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School me: Siphoning from Wethead gas tank


Scott9999

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Draining the fuel tank of California ethanol to put pure 91 octane premium in for winter storage.  I pushed my plastic tube in there and got maybe 3.5 to 4 gallons of gas out, before the siphon suction failed.  Tried repositioning it several times, repeat fail.

 

It's been a while since I stripped tupperware off of a hexhead RT, but as I recall, the wings of the tank drop down on both sides.  I tried getting the tube down there on either side, blew bubbles to ensure it was under gas level, but no joy, keep losing suction.

 

Any ideas, suggestions on how best to drain this tank down to the reserve?  (Yeah, maybe 3/4's drained is good enough, but I'm a perfectionist, i.e. I'd like to get as much out as possible before running it over to the gas station to fill her.

 

Thanks.

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1 hour ago, Scott9999 said:

Draining the fuel tank of California ethanol to put pure 91 octane premium in for winter storage.  I pushed my plastic tube in there and got maybe 3.5 to 4 gallons of gas out, before the siphon suction failed.  Tried repositioning it several times, repeat fail.

 

It's been a while since I stripped tupperware off of a hexhead RT, but as I recall, the wings of the tank drop down on both sides.  I tried getting the tube down there on either side, blew bubbles to ensure it was under gas level, but no joy, keep losing suction.

 

Any ideas, suggestions on how best to drain this tank down to the reserve?  (Yeah, maybe 3/4's drained is good enough, but I'm a perfectionist, i.e. I'd like to get as much out as possible before running it over to the gas station to fill her.

 

Thanks.

Morning  Scott9999

 

Very difficult to get all the fuel out, I usually siphon from only the L/H side but after getting most out of the left I lay the motorcycle WAY over to the left to get the right side wing fuel over to the left then siphon again. 

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10 minutes ago, Lemans said:

Why not ride it until the range drops to near zero, but within proximity to a gas station?

28F to 30F outside.

No armor/riding gear (was lost in my move 6 years ago).

Need to revisit riding skills after a 6 year gap.

Other excuses that I'll make up .... 🙄😁

 

I might ride a bit on the way to the filling station, but not the couple of hours on icy roads that it'd take to get it down to where I'd like.

 

Thanks. 

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3 minutes ago, dirtrider said:

Morning  Scott9999

 

Very difficult to get all the fuel out, I usually siphon from only the L/H side but after getting most out of the left I lay the motorcycle WAY over to the left to get the right side wing fuel over to the left then siphon again. 

Hmmm, I may try that, thanks. 

 

If y'all don't hear from me again, I'll be pinned underneath the left side of my 600 lb Beemer, with gas washing down all over me (it'll solve one problem, at least).  🤣  

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8 minutes ago, Scott9999 said:

Hmmm, I may try that, thanks. 

 

If y'all don't hear from me again, I'll be pinned underneath the left side of my 600 lb Beemer, with gas washing down all over me (it'll solve one problem, at least).  🤣  

Morning  Scott9999

 

If you want to store with non-alcohol fuel then make sure that the premium you choose doesn't have any as most premium contains alcohol to get the higher octane rating.   I also store with non-alcohol fuel but in my area that requires using recreational 90 octane or using marine (boat yard)  non alcohol fuel. 

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1 minute ago, dirtrider said:

Morning  Scott9999

 

If you want to store with non-alcohol fuel then make sure that the premium you choose doesn't have any as most premium contains alcohol to get the higher octane rating.   I also store with non-alcohol fuel but in my area that requires using recreational 90 octane or using marine (boat yard)  non alcohol fuel. 

I saw "non-ethanol Premium" posted at a local station, with the price reflecting it.   That's my target, probably used for marine purposes in this area (N. Idaho) as well.

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18 minutes ago, Scott9999 said:

I saw "non-ethanol Premium" posted at a local station, with the price reflecting it.   That's my target, probably used for marine purposes in this area (N. Idaho) as well.

Morning  Scott9999

 

If you are looking to get most of the ethanol  gasoline out for extended storage then you might try what I usually do for long term storage. 

 

I start by siphoning out all that I can get out (using the leaning method above) then go buy a 5 gallon can of non-ethanol fuel & dump that in (or ride to the station & fill up). Then run the engine long enough to mix the new non-ethanol fuel with the existing ethanol fuel remaining in the tank,  then siphon that out & dump it in my wife's SUV or my truck. That will dilute the remining fuel left after siphoning to have very little alcohol in it. Then re-fill with pure non alcohol fuel. 

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Fortnine did a nice comparison of various brands of fuel stabilizers, and a notional winter storage.  Fortnine

 

I don't ride much at all in the winter in Colorado.  I stopped using fuel stabilizers many years ago after finding that they seemed to make things worse, or at least no better when I started up the bikes in the spring.  Instead, I keep the bikes on a smart charger, and fire them up until they reach operating temperature a couple of times between November and March.  I don't worry about draining and filling with any special fuel.  And using this method, they seem to start and run fine in the spring. 

 

The biggest problem I have experienced with winter storage is keeping mice away from the bikes.  I've had mice build nests in my airbox and under the seats.  I learned to remove the seats and tuck lavender seed-packs in the dark spots that mice favor.  You can get lavender packs at a farm and ranch supply.  I also place some mouse bait on the floor near the bike, enclosed in a plastic case that the mice can enter, but which protect your pets from eating the bait.

 

Cap

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1 hour ago, Cap said:

Fortnine did a nice comparison of various brands of fuel stabilizers, and a notional winter storage.  Fortnine

 

I don't ride much at all in the winter in Colorado.  I stopped using fuel stabilizers many years ago after finding that they seemed to make things worse, or at least no better when I started up the bikes in the spring.  Instead, I keep the bikes on a smart charger, and fire them up until they reach operating temperature a couple of times between November and March.  I don't worry about draining and filling with any special fuel.  And using this method, they seem to start and run fine in the spring. 

 

The biggest problem I have experienced with winter storage is keeping mice away from the bikes.  I've had mice build nests in my airbox and under the seats.  I learned to remove the seats and tuck lavender seed-packs in the dark spots that mice favor.  You can get lavender packs at a farm and ranch supply.  I also place some mouse bait on the floor near the bike, enclosed in a plastic case that the mice can enter, but which protect your pets from eating the bait.

 

Cap

This is the kind of concern I have about ethanol gas, and why I don't want it to sit in the tank. (As it is, from the time the BMW dealer put it on sale to deliver, to today, has already been about 4 months! 😱

 

"I just had mine [fuel pump] out and after 12 years it looked like new. I have to run E10 in my area also. Ethanol at the 10% level isn’t that bad UNLESS you let it sit in the tank a long time. 10% isn’t that much worse than adding dry gas to your tank as we used to do in the winter in PA. The issue is that alcohol absorbs water. This water will burn in the engine as long as it is in solution with the alcohol. However, when you let the gas sit a long time, the alcohol keeps absorbing more and more water from the atmosphere and this will begin to corrode the tank and may precipitate out liquid water at some point."

https://www.bmwlt.com/threads/how-evil-is-ethanol-in-our-fuel.183043/

 

I've also heard of "fuel pump" issues, by others.  I don't want to start (yet another!) fuel thread, but I'm concerned enough to get this tank empty, and get good fuel into it for the winter.

 

As for firing up the RT for a while once a month, that can't hurt, but an RT really needs some road time to be at operating temp without damaging the bike (or perhaps watercooled wetheads are not as sensitive sitting at idle, as airheads and hexheads).  But, I'll probably do that, too.  Water in the gas, one way or another, is the biggest enemy of the bike over winter.  Even in the BMW's rider's manual instructions for layup just tell us to fill the tank with fuel, protect the battery, lubricate brake & clutch lever pivots, and main and side stand pivots, protect bright work, and take the load off both tires (oops, I meant "tyres" 🤣🤣).   Aside: My bike won't be laid up long enough, or will the tires last long enough (if history is any guide), to worry about tire rot, unless I were storing it for years.  And, I suppose BMW does address fuel quality (octane for sure, but ethanol?  not sure).

 

So, all of this is a compromise, not a science.  I'm just trying to keep on the right side of "stupid".

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28 minutes ago, Scott9999 said:

 

As for firing up the RT for a while once a month, that can't hurt, but an RT really needs some road time to be at operating temp without damaging the bike (or perhaps watercooled wetheads are not as sensitive sitting at idle, as airheads and hexheads).  But, I'll probably do that, too.  

Afternoon Scott9999

 

You really don't want to run it in place in real cold weather if at all possible. Your cold air combustion will make lots of moisture with acidic residue in it (just look what comes out of the muffler exit in cold weather).  Some of that acidic moisture will get by the piston rings & into the crankcase with the remainder filling the exhaust system with water vapor.

 

If you run it long enough you can probably burn the water out of the exhaust system but with all that exposed crankcase I doubt that you can run it long enough in a warm enough environment to get the oil sump to be above 212°f  for long enough to burn the acidic moisture out of the oil.

 

Your best bet for long term storage is to change the oil & filter (fill filter as much as possible before installing), then stop the fuel to the injectors (so no fuel wash & no start), then crank it over a few times to get the new oil into the bearings & replace the old used oil (so you then prevent crankshaft journal etching). 

 

Then don't start it again until you will be riding it regularly in warm weather. 

 

I also usually plug the muffler exit with a rubber plug to prevent moist air entry into the combustion chambers  through any open exhaust valves (that also keeps the mice out of the muffler). 

   

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I agree 100% with dirtrider, it does more harm than good to start the motor for short periods of time unless it goes for at least a twenty minute ride to burn off moisture. (Temperatures here get to -20° F for weeks at a time, my bikes don't start all winter, unless I do get adventurous and go for a cold winter ride.)

I like the idea of mixing in fresh gas and siphoning it out, refill with fresh gas, then follow his storage advice.

 

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All good suggestions.  Will consider some of D.R.'s suggestions, and go forward.   If this were September or October, it'd be a whole lot easier washing through two tanks of gas (i.e. while riding).   5% of the tank, including 10% ethanol gas, may not gather too much water over the winter (i.e. drain to just under 1/2 gal, fill full of pure gas).  The oil & filter were just changed before delivery, has maybe less than 50 miles on it, so I hadn't considered doing that again, but it's been run with ethanol, so that makes sense too.   Not sure if I'll do both, but for sure I'll try to get more fuel out of it before I top off. 

 

Next Sunday is supposed to be sunny and 51F, whooohoo!.  (But, Idaho weather forecasters have lied to me before, it could as easily be 6" of snow.) :5146:

So, that's my new target for going out for a few hours, and emptying the tank, in the way it was designed.   

(There's a track nearby, I think it's paved.   Wonder if I can sneak in.  November track day in Northern Idaho, Yippee!!  Naw, I wouldn't do that, seriously, I wouldn't).

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On 11/22/2021 at 8:24 AM, Scott9999 said:

28F to 30F outside.

No armor/riding gear (was lost in my move 6 years ago).

Need to revisit riding skills after a 6 year gap.

Other excuses that I'll make up .... 🙄😁

 

I might ride a bit on the way to the filling station, but not the couple of hours on icy roads that it'd take to get it down to where I'd like.

 

Thanks. 

All perfectly good reasons to ignore my advice. Sometime I forget that everyone doesn't live in AZ.

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15 minutes ago, Lemans said:

All perfectly good reasons to ignore my advice. Sometime I forget that everyone doesn't live in AZ.

No problems.  Having lived in Southern California most of my life, I know that this part of the year is some of the best riding weather in the Southwest.  Summer can be heat-oppressive, but come winter, whereas folks up here and other 4-season semi-rural areas go hunting (and/or snowmobiling), folks in AZ and CA roll out their dirt and street bikes, and it's time to GOOooo.  😁

 

Go have some fun! 🍻   

 

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Is there a difference in storing motorcycle vs car?   Reason I ask is that of my many years of active duty, I have let a couple of Marines store their vehicles at my house during deployments.  Upon return, we'd just jump the vehicle and off they went.  I also took a Marine to a storage unit where he had his truck inside.  Jumper box, and off he went.  This is for six-seven plus months of storage.  Soooo, is it really that bad to store fuel for a winter over? 

 

My generator has had fuel in it for 'bout 18 months.  I crank it 'bout every three months, kill main power to the house and run it,  .....so far, no issues.

 

Just sayin'

 

 

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3 hours ago, Rougarou said:

Is there a difference in storing motorcycle vs car?   Reason I ask is that of my many years of active duty, I have let a couple of Marines store their vehicles at my house during deployments.  Upon return, we'd just jump the vehicle and off they went.  I also took a Marine to a storage unit where he had his truck inside.  Jumper box, and off he went.  This is for six-seven plus months of storage.  Soooo, is it really that bad to store fuel for a wintaer over? 

 

My generator has had fuel in it for 'bout 18 months.  I crank it 'bout every three months, kill main power to the house and run it,  .....so far, no issues.

 

Just sayin'

 

 

Well, I did that with my bike back in the 1980's when I deployed, probably out of ignorance.  Other than the dead battery and maybe a fuel line/filter, no problems (and, I returned on a holiday weekend, EXPECTING to be able to use it for transportation until I could buy a new car - sold the old one before I deployed, so first weekend back after 8 months of pretty tough duty, and I was stranded 🤣🤣🤣).  That was before ethanol gas.

 

I think a lot of us have abused vehicles with no serious issues.  What is being discussed are preventative issues to ensure there are no expensive (and nuisance) issues upon return (spring) or down the road.  I didn't think that way back then, prevention of known issues when storing a vehicle. 

 

When a person deploys in the military (IMHO), there are 1000 things they are engaged with preparing, and usually things like "store the vehicle which I want to use until 10 seconds before we leave" comes in dead last.  Least it was with me.  18-20 hour days for two months before we left - intense. 

 

When we moved to Oceanside (after military duty) I can't tell you how many personal vehicles I saw over at Camp Pendleton's unit storage lot  (when I used visit the PX or do Navy reserve duty over there) that looked like junk, uncovered, exposed to the elements, tires flat, etc..  We had also found a few forlorn Marines on our Oceanside street , with their Japanese crotch rocket or truck parked by the road out of the back gate (i.e. near our old house), typically at 10PM on a Friday evening , who just flew in, got their vehicle, jumped in and ... got about a 1 outside of base before it quit.  We had 'em over at our garage, my son buying them pizza and beer, and working with them to replace fuel filters, change oil, recharge batteries, whatever was needed to get them back on the road, on leave.   

 

Young Marines are just that, Y O U N G!  😏

 

(Reminds me of yet another story.  I was assigned to a training command.  On the day I signed in, a female Navy LT pulled in with her near-new, expensive sports car, which she had just pulled out of storage after returning from two years overseas shore duty.  A half dozen of our class was out front as she parked.  She was leaking fluids like a sieve - had been ever since she had started it (i.e. it was still dust covered).  As soon as we got close, we could smell the gasoline.  We all started hollering "turn it off!!!  turn it off!!".  Her fuel lines were leaking in a dozen places, and gas was pouring on every hot surface inside her engine bay.  She'd just parked it in a storage unit, was lucky enough that the battery was sound enough to start, and drove off.  No preparations at all before she left or when she returned.  I think her repair big was seriously large, because her fuel lines weren't the only thing leaking.  Not just young enlisted guys make those kinds of mistakes.  🤣🤣🤣🤣)

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4 hours ago, Rougarou said:

My generator has had fuel in it for 'bout 18 months.  I crank it 'bout every three months, kill main power to the house and run it,  .....


I own a cabin in WY that has a whole-house emergency generator.  There is a program that causes it to start and run for 5 minutes once per week.  This is designed to keep the battery charged.  What I discovered is that over the winter, when temps are frequently below zero F,  this “feature” caused the oil in the generator to become contaminated with water — making the oil look like mayonnaise.

 

And this is why it is necessary, if you choose to start the engine, that you run the engine to full operating temperature, such that the oil gets hot enough, for long enough, to boil out any moisture that accumulates.  In the case of my generator, the program could not be modified to run the engine long enough to reach that temperature, when the ambient temps were low.  So, I switched that “feature” off, and hoped that my battery would survive the winter.  
 

And this problem of oil contamination applies to motorcycles and autos too.  Although I suspect that the larger oil sumps, compared to my generator, will mitigate the severity of the problem.  Winter storage creates a couple of other potential problems: I mentioned one already — keeping the battery charged.  And this thread started with a question about fuel oxidation, which is certainly something to consider.  Another potential problem is losing a film of oil on critical engine parts after a long period of inactivity.  If this happens, then there can be some damaging wear that occurs when the engine is eventually started.

 

So, I don’t think there is one best solution to winter storage.  It will depend on how long, at what temps, in what sort of humidity, whether you have a power outlet nearby, and maybe other factors.

 

Cap
 

 

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9 hours ago, Scott9999 said:

Well, I did that with my bike back in the 1980's when I deployed, probably out of ignorance.  Other than the dead battery and maybe a fuel line/filter, no problems (and, I returned on a holiday weekend, EXPECTING to be able to use it for transportation until I could buy a new car - sold the old one before I deployed, so first weekend back after 8 months of pretty tough duty, and I was stranded 🤣🤣🤣).  That was before ethanol gas.

 

I think a lot of us have abused vehicles with no serious issues.  What is being discussed are preventative issues to ensure there are no expensive (and nuisance) issues upon return (spring) or down the road.  I didn't think that way back then, prevention of known issues when storing a vehicle. 

 

When a person deploys in the military (IMHO), there are 1000 things they are engaged with preparing, and usually things like "store the vehicle which I want to use until 10 seconds before we leave" comes in dead last.  Least it was with me.  18-20 hour days for two months before we left - intense. 

 

When we moved to Oceanside (after military duty) I can't tell you how many personal vehicles I saw over at Camp Pendleton's unit storage lot  (when I used visit the PX or do Navy reserve duty over there) that looked like junk, uncovered, exposed to the elements, tires flat, etc..  We had also found a few forlorn Marines on our Oceanside street , with their Japanese crotch rocket or truck parked by the road out of the back gate (i.e. near our old house), typically at 10PM on a Friday evening , who just flew in, got their vehicle, jumped in and ... got about a 1 outside of base before it quit.  We had 'em over at our garage, my son buying them pizza and beer, and working with them to replace fuel filters, change oil, recharge batteries, whatever was needed to get them back on the road, on leave.   

 

Young Marines are just that, Y O U N G!  😏

 

(Reminds me of yet another story.  I was assigned to a training command.  On the day I signed in, a female Navy LT pulled in with her near-new, expensive sports car, which she had just pulled out of storage after returning from two years overseas shore duty.  A half dozen of our class was out front as she parked.  She was leaking fluids like a sieve - had been ever since she had started it (i.e. it was still dust covered).  As soon as we got close, we could smell the gasoline.  We all started hollering "turn it off!!!  turn it off!!".  Her fuel lines were leaking in a dozen places, and gas was pouring on every hot surface inside her engine bay.  She'd just parked it in a storage unit, was lucky enough that the battery was sound enough to start, and drove off.  No preparations at all before she left or when she returned.  I think her repair big was seriously large, because her fuel lines weren't the only thing leaking.  Not just young enlisted guys make those kinds of mistakes.  🤣🤣🤣🤣)

 

Guess some have issues and some don't.

 

I left my Jeep and my wife's superduty with family when we went to Okinawa for three years. The superduty got about 10k added during that time, the Jeep, less than 1k.  The person I left the Jeep with drove it in the beginning (fun factor) when I left it with him, then didn't like driving it.  At 16-18 mpg, he kinda didn't like filling it compared to his Honda Accord, so, it sat parked. 

 

I returned from Okinawa, got in the Jeep, cranked it and never had an issue. 

 

Preventative is nice, but, winter ain't that long.........but if ya feel its necessary, go forth.

 

 

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Bought fresh non E gas yesterday and did the fuel changeout on my generator, power washer, and airhead. All drained fuel went to my personal truck before going to fill it up. Do it every winter. 

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On 11/22/2021 at 10:41 AM, dirtrider said:

recreational 90 octane or using marine (boat yard)  non alcohol fuel. 

Is it safe to assume that all 90 octane is non ethanol fuel?  I purchased 5 gallons of 90 and never thought to look for a non ethanol label

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11 minutes ago, MachineJoe said:

Is it safe to assume that all 90 octane is non ethanol fuel?  I purchased 5 gallons of 90 and never thought to look for a non ethanol label

That is not a safe assumption. Most fuel here is 10% ethanol, even 91 to 93 octane. There are a lot of stations that carry non ethanol, but it is not uniform across all stations 

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8 minutes ago, MachineJoe said:

after a bit of searching I stumbled across this site

https://www.pure-gas.org/

Then called the gas station to confirm that it is actually ethanol free  :5188:

Afternoon Joe  

 

You need to wary of that pure-gas list as nothing is actually verified, in a lot of cases people that don't know non-ethanol from beer  call it in to put on the list based on guessing, bar talk, or rumor. Or even the station owner & employees  call it in hoping for a more sales from the unsuspecting.  

 

In my area all but one gas station on that list is incorrect. 

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Around ND, if there is a 10% ethanol sticker right next to the 87, but not next to the others, then only the one blend has ethanol in it.

 

But if I see the 10% sticker off to the side, not over any blend in particular, I always assume all blends have ethanol.

 

I just know, Holiday stations in North Dakota have ethanol in all blends.  Most Exxon's don't.  Cenex stations vary.

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2 hours ago, MachineJoe said:

Hello DirtRider

 

Thank you,

how then can we tell?  maybe the listing on the pump?

Well, at the local station I targeted, it has 87 octane regular, 92 octane premiums, diesel, and then 92 octane premium ("NO ETHANOL") pumps.  I would have thought the price was a dead give way, but in today's "Katie bar the door" market, it's not certain that the "Premium" you pay the most for is ethanol free version.  (I believe I've seen 87, 89, 92 & 95 on the same pump island, once upon a time, somewhere.) 

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My hopes are not dashed just yet on this one station that I got the 90 octane from.

While I still have to go there and look for a sticker and ask more questions, this pump is off to the side by itself and not on the same pump islands  as the other grades

I realize that is not a dead give-away

 

 

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1 hour ago, 9Mary7 said:

In Cd'A, the Chevron at 1801 Northwest blvd has non-ethanol premium as they are just a 1/4 mile from the Lake.

Thx.  I'm closer to the Maverick station off Exit 1 (Beck?) near state line.  It has the good stuff, too. 

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