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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Breather Pipe 1275

The breather pipe from the rocker cover to the Y piece at the carbs has split on my 1275. Any Ideas where I can get one from or alternatives?. I've looked on the MGOC Spares site, it's listed but you can't order it. I've used a piece of garden hose as a temporary fix, will this be OK?
P Ottewell

Peter, can you post a picture of your setup? That pipe should come from the timing cover, not the rocker cover.

As regards the pipe itself, any bit of thick rubber pipe will do. Decent thick rubber garden hose will do, but might not be made of the stuff that's impervious to oil.
Lawrence Slater

I hate to recommend Halfords, but they do sell rubber heater hose which works and looks right. But it does sound like you may have a hybrid set-up. Is it an imported USA car?
Guy

I've tied Halfords but they had nothing suitable. Its a UK car. The pipe goes from a take off in front off the filler cap to a Y piece reducer looks like 1/2" to 3/8". the set up seems to work ok, but you have me concerned now. too dark to take a pic now but will try tomorrow if I'm home in time.
P Ottewell

Not the correct setup. Have you noticed any oil dripping from the rear of the sump, onto your garage floor?
Lawrence Slater

Might simply be an earlier rocker cover fitted to your car. I seem to recall A35's had a cover like that which vented into some huge cannister laid horizontally above the carbs.

In fact I've got two of those rocker covers in the shed not including the one I fitted to my road car which I've got vented into a 1500 screen wash tank (the one that fits into the V of the inner wing and footwell. The front breather also vents into there.

Simply enough mod tbh if you wanted to do likewise, just don't forget to bridge the carbs tho!

A.
Andrew McGee

Although it isn't correct for a 1295, venting from the rocker cover to the carbs will work just as well. So long as there isn't consequently an open connection from the canister that should be attached to the front cam chain case. Unless, as I suggested it may be a hybrid system.
Guy

This then begs the question Guy, if it works as well to connect from the rocker cover to the y piece, why was the timing cover breather ever used?
Lawrence Slater

Lawrence, this is going back to the other thread! I think it will work as well as regards drawing fumes and keeping the crankcase pressures under control.
Where I think it is less effective is in control of the oil in the vapour drawn through.

Taken from the chaincase, it is designed for oil vapour to cool and condense in the canister positioned in the air flow from the fan. And oil that condenses inside the hose will also drain back that way as the carb is higher. Conversely, with the hose taken off the rocker cover, first there is no condensing arrangement, and secondly oil that does condense in the pipe is going to run down to the carb, it being lower.

Guy

No, no oil dripping, the rocker cover is aluminium with a top hat tail pipe where the breather connects, do you think it's been modified for s a reason? When I can, I'll have a look to see if the take off from the timing cover has been blanked off. Apparently from the history, the engine was rebuilt in 2004, although I don't think a good job was done with it. Saving my pennies to buy a re-con. Concentrating on getting it through the MOT, so the next job will be the steering rack gaiters an the TREs next weekend.
P Ottewell

Tbh I haven't read the whole "other" thread so not sure if James B has already mentioned it. However the set up that he and Dave Shannon implemented on my race engine makes perfect sense if you don't mind running something non standard.

The front canister breather runs up into a pipe installed in the leading edge of the rocker cover, this allows for any of the misting oil vapour to drop onto the rockers and renter the oil system that way (as James previously states the gunged up wire wool stuff in the canister had been removed to aid flow thro). A second (larger diametre) pipe exits the trailing edge of the rocker cover and vents into a catch tank. I've seen some gases escape via there but as yet we've never had any liquids form.

If you had another pipe in your rocker cover Peter, you could run the canister breather into your rocker cover space through the front breather and the secondary one could be the pressure release.

A.
Andrew McGee

Pete,
just use 1/2" rubber hose - I went through all this recently, suppliers will want you to have 1 metre lenght of vacuum pipe that wont fit the Y-piece because the bore is too tight

after the Y piece I'm pretty sure it's two bits of 1/4" rubber hose - again don't buy from (one at least) suppliers like I did only to find when you get home instead of the formed shape they're just two-off cuts for which you've paid over £2 each !

on the traditional set up the black plastic vented/filtered oil filler cap is important (tou might have chrome with or with out vent hole), again the plastic cap is about £4 from one supplier and over £10 from another for the same make

I will not give you any guesses as to where information about all this can be found but here's a photo Lawrence(?) previously provided

Nigel Atkins

Thanks Nigel, the filler cap is plastic. Still doesn't explain why the breather is connected to the rocker cover though. I'm thinking that the oil recovery canister is missing and the PO has modified the set up to get around it.
P Ottewell

I presume Peter, that you are certain its a 1275?

What is the engine number?
Guy

No overlap Guy, it's linked, but this is a seperate aspect. The only factory rocker cover take off that I've seen, went to the air filter cannisters. Lot's of cars of the day had that arrangement. BMC didn't send them out with the engine venting from the rocker into the carbs, so I would think it can't work as well.

Having said that. Who cares how it works, as long as it works.

Peter. if you are not getting oil dripping from the sump, and the engine is running well, and the carbs not oiling up, then leave it connected as it is now. Just get the right type of rubber hose, connect it, drive it and forget about it. :)
Lawrence Slater

Lawrence, I didn't suggest that it was plumbed that way from new, from the factory. Which is why I asked if there was a disconnected canister on the front and also if it was an imported car. But quite a few variants of the A series engines had a vent on the rocker cover, although not then connected to a Y branch at the carbs! But often enough some PO will wrongly interpret the available connections and end up with some strange hybrid arrangement!
Guy

Guy, I know you weren't.
You said it works just as well, and I asked, "why then was the timing cover breather used?"

But as I said, if it does work this way on Peters car, I'd leave it as it is. I tried this connection years ago as a solution the problem on the "other" thread, as it is now being referred to :). For me it resulted in rear sump drip.

Lawrence Slater

I stated why I think venting from the front was the chosen method. Not because it vents any better but because of managing what then happens to the oil vapour. I have never seen anyone else explain exactly what mechanism is involved in that canister design. I think it is a form of cooling rad and the much maligned wire mesh inside is for heat dissipation to assist in condensing oil out of the vapour as it is on its way through the cylinder.
Guy

948 engines - A35, Frogeye, etc - had a breather on the rocker cover, connected to the air filter.

1098 Spridgets had a breather with separator on the front tappet chest cover, connected to a PCV valve on the inlet manifold.

Early 1275s had the separator on the timing cover, as they did not have tappet chest covers, connected to the PCV.

Later 1275s dispensed with the PCV valve and connected to the carbs via the Y-piece.

I recently dismantled a very early 1275 engine - the oil pump was dated July '66 - which was a test-bed engine which came from a radiator company (part of BMC/BL). The timing cover had an add-on separator. I will post a pic later.
Dave O'Neill2

"Although it isn't correct for a 1295, venting from the rocker cover to the carbs will work just as well."--- "This then begs the question Guy, if it works as well to connect from the rocker cover to the y piece, why was the timing cover breather ever used?"

Peters engine does indeed agree with your statement Guy. So I wonder why the progression that Dave has posted? There was obviously a reason. That's all I wondered. :)
Lawrence Slater

Maybe a simple one, I had one Rocker cover where the rubber pipe attached to the pipe on the cover fouled (kinked) on the underside of the bonnet.

Proximity alert perhaps? :-)
Andrew McGee

Keep up Lawrence! I have given my reason why I believe it was taken from the timing chest rather than the rocker cover twice now.

Dave, add to that list the later N American 1275 engines with evaporative control systems. They had a connection to the rocker cover as well, although this was to receive fumes from the carbon canister.
Guy

Guy

Yes, my NA-spec MGB engine had that, too. The hole in it was only about 1/16" though.

Here's the pic of the timing cover from my very early 1275. Interestingly, the oil seal is fitted from the outside, rather than the inside. It's a long time since I've done anything with pre-1275 engines, so I can't remember what they were like in that respect.
Dave O'Neill2

Darn it, forgot the pic...

Dave O'Neill2

And one of the inside, showing a baffle over the hole

Dave O'Neill2

My local motor accessory shop sells the correct pipe which is also oil resistant. I just bought a 24" for £2.00. It is therefore available. Ihave about 7" left over if thats any use?
Bob Beaumont

Tetchy tetchy Guy!! Bad day? You clearly didn't understand, although I think it was pretty obvious, that I was asking within the context of Peters engine working as it does, why blah blah blah? Never mind, sorry to have ruffled your sensitive feathers !!!!!!!!!!!! ;)


Lawrence Slater

Dave, that's fascinating. I wonder why it was so high? And they clearly saw a need to put a baffle over the inside of the cover too.
Lawrence Slater

Dave,

Interesting, I can see an advantage to that in that the tube leading to the can is large in diameter and so the air velocity will be low allowing oil entrained in the air to drop out more easily. I think the purpose of the mesh in the timing cover can is to provide surfaces for the oil droplets to hit allowing them to coallesce and drain back more easily.
David Billington

I'm guessing that they just needed to put it somewhere.

As this engine wasn't actually in a car, I don't suppose it really mattered. I doubt that it would have fitted in a car with this breather configuration without interfering with both top and bottom radiator hoses.

I don't know how many development engines they would have built before it went into full production and what they would have used initially for crankcase ventilation.
Dave O'Neill2

Dave,
If that was the precursor to the cannister mounted on the timing cover, then David B is probably right. They felt the need to raise it up.

But, as you say, with that installed, it would get in the way a bit, and probably be prone to mechanical damage extended all that way out. Also, vibration could cause fatigue cracks at the joints perhaps?

So maybe the prodution version mounted much closer to the timing cover with a very short pipe was a compromise. Either way, I bet you can guess what modification I am thinking of now. A halfway house could be a good solution to an unspeakable problem. :)
Lawrence Slater

Ref Andrew's comment:

"The front canister breather runs up into a pipe installed in the leading edge of the rocker cover, this allows for any of the misting oil vapour to drop onto the rockers and renter the oil system that way (as James previously states the gunged up wire wool stuff in the canister had been removed to aid flow thro). A second (larger diametre) pipe exits the trailing edge of the rocker cover and vents into a catch tank. I've seen some gases escape via there but as yet we've never had any liquids form"

Amongst many other goodies, Peter May had alloy rocker covers configured like this at Race Retro.

HTH
Doug Plumb

I wonder what the logic of that arrangement is. In theory, the pressure inside the rocker cover is the same as inside the front chaincase - they are interconnected internally via the crankcase anyway. So there would be no pressure gradient to encourage vapour to transfer via the external pipework. Unless, that is, the connecting pathways from the rocker cover past the pushrods is insufficient given the flow of oil and the pumping pressure of the reciprocating engine parts. Just breathing from the rear of the rocker to a catch tank should do the same thing.

I still think that a positively evacuated system is better for these engines to minimise crankcase pressure and consequential oil loss through the rear scroll. I can appreciate that it is not a good thing to add this direct to the intake because of the oil vapour lowering the effective fuel octane rating. But if the extraction goes via a sealed catch tank to seperate the oil this should be minimised. The alternative must be to have lots of very free ventilation from the crankcase, rocker cover, timing chest etc in an attempt to at least keep the crankcase pressure down to ambient "outside" pressure. With a good rear seal that may be sufficient prevent leakage.

There is, or was, a system called evacu-sump or something like that. I think it used exhaust gas speed to set up a suction system in much the same way as using the inlet manifold, but without the down side of compromising octane values.
Guy

The Peter May covers had the same bore size tubes at front and rear. I think someone said elsewhere that the large exit bore reduces air pressure which has the desired effect of keeping the oil vapour in the system but relieving the gas pressures.

It's way over my head now anyway. :-)

A.
Andrew McGee

I think that is right. Larger bore diameter means lower gas velocity, so it would then "drop its load" of oil in much the same way as a slow moving river deposits sediment.

There are obviously two different and conflicting principles in systems that at first appear to be very similar. If pressure is relieved by active extraction, the velocity of the extracted vapour means that oil is less likely to be deposited out and left behind in whatever part of the engine the system is attached to. If passive, then it is likely that crank pressures will sometimes rise and oil leakage past the crank scroll may well occur
Guy

My race engines built by Longman in the 80's had similar set ups described by Andrew. The rear of the rocker box had a 1" dia take off to the catch tank with a feed in from the timing cover at the front.The original front canister breather was removed and a similar 1" dia pipe brazed in. I never had any rear scroll issues in any of the years I raced them. I guess its all about keeping crankcase pressure to the minimum.
Bob Beaumont

I don't wish to make it, -- well I do, but not drag it in --- but you do see the connection to the other thread I suppose?

Also, Guy, you mention connected passages. I've just read and excellent explanation of how the different regions of the engine,can exist at differing pressure/degree of vacuum. All to do with the size of the openings through which equalisation attempts to take place.
Lawrence Slater

I too was about to comment about crankcase pressures equalising so why re route oil back into the rocker cover, and I now wonder if the crankcase can have higher pressures than the rocker cover. The original logic says crankcase pressure builds and just escapes past the pushrod holes to the rocker cover - yes, but how quickly? Those cam followers are an interferance fit -and some don't even have holes in the middle. Can it be that the easiest route is past that casting vent and upwards through the timing case? In which case plumbing back into the rocker cover - and out through the rear to a catch tank is absolutely the best route to minimise pressure build. Can it be that simple?
F Pollock

I would agree,
Whilst it is easy enough to consider a static situation, A connects to B connects to C therefore.... it is all too easy to forget that in practice one is dealing with extreme dynamics in a running engine when all sorts of strange effects must be going on. In another thread I was mentioning piston speed and rapidly changing velocities and whilst in a simplistic view the pressure created by two pistons descending would be compensated for by the other two rising, in reality there must be some very strange turbulences and high speed pulsing with pressure waves and reflections all over the place!
Guy

Fergus,

Have a look at the first image here http://www.nonlintec.com/sprite/lubrication/ it shows the drain holes between the tappets which allow oil to drain back from the head and a route for crankcase vapour to get the the rocker cover. I think the routing through the rocker cover gives any oil in the vented gases a chances to fall out before venting to a catch tank at the rear. A set of rockers in good condition throws surprising little oil about in my experience.

Guy,

Due to the crank and conrod arrangement and the conrod being at an angle the rising pistons aren't fully compensated by the falling and this leads to pressure pulsing in the crankcase.
David Billington

David,
Yes I was aware of that point about the pistons not exactly balancing the pressure - I was simplifying! Somewhere I have a diagram showing the angles of the con rod and the effect that they have on this. The crank is not at a 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock balancing point when the pistons are at equal height in the block.

That oil circulation is quite good, but still misses some details. I don't see the detail of some of the chaincase circulation that Lawrence has been unearthing in recent days. But there is a useful point made, that oil drainage from the rockers cannot be just via the holes in the cam followers else it would take an absolute age filling an empty engine with oil through the rocker cover!
Guy

Following on from Andrew's post. Fundementally we did it like that (oil breather routing) because it simplified the breather lines on Dave's Class A midget when we built it - we found that it worked and repeated the routing on both FISC cars we built, one of which became my first Class B car.

I can't say any more than it just worked and the cars won 1 Midget Challenge Class A championship (1995) 3 FISC championships (1999 - 2001) and Midget Challenge Class B in 2002...
James Bilsland

I agree James. I was regularly getting over 130BHP from my Longman 1380cc engines (we couldn't use stroked cranks) and we went on to win the AHC modsport championship on two occasions. The oil breather routing had been tried and tested by Longman in his racing Mini's.
Bob Beaumont

Wow, I didn't think a simple question would generate so many comments. Very interesting though. It does seem to work ok so I leave it alone for now but still need some tubing. Although I do like things to be right so will investigate the original set up at a latter date. thanks for all the input.
P Ottewell

Just out of interest Peter, did you check to see if your front timing chaincase has the canister attachment on it - and whether you can see if it has been blanked off?
Guy

Guy,too dark and wet to go out tonight, but I'll have a look when I can and take some photos.
P Ottewell

Pete,
I'd suggest 3 or 4 photos of the engine bay from different angles not just to cover this pipe business but it might also throw up other anomalies – if these exist it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad they could just be a different way to standard and they will generate discussion :)
Nigel Atkins

I've found a hose online that will do the job Part number BAU5065M £10 per mtr, so will try this.
P Ottewell

Pete,
that's the stuff I was given it's (IIRC 10 mm) vacuum hose and didn't fit on my Y piece just get 12.5 mm 1/2" hose - or I've still got the old hose if you want me to photograph it
Nigel Atkins

Nigel

i've ordered it from Moss and It clearly states 1/2". I'll see what turns up.
P Ottewell

Peter, any chance of the photo of how your timing cover is connected?

Please show oil filler cap, and timing cover connection. :)
Lawrence Slater

I think photos will have to wait until the weekend. I've had a quick look at the timing case this evening and can't find a breather connection. I could be therefore, that the original timing case has been replaced and could explain why the breather take off has been modified to the rocker cover.
P Ottewell

We'll all be waiting with bated breath :)
Lawrence Slater

>>We'll all be waiting with bated breath :)<<
depending on our breather set up :)

Pete,
as I didn't get mine from Moss but the other big supplier that could make sense, which ever one I choose to get the part from is the one with the wrong size, poorly made part, batch faults, over double the price or wrong part or bin location - 50% of the time I go to the wrong one for that particular part, the other 50% of the time I should have went to the other one!
Nigel Atkins

Nigel is there a list of suppliers to avoid. Or do they all sell crap from time to time?
Lawrence Slater

if there was a list of suppliers to avoid you couldn't put it up on a forum

but no unfortuanetly they all from time to time supply stuff that's not very good because,

owners want want the very cheapest prices and most don't have to worry about quality too much as they don't often use the cars

many suppliers get the same part from the same source

suppliers can't get good quality parts if they're not available because of above unless they commision and control the parts construction themselves

best thing to do is find out where I'm buying a part from and avoid that supplier for that part at that time because I usually pick wrong

when I wanted a heater pipe for mine I discoved all the major suppliers got it from the same source and all had it labelled incorrectly as the later pipe, I suggested a supplier and my old pipe was to be used as a sample but after a year or so it was given up because I think the manufacturer and supplier didn't really get along and could agree an acceptable price to both

there is one p*ss-poor, l*eing b*stard, cowboy MG supplying and fitting outfit that readily springs to my mind but you already know about them
Nigel Atkins

Ah, them :)
Lawrence Slater

I just hope there's not a company called Them :)
Nigel Atkins

Very droll Nigel, very droll. :)
Lawrence Slater

Peter, just noticed your timing cover post. If your engine is indeed a 1275, and even if it is not, then if all you have is a connection to the spout on the rocker cover, then that in theory, is achieving very little if anything at all.

In theory, all that will be happening, is that air will be drawn in through the oil filler cap and straight out again through the spout.

It may be the +ve sump pressure IS managing to escape via this route, and if it is, then that appears to be pretty amazing, since that shouldn't solve the problem of excess oil pressure, according to all the breather systems that have been used.

But if it is working, I'd leave it alone. :)
Lawrence Slater

Sorry I meant SUMP pressure, not OIL pressure. Thread overlap and load on my mind. lol
Lawrence Slater

There is definitely air being forced out through the spout in some pressure, I don't think that that amount of volume is coming in from the filler cap, so it must be coming from somewhere.
P Ottewell

It will be pressure from the crankcase. Natural expression of piston movement plus blow-by into a sealed space (the crankcase). I think that the only problem with your system is that there is no mechanism to condense oil out of the vapour and drain it back into the engine, so it will be breathing rather more oil direct into the inlet manifold than is ideal.

You could add a sealed oil catch tank, that might help:

Guy

That looks like an ingenious solution, Have you got wire wool in that coffee can?. how often do you empty it?
P Ottewell

Peter,
Mine is a 1275 with the breather off the front chaincase. I just added a catch tank into the extraction hose between the front canister and the Y piece connection to the carbs to reduce the amount of oil ingested into the induction manifold. But as my system still has the chaincase canister this condenses out most of the oil anyway. As a result my coffee can collects oil, but not a great deal. I have emptied it a couple of times in the last 2000 miles, but on inspection there wasn't much in it.

The inlet pipe extends about 2/3rds down into the can, below a wire brillo pad. The exit pipe draws fumes from just below the lid.
Guy

components!

Guy

Guy, where did you get the connectors from and what did you use to extend the pipe 2/3rds below the top?
P Ottewell

The connectors are electronics components I got from a friend - called BNC connectors I think. The extension was a piece of 10mm copper pipe
Guy

Ah, now all is clear. :P Two threads on the same subject. :)

I've just read below where you say there is pressure at the spout. So as guy says, that's where some of your puffs of smoke are coming from. Oil straight into the carbs. The rest is oil up the sides of the pistons. But if the engine otherwise goes well, and you are in no hurry to strip and rebuild it, just incorporate Guys catch tank, and then leave it as it is.
Lawrence Slater

As we do work for Gaggia Retail Shops I think I'd have to have a Gaggia version of your solution Guy... Brilliant!

:-)
Andrew McGee

LOL, Are they prepared to sponser you as well then?

The main requirement is that it is an air tight screw top and looks the part!
Guy

Now there's an idea. I'm always telling Nev to give it the Beans when he's sharing the race car with me, now I could actually give him some Beans to do exactly that :-)

A
Andrew McGee

Moss has the Real thing.

82 12G2134
'Y' PIECE
1275cc (mid-1968 to 1974); 12CE/Da/H3201 to 3300, plus 3401 onwards; all 12V engine nos. £2.56
€3.04 1
Bob Fisher

Long awaited picture of my breather "set up" Before

P Ottewell

and after with Guy's Illy oil catcher fitted this weekend. It seems to work well.

P Ottewell

and one of the timing cover

P Ottewell

"the engine was rebuilt in 2004, although I don't think a good job was done with it. Saving my pennies to buy a re-con."

Pete, why do you say you think it was a bad job?

If your breather setup is working, it's because there is very little crankcase pressure, and that means very little piston blowby. The breather setup you had before, and now after the catch tank modification, is doing little more than drawing air in via the oil filler cap, and into the manifold. If you had a usual amount of crank pressure, you'd also have a sump rear oil drip. But you don't.

Maybe the previous build included a pucker rear oil seal in place of the scroll. But however it's working, I would say your engine isn't bad in the bores/rings department. Before spending money on a recon, I would have a serious check on the engine you have already, it may just be better than you think.
Lawrence Slater

Lawrence, the reason I thought the engine rebuild is suspect is that the receipt for the gearbox rebuild states "no receipt for the engine rebuild as my father did it as a favour". Cant think it was too thorough if he did it for nowt. However, the oil smell in the exhaust has now gone and no puffs of smoke on acceleration. So you may be right.

I would feel happier if the breather was from the timing cover though. as you say, I'm going to leave it alone for now, but may mod the timing cover during the winter months by welding in a tail piece and in incorporating guys oil catcher with an intake at the bottom to allow the oil to drain back into the timing case. That is if I don't get lucky and find a timing cover with the canister.
P Ottewell

Peter,
If your catch tank is sealed, as mine is, then it becomes a part of the vacuum extraction system, air being drawn out of it by the intake vacuum. Its benefit is that it provides a chamber where oil can drop out of the fumes on their way through. The fact that oil accumulates in the catch tank is proof of a reduction in the quantity of oil being added to the combustion charge.

But, would a drain from this back to the timing case work? Presumably not, as it will simply add another connection between the suction side of the system and the timing chest. And with fumes being drawn up the down pipe, as it were, the oil catch tank won't work as well as it will increase turbulence within the tank when the whole idea is to allow oil to drop out of the fumes. Maybe it would work if there were some sort of one way valve fitted in the drain pipe.
Guy

Guy,

I think you've misunderstood or I haven't explained the proposed set up very well. I would do away with the breather take off from the rocker cover. I would put the take off back to the timing cover with connection in the bottom of the tank. the outlet from the top of the tank would go to the carbs. I'm thinking that the tank would be a replacement for the canister and any oil caught would drain back into the timing case. Do you not think this will work?. I any case thanks for the Illy coffee can tip, it's inspired.

P Ottewell

Yes, I understood that. The problem to me is having the connection in at the base and expecting it to act as a drain as well as the extraction system. I guess it will work as a replacement for the normal chaincase canister, and maybe therefore work as well as the standard system. But it will no longer work as well as a catch tank for precipitating oil out of the combustion charge, and your smoke and smell of oil at the exhaust may well return.
Guy

It would be interesting to know why the chaps father did away with the timing cover breather in the first place.

Is there any way you can get in touch with the son and ask?
Lawrence Slater

Lawrence,
Way back, I speculated slightly light heartedly, but meaning a distinctly realistic possibility in my "maybe..." message!
Guy

He must have thought it was a Morris Minor engine....
P Ottewell

This thread was discussed between 26/02/2012 and 12/03/2012

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