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Old 04-19-2016, 04:15 PM   #1
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2016 2250SLEC maiden voyage

Last Friday, we made our maiden voyage with our new Sunseeker. We headed out to Hood River, getting gas in Troutdale at the west end of the gorge.
I took a hard left at an intersection in Hood River, only to have a cabinet door come open & spill the contents all over the floor. My dear wife about jumped out of her seat, and given that she is nearly deaf, it was quite a clatter. I carried on...
The parking spot was an immediate right, so once we got parked, we cleaned up the mess. Then, I opened another door.. and was greeted by the coffee creamer container, only to hit the floor and, you guessed it, scatter all over the floor.
Once that mess was cleaned up, we went to a surprise birthday dinner - and what a grand surprise it was for our dear old friend.

Then on south a few miles to a friends place to spend the night. We visited in their house, then retired for the night; our first night in our brand new Sunseeker.
Throughout the night, it got colder. The thermostat was set to 60ish... why was there no heat? In the haze of my foggy sleep, I heard the furnace running... And it kept getting colder. About 3am, I got up and twiddled with the thermostat again. The fan started, so I went back to bed. I leaned over a few minutes later to check the vent, only to be greeted with a cold blast of air. Arg! I was sleepy... so went back to sleep. We had plenty of covers, but we still had to curl up to stay warm.

About 5 at first light, I got up again, thinking the furnace has failed in our new unit.
The thermometer stated it was 24 degrees outside... Brrrr!
I then realized not only was the furnace not working, there was a check light on the refer. And, a fault light on the water heater. Ding! The propane wasn't working.

I turned on the cooktop, and got flame. Huh? Then it quickly died out. Out to the tank I go, in the frost, knowing we had plenty of propane. It still read 5/8th full. Are we empty, Has the manual gauge failed? I pulled the fancy cover off the regulator, then tapped on it with a screwdriver handle. A check on the stove, and we had propane! But only for a minute. Back out, tap tap tap.. Success!

Everything started working. As it was fairly cool the day before, and cold overnight, the fridge contents were still reasonably cold. Turning on the furnace again, it kicked in and fired up... warmth! Should we turn for home? Or chance that it won't happen again? Well, we made it one night, we can do it again if it fails the next night. As it worked out, the regulator worked fine for the rest of the trip. I'll pick up a spare two-stage regulator & will either have it on hand for the future, or will replace it. (Joshua, will you send me a new regulator?? B^)

We made breakfast, then in to visit with friends again for a few minutes before heading south to Summer Lake Hot Springs for the rest of our stay.

We took on fuel again in La Pine, the dash gauge stated we were averaging around 9mpg. I had hoped for better... We reset the values, and off we went. We ran better than 400 miles on the next tank, with a final average on that tank at around 11.5. Much better!

It felt as we were trying to live in some one else's house - even though we loaded everything, we had a heck of a time finding anything. The old unit had a lot more storage, and the overhead was much lower, so my dear wife could reach everything. This one has a higher overhead, so I was tasked with fetching & re-storing lots of goodies.

On the road, all was fine until we hit hwy 31 to Summer Lake. That's one bouncy road in places, and the anemic stock shocks on the Chevy chassis were almost worthless. They will be replaced sooooon! The steering could use a little more on-center feel, and it drifted to the right on many of the central Oregon roads. Once back over the Cascades, it drove fine - I guess it likes the valley. Once the shocks are replaced, I expect it'll have a lot better road manners. But even as is, it is a world above the rotten handling that I had to deal with from the ford for 5 years. And that was after throwing a lot of money and time at it!

The power is superb. It was very nice not having to fight the Sunseeker over the hills; the old ford would scream at 50MPH max up those hills all 10 little cylinders screaming, this one sailed over them without breaking a sweat and hardly making much noise. That 6.0L has plenty of power. Down hills was just as easy - occasionally I'd pull it into Manual mode & downshift to M5 or M4 to slow in the Cascades, with only an occasional tap on the brakes. Verry verry nice.

Visibility is different with the Chevy than it was with the Ford; the door glass is wider so we don't have to lean forward to watch the traffic beside us. The windshield is as large, but sets lower so the overall view out the front is a tad less when look up a scenery. The dash reflects a little worse back up on the inside of the glass when facing the sun too. It should have been a matte finish rather than gloss, similar to the matte black dash fascia.

We traveled around 745 miles over 3 days, and had a blast despite the failures. (as we always do) We enjoyed taking the waters at Summer Lake again, and are looking forward to our next trip after a few more major improvements.

I'll follow up this post with a few pictures from our adventure.
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Old 04-19-2016, 06:21 PM   #2
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Good trip report , Bruce! The first time out is always memorable.
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Old 04-19-2016, 06:40 PM   #3
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Luv my Chevy also.
Lots of threads and posts on handling improvements- alignment and stabilizers.
They make loads of difference when done right IMO.
Check the Forester forum for your sister vehicle- the 2251 .
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Old 04-19-2016, 08:52 PM   #4
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Thanks! I read, and sometimes post in the Forester section as well. I think you clued me in on the Forester, TL!
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Old 04-19-2016, 11:23 PM   #5
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A few pics from the trip:












Ignore the avg and total times - we shut down the device when we've stopped for the night:


April 2016 - Summer Lake, McCredie, Maiden Voyage with new Sunseeker Photo Gallery by B-N-Mac at pbase.com
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Old 04-20-2016, 12:12 PM   #6
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Sometimes, if a new propane tank hasn't been properly evacuated or purged before its first fill there can be some moisture in the tank - causing the regulator to freeze up, especially when it's cold outside. The problem should go away after some use.

Congratulations on the new rig - wishing you many happy and safe miles on the road ahead.
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Old 04-20-2016, 02:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucemc View Post
Last Friday, we made our maiden voyage with our new Sunseeker. We headed out to Hood River, getting gas in Troutdale at the west end of the gorge.
I took a hard left at an intersection in Hood River, only to have a cabinet door come open & spill the contents all over the floor. My dear wife about jumped out of her seat, and given that she is nearly deaf, it was quite a clatter. I carried on...
The parking spot was an immediate right, so once we got parked, we cleaned up the mess. Then, I opened another door.. and was greeted by the coffee creamer container, only to hit the floor and, you guessed it, scatter all over the floor.
Once that mess was cleaned up, we went to a surprise birthday dinner - and what a grand surprise it was for our dear old friend.

Then on south a few miles to a friends place to spend the night. We visited in their house, then retired for the night; our first night in our brand new Sunseeker.
Throughout the night, it got colder. The thermostat was set to 60ish... why was there no heat? In the haze of my foggy sleep, I heard the furnace running... And it kept getting colder. About 3am, I got up and twiddled with the thermostat again. The fan started, so I went back to bed. I leaned over a few minutes later to check the vent, only to be greeted with a cold blast of air. Arg! I was sleepy... so went back to sleep. We had plenty of covers, but we still had to curl up to stay warm.

About 5 at first light, I got up again, thinking the furnace has failed in our new unit.
The thermometer stated it was 24 degrees outside... Brrrr!
I then realized not only was the furnace not working, there was a check light on the refer. And, a fault light on the water heater. Ding! The propane wasn't working.

I turned on the cooktop, and got flame. Huh? Then it quickly died out. Out to the tank I go, in the frost, knowing we had plenty of propane. It still read 5/8th full. Are we empty, Has the manual gauge failed? I pulled the fancy cover off the regulator, then tapped on it with a screwdriver handle. A check on the stove, and we had propane! But only for a minute. Back out, tap tap tap.. Success!

Everything started working. As it was fairly cool the day before, and cold overnight, the fridge contents were still reasonably cold. Turning on the furnace again, it kicked in and fired up... warmth! Should we turn for home? Or chance that it won't happen again? Well, we made it one night, we can do it again if it fails the next night. As it worked out, the regulator worked fine for the rest of the trip. I'll pick up a spare two-stage regulator & will either have it on hand for the future, or will replace it. (Joshua, will you send me a new regulator?? B^)

We made breakfast, then in to visit with friends again for a few minutes before heading south to Summer Lake Hot Springs for the rest of our stay.

We took on fuel again in La Pine, the dash gauge stated we were averaging around 9mpg. I had hoped for better... We reset the values, and off we went. We ran better than 400 miles on the next tank, with a final average on that tank at around 11.5. Much better!

It felt as we were trying to live in some one else's house - even though we loaded everything, we had a heck of a time finding anything. The old unit had a lot more storage, and the overhead was much lower, so my dear wife could reach everything. This one has a higher overhead, so I was tasked with fetching & re-storing lots of goodies.

On the road, all was fine until we hit hwy 31 to Summer Lake. That's one bouncy road in places, and the anemic stock shocks on the Chevy chassis were almost worthless. They will be replaced sooooon! The steering could use a little more on-center feel, and it drifted to the right on many of the central Oregon roads. Once back over the Cascades, it drove fine - I guess it likes the valley. Once the shocks are replaced, I expect it'll have a lot better road manners. But even as is, it is a world above the rotten handling that I had to deal with from the ford for 5 years. And that was after throwing a lot of money and time at it!

The power is superb. It was very nice not having to fight the Sunseeker over the hills; the old ford would scream at 50MPH max up those hills all 10 little cylinders screaming, this one sailed over them without breaking a sweat and hardly making much noise. That 6.0L has plenty of power. Down hills was just as easy - occasionally I'd pull it into Manual mode & downshift to M5 or M4 to slow in the Cascades, with only an occasional tap on the brakes. Verry verry nice.

Visibility is different with the Chevy than it was with the Ford; the door glass is wider so we don't have to lean forward to watch the traffic beside us. The windshield is as large, but sets lower so the overall view out the front is a tad less when look up a scenery. The dash reflects a little worse back up on the inside of the glass when facing the sun too. It should have been a matte finish rather than gloss, similar to the matte black dash fascia.

We traveled around 745 miles over 3 days, and had a blast despite the failures. (as we always do) We enjoyed taking the waters at Summer Lake again, and are looking forward to our next trip after a few more major improvements.

I'll follow up this post with a few pictures from our adventure.
Keep enjoying your new ride. I liked your report.

Maybe you need an alignment?
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Old 04-20-2016, 11:14 PM   #8
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What model year is your chassis? 2015?

If you haven't already you may want to check the date codes on your tires. There is a good chance that they are at least a couple of years old already.

I added Sumo springs to the rear and they made a really nice difference in the ride. Super Springs told me they have Sumos for the front also but when I was shopping they were not listed on their web site. I still have the OEM shocks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by brucemc View Post
Last Friday, we made our maiden voyage with our new Sunseeker. We headed out to Hood River, getting gas in Troutdale at the west end of the gorge.
I took a hard left at an intersection in Hood River, only to have a cabinet door come open & spill the contents all over the floor. My dear wife about jumped out of her seat, and given that she is nearly deaf, it was quite a clatter. I carried on...
The parking spot was an immediate right, so once we got parked, we cleaned up the mess. Then, I opened another door.. and was greeted by the coffee creamer container, only to hit the floor and, you guessed it, scatter all over the floor.
Once that mess was cleaned up, we went to a surprise birthday dinner - and what a grand surprise it was for our dear old friend.

Then on south a few miles to a friends place to spend the night. We visited in their house, then retired for the night; our first night in our brand new Sunseeker.
Throughout the night, it got colder. The thermostat was set to 60ish... why was there no heat? In the haze of my foggy sleep, I heard the furnace running... And it kept getting colder. About 3am, I got up and twiddled with the thermostat again. The fan started, so I went back to bed. I leaned over a few minutes later to check the vent, only to be greeted with a cold blast of air. Arg! I was sleepy... so went back to sleep. We had plenty of covers, but we still had to curl up to stay warm.

About 5 at first light, I got up again, thinking the furnace has failed in our new unit.
The thermometer stated it was 24 degrees outside... Brrrr!
I then realized not only was the furnace not working, there was a check light on the refer. And, a fault light on the water heater. Ding! The propane wasn't working.

I turned on the cooktop, and got flame. Huh? Then it quickly died out. Out to the tank I go, in the frost, knowing we had plenty of propane. It still read 5/8th full. Are we empty, Has the manual gauge failed? I pulled the fancy cover off the regulator, then tapped on it with a screwdriver handle. A check on the stove, and we had propane! But only for a minute. Back out, tap tap tap.. Success!

Everything started working. As it was fairly cool the day before, and cold overnight, the fridge contents were still reasonably cold. Turning on the furnace again, it kicked in and fired up... warmth! Should we turn for home? Or chance that it won't happen again? Well, we made it one night, we can do it again if it fails the next night. As it worked out, the regulator worked fine for the rest of the trip. I'll pick up a spare two-stage regulator & will either have it on hand for the future, or will replace it. (Joshua, will you send me a new regulator?? B^)

We made breakfast, then in to visit with friends again for a few minutes before heading south to Summer Lake Hot Springs for the rest of our stay.

We took on fuel again in La Pine, the dash gauge stated we were averaging around 9mpg. I had hoped for better... We reset the values, and off we went. We ran better than 400 miles on the next tank, with a final average on that tank at around 11.5. Much better!

It felt as we were trying to live in some one else's house - even though we loaded everything, we had a heck of a time finding anything. The old unit had a lot more storage, and the overhead was much lower, so my dear wife could reach everything. This one has a higher overhead, so I was tasked with fetching & re-storing lots of goodies.

On the road, all was fine until we hit hwy 31 to Summer Lake. That's one bouncy road in places, and the anemic stock shocks on the Chevy chassis were almost worthless. They will be replaced sooooon! The steering could use a little more on-center feel, and it drifted to the right on many of the central Oregon roads. Once back over the Cascades, it drove fine - I guess it likes the valley. Once the shocks are replaced, I expect it'll have a lot better road manners. But even as is, it is a world above the rotten handling that I had to deal with from the ford for 5 years. And that was after throwing a lot of money and time at it!

The power is superb. It was very nice not having to fight the Sunseeker over the hills; the old ford would scream at 50MPH max up those hills all 10 little cylinders screaming, this one sailed over them without breaking a sweat and hardly making much noise. That 6.0L has plenty of power. Down hills was just as easy - occasionally I'd pull it into Manual mode & downshift to M5 or M4 to slow in the Cascades, with only an occasional tap on the brakes. Verry verry nice.

Visibility is different with the Chevy than it was with the Ford; the door glass is wider so we don't have to lean forward to watch the traffic beside us. The windshield is as large, but sets lower so the overall view out the front is a tad less when look up a scenery. The dash reflects a little worse back up on the inside of the glass when facing the sun too. It should have been a matte finish rather than gloss, similar to the matte black dash fascia.

We traveled around 745 miles over 3 days, and had a blast despite the failures. (as we always do) We enjoyed taking the waters at Summer Lake again, and are looking forward to our next trip after a few more major improvements.

I'll follow up this post with a few pictures from our adventure.
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Old 04-21-2016, 12:21 AM   #9
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I'll start with the shocks, then will work from there.

Indeed, the chassis is 2015 with 2014 date code tires. At 2 years old, they still have some age left in them.
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Old 04-21-2016, 09:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delco Bobby View Post
What model year is your chassis? 2015?

If you haven't already you may want to check the date codes on your tires. There is a good chance that they are at least a couple of years old already.

I added Sumo springs to the rear and they made a really nice difference in the ride. Super Springs told me they have Sumos for the front also but when I was shopping they were not listed on their web site. I still have the OEM shocks.
IMO the Chevy 4500 has overkill spring stack on the rear for these small rigs.
I am at 11k fully loaded.
They are rated at 14k.
I don't see a need for any added spring suppiort- maybe a HD shock like Bilsteins.
How did they change the ride ?
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Old 04-21-2016, 11:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
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IMO the Chevy 4500 has overkill spring stack on the rear for these small rigs.
I am at 11k fully loaded.
They are rated at 14k.
I don't see a need for any added spring suppiort- maybe a HD shock like Bilsteins.
How did they change the ride ?
The ride was very good before the Sumo installation. The handeling was excellent also. I never drove another RV that had such good road manners. My issues were porpoising on some roads and bridges and also occasional banging from the rear end.

The Sumos made the ride even smoother and the handeling even tighter to my pleasant surprise. The porpoising was mostly eliminated or if it did occur it was only very minor. I did test drives over the same sections of roads that caused problems to satisify myself that the investment was worth it. It was. Leaning was almost non existent but now even less if that makes sense.

I actually forget that I had a problem as I drive on those roads and bridges.
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Old 04-22-2016, 09:00 AM   #12
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The ride was very good before the Sumo installation. The handeling was excellent also. I never drove another RV that had such good road manners. My issues were porpoising on some roads and bridges and also occasional banging from the rear end.

The Sumos made the ride even smoother and the handeling even tighter to my pleasant surprise. The porpoising was mostly eliminated or if it did occur it was only very minor. I did test drives over the same sections of roads that caused problems to satisify myself that the investment was worth it. It was. Leaning was almost non existent but now even less if that makes sense.

I actually forget that I had a problem as I drive on those roads and bridges.

That is how I felt after the front end changes I made (Bilsteins/Reflex stabilizer and MH alignment). I just figured the rear was...well...just heavy duty truck like. May look into some changes.
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Old 04-22-2016, 10:21 AM   #13
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TL, do you have the numbers from your alignment, both before and after? I'll need to find a shop nearby; I have one that I go to for our cars, but don't know if the Sunseeker will fit in their bay. I had a horrible experience with an alignment (expensive, poor workmanship, front end fell apart on the road) at the local ford dealer on our Four Winds, which is partly why I got rid of the FW.

Thanks!
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Old 04-22-2016, 10:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Total Loss View Post
That is how I felt after the front end changes I made (Bilsteins/Reflex stabilizer and MH alignment). I just figured the rear was...well...just heavy duty truck like. May look into some changes.
I think the quality of ride is also affected by how the vehicle is loaded.. The 4500 is designed to carry a much heavier load than what I have, hence a harsher ride. More weight in a he vehicle will result in a smoother ride.

So I modified for my circumstances .
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:21 AM   #15
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Quote:
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TL, do you have the numbers from your alignment, both before and after? I'll need to find a shop nearby; I have one that I go to for our cars, but don't know if the Sunseeker will fit in their bay. I had a horrible experience with an alignment (expensive, poor workmanship, front end fell apart on the road) at the local ford dealer on our Four Winds, which is partly why I got rid of the FW.

Thanks!
I do not have the numbers- my guy uses a mechanical (not electronic) rack so I don;t have a printout.
I believe he set tow and camber to zero and added 1 degree to caster for 5 total I believe.
The added caster is the key. The camber and tow are for tire wear.
The added caster gets you back to center steer quicker.
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
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I think the quality of ride is also affected by how the vehicle is loaded.. The 4500 is designed to carry a much heavier load than what I have, hence a harsher ride. More weight in a he vehicle will result in a smoother ride.

So I modified for my circumstances .
Mine rides better when I hang 600 lbs off the back (motorcycle and 2 bicycles).
I may look into Bilsteins for the rear.
Can't hurt- will only help the dampening on the harsh bumps.
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Old 04-23-2016, 11:19 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Mine rides better when I hang 600 lbs off the back (motorcycle and 2 bicycles).
I may look into Bilsteins for the rear.
Can't hurt- will only help the dampening on the harsh bumps.
I expect the Bilsteins will work well for you. I was going to get them but missed a window to get them installed for $5 at Camping World. Then I had been reading about Sumo springs and decided to take a chance and save a bundle of cash.

I will get the Bilsteins when my current shocks fail.
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Old 04-23-2016, 04:41 PM   #18
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Delco Bobby, thanks for sharing your maiden voyage. There's never a dull moment when learning your way around a new rig, lots of fun, though. I'm glad to read the discussion about front suspension mods. The bouncy front end is something that I want to address and Bilstiens seem like the way to go.

I agree about the power being good. We haven't had it in the mountains yet, but I have found on hilly back roads that using tow haul seems to help keep it from bogging down when climbing and helps it just sail over the hills. It should help keep the trans from overheating in hot weather too. I have also found that gas mileage is better when using tow haul in those conditions.

Congratulations on your new Sunseeker.
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Old 04-23-2016, 04:52 PM   #19
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Talking

Actually, brucemc is the OP of maiden voyage.

I live in a hilly area with very sterp hills and have all the power I need so far. I have not done any mountain driving yet but expect this rig to be fine? My first trip up to Penn State should confirm that although I am anxious about the ride down the mountain.
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Old 04-23-2016, 05:03 PM   #20
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Sorry, brucemc, credit where credit is due.
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