then ran into trouble. Didn't think to check beforehand but of course I got the wrong gaskets/heat shields. The head gasket kit I got came with the LHD gaskets that have differently shaped heat shields. Thought I might be able to separate the gaskets from the heatshields and clean & reuse the old ones but turned out the indent patterns are different between the two so wasn't going to work. Wasn't keen to start cutting corners so put in an order for the right ones and proceeded to install the engine without the manifolds attached. Really wasn't keen on the unenviable task of installing the damn things with the engine in the car didn't want to put off the engine install by another week.
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Put that to the side and got onto fixing up the steering coupling. Somewhere along the line it got gifted with this masterpiece from Ireland Engineering. Can appreciate the intention behind it but what an absolute piece of shit it is. I suspect it would be around 4-5 years old but already very soft and insanely squeaky.
Video: Ireland Engineering Steering Coupling
Compare that to the stock 20-year old rubber one from the engine donor car that still feels solid as (the cracking is my wrist not the coupling...)
Video: Original Rubber Steering Coupling
If anyone thinking of going for this "upgrade" ever happens to see this - DON'T.
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Got the parts nicely cleaned up, put a dash of white lithium grease on the pivot points and bolted the thing up. Did have to drill the holes a size bigger to fit the M10 8.8 bolts.
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Was going to put the heatshield back on to make it a bit less conspicuous but that was just too mangled up to be of any use.
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Haven't looked into what the certification/Warrant of Fitness verdict might be on it but can easily throw on the original spare coupling if they deem it an issue.
The freshly cleaned heat shields all bolted up and pretty much all set for the engine install.
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Discussion Starter · #80 ·
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Engine went in without issues and have been busy assembling everything around it. First thing I did, of course, was attach the shifter linkage and had a jolly good time shifting gears whilst making racing noises. Really happy with the E60 shift lever and ZHP knob combo I went with, well worth the investment.
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Engine bay is beginning to look pretty much complete now. Just waiting on the exhaust manifold gaskets to arrive and can finish the last bits off. Fuse / ECU box is also looking nice and tidy now. Tied in the reverse light wires quite well so that they're barely noticeable and the one remaining auto transmission plug is also tucked out of the way.
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The new tensioners arrived and got bolted on, as well as the rebuilt DISA, new intake boots and MAF, aluminium water pump and power steering pulleys, power steering reservoir and hoses and also a fresh new dipstick, just because.
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Gave the steering rack a good scrub and bolted it back onto the subframe. Kept the old tie rods for now, will chuck new ones on when doing the new suspension, brakes, rear subframe etc. Remembered the old PS pressure hose having a groove worn into it where it was rubbing against the underside of the engine block so chucked on a rubber sleeve on it to prevent the same from happening to the new one in that spot.
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Washed all the cooling system and intake components and threw those on. The radiator and associated hoses are barely two years old from when I first bought the car, the engine donor also came with a near new genuine expansion tank dated 2020 so happy enough to reuse that for the time being.
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Made sure I got the manual radiator bracket along with the manual conversion so it all looks as it should and doesn't have the blocked off auto trans cooler dangling off the front. Remembered to switch over the radiator plugs from auto (left) to manual (right).
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Filled the engine up with oil and turned it over a bunch of times by hand. Going with Penrite 15W-40 special running in oil for the break in period. Have heard good things about it so am sure it'll do the job. Will then switch back over to Castrol Edge 5W-30 that I've built up a decent stockpile of. Am also just using straight distilled water in the cooling system to start with.
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Just doing a tonne of cleaning and tidying up small annoyances like missing/broken clips and other imperfections that I have easy access to still. Not sure what sort of environment this car used to be in back in Japan but am noticing some weird items wearing away that I haven't noticed happen on other cars. The latest example being the hood latch cables, the plastic/rubber sleeve on which had completely crumbled away. Went for my ritualistic scavenge to Pick-A-Part and none of the cars there were suffering from a similar disease so was an easy search for a replacement. Luckily an easy task replacing the cables themselves as well without having to change the lock mechanisms. Gave those a clean and dash of grease whilst having the whole thing apart.
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