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Old 08-02-2010, 02:20 AM   #1
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Brake line rust

Hey everyone. I got a couple brake lines that are rusted (but not leaking). The truck does not lose brake fluid at all and I see no leaks on any lines. The brake pedal seems fine. The ones in the front left wheelwell I caught last year, so I cleaned them and painted them with engine enamel paint since the mechanic cut away the dust flaps when he replaced the shocks, leaving the lines exposed. If the paint chips, I repaint it to keep them from rusting further. No leaks, so it seems those are fine for now. I noticed another brake line under the driver front floor pan that I don't really know what to do with. I have just spent alot on brake repairs since 2 brake failures in one weekend 2 months ago on a road trip (it was the rear left caliper). The shop replaced the master cylinder by mistake after the first one. I have since then had all 4 calipers, 3/4 rotors (the fronts are getting done Tuesday), all pads and the master cylinder replaced since then. Is it safe to use rust converter then engine enamel on brake lines to keep them from rusting further so they don't rust through? I am not sure I can get them replaced right now. I attached photos of the line in question.

By the way, the truck is a 1998 GMC Jimmy 4x4.

Thanks.
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Brake line rust-0801000116b.jpg   Brake line rust-0801000115.jpg  
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:47 PM   #2
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Re: Brake line rust

I just soak them with oil you will wind up replaceing them sooner or later
Old 08-02-2010, 07:29 PM   #3
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Re: Brake line rust

I don't know about rust converter, depends on if the product is approved for brake lines. You could use Rustoleum heavy metal primer then use rustoleum paint. This paint has rust inhibitors in it. I've seen people use steel wool to break up the excess rust. Northern roads are hard on vehicles so its good you keep up with issues like this.
Old 08-02-2010, 10:05 PM   #4
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Re: Brake line rust

Quote: Originally Posted by BigTDawg
I don't know about rust converter, depends on if the product is approved for brake lines. You could use Rustoleum heavy metal primer then use rustoleum paint. This paint has rust inhibitors in it. I've seen people use steel wool to break up the excess rust. Northern roads are hard on vehicles so its good you keep up with issues like this.
I would take some steel wool or scotch brite and knock off all the corrosion. If over 20% of the line is gone i would replace it. There are general specs for corrosion, or chafing of a line, generally its around 10 to 20% is allowable damage. But this isnt a fuel line, this is you better hope your e-brake cable is in good shape or your ****ed line. Judging by the picture in the area where it makes the turn up over the frame it looks pretty deeply pitted. Like i said remove the corrosion and assess the damage.
Old 08-04-2010, 02:33 AM   #5
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Re: Brake line rust

Actually, I took a closer look at it. It just seems to be surface rust. It doesn't seem much. The line is rough, but the line itself doesn't seem to have loose rust on it (I didn't touch it. I am too careful of what I touch on this car). The rock guard is really bad, but the line under it is just brown. I can't find any dangerous parts. My neighbor who works on cars all the time thinks it is just the rock guard rusting and that the line is fine based on the photo. He drives a 1996 Cavalier with over 200k on it that is still running okay. Upon closer inspection, I feel that the line is safe for now, but I still would like to do something to shield it from further corrosion so if it lasts through this coming winter, it is protected from the salt (I am a college student and this college does not close even if there is a foot of snow on the ground. I would still have to drive through it to get to class.). I do spray the undercarriage down when I wash the car, but I still would like to protect metal components as much as possible. I coated the outside and bottom of the frame in engine enamel and undercoating paint. The inside I won't even bother for now because it is covered in a thick coat of oil and sludge and the metal under it is virtually rust-free (only advantage to a very slow rear main seal leak!). I found some of the body behind the front wheels that is JUST STARTING to rust and I plan on using the rust converter, spray paint and undercoating on that to keep it safe. I want to keep this car for as long as possible with minimal problems (especially with rust). Thanks for all the advice so far.
Old 08-04-2010, 03:29 AM   #6
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Re: Brake line rust

the "roughness" might be a spring that they put over the line (i think they do this so when the line bends it doesnt kink.) anyway you can go buy a brake line flaring tool and some brake line and run new lines yourself for less than 50$
Old 08-04-2010, 05:35 PM   #7
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Re: Brake line rust

I always thought the coily spring line wrap on brake lines was to keep the line itself from rubbing on anything under the vehicle. I can see how it could help keep it from kinking as easy when it is bent.

If there isn't loose flakey rust on the lines your alright. A little surface rust is nothing to be concerned with. If it's rough, flakey and looks like a tree branch it's been time to replace it.
Old 08-06-2010, 04:57 AM   #8
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Re: Brake line rust

mine looked just like yours does in the first picture. so i went in the truck and i stomped on the brake pedal really hard to test the rusty area and guess what? it started to drip brake fliud for the first time!
Old 08-06-2010, 07:33 PM   #9
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Re: Brake line rust

Quote: Originally Posted by bigdaddykane93
mine looked just like yours does in the first picture. so i went in the truck and i stomped on the brake pedal really hard to test the rusty area and guess what? it started to drip brake fliud for the first time!
That is scary. But several mechanics and I have hit the brakes hard with no brake fluid loss or leaks, so this line seems to be holding up fine for now. So what should I coat the lines with to keep the salt off of them for now? Should I spray some primer or rust converter and then follow up with normal engine enamel paint? I just want to keep them from rusting further to prevent them from getting to the point of failure. I WILL eventually replace the line, but the line is good for now and I want to keep it that way for as long as possible. Thanks for all the advice so far.
Old 08-06-2010, 09:26 PM   #10
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Re: Brake line rust

Clean all corrosion, then primer and paint if you want it to have a color. I would just primer it with a detail brush, not like anyone is going to see it.
Old 08-06-2010, 09:49 PM   #11
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Re: Brake line rust

Ok thank you. I found a couple more lines that I painted last year (frame rail under rear left door) that were a little rough at the time. They were still rough, but not bad and not leaking. I gave them another shot of paint since there were some spots. The lines that I haven't painted yet I will use primer and paint with black paint for protection. Also, are brake lines checked during a NYS inspection? Just curious. Maybe I should have it checked and replaced if needed before it is due. Thanks.
Old 08-06-2010, 11:15 PM   #12
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Re: Brake line rust

Quote: Originally Posted by ComputernerdBD
Ok thank you. I found a couple more lines that I painted last year (frame rail under rear left door) that were a little rough at the time. They were still rough, but not bad and not leaking. I gave them another shot of paint since there were some spots. The lines that I haven't painted yet I will use primer and paint with black paint for protection. Also, are brake lines checked during a NYS inspection? Just curious. Maybe I should have it checked and replaced if needed before it is due. Thanks.
no idea what they check for, never had inspecions. I have kansas plates and will always keep them as long as my family lives back there. I would call a shop. I would say if they see a brake line painted aviation green primer there going to raise a question. but if its painted and done nicely a color like black they would never see it. see if you cant find some paint to match, like a chrome paint or something like that.
Old 08-07-2010, 12:24 AM   #13
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Re: Brake line rust

Quote: Originally Posted by xtrememeasures10
no idea what they check for, never had inspecions. I have kansas plates and will always keep them as long as my family lives back there. I would call a shop. I would say if they see a brake line painted aviation green primer there going to raise a question. but if its painted and done nicely a color like black they would never see it. see if you cant find some paint to match, like a chrome paint or something like that.
I wouldn't paint it green. Only black. And if any shops starts to ask questions that are inspection related, I usually just don't say a word. What I don't say won't give them reason to use it against me to fail the truck and hand me a bill for other stuff I don't need.
Old 08-07-2010, 05:37 AM   #14
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Re: Brake line rust

Quote: Originally Posted by ComputernerdBD
I wouldn't paint it green. Only black. And if any shops starts to ask questions that are inspection related, I usually just don't say a word. What I don't say won't give them reason to use it against me to fail the truck and hand me a bill for other stuff I don't need.
lol im just saying green cause everything i use is apple green primer at work. But thats airplanes for ya with weird colors in structures. but my point is dont make it look like it doesnt belong. tape off the area your not going to paint. people tend to miss things if they are neetly done, vs just slapped on there.

I just painted some sealer on bill gates plane the other day. Just taped off the area that needed painted w/ 3/4in tape and brushed it on. It was taped in a straight line so when you peeled the tape and stepped back a foot it didnt catch the eye. If i would have just painted it by hand w/ a touchup brush it would have looked rough and would have drawn attention.
Old 08-08-2010, 06:15 PM   #15
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Re: Brake line rust

Quote: Originally Posted by xtrememeasures10
lol im just saying green cause everything i use is apple green primer at work. But thats airplanes for ya with weird colors in structures. but my point is dont make it look like it doesnt belong. tape off the area your not going to paint. people tend to miss things if they are neetly done, vs just slapped on there.

I just painted some sealer on bill gates plane the other day. Just taped off the area that needed painted w/ 3/4in tape and brushed it on. It was taped in a straight line so when you peeled the tape and stepped back a foot it didnt catch the eye. If i would have just painted it by hand w/ a touchup brush it would have looked rough and would have drawn attention.
Interesting. That green is for planes that are from the factory to protect the metal until it can be painted, correct? Hence the name "green airplane"? Bill Gate's plane? I wonder what it is: Maybe he went conservative and bought an A319CJ or maybe he went crazy and ordered an A380? LOL I wonder what he is going to say when he finds out that most Inflight Entertainment systems or any computer on planes use LINUX!

Also just out of curiousity, which is better for this application? Rustoleum Rust Reformer or regular primer? I know these lines don't last forever, but they still seem to have some life left and I want to extend it any way I can so I am not replacing a good line. Thanks.
Old 08-09-2010, 02:02 AM   #16
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Re: Brake line rust

Quote: Originally Posted by ComputernerdBD
Interesting. That green is for planes that are from the factory to protect the metal until it can be painted, correct? Hence the name "green airplane"? Bill Gate's plane? I wonder what it is: Maybe he went conservative and bought an A319CJ or maybe he went crazy and ordered an A380? LOL I wonder what he is going to say when he finds out that most Inflight Entertainment systems or any computer on planes use LINUX!

Also just out of curiousity, which is better for this application? Rustoleum Rust Reformer or regular primer? I know these lines don't last forever, but they still seem to have some life left and I want to extend it any way I can so I am not replacing a good line. Thanks.
That would be why they call them green planes lol yep. Not cause they conserve energy cause the kind of plane he has. well he has 3 but it costs $50,000 to fill the tanks to fly new york to tokyo non stop. But when your making more than that on interest in the bank in one day who the hell cares i guess. And no Scarebus im happy to say. But he doesnt have a gulfstream. cheap ass. I would have 3 Gulfstream 550s if i were as wealthy as him, fly around pimp style, not these pain in the ass Globals. You cant land a A319 in small airports so most private planes arent bbjs or a319s. There are plenty of those but there not practical.

And dude i would just do primer if it were me. No product on the market is going to stop rust 100$. You have to remove all traces. Like a cavity the dentist drills out all the corroded area then caps it off to protect. same thing, sand, grind whatever you need to do to remove all corrosion then protect with paint.
Old 08-10-2010, 12:14 AM   #17
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Re: Brake line rust

Quote: Originally Posted by xtrememeasures10
That would be why they call them green planes lol yep. Not cause they conserve energy cause the kind of plane he has. well he has 3 but it costs $50,000 to fill the tanks to fly new york to tokyo non stop. But when your making more than that on interest in the bank in one day who the hell cares i guess. And no Scarebus im happy to say. But he doesnt have a gulfstream. cheap ass. I would have 3 Gulfstream 550s if i were as wealthy as him, fly around pimp style, not these pain in the ass Globals. You cant land a A319 in small airports so most private planes arent bbjs or a319s. There are plenty of those but there not practical.

And dude i would just do primer if it were me. No product on the market is going to stop rust 100$. You have to remove all traces. Like a cavity the dentist drills out all the corroded area then caps it off to protect. same thing, sand, grind whatever you need to do to remove all corrosion then protect with paint.
Haha. True that. I am surprised that even Bill Gates wouldn't have at least an A319CJ. I always assumed that he had a 757 or 767 (with the winglets) to fly around the world in. Google has an older 767-200 parked at Moffet Airfield. http://www.airlinepilotforums.com/ha...767-200-a.html

Thanks for the tip. I realize I can't stop the rust, I just want to protect the line from salt because a couple mechanics said I don't need to replace it just yet and that line will probably be on there for the winter. Just out of curiosity, just how thick are these lines? Some of them on this truck are rough, but not really flaking. Just how much metal would have to flake off before they become dangerous? Thanks again.
Old 08-11-2010, 01:40 AM   #18
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Re: Brake line rust

There pretty thin and if you remove all the corrosion you can keep it from corroding more. You just have to protect it once its clean. So paint it and youll be good. Like i said 10 to 20% is a good rule of thumb. so if you remove that much material then you need to replace.
Old 08-11-2010, 04:32 PM   #19
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Re: Brake line rust

Quote: Originally Posted by xtrememeasures10
There pretty thin and if you remove all the corrosion you can keep it from corroding more. You just have to protect it once its clean. So paint it and youll be good. Like i said 10 to 20% is a good rule of thumb. so if you remove that much material then you need to replace.
I looked at it again and I can't really determine what the condition of the line is below the rock guard. I can't tell if the shiny spots are metal or even brake fluid. I can't tell if there are cracks because there are crumbled bits of the rock guard blocking the gaps. I am getting estimates to have a 2 foot section of line cut out and replaced (It's only 6"-1' that I am concerned about, but all that line is above the frame rail, so the shop might have to make it longer.) I don't want to take any chances with this. I didn't even touch the line (afraid to), but I can see it is rough and pitted. If the lines are thin and supposed to hold 3000PSI of pressure, I am not going to risk driving with lines like that. I am also having the others checked. The ones in the driver's footwell were rough, but I was told by 4 mechanics that they were not a threat. I painted them last year and they are still okay. I just covered them several times in engine enamel and regular spray paint and I monitor it to make sure the paint isn't peeling and the line is still okay. I didn't use rust converter because I was concerned that the acid in it would break down what was left of the good metal. They still stand up to high pressures, so I think it can last through the winter with the paint on it. Probably when I get all the other projects done through the winter (tune up and fuel pump) I will have them replaced if they get too bad. Basically I am replacing the worst, unpainted lines first, which is the one I mentioned already. Thanks for all the advice. I would paint these because I can't get an appointment this week, but I wouldn't drive with it for longer than a couple weeks if I had to at all. With all the brake problems I have had over the past 2 months, this is the weak link that I cannot ignore.
Old 08-11-2010, 04:47 PM   #20
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Re: Brake line rust

By the way, the rubber mud flap that protects the engine, exhaust, shocks and the brake lines in the front wheelwells was cut away last year by the mechanic who replaced the shocks. Is there a way to replace it to protect the parts under there from snow, ice and salt? Thanks
Old 08-13-2010, 01:42 AM   #21
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Re: Brake line rust

Quote: Originally Posted by ComputernerdBD
I looked at it again and I can't really determine what the condition of the line is below the rock guard. I can't tell if the shiny spots are metal or even brake fluid. I can't tell if there are cracks because there are crumbled bits of the rock guard blocking the gaps. I am getting estimates to have a 2 foot section of line cut out and replaced (It's only 6"-1' that I am concerned about, but all that line is above the frame rail, so the shop might have to make it longer.) I don't want to take any chances with this. I didn't even touch the line (afraid to), but I can see it is rough and pitted. If the lines are thin and supposed to hold 3000PSI of pressure, I am not going to risk driving with lines like that. I am also having the others checked. The ones in the driver's footwell were rough, but I was told by 4 mechanics that they were not a threat. I painted them last year and they are still okay. I just covered them several times in engine enamel and regular spray paint and I monitor it to make sure the paint isn't peeling and the line is still okay. I didn't use rust converter because I was concerned that the acid in it would break down what was left of the good metal. They still stand up to high pressures, so I think it can last through the winter with the paint on it. Probably when I get all the other projects done through the winter (tune up and fuel pump) I will have them replaced if they get too bad. Basically I am replacing the worst, unpainted lines first, which is the one I mentioned already. Thanks for all the advice. I would paint these because I can't get an appointment this week, but I wouldn't drive with it for longer than a couple weeks if I had to at all. With all the brake problems I have had over the past 2 months, this is the weak link that I cannot ignore.
Who told you 3000 psi? You dont have a hydraulic pump on your truck. Just a brake booster. I have never measured the pressure on automotive brakes but I can tell you by how it comes out when you bleed them, It is no where near 3000PSI. I bleed brakes on planes all the time, they run at 3000psi but they also have noisy ass hydraulic pumps to build up that kind of pressure. You may have a 1000psi but i dont even think that much.
Old 08-13-2010, 11:36 PM   #22
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Re: Brake line rust

Quote: Originally Posted by xtrememeasures10
Who told you 3000 psi? You dont have a hydraulic pump on your truck. Just a brake booster. I have never measured the pressure on automotive brakes but I can tell you by how it comes out when you bleed them, It is no where near 3000PSI. I bleed brakes on planes all the time, they run at 3000psi but they also have noisy ass hydraulic pumps to build up that kind of pressure. You may have a 1000psi but i dont even think that much.
Oooops. I just assumed it was 3,000 PSI. My mistake.

Also, how do you pressurize the hydraulic systems on the ground without the engines or APU? Ground power unit to power the onboard pumps?
Old 08-15-2010, 07:16 AM   #23
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Re: Brake line rust

Also, I was told by a friend it is less expensive to have the entire line replaced (ABS Module to rear axle) than to have a 1 or 2 foot section cut out and replaced with a fresh line. Is this true? I just originally wanted to have a shop cut that one rusted section out, flare both ends and put a small section in that gap and join both ends to the existing line since it was really the only section that was rusted to the point of being a safety concern. All the other lines have either very little rust or some rust, but was checked and not deemed a threat to safety at this time. Some lines that were in bad places I painted to halt the rust and seal out salt and snow.

Thanks for all the advice so far.
Old 08-24-2010, 05:50 PM   #24
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Re: Brake line rust

Is it possible to just replace that rusted section if the remaining line is in great shape? Maybe 1 or 2 feet worth of line would have to be replaced. I was told by one shop that I would have to drop it off and leave it there for the day to replace the entire brake line from the ABS Module to the rear axle and that it is hard to do. Really the only line that really has to be replaced is that section. Everything else looks fine or has already been checked.
Old 08-25-2010, 10:01 PM   #25
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Re: Brake line rust

UPDATE: I also noticed that a small section of the line between the ABS Module and where the line makes a coil and then goes down along the frame to the rusted section I already talked about is also rusted. So I am now looking to get 3-4 feet of line between the ABS Module and the driver's floorpan replaced. Is it possible to do that without replacing the entire line that is still viable and not really rusted? Is it possible to cut that line off, double flare the end of the remainder of the line that goes to the rear axle and install a new line between the ABS block and that point and join them with a union? I am having trouble finding a shop that will do that. Some of them are telling me I would have to drop the truck off for the entire day or even 2 for only an hour and a half of labor to replace the entire line from the ABS Module to the rear axle even though I don't mind waiting. Really the only section that needs attention at this time is that short length.
Old 08-25-2010, 10:09 PM   #26
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Re: Brake line rust

If your worried about it better safe then sorry and just replace them man! My front passenger line looked better then your pics there, yet one night i hit the brakes little harder then normal and bam, strait to the floor the pedal went as i blew thru a stop sign right infront of an 18 wheeler. Im replacing the rest of the lines as soon as possible.
Old 08-26-2010, 12:31 AM   #27
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Re: Brake line rust

Quote: Originally Posted by 98layinframe
If your worried about it better safe then sorry and just replace them man! My front passenger line looked better then your pics there, yet one night i hit the brakes little harder then normal and bam, strait to the floor the pedal went as i blew thru a stop sign right infront of an 18 wheeler. Im replacing the rest of the lines as soon as possible.
I know that the line has to be replaced and it will be done as soon as I can get an appointment. I am not going to let this line stay on the car if it is a safety threat. I don't put so much force on the pedals anyway to prevent the old lines from breaking unexpectedly or causing excessive wear on the engine from sudden acceleration. In an emergency, I am more focused on steering around the danger than braking just in case the car doesn't slow down in time. This one shop in town that wants to do the entire line front to back told me earlier to wait until it starts to leak before bringing it to them to replace the entire line. Yea right. Like I am going to let a brake line start leaking before I replace it. I am calling my favorite shop tomorrow that has never given me any reason not to go back to them for repairs.
However, my big question is: if the rest of the line has very light to no rust on it and is perfectly fine, is it possible to only replace the section of line that is rusted (ABS Block to Driver floor pan) and attach it to the rest of the line that leads to the rear that is not rusted (floor pan to rear axle)? Is it possible to double flare the old line and join it with a union?
Thanks.
Old 08-27-2010, 05:26 PM   #28
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Re: Brake line rust

Is there a company that makes prebent rear brake lines for these trucks? Anyone ever use them? I might just have the entire line done because the rest of it will rust eventually. The shops don't really like having to make new coils under the hood and getting in there to replace the line, which is why I am looking at prebent. I might also have the front ones replaced eventually because those are rusting, but I painted them over a year and a half ago. They are a bit dirty, but they are solid and not leaking. I was told they are fine for now. The big question is: Does anyone make prebent lines for these trucks and how good are they?
Old 09-10-2010, 06:50 PM   #29
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Re: Brake line rust

The stealership should have prebent lines, doubt the parts store would but you could call. I replaced the front line at the left caliper, bought a straight line and slowly bent it over a mag flashlight till I matched each angle turn of the old brake line. It took about 30 minutes but she stops like a dime.

Parts stores sell pipe bending tools with the angle degrees marked on the side. You could buy one at a different store, place masking tape in the location where the pipe is bent. Bend your brake line then return it to the store. I thought about doing it but I got creative. Gotta go real slow if bending by hand.
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