FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

SUSPENSION & BRAKES

My V-Max handles bad!! What can I do to cure it?  What do I do first?
How do I do the Furbur Fix?
Will solid motor mounts help the handling of my V-Max?
Should I install a fork brace on my V-Max?
Will a frame brace help the handling of my V- Max?   (More info click here)
My brake pads are worn out.  What brand should I buy?
What are Emulators?
Can I use DOT 5 brake fluid instead of DOT 4?
My brake's feel spongy.  Will Stainless (braided) brake lines help?
Is it possible to change to inverted front forks?

FUEL & CARBS

How do I re-jet and tune my carburetors, which jets do I do first?
Where are the brass plugs that have to be removed to adjust my mixture screws?
How do I remove the tamper proof screw on the carb covers?
How do I remove the brass plug covering the idle mixture screws?
How do I remove the idle mixture screws after I unscrew them?
Should I synchronize my carbs?  What tool should I use?
What is the proper amount to shim my carburetor needles?  
My engine backfires through the carbs and seems to be running lean.  What can I do?
How do I tell if my engine is running rich or lean?(plug readings)
My fuel pump is not pumping correctly.   Is there some way to repair it?
My engine runs rough.  How do I blow out the idle circuit with compressed air?

ENGINE, COOLING & CLUTCH

What type of oil should I use in my V- Max?
How do I do the "Double D" clutch modification?       
My V-Max is hard to get in to neutral.   What's the remedy?
Will a different fan switch make my engine run cooler? 
How do I determine battery discharge problems?

MISC.

Why does my oil light come on when I am "on the boost"?
How do I make my stock exhaust sound better?
What filters will fit Don Smith's oil filter conversion kit?     Pictures click here
How do I prepare my V- Max for winter?


fork brace.jpg (79348 bytes) Should I install a fork brace on my V-Max?

Henry Jackson wrote:  I installed the SuperBrace on my 89 model (small forks). So far, I can't tell any difference. But .... I've been told that it really helps when doing those 80 mph sweeper curves and you hit a bump or upset in the road. I haven't had any problems before or after the brace. Although, it definitely is a much more substantial piece of hardware than the flimsy cast piece that came on the bike.

Bert wrote:  It seems the responses strongly favor fork braces for the smaller diameter pre-93 forks, which are certainly less rigid than the 43mm 93+ legs. I still recognize some improvement with the late model forks plus the brace though.

Ray Thornton wrote I've added the Superbrace to my '96. I cannot say honestly that I have felt a difference. That said, it gives me a bit more confidence (warranted or not) at high speeds & hard cornering, & it looks cooler (MHO).

Donna wrote:   I installed the Superbrace fork brace on my 97 Vmax and find that it has definitely stopped the forks from twisting on aggressive curving. It has a tighter feel to it on bumps and dips, also. Installing the Superbrace was simple, did not require removal of the front wheel, and took less than 30 minutes

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thermometer.jpg (9708 bytes)  How do I prepare my V- Max for winter?
(provided by Terry Hayden)

The following list applies only for "Winter" storage. For multi-year storage, more must be done.

MATERIAL REQUIRED:

A Brain equipped with reasonable care and caution,  Motor oil & filter (correct type & qty etc), 2 stroke oil (or equiv.),  gasoline stabilizer), pan to catch drained gasoline, compressed air source or tire pump, 2 foot (or more) section of small aquarium tubing (clean!), brake fluid and bleeding equipment (if desired), battery trickle-charger, assorted hand tools and rags, place to work, place to store battery

PROCEDURE:

1.  Wash & wax it. (Makes you more likely to want to ride it later though that usually isn't a problem..... :-)

2.  Run it around enough to get it hot. This burns off the wash water and will warm up the motor oil nicely.  Going to the gas station for a fill-up across town should do.  Fill the gas tank with highest quality gas you can find.

3.  Return to storage/work site. (Try to store it indoors. Outdoor storage is the pits. Rent a U-Store-It if necessary. If outside is unavoidable, use a breathable cover vs. plastic or vinyl. )

4.  Drain the gas from the carb bowls. (the drain screws are on the back lower right of each carb.)

5.  Top off the tank. Additionally, add STABIL gasoline stabilizer to the tank then turn on the ignition key to pump the "stabilized" gas back into the carbs. Then drain them again....why?  because all the gas residue is NOT removed when draining so might as well leave stabilized gas behind! This is the single most important step in the whole list! This determines whether the bike will start next time or not. Clean motor oil doesn't matter if the darn thing can't be made to run!

6.  Change the oil and filter while warm. (Used oil has some acids formed in it. Water too. Fresh oil good. Used oil bad.)

7.  Put a teaspoon or so of 2-stroke oil (or Marvel Mystery Oil) in each cylinder via the sparkplug hole. (Clean the area around the plug of grit/sand/mung before opening the hole. I usually use Simple Green or GUNK on the spark plugs with the wires removed and heavy rinse during the wash to clean this stuff up. Some folks use compressed air. Be careful, a piece of sand under a valve could cause it to burn later.) Also see this alternative.

8.  I use a section of clear tubing to suck up some oil from the container and then blow it into the cylinder. Yes, by mouth.  (don't pull the oil very far up the tubing!) Marvel Oil tastes much better than 2 stroke oil. Wintergreen, yum! ) Turn the engine over a couple of times to distribute the oil inside the engine cylinder. (Works better when plugs are out and this step goes before removing battery) Caution: Make sure that the plugs are grounded and able to spark or damage to the ignition box may occur...this = big $$$  Optionally, instead of blowing oil into the cylinders directly, spray Engine Oil Fog into the carburetor intakes when the engine is running.

9.  Reinstall plugs loosely. Leave plug wires routed loosely. (You should consider having new plugs available for next year.)

10.  Remove the battery to a place where you will remember to trickle-charge it at least monthly. (recording when you've charged it on a piece of paper near the battery will help you remember how neglectful you're being :-)

11.  Even if you don't care about the battery, remove it. If it freezes while the battery is discharged, the case will crack and spill acid on your frame.

12.  Inflate the tires about 5 psi over spec **OR** better yet, block the bike up so there is no weight on the wheels.

13.  Change the brake fluid. It's easy and can prevent corrosion which could result in sticking/dragging brakes later. (This should be an semi-annual event regardless of storage.)

14.  Wipe down the fork legs with Marvel oil and leave enough to keep the fork seals moist.

15.  Lube the suspension (if grease fittings) Do other lube jobs if you are so inclined. (cables, pivots, etc.)

16.  Put some kind of note to yourself on speedo that says: Battery Removed Spark Plugs Tire pressure to remind yourself what you'll need to do to go riding.

17.  While bike is in storage, try to operate controls occasionally. (Clutch, brakes) If bike has weight on tires, try to roll the bike to a different tire position occasionally.
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Walker_Brace.jpg (85505 bytes)  

Will a frame brace help the handling of my V- Max?

Dan wrote: "Oldman" made me a set a couple months ago... neither of the front or back shocks have been modified except for the Superbrace... I run 15 wt oil in the front, and my shocks are always set on 4 in the back... The frame braced did just what they were designed to do... stiffen the frame... the ride doesn't "flex" as much when going over bumps and I feel the cornering has gotten quicker... and they make the bike look like it's "comin' to get you"..

Don  wrote: Almo, have you done the suspension front and rear on your bike? If you haven't then just adding the braces alone will not help. Get the Works shocks and the springs and emulators from Race Tech, then you will have a base to start from. Its like trying to build a house with a foundation made from jello!

Aimo - Vmax Club of Finland wrote: I have to say that those chromed aluminum Japanese frame braces are not good. They do not affect the ride quality in any way. But I have to admit that they look good. I do not have any special fork brace in my -85

Paul wrote:  I bolted on Dale Walker's braces and noticed an immediate difference.  A lot of the "wet noodle" feel was gone.  However, the swing arm seems to be the culprit now on the flexing.

John wrote:  The VMAX frame is the 'foundation', and if your 'foundation' is not stable(braced) first, the suspension mods will not have their maximum effect, because the frame flex in the center of the 'foundation' still allows changes in tracking, the relationship of the front wheel to the rear, which is of utmost importance... Do the 'foundation' work 1st....

Dale wrote: The Holeshot Frame Brace kit is a simple bolt on with good looks. The braces triangulate the frame to reduce frame flex. These are a good start and a big improvement but not a cure all.

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How do I determine battery discharge problems?

ORIGINAL PROBLEM # 1 Submitted by Donna W.
I let Maxine sit for 5 days without starting it (on sidestand) and when I tried to start it, the battery was practically dead. Push started it and rode it 200 miles during which time it started fine 3 times at 50-70 mile intervals. Next morning - dead. Water level is fine, no corrosion at the posts.
Question: I'm planning on buying a BatteryTender today. Should I just hook it up and hope it "fixes" the problem? Should I replace the battery right now? Where do I start as far as finding out where the problem really is. What tools do I need to test/investigate?

Dennis Barch wrote: : A battery Tender is great; when you get it, try this: charge the battery until green light comes on the tender, & let it sit overnight (terminals connected), and try starting in the morn & ride a while. Let it sit for a while after riding, then try to start-if it doesn't or is weak, re-charge, and then disconnect terminals overnight. The next morning, re-connect terminals and ride. If the same symptoms occur, then it is either the battery that has a dead cell ( even though the water level is fine), a short in the system, or the voltage regulator behind the left passenger peg bracket. I assume you checked for tight connections, & all the other obvious ones; if they're ok, then the two I mentioned are the only ones I can think of-hope this helps!

Paul Sayegh wrote: A new battery should last two to three years; properly charged, provided your charging system is working correctly. Check with your dealer and see if it is still covered by a warranty. Have your charging system checked.
If you are going to leave the bike parked for most of the winter, you should attach a BatteryTender to the battery. Best to remove the battery and set it on a bench while charging, and make sure the charger doesn't boil the water out of it.

Response: Agree here. If your lights don't dim while your riding ten, twenty miles, your charging system should be good. Batteries are always the weak link in the chain. The first time they are charged, make sure they are charged slowly, that is over a approx. 12-18 hour time period at about 1A (18h) to 1.5A (12h). Otherwise they never reach their full capacity. A few last long, i.e. over five years, some are crapping out really early. Always be sure to keep the water level as between the marks (use ONLY distilled water), but that's more a problem the southern belt, FL, TX, AZ, southern CA.
Hope you're back with confidence in you Max. A multitester is always a good tool, some are really cheap at Radio Shack (does not need to be a pro tool). Volts, Amps, Ohms, Continuity. If you like to invest in a more fancy tool, select one with a peak hold detector or memory. That makes taking measurements really easy. Can't hurt to have an illuminated display either for road trips, but that's now asking for a lot.

Donna responds- Excellent advice on all accounts. It turned out to be a dead cell in the battery. The dealer replaced the battery under warranty. I bought the BatteryTender and multi-tester and, thanks to the in-depth advice from everyone, I now feel confident in being able to use it should the need ever arise again.
All Charged Up- Donna

ORIGINAL PROBLEM # 2 
Mac wrote:  > Can anyone offer any help with an ongoing low battery problem I seem to have? I have removed the regulator and cleaned bolt threads, mating surfaces, etc. New battery this year (although a cheepie from JC Whitney's).  This has helped, but my battery is still stays marginally charged most of the time. Biggest problem seems to be after I have ridden just 1/2 hour or so, and stop for coffee or gas. Cold, it's pretty good, and after I have run it for an hour or more it starts right up. BUT ride it 1/2 hour and it just won't turn over enough to start. Have to push start it, and we know how much fun that is (but it works!)

Old Man wrote:  Mac, what year?  If not 90 and up try adding a ground from one of the bolts on the regulator to the cases, Have you checked the output of the stator? Start the bike and disconnect the three wire connector, use a volt-ohm meter to check voltage. It should read 50 volts@3,000 across any two leads.   Check all three changing leads across them, doesn't matter which pos. or neg. If it doesn't then its' time for a stator. You can update with a Venture, costs a little more, but you can run hotter headlight bulb,130/90, without problems and a electric vest. The leads in the connector you might also solder them as they are only crimped. The lead going to the starter, see that it is tight and no corrosion, and use a wrench on the jam nut. The leads that connect to the post on the inside of the starter are only crimped and can be broken easily.  When you got the new battery,did you put it on a charger? If not then you will never get the full life out of it and have the problems you are describing. It needs to be run for awhile to get a charge back in it, and not being run for only a short while after sitting over night, what's the temp. like, or for a few days not long enough to build it back up. The batteries we are stuck with just don't have much reserve and if it has a weak or dead cell, possible on a new battery, then ify starts will happen. Donna Waldron's 97 started doing the same thing after a couple months, a dead cell.

Paul  wrote Couple of things......I would check charging voltage (at the battery) with the bike running.  It should be about 14.5 volts at above 2000 rpm.
If ok, fully charge and have the battery load tested.
If ok, check out the starter
Between rides, keep the battery on a charger designed to be left on all the time such as a Battery Tender

Kelly wrote I'd bet dollars to donuts it's the regulator. Mine was the same way.  The manual is pretty good about how to test it with an ohm meter.  Like you, I made sure wires and ground were good. Didn't help. I then tested the stator and regulator with an ohm meter.  The regulator looked to be out only a little bit, but it was enough. I replaced, and it's fine now.

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temp_sender_small.jpg (2742 bytes)  Will a different fan switch make my engine run cooler?

Colin Wrote I put thermo switch BORG-WARNER TFS-545 in my bike, and the fan does come on earlier!

Don Wrote:  The BW TFS-545 comes on at 205-208 and goes off at 195
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brake pad.jpg (44729 bytes)  My brake pads are worn out.   What brand should I buy?

Mario wrote:  Galfers "Green" pads work real good with minimum rotor damage

Old man wrote:  I've been having great success with the Galfer green pads. They don't tear up the rotors like some of the others.

Scott wrote:  I have always used EBC's fit fine last a long time don't fade and don't seem to shed any unsightly and nasty brake dust.


oil_light.JPG (78368 bytes) Why does my oil light come on when I am "on the boost"?

Jochen wrote:  Every time when I pulled the throttle back and the boost started the oil level light flashed. Back home I checked the oil level with cold and warm engine, but it is correct. I did the oil level indicator circuit check as described in the owner's manual. What else could cause the problem?

TC wrote:  This means you bike is running great! It takes Gs to light the lamp with a full crankcase. This is actually a great tuning device ... I have only had this happen at the track in second gear.

Paul wrote:  When I first got my Max and this happened I shit! Someone explained it to me like this: The oil level indicator is in the front of the engine. When you get on it hard all of the oil is forced to the rear of the engine leaving the sensor lonely. The good news is that the oil pickup is in the rear too. No problem! (Don't look...LOL)

Mario wrote:  Don't worry about the light, the sensor switch is located at the front of the crankcase, that's why when you whack the throttle, the oil slushes back and the light comes on, my friend Sandy and I get that all the time, nothing to worry about, my friend, your bike runs great, and the oil supply is fine.

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brake line.jpg (57339 bytes)   My brake's feel spongy.  Will Stainless (braided) brake lines help?

Arnold wrote: The test ride confirmed that it was worth the trouble as the front brakes did indeed have less 'sponginess.' However, I did not expect the clutch to be so much different. There is significantly more feel to the lever and it is much easier to identify what is happening with the clutch plates from the lever.

Scott wrote:  I replaced my brake lines ~ 1 year ago. I replaced mine before the lines lost their resiliency. But I did notice a fairly noticeable difference as soon as they were swapped out.

Don wrote:  Install one for the clutch.    Makes controlling it out of the hole a lot easier.

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My V-Max handles bad!!  What can I do to cure it?    I am on a budget, what do I do first?

Paul wrote:  Although everyone will have a different opinion on this, I have done all of the modifications listed but I arranged them in the best "bang for the buck"  In my opinion. The best improvements (by far) are the wheels\radials and the motor mounts . If you do all of these you will have a bike that handles extremely well and lot's of fun to ride in the twisties.  Again $$$ has a lot to do with the order.  The best improvements are the tires and wheels and the motor mounts.  The rest add incremental improvements.

1.  Slide your fork tubes up in the clamps 1\2- 1"
2. Furbur Fix with washer
3. Solid Motor Mounts (worth the high effort)
4. Emulators\ Springs
5. Fork brace
6. Frame Brace
7. 17" wheels w\radials
8. Strengthen Swingarm
9. Rear Springs
10. Align frame and gusset swing-arm area
11. Dowel pin the removable sections of the frame


What is the proper amount to shim my carb needles?


Original question by Dom Ochoa....
My understanding from the tech clinic is I can buy brass washers at Radio Shack, but I can't remember what the recommendation was about thickness. (By the way, I'm still running the stock exhaust)

Mario wrote
Between .023 and .027 thickness is what most people use.

Ted wrote:  I have the covers off the carbs and plan to shim the needles about .020" to richen up the midrange.

Henry wrote:  Mine measure .020 exactly!

Scott  wrote The washer thickness is .020.   Radio Shack sells them in a little plastic bag of various O.D.'s and I.D.'s. The washer you want to use is obvious.

Dale wrote: I have found the stock needles work better or as good as an aftermarket. I would shim the needles with a
brass #4 finishing washer found in most hardware stores. These are about .025 thick. I use these in my jet kit when a
customer buys one of our exhaust systems. I would also suggest a K&N air filter to allow a bit more air flow.


Is it possible to change to inverted front forks?

Old Man wrote:  If you have somebody do it, look to spend 3,000.00. Triple clamps, stock or new ones made? Clip-ons or stock bars? A new stem also. More machine time. You also loose 31/2 inches ground clearance. You need to change the oil every 3-4,000. Do you have the special tools to take them apart?  Yes you have to disassemble them completely. If not, 100-125.00 for that and somebody that knows what they are doing, not the local idiot, but somebody that knows the difference between their butt and a hole in the ground. You can get a front complete from Henry Doyle, Exactrep, in England for around 2,000 with new triples. All the works been done, but you will need to use your stock wheel or a FZR1000 and have new hangers made for the calipers because of the 320mm discs. No you can't use stock discs from a max on a FZR wheel.


What filters will fit Don Smith's oil filter conversion kit?

AC PF-9, Fram-3950, Lee LF 2809, Motorcraft FL-403, NAPA 1381, Purolator
L10193, L20073, and Wix 51381.


Can I use DOT 5 brake fluid instead of DOT 4?

When you change over from DOT 4 to DOT 5 you need to use a brake system flush (this can be purchased from any parts store) to clean out the system.  It will be necessary to disassemble your calipers and other components to replace the rubber seals and clean out all of the old fluid.  If you are looking for a high performance brake fluid, you may want to consider using DOT 5.1 as it has a higher boiling temperature and all you would be required to do is to drain your system/flush and add the new fluid.  (Response quoted from Russell Performance parts)


How do I remove the idle mixture screws after I unscrew them?

Jeff Rice wrote:

I almost gave up trying to get the first friggin screw out of the bore until a flash of wisdom about knocked me out. I ran (well walked) to the pharmacy and got a 60cc syringe. I snipped an inch of vacuum tube from my carb synchronizer and stuck it on the end of the syringe. I then held the vacuum tube up to the bore of the pilot screw and sucked it right to the end of the bore where you can "grab" it with a tooth pick.

TC wrote:

I still blow the little suckers out with a shot of compressed air in the primary pilot air jet at the top of the carb, (do this with a Winston and you can play human torch).


How do I remove the tamper proof screw on the carb covers?

TC wrote:

The carburetor screw with the pin in the middle requires a T25 , (tamper resistant) torx bit ... These aren't that hard to come by ... (even JC Whitney has a 7 bit set that includes this size for about $3.50), and seem to be available just about anywhere you can buy tools. The carb screws are 5 x 12mm if you are thinking about replacing them.

Paul Wrote:

You can also carefully loosen them by grabbing the head with a pair of vise grips and replace it with a new screw, available most anywhere.


Should I synchronize my carbs?  What tool should I use?

TC wrote:  Carburetor synchronization is a routine maintenance activity.  IMHO a good sync job will contribute to better idle and light throttle cruising behavior. If the #2 cylinder were really out of line, (low), it could impact performance, (as the bike monitors this cylinder for vacuum advance purposes). Some people use gauges, (there is an example of these at www.holeshot.com ), some use mercury sticks, (several places sell these .. and I think you can see an example at http://www.denniskirkinc.com , and some people are using these new stainless steel rod devices, (like mercury tubes but uses a rod instead of the mercury), you can see an example of these at http://www.carbtune.com .

Stan wrote:  I use the CarbTune II. About 80 bucks shipped. I still have v-boost operational.  There's another device out there. I think Terry knows what it is if your using Stage VII with v-boost eliminated.
http://WWW.carbtune.com  for more info.


Steve wrote:  I use the Carbtune II which uses stainless steel rods instead of mercury. Great piece of kit, easy to use, tough and virtually unbreakable in normal use. I can recommend it 100%. I check my bikes for carb balance on average once every month or when they seem to be running uneven. The difference before and after is very pronounced even for very small adjustments.


How do I remove the brass plug covering the idle mixture screws?

Al wrote:  I got this tip from someone else on the list, and just want to say it worked like a charm, I drilled a # 29 hole in the plug with a hand drill, threaded a 8-32 tap into the hole, then grabbed the tap with vise grips and worked it back and forth while pulling, and out pops the plug!  Took about 20 min. for all 4.   Note the plugs are about 1/4" thick and drill easy. 

Paul added: Be careful when the drill goes through that you don't hit the mixture screws!

Steve wrote: I drilled the holes and used self tap screws instead of the tap.


My V-Max is hard to get in to neutral.   What's the remedy?

Paul  suggested:  Start off with a good synthetic oil.  I also use a little Prolong.  Both really help.   In addition go for nuetral before the bike comes to a complete stop, it should go right in.

Rick wrote:  One thing that I found really helps is a simple blip of the throttle. Raising the R's just ever so slightly make neutral engage much easier.

Henry wrote:  This is a common problem with a lot of different motorcycles and particularly the Vmax. Try blipping the throttle (up to maybe 1500 rpm) and making the shift up to neutral as the rpm's are falling back to the normal idle speed. Works for me on my 89.

From the mail list:  When the engine is running, I have found that first applying light upward pressure on the shifter then s-l-o-w-l-y releasing the clutch until the plates just start to grab will allow the beast to drop into neutral reliably. When the engine is off. Exert pressure on the shifter and roll the bike forward and backward until the shifter clicks into neutral. Don Smith, has said he remedied this fault by machining a bushing to replace the stock one and take the "slop" out of the shifter.


My engine runs rough.  How do I blow out the idle circuit with compressed air?

TC wrote:  I guess if you could get a good seal you could use a bicycle pump but I usually use a rubber tipped blow gun on a regular air compressor,  (100+ lbs). If I do it from the top I use a tube extension tip on the blow gun and get a fair seal against the pilot air jet, (the big jet at the top of the carb).  Since you are spitting right at "off idle", (throttle plates starting to pass the three bypass holes), they are probably the ones that are plugged so I would try to put "air compressor" class air at the pilot mixture screw hole, (with the screws removed of course), since this would have the greatest opportunity to clear the bypass holes .. of course either place .. or at the PAJ2 even behind the slide rubber will likely do the job if you get enough air pressure.   The passageways are very small so it isn't like you are going to launch a carb float or anything ........ but you will squirt some fuel out of the passageways .. so cover the carb tops with a rag if you have them open when doing this.  The three bypass holes are directly above a closed throttle plate ...with the plate closed .. you get pilot mixture out of the pilot mixture screw hole only ... as the throttle plates start to open ..the bypass holes are exposed one at a time, (they end up underneath the throttle plate because it is opening). As the throttle plate passes each one it allows the uncovered bypass hole to contribute to the pilot mixture being ingested by the engine ... once you have uncovered all three then the carb runs off of all four holes .....This is the only way pilot mixture gets into the engine ... once you get this far .. there is already enough air flow to start pulling mixture out of the needle jet .. it will sneak/spray out around the slide needle even though the slides may still be closed ... so then you run OK ... Obviously .. if any of these little .08 bypass holes are plugged you will be popping back in the carbs and general bad lean
behavior, (at least until you get past them and start stealing main mixture from the needle jet .. which is simply the tube that the needle slides in and out of).


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