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Oscar of Markoz

TF Cortina Project

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After owning 2 other TF cortinas, which were both riddled with rust, I found another 1 owner example. After some small talk with the owner I managed to get it cheap. The log books and Ford manuals were chucked in with it. Its a TF S Pac Cortina, auto with the air-con.
The interior was in great condition, air-con didn't work and had only 123,000kms. The suspension was worn, but otherwise this thing drove really nice.
And the major bonus, no rust. At all (So I thought). After owning 2 I knew where to look. It was perfect.

I replaced the steering and suspension with my old items I had at home which were re-coed and modified (H/D lowered springs, whiteline swaybars etc). I put on a set of extractors and a Weber carb off a XE falcon. Replaced the diff with my diff which is an LSD with 3.45:1 ratio.
The car ran a 15.96, still with the BW auto.

After this, I had a really, really bad experience with a backyard panel beater/spray painter, which I don't want to mention as it just upsets me too much, SO DON'T ASK!


After installing the said bits above (main difference is its lowered)







That was 7 years ago. And here started my journey into building this car, myself.


I have bought a few bits which I'll keep to myself until I install them as its not worth mentioning. But the basic idea is to go turbo 6 and have a really nice streeter. But I do want things to be done to the best of my ability. So what I can do, I will.


I made up a set of mini-tubs



Made a Rotisserie from 2 engine stands




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Found Rust, yes, can you beleive it!





I got a replacement sill panel. Cut out the bad section and added the new peice.
The support panel behind the seatbelt reel cavity was rusted out also, I made the bottom half from new metal, welded it in and then coated it in POR15.




Then tacked in the sill



And tacked in the seatbelt reel cavity peice which I made the bottom section of also from new metal. I had to add new nuts to the back of it and welded them in place too.






Other little things, I panel beated the floor straight as much as I could. It was bent in a few areas which the previous owner must have jacked it up from. DOH!

Also, removed the screwed in access plates for the floor and made new peices up and welded them in. As they were allowing small amounts of water in and causing surface rust.

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I made up some supports for the rear upper diff links as they tend to tear them out once power starts being increased.



I just stitch welded the chassis rail under it 1st, then added the support and stitched that on also. It now uses the same size bolts as the lower links and is of same design as the lower links.

I also modified the rear half of the trans tunnel. The tail-shaft scraps on there once you go fairly low on the rear suspension. I had it scrap before years ago when the car was fully loaded on the old 13's. So thats been done now and will allow good clearance.

I made up a peice and welded it onto the existing trans tunnel, then cut out the old one and welded it up.



Since I'll "one day" be using the turbo, I made a trench for the dump pipe to clear the starter motor and trans bellhousing. I made up a peice for the trans-tunnel/firewall and then scribed it and cut out the section. Then welded it on also. The link which holds the castor rod and is connected to the front crossmember had a section cut away from it also to help with clearance.
It should allow clearance for a 3 1/2" Dump pipe.



I've now been busy stitch welding the braces in the cabin that run from sill to sill. Theres 2 of them. I've stitched the floor to the sills and the floor to firewall sections also.
I've also started removing all the paint from the cabin floor ready for the POR15 coating.

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I have finished with the stitch welding inside the cabin and boot areas.

Here you can see how I stitched the sill braces to the floor and the floor to the sills. Also the firewall to the floor.



The tubs have also been fully welded and are solid as a rock.



I modified the seat mount areas for the front seat as I bought a set of Honda Civic ED seat rails. They are the flatest that I found.
Since the rails sit on an angle, front being higher than the rear of the seat. I decided to slope the sill brace so that the rail sat flat and as low as possible.
From factory, the inner most front seat mount is bolted in from the front of the sill brace and the outer most is bolted down on the sill brace.
I removed the outer most mount and made it function the same as the inner most mount via bolted to the front of the sill brace.



The seats themselves needed to have the mounting areas where the rails bolt onto modified also. I had to move the threaded sleeves slightly further apart so as to be able to use the factory cortina floor supports for the seat mounting area.
I still had to fill in the rear floor mounts on the car and then re-drill them in the correct spot.

I got a peice of rectangular tubing to raise the outer most rail as the cortina has one mount that higher than the other.



This is the seat and how it'll be in place.
The seats are OBX Carrera's. When looking at seats I found them to be the most perfect for a normal male shape, that being wider across the shoulders and narrower across the hips. All the other aftermarket ones that I tryed (in my price range) were the opposite.
They'll get re-trimmed once I get to the interior stage


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After making a nice mess with my sandblaster, I decided to make up some curtains that surround the car basically and are from ceiling to the floor. I can pull them back and close it up if need be. That should contain the mess when I next get cracking on the sandblaster again. But just a tip, don't bother using it on a hot day without a water-trap at the end of your line. The compressor was working hard and just producing a heap of water which would clog the garnet at the end of the gun, making it a pain in the butt.

It did work fairly well though and I got half of the parcel tray bottom done and the tubs, parcel tray support and boot hinge. But Iam going to wire wheel as much as I can and then hit it with the blaster, so as to keep the mess down some.

In other news, I cut out the boot floor and will be buying a section of ute floor to weld in. Reason being, the ute floor already has the ridges in it for strength and will look factory (except the fact that theres no spare wheel well).



I also unstitched the Fuel Filler from the rear qtr and also the section that attachs to the boot floor. I then cut out some sections of new sheet metal and welded them in. I left the ridge and small section that is actually part of the qtr press and then welded in the new section. I thought this might help with panel warp. It didn't. Main reason being that I could see, but under the hole in the qtr, it had started to rust pretty badly. It wasn't all the way through though, but once I tryed to weld, it just blow holes in that section. So I had to cut out a strip about 15mm high at the bottom and reweld it. But at least now it hasn't got any rust there. The bugger of it was that it was so thin on that section that the 1st attempt at welding the plate it, warped the bottom of the section on the qtr. But nothing that can't be fixed.



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"On todays episode on Australian Cortina ....."

I have finished the parcel tray and rear seat brace. I bought some 2mm right-angle and brace the corner of the parcel tray closest to the front of the car. From C-pillar to C-pillar. It was really flimsy there.
Also, I then made the rear seat braces. Coming off the parcel tray brace down onto the floor where the originals used to go. At the ends, I placed some flat 2mm sheet peices. All welded, to the floor, tubs and onto the braces themselves.
Its extremely strong compared to the old originals.

I also managed to remove the paint from the top and bottom of the parcel tray, the braces that go down to the tubs, the tubs themselves, etc.
Then I coated them in POR15. Only 1 coat at the moment as these areas are very intricate and take much time to be done correctly. So the 2nd coat will be going on shortly.
In the last photo you can see the floor area which I had done previously. Its alittle dusty and not as glamorous as the fresh stuff, but once cleaned it "blings up" Haha.
I have left the chassis rail area as I might get some burn-through when I stitch up the chassis rails. So I'll do them later on.





Next on the agenda is to remove the paint from the A, B and C pillars and to stich them and coat in POR15 also. Once thats done, I'll be measuring up the new boot floor and welding that section in.

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"On todays episode of Australian Cortina ...."

I decided to add some more standard roof braces as some of you may know. Not so much to stiffen the chassis further but more to support the roof as its rather floppy.

I have welded in some nuts from behind the panel of the rear roof brace, so I can bolt it up as per a standard roof brace. The rear roof brace has been trimmed to suit its location and fits perfectly.


With the front roof brace I just cut and trimmed out a peice of 2mm flat bar and drilled out some holes at one end to weld on more nuts. Then welded the tabs in to allow the brace to be bolted up. The front brace is a TE roof brace and I also trimmed and cut that to suit its location and now also fits perfectly.


And here are the braces after being bolted in for fitment check. I just need to cut down the front bolts as they are about 5mm too long and are pressing on the roof.


As others might have noticed, I stitch welded the A, B and C pillars and they are now painted in POR15 after having all the paint removed with the wire wheel.

Next, will be the replacement of the rear qtr panel section which I welded in place of the old fuel filler flap. I wasn't 100% happy with the section I put in place and so will now replace it with a standard LHS qtr section which will have the perfect profile curve that Iam after.

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More progress...
I wasn't happy with the patch I had welded in for the old Fuel Filler flap. So I cut out the LHS qtr that was sent to me.
Basically I just marked it out to cover area area about 10cm more than the old area. Cut it out and just flipped it over, left to right. The profile of the panel is spot on. So for anyone wanted to do this mod to their cortina, this is the easiest way I found.

I trimmed the panel and made sure it was a perfect fit. Then I panel beated the qtr were it had previously warped alittle to make it straight. Took my time and it gently came good.

Sat the panel on with a few magnets and then tacked it on as you can see.
Bar the spot weld that I need to release and reweld, its perfect. Iam over the moon with the result.


Will proceed to weld it round slowly and fingers crossed it stays good. But I reckon it will this time.

Next, I'll be removing the paint from inside the qtrs and finishing off the tail-light section where the new fuel filler is.

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"On todays episode of Australian Cortina ...."

I bought a pair of 4" exhaust off-cuts, 20mm each, and decided to use these as safety lips for the holes I needed to cut for the new fuel filler neck that is behind the rear numberplate. I welded the edge nearest the lip and then place some support welds from the inside to strengthen it alittle as the lip welds had to be ground back to smooth off the area.
The 2nd one will be going into the boot floor where the neck will come up through.


I have trimmed the boot floor section from the ute tray floor that I have and just dummied it up to check fuel tank clearances and it looks the goods. Will have this sorted out next.

I also dummied up the fuel tank location and it hides away behind the rear apron nicely. And sits dead in the middle of the boot floor cavity area.

So since I had the tank in place with stands and chocks, I decided to measure out if twin pipes was a possibility and its perfect. So I made a template of the LHS and mirrored it over to the RHS. I cut out the section allowed a 10mm larger section to allow me to bend that back and make a lip as per the factory look. I then bend it into shape and made a filling section to the inside area where the fuel tank straps usually cling too (its like a inner skin). I welded that in place and neatened it up.


So next on the agenda will be the tank dummied up and hung, along with the new boot floor welded into place and the hole cut out with the safety lip welded on.

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"On todays episode of Australian Corty  ......."

I managed to clean up and remove the paint from the inner qtr panels and the inside of the tailight panel and painted them in POR15.


I had previously bought a VN Fuel Tank from ebay and I needed some tank straps and fuel filler neck, which I ended up buying from a wreckers.
The straps were from a wagon and after getting them home I noticed that the bends were all wrong for my application. So I had to straighten them back out.
I dummied up the position of the tank on workhorses and then took my measurements to get the right bends in the straps.

I then gussetted the end nearest the diff to give strength and rolled the other end around some steel tubing to create another link.


I made the rear links from right-angle bar and some bolts. I blocked off one end with some plating that I welded on and drilled a hole in the top to pass the bolt through. I then welded the bolt around the head. They are the same just wider than the straps.

I welded these onto the rear inner bever panel, after I had made a plate that went over the cavity in the bevel panel.


At the diff end, I cut out and moved across the original cortina link and then replicated another one for the other side, including the added brace plate. I then also made a section to fill in the area where I had cut out and shifted the original link. To make it all look as if factory.


And this is what the tank looks like in place. The photo from the rear is from a low angle. Its actually unseen from behind at a level height.


Next up, I will modify the tank for the neck filler neck entry and weld in the boot floor.

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After being shown a better way of going about the rear links, I decided to re-do them for further strength. While I was at it, I gussetted the tank links too.

The new rear links will run the bolt straight through the 2 holes with the nut on the outside, allowing the weight of the tank to be placed onto the strap then the bolt, then the bracket itself. I don't know why I didn't think of this in the 1st place.


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"On todays episode of Australian Cortina ...."
I had previously cut out a floor from a tray of a ute. I trimmed this out and tacked it into place now.
The main reason for using a ute tray floor is that its strong due to the way its pressed in a corugated style. Plus the fact that it looks more standard that flat steal.
It was harder to put in though as I had to make filler peices for each area where the lower section of the corugated metal met up with the old floor lips. But I've made them up now and tacked them in place.
All thats needed is to weld it all up now, which should take a few days I reckon. Lots of welding.



I have done a few more areas, but I'll leave them for later once they are neatened up some more.

Next on the agenda is to start stripping the underbody deadener from the undercarriage. Then seam weld the chassis to the floor.

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"On todays episode of Australian Cortina ..."

I wasn't all that happy with the hole for where the new filler neck was going to be. I was worried that it wasn't big enough for a petrol bowser neck.
Luckily I still have the old Cortina one that I had removed. Don't ask me why, cause I don't even know why I had kept it. But Iam glad I did.
I spliced 35mm out of the centre of it and then rewelded it together. Along with added and removing some metal to create a nice smooth circular hole in the middle again.
I but welded it to the tail-light panel and then smoothed it all off. Looks heaps better and still hides behind the numberplate.


I had to make some mods to the boot floor to allow clearance for the tubes that come off the top of the Commodore fuel tank. Since I had to relocate the overflow and tank ventilation pipes on the tank. So I cut and shut a section and then welded on some 4" exhaust to make a strong safety edge. It all clears easily now.


The fuel tank has received it mods and will be going to the TIG welders real soon to be finished off. I ended up welding the filler neck straight onto the tank. This makes fit-up alot easier and looks really neat too.

So at the moment its just time to start smoothing off everything on the undercarriage ready for painting. Its a long a tidious job, but it has to be done to take full advantage of the Rotisserie

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"On todays episode of Australian Corty ....."

I finally smoothed off all the seam welds to the cross braces and all the other areas which needed grinding and smoothing to look semi standard.
I body filled all the grinded areas to smooth them off and just sanding them by hand. Given it a standard but not dead straight look. Which suits the rest of the undercarriage which wasn't touched.
Yes, it took bloody ages. But I was also very business with work, family and the festive time of the year. But the photos don't do justice to how much work I actually did on it.

I've spray puttied the areas that were bogged, not so much to fill in, but to allow me to better see any areas that might've needed more body filler.


In the last picture you get the idea of what sort of things I smoothed out.

Now I need to remove the spray putty from the areas that need seam sealer, paint 1 coat of POR15 Chassis Black with the brush, seam seal and then sand all the rest of the spray puttied areas to my liking and spray the POR15 Chassis Black in all areas with 2 coats worth.

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"On todays episode of Australian Cortina ...."

I rubbed back all the spray putty and all metal with 120grit to let the POR15 have a nice bond. Prepsoled everything, seam sealed all the seams and proceeded to paint.
You can't tell what is seam sealer and what is weld anymore, it all looks like seam sealer.
Gee, that was a pain to lay on nicely.
I painted it with Chassis Coat which is another POR15 product but is a semi-gloss instead of a gloss.
It turned out great, its got a few slight runs in it here and there but nothing to worry about. The condition of the body along with the paint makes it look very factory. I was surprised myself how little you can tell of my work. I love it.


Next, till to do some of the body work, might even do the bottom of the bay and front cross member area.

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"On todays of Australian Corty....."

Rust! Yes, more rust. How unusual for a Cortina!
I found some rust at the very bottom of the A pillar on the LHS. Luckily it was only the LHS and not the RHS also. This is caused by a large gap which was never seam sealed and along with the hole at the rear wheel well which led into the sill panel. Hence why all the rust has been on the LHS so far.

Anyway, here is a photo of the rusted section


To remake this peice took me about 2 days of work. Not an easy peice at all.

Here is the new next to the old.


I have since tacked the peice on and made new plug welds on it. It sits perfectly and Iam really happy with the end result. I will dress it up and take some more photos once its done.

Also, I have finished full welding the drip rails after being shaved and the also full welding the C pillar plates to shave the c pillars and make them smooth. Theres still alot of work to be done in this area as I have a few mods that I want to complete here before moving on. But more on these areas with photos soon.

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"On todays episode of Australian Cortina ....."

I have finished welding and dressing the A Pillar plate that I made up. It was abit of a pain to line up 100%, but I got there in the end.


My brother-in-law was over while I was finishing off the A pillar section and I got him to finish off the RHS welding of the drip rails and C pillar plates. The LHS had already been done and so this was a massive help for me having him there to turn this bit around in quick time. The welder started to play up, so we pulled it right down and gave it a good clean out, works like new again now. Thanks again Marky.

C pillar sections all done. I left the metal structure underneath the plate and just trimmed the plate up to sit flush in the cavity that was left after the plastic molds were removed.


The driprails were sadly already started by the con artist that previously touched my car. He cut them off, alittle too much in some areas and then left it. The turret wasn't attached to anything. Somehow it never opened up like a sardine can. But basically they were all cut off in one hit flush. This is not the way to do this. Best off cutting 2 inches off and then spot welding them or fully welding that section. Cut, weld, cut, weld, etc.

Here is the LHS drip rail, welded and flushed again. Its solid now.



The bottom still needs further dressing to make them flush with the jams.


Here is the RHS, not dressed yet.


This area needs alot more work. I will be adding 5mm roundbar to the whole area where the driprail used to be at the very bottom side edge, so C pillar bottom, to half way down the A pillar. This will give the driprail more character and also work as a form of driprail. It'll also add a small amount of strength. It will be smoothed and blended with the turret and the pillars.
Also, the swage that runs along the roof area, I'd like to replicate to flow down the edge of the C pillar edge also. Just to add more character to the area after the deletion of the C pillar mold and driprails. But more on that later.

The bottoms of the door jams had been "treated" with a rust preventative. I remember seeing a sticky on the window of the car when I bought it. What good this did, I don't know because the sill panel and pillar still rusted out! To treat the area, instead of removing the scuff plates and spraying into the access holes, they instead drilled holes into the door jam. Nice!
So I plugged them up with some tiny plates and smoothed them off.
I wonder if this company still exists. I doubt it, but it would be interesting


Anyway, next time, more dressing of the driprails and C pillars and finishing off of the swage lines and round bar edging.

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"On todays episode of Australian Cortina ....."

I fully welded the drip rail seam and C Pillar to door jam seam. This took quite a long time as you have to go slowly. Dressed all the welds with my new friend, the body file. Man I love that thing. Once I had it all straight and both sides looked the same, profile wise, I started with continuing the turret profile or body line, down the C pillar edge nearest the door jam. This will continue the profile and also create alittle something so fill the void where the plastic vent used to be. Otherwise it looked way too plain.

So I cut some thin 2mm strips of sheet metal and welded them in place.

Once that was done, I shaped up some 5mm round bar and welded that along the bottom most edge where the drip rail used to exist. This will then be fully welded and have the welds dressed also. It'll work as a drip rail but mainly be for looks, once again so that edge is not so plain.

Here are some pics

Next on the list, is to finish this area and seam weld the door jams, which I've nearly completed.

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"On todays episode of Australian Cortina ...."

Gee its been awhile. Been doing the whole festive season and school holidays thing, so Iam finally back into it.
I was concentrating on the door jam area and so I seam welded the seams. This will add some strength to the chassis as well but was mainly done to smooth off the seams and not have to use seam sealer in that area as it looks ugly IMO.

These photos are just of the LHS, but I'll have the RHS done by tomorrow. I've got alot more time now during the days cause my son started kindy, so its just me and the car.
The same thing was happening as with the C pillar seam welds, the seam sealer thats inbetween the panels was oozing out under heat from the welder. So it took a couple of passes, weld, grind, weld, grind etc, till it was all ok. You might be able to see on the last phot, which is of the A pillar jam area. This shows how the rod now looks after its been welded completely. It doesn't stick out as far as the drip rails used to, but its not far off. A skim of body filler on these area when the time comes will smoothen everything off before paint


The drip rails are also almost finished, so I'll have some pictures up of them real soon too.

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"On todays episode of Australian Cortina ... "
The drip rails are pretty much done. Just need to round file them now so they aren't so bumpy in sections. Its hard work, trying to get the shape right with a round burr on the die-grinder. Man, that took me ages.

Just have to do the RHS now and we are done with them, enough to move on at least.


Next up, have to fix a small section near the bottom of the rear windscreen which isn't lined up properly from factory and then onto the engine bay and firewall area. That should be fun. Although I might get my mate to hit the jams with 2k Etch to at least protect that area from surface rust.

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"On todays episode of Australian Cortina ...."

Moving onto the front of the car, I spun it round in the garage so the front was facing the rear of the house, closest to the tools. I started to disassemble the rest of the engine bay and also the dash area.
Only to discover more rust, DOOOOOOHHHHHH!
Behind the wiper motor there was rust on the firewall section that allows drainage from the front scuttle area and also supports the wiper motor to the firewall.
So I cut it out and and made a replacement peice to weld in.






I also removed the battery tray as the battery will have to go in the boot and what did I find under it, more rust of course!!!
So I cut it out and replaced it also. It was only pitted, but was pretty bad in one area.



Also replaced the radiator support while I was at it cause I bent it really bad when I was removing the engine. So I unstitched it and rewelded the new one in place. Turned out pretty good.





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"On todays episode of Australian Cortina ..."

I made up little plates to cover up any holes that I wanted to delete in the engine bay and welded them in. Along with any other tiny holes which I just welded up. Geez, there were alot of holes!
I also got rid of the tabs that the factory use to hold things like wiring and brake lines. Those these are ugly as and also only take a few uses before that snap clean off. So Iam going to use something else for the wiring and that when I come to it.
Also got rid of the hole for the brake lines that go through the bay as I'll more than likely be using different locations for them also.



I then removed the paint and tar from the front chassis rails and stitch welded them up. I also welded up the chassis section on the inside of the bay that connects to the chassis rail and also alittle of the spring holder. I'll make up the plate to weld onto the S bend of the rails to help support them and weld them in next.



Next up, its time to remove all tar and paint from the bay and under it. Its going to be a hell of a job I reckon.

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"On todays episode of Australian Cortina ..... "

I have welded some of the seams in the engine bay. The inner guards to the firewall. On the top and at the very back. I also removed the lip at the top of the box type area of the bay, welded the seam and smoothed it over. Looks heaps nicer.


I also plated over the scuttle grille. Just to keep things looking smooth. I deoxidined in there 1st and then painted 2 coats of the POR15. This should make the bonnet area keep flowing to the rear and give the car a slightly longer profile when looking at it from the front corner area.


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"On todays episode of Australian Cortina ..... "

Was looking over the dash and the centre speaker grille looked out of place. So I decided to create a 3rd vent for the demister. When its all hooked up, it should work alot better too I reckon. But it was mainly for looks and to create a mod that I haven't seen done before. Probably for obvious reasons, haha!



Now to try and find an electric demister unit that works well enough for me to be happy.

Next on the list, replace the front panel where I cut out too much for the intercooler. Once thats done, the blaster will be by to blast all the bay and front end, ready for Epoxy etch primer.

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