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1948 New Yorker 2 year road trip


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Hello everyone, 

Recently bought a nice 1948 Chrysler New Yorker for the sole purpose of taking my family on a two year road trip all over the USA into Mexico and down to Panama. Selling the house, home schooling the kids the whole nine yards....

Here's my question, the car is all stock and original except for a re-paint at some point in its life, starts stops drives.

I had a few thoughts on making it more reliable for the trip, 12v upgrade, new aluminum radiator with electric fan, electronic ignition, disc brake conversion etc.

But after reading a bunch of posts and taking note of guys like Rusty_OToole and DeSoto Frank now I'm not so sure anymore. 

Should I leave it alone and just take some parts like points/condenser/generator brushes/oil filters with me and leave it alone or do I cause potential headaches by "upgrading"? or will "upgrading" cause less headaches down the road?

Anyone have any input and/or tips on prepping the car for such a long journey? 

I will be pulling a small vintage trailer as well so I was going to add air shocks in the back to help with the load.

 

Thanx

...D...

Life is to short to live in one place.

1948.jpg

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If you are serious then have every single mechanical component in the car rebuilt by a reputable mechanic now.  I would include pulling and rebuildiing the engine, clutch, pressure plate, transmission, rear end seals, brakes, front end component.   Then pack along spares for the ride:  starter, cap, rotor, point, condenser, belts, water pump, etc.

 

An before going to south america,  I would put 2k miles on it locally to get the kinks out.

 

Ad for upgrades,  dual master cylinder,  dual batteries, potentially electric fan on the radiator depending on how hot it gets down there (pretty hot).

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Sell it and buy a new camper van. That is the best advice I have.

 

If you don't like that, then I suggest you go over the car and check everything and repair or replace worn out or broken parts. Do a compression test on the engine, check oil pressure, remove hubs and inspect brakes, check brake lines and hoses, wiring, all hoses and rubber parts under the hood etc. You don't have to rebuild everything but you do need everything in top shape. Especially check under the hood, rubber parts deteriorate faster from heat and gas fumes, any rubber hoses that are spongy or hardened should be replaced. Same with old fan belts.  Wiring is also suspect unless it has been replaced.

 

Replace all lubricants in engine, trans, differential, top up steering box, repack wheel bearings,  grease chassis. You may want to take along a grease gun and grease it yourself. It is supposed to be done every 1000 or 2000 miles and garages won't do it for $2 anymore.

 

Follow the maintenance schedule laid out in the owner's manual. You will find it needs a lot more upkeep than a modern car but the work is easier to do and cheaper than on a new car. Learn to work on it yourself and take some tools along. You won't find many mechanics familiar with 1948 cars anymore. Bring along a kit of tools.

 

Take it for a few long trips of 100 miles or longer, watching out for overheating, leaks, or other signs of distress.

 

You can take along spare points, condenser etc but probably won't need them. Light bulbs more likely to come in handy.  A factory manual is a must. If you anticipate certain parts are not up to the trip, replace them before you start. Most everything is available from NAPA within a couple of days.

 

I would seriously consider a Frantz oil filter and change to synthetic oil but I don't know if synthetic is compatible with your engine particularly gaskets and seals. Maybe some oil expert will chime in.

 

Have you checked the road situation? Are there good paved roads, or at least well maintained gravel roads the whole route? Bad roads can make a big difference, your car is no longer young and there is such a thing as metal fatigue.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Thanx Rusty, good advice as always. But anyone can do it in a new camper van that's exactly why we got this car.

We don't leave till Oct next year so we have plenty of time to work out the kinks, will probably be in the US for the first year so roads wont be a problem for a while. And with the kids in the car we probably wont do more than 3 to 4 hours driving a day. Taking it slow will be the name of the game.

I have all the tools, grease gun and can swing a wrench so I will be working on it myself. I am going to go google Frantz filters right now.

thanx also alsancle, but a complete rebuild of ALL the parts would probably cut 6 months off the travel budget, I'm up for doing what I can with a wrench and my time but that would cost more than the car cost me.

Edited by 48NWYKR
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If the car is in top shape it should make the trip without too much trouble. The guy who wrote "The Long Long Trailer" travelled around the US with a similar Chrysler, a 1948 New Yorker convertible towing a 28 foot Airfloat trailer. Mind you he did it in 1948.

 

http://www.trailerite.com/clintontwiss.html

 

https://archive.org/details/longlongtrailer001201mbp

 

If the car has not been driven much there could be a number of breakdowns in the first few hundred or thousand miles then very little trouble thereafter. That is why it pays to go over the car carefully and take a few long trips before you hit the road for keeps.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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48NWYKR - I love your plan, this will be something you and the family will remember for the rest of your lives! 

 

I have done quite a few road trips in old cars though nothing this epic. 

 

I would recommend thinking of all the little things that could let you down that are easy to carry. For example I had a throttle return spring fail on me once, and I got home by setting the carby at a place were I could launch and drive but it wasn't much fun. 

 

In terms of modifications, I would highly recommend an oil filter, high quality fuel filter and electric fan and as Rusty said check all rubber hoses very carefully, if not just replacing them to start with. If it were me I would also consider swapping to an electronic ignition, but I don't think this is required, it just might make life a bit easier. 

 

As the other guys have said, replace all fluids and fully service the car before you leave, and make sure you stick to the scheduled servicing as per the hand book once you are out there. 

 

I would also have a plan as to how you will handle it if the car does break down.  Consider getting a premium AAA membership and have some provisions in terms of food and water stashed just in case you get caught in the middle of nowhere and what you will do if you did happen to have to rebuild the motor somewhere. 

 

Finally please post lots of photos so we can all live vicariously through you! Perhaps even consider setting up a facebook account were we can all follow you? 

 

Cheers


Stewart 

 

 

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Also in terms of oil my understanding is you need to run an oil which is suitable for older engines because they have a higher zinc content which is critical for flat tappet camshafts.

 

I have always used mineral. 

 

Cheers   

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The 48 Chrysler has one of the engines that doesn't require a lot of zinc. It has an underhead camshaft and a lightly loaded valve train, like today's overhead camshafts. It is the hi compression, pushrod OHV V8s that required extra zinc starting with the 1951 models.

 

If I was going to add anything it would be a little upper cylinder lubricant like Redex , Bardahl, Marvel Mystery Oil or 2 stroke oil  to the gas. Cars of that time were more prone to wear the rings, cylinders and valves. A good additive was said to double engine life between overhauls. You could even add an inverse oiler to feed the oil automatically.

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Rusty! just loved that book The long, long trailer! could not stop once I started! and Stewart yes we will probably be doing a FB or tumbler kind of account for folks to follow (closer to the time).

Like I said we don't leave till October next year so we have time to sort the old girl out.  For now we are going to rent her out for weddings and currently have her registered for cars in movies with a local agent.

 

Two-stroke oil in the fuel eh? (Or one of the other additives) never thought of that.  Right now I run on premium gas because it has the least amount of ethanol in it so that it does not gum up the carb. (Those old cars use to run on leaded fuel as well but this is not a very hi compression engine so it should be fine right?) with the additives I can just read the label but with two-stroke? how much would you need?

As for oil i was thinking the Amsoil for older high milage cars with a Frantz filter. 

Can't seem to find a 6v electronic ignition (nothing specific for a 48 new yorker anyway) and i have moved away from converting to 12v so i guess i will just take a spare set of points etc with me. And definitely a good BCAA membership. (We live in Vancouver Canada)

All good suggestions boys, keep it coming!

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Thanks Rusty, you make a great point, I had never really thought about how lightly loaded the valve train is on the old motors. 

 

Make sure you take a condenser, rotor, cap and coil as well.  I recently had a lot of trouble with our 1930 DeSoto Straight 8 and it turned out to be the condenser.

 

You also should replace all the fuel lines with modern line because some of the old lines can't handle any ethanol.   

 

Something else I would recommend doing is to get the old girl dyno tuned / tuned on the road using a wideband meter.  We dyno tuned the 30 DeSoto and increased power from 27 to 36kw at the wheels (just on a tuning run, we didn't stall it down for max power) and picked up 3 extra MPG too which over your trip could pay for it self fairly easily.  

 

Cheers 


Stewart 

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If upper cylinder lubricant is required at all, it is really only at startup and just before shut down. Most wear occurs when the engine is cold and the oil is thickest.

 

To reduce engine wear, use a multi-grade, 5W or 10W-30 or 40. The 5W part refers to the oil's viscosity when cold, which is when you need to get the oil moving ASAP to lubricate the engine. I have also seen test results that indicate that many synthetic oils are better than mineral at minimising engine wear. While the valve mechanisms are supposedly lightly loaded (I only have here-say for that), you can remove concern about that from your thinking if you use a diesel oil - they have more zinc than oils designed for contemporary petrol engines. CI-4 diesel oils have the highest zinc content, CJ-4 a little less.

 

I have done 2000 mile trips in my 1930 Dodge 8. The fuel pump failed and the fan belt reached the end of its life. There were also two or three punctures until I found the cause. The wheel liners or rust bands or flaps (wire wheels) were strips rather than circular and movement at the end of the overlapping strip caused a pinch in the tube. The fuel pump failure was caused by me making sure the stirrup on the glass bowl was tight - too tight as it turned out, warping the top of the pump so it didn't seal on the bowl. Packing luggage for four into the car was the biggest problem! Grace (3.5 yrs) was distracted during driving by learning basic reading on that trip.

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Your low compression engine will run best on low octane fuel. The octane should look like the compression ratio. Your Chrysler with 6.7:1 compression needs 67 octane gas, more or less. It will run best and develop most power on 87 octane regular gas. It would run even better on lower octane gas but they don't make it anymore.  In 1948 they did not add very much lead to the gas. They used a little, but the real high compression, high octane OHV engines did not come out until around 1954.

 

That is why Chrysler equipped your engine with hardened valve seats from the factory. Only in later years, did they dispense with this feature, when heavily leaded gas made it unnecessary. Now that they have eliminated lead some older engines are suffering, unless they have hardened valve seats installed. But yours has them already.

 

Gasohol has been available since the mid 80s and all fuel pumps and carburetors rebuilt since then use alcohol proof parts. If you are in doubt you could replace the rubber hoses in the fuel system and get a rebuilt carb and fuel pump, but chances are they were replaced long ago.

 

If I used 2 stroke oil I think I would add about 1/4 of a quart bottle to each full tank of gas (20 gallons). I believe the low octane gas of 1948 was oilier than the new gas. The new gas seems "dry" compared to the stuff we used to get. With Redex, MMM etc I would go by the directions on the can.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Sorry guys I have been on the road for a few days here, so I think I'm getting closer to a game plan of sorts,

give the entire car a good front to back inspection

check/replace all hoses (fuel/coolant/brakes)

change all the fluids (engine/transmission/diff)

add a Frantz oil filter and good fuel filter.

clean and inspect all electrical connections especially grounding straps.

I will swap the generator for a 6v alternator, ( I can find 60 amps all day long on ebay... anyone know if/where I can get 80 or 100amps?)

check/replace engine and transmission mounts (rubber)

switch back to regular octane fuel.

replace the fuel pump (yeah its not working right now, running a backup electric pump)

install a set of air shocks in the back to help with the trailer load

and finally add a 6v electric fan to the radiator.

 

load up with some spare bulbs and small parts like fan belts, redex etc and hit the road for a few test runs before the big day.

Edited by 48NWYKR (see edit history)
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I did that 6v pos ground alternator thing a couple of years ago and it worked great.

The only odd thing was the whine that an alternator makes when charging.

Be sure and take a good look at your wiring so that the amp gauge will show charge.

Mine was a 60 amp and it was plenty, my car had two blower motors. But no clock, radio, fuel pump or fan.

Since you are going to fix the fuel pump and probably wont run the fan ( and if you were running the radiator fan you wouldn't be using the blower motors) that often I would think that 60 amps should work for you.

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4 hours ago, JACK M said:

I did that 6v pos ground alternator thing a couple of years ago and it worked great.

The only odd thing was the whine that an alternator makes when charging.

Be sure and take a good look at your wiring so that the amp gauge will show charge.

Mine was a 60 amp and it was plenty, my car had two blower motors. But no clock, radio, fuel pump or fan.

Since you are going to fix the fuel pump and probably wont run the fan ( and if you were running the radiator fan you wouldn't be using the blower motors) that often I would think that 60 amps should work for you.

So did you go with a 3 wire alternator or 1? if you used a 1 wire how did you get your amp meter to show charge?

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You mentioned air shocks, that reminds me that Chrysler was one of the first to adopt modern tubular shocks. The ones on your car are most likely worn out, they only work well for 20,000 to 25,000 miles. After that they may look good and not leak but new shocks make a noticable improvement.

 

Another thing, on your car, on the front Chrysler engineers connected the top shock mount to the top control arm rather than the frame. If you can change the top mount to the frame and use modern shocks it will be an improvement. I think someone makes a kit for this.

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19 hours ago, 48NWYKR said:

So did you go with a 3 wire alternator or 1? if you used a 1 wire how did you get your amp meter to show charge?

 

One wire, I just traced the output thru the gauge rather than to the battery direct (solenoid). That would work but you would need a volt meter hooked up somewhere on the ignition side of the switch.

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48N,

 

WELCOME!  Neat car ... & awesome plan.  I'd love to be on the road 24/7/365.  Hope it all works out, you get the car ready for the trip & you have a blast.  Should be a very cool experience & rather educational.

 

 

Cort, www.oldcarsstronghearts.com
pig&cowValves.paceMaker * 1979 CC to 2003 MGM + 81mc

"Push the pedal down watch the world around fly by us" | Mat Kearney | 'Nothing Left To Lose'

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Gentlemen, So I found this guy Bill from Howard enterprises who will build you a 6v alternator to your spec (1/2/3 wire/positive ground/negative ground)

up to 100 amps for under $200. 

So I think I will go with 100 amps and also try to fit two optima batteries under the hood.

The story continues

 

Rusty I have not been able to find that suspension kit for the front shocks you were talking about, do you have any more details for me?

 

On 11/25/2016 at 10:03 PM, c49er said:

I see you have a add on power brake booster on the car too.

The car is in storage for a few weeks until I can get around to wrenching on it and I don't have the workshop manual to look it up yet but I take it that its not standard on old Chryslers? Was it specific to the New Yorker?

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On 11/25/2016 at 10:31 AM, c49er said:

Do not change the fluid in the Fluid Drive coupling or you may end up with a leaker.

The graphite and bellows seal might not like the new different fluid.

9-piece gasket and seal set for 1948 Dodge with Gyro-Matic, for 1946-48 DeSoto with Tip-Toe Shift, and 1946-48 Chrysler with Presto-Matic M6 under-drive (semi-automatic) transmission. All items are newly manufactured and fresh. Replaces MoPar p/n's 670752 - 1321251 - 1486096

$50 from Mopar Mall, and I'm pretty sure I could do it in a weekend. Was planning on changing the gaskets anyway since it has a leak already. Probably for the exact reason you stated!

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Hey Rusty, I spent all day reading up on old posts back to pre 2008 on the fluid drive transmission, lots of info there and man the amount of times you said "this topic has been extensively covered" alone would have driven me around the bend. Good one on the "C38 Windsor lube recommendations" July 1st 2008, I printed a copy for myself until the Shop Manual arrives in the mail! Also liked the one where you and DeSoto Frank talk about how to actually drive them properly.

Goes to show nothing beats years of experience and some trail and error to make the lessons stick!

 

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Lol  thanks, if all the new old Chrysler owners used the search function I would be out of a job ha ha. It does get a little tiresome typing out the same answers for the 100th time, page after page of them. But, these are great cars and are easy and fun to drive if you know the secrets. It took me several years of working on them, driving them and studying the old manuals to figure them out. They are really a good system, about the best, simplest and most reliable of the early "one legged drives". With a little practice they are practically as convenient and easy to drive as a modern automatic. And, they are nearly bulletproof reliable even after 50 years or more.

 

I don't mind answering questions especially for someone who has done some homework. If there is anything you aren't clear on go ahead and ask.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Love what your about to do. I did the same as you but it took me 20 years to do all 48 states, Canada, and Mexico. I bought a new 4 car hauler in 92. This was part time until I sold my gas stations in 94 then I bought a 1996 8 car hauler and lived on the road for the next 15 years. I got paid for it and visited about 5000 plus cities. I took my kids during the school brakes. I had my daughter on a trip when hurricane Andrew took out Homestead Florida in 1992. I was hauling cars from Fl to MO to an Auto Auction then I would grab 2 Mobil offices in Indiana for the back load to Homestead. She was 11 and we had the large VCR recorder and she would interview the victims. When she went back to school, her trips was the most interesting subjects in her class. My kids probably have 500k miles under their belt. I put this in as to tell you a little of my background. Next post will be about your car. I also had audio books that I would play while you're on the road. You have nothing but time and it was a great learning tool.

 Love your car.

Dave

PS The 1st picture is an example of my 1st 4 car hauler that I bought in 92. The 2nd is the new 8 car hauler that I bought in 96. It was the truck that Volvo used in their truck shows. The others are other haulers that I owned through the years.

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2014-10-14 09_06_45-David Montanbeau Sr..jpg

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inbox_14851__draft_1441331621812.jpeg

Edited by countrytravler (see edit history)
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Now for your car.

Do an oil and coolant annalist. It will tell you what is going on with your car. I would do this with all my trucks.

Here is one example- there are many that perform this. Do the search on how to read your results. It's like going to a doctor for blood work.

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/how-to-do-engine-oil-analysis.htm

 

Air shocks is a bad idea. The shock is putting a lot of pressure on the stud that it is mounted to. Example below. Get your leave springs rebuilt with good shocks. I would use air bags that go between the top rear axle the bottom of the frame like in the picture below. Also all new wheel bearings. Not the Import kind either and keep a set of old ones for a spare. They are light and small.

What trailer are you planning to haul? Size, weight, etc? Then I can suggest safeguards for the long haul.

Later.

Dave

Oil-Analysis_Table.jpg

Bennett_Selecting_Oil_Chart.png

2016-11-30 18_38_22-Firestone Fir2525 09-C F150 Ride Rite Air Springs - Walmart.com.png

IMG_67601_LI.jpg

Edited by countrytravler (see edit history)
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11 hours ago, 48NWYKR said:
9-piece gasket and seal set for 1948 Dodge with Gyro-Matic, for 1946-48 DeSoto with Tip-Toe Shift, and 1946-48 Chrysler with Presto-Matic M6 under-drive (semi-automatic) transmission. All items are newly manufactured and fresh. Replaces MoPar p/n's 670752 - 1321251 - 1486096

$50 from Mopar Mall, and I'm pretty sure I could do it in a weekend. Was planning on changing the gaskets anyway since it has a leak already. Probably for the exact reason you stated!

Those are the transmission gaskets and rear output shaft seal.

The bellows seal and graphite ring are in the fluid coupling. Those two pieces are now days hard to find and also require some special "Miller" service tools to do the job right.

I would not touch the fluid coupling unless it is leaking and then only someone who knows what they are doing. If it ain't broke.....

I have replaced those parts on quite a few but am done as parts are just about gone.

C39 FD Coupling Internals (10).JPG

Fluid Drive Coupling 1941 Dodge (30).JPG

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Hey Countrytravler, I had some doubts about those air shocks and had the airbags on the leaf-springs under the frame as a backup plan. (have that setup on my pickup truck) Now i will definitely do it that way.

I work up in Norther Alberta in oil and gas as a helicopter pilot so I have a lot of friends up here who regularly have the oil in their big machinery at the gas plants sent out for analysis, I will get as much info from them as I can regarding interpreting the results. They have it tested once a month up here and swear by it.

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Also do samples with the  fluid coupler, trans, and rear end. Talked to George Ashley in PA. He is in his 80s and a garue  in the old Mopar and told him what you are doing. He said that he did the same in 62 with a 29? Desoto rumble seat roadster with his wife and 2 daughters. He built a canopy and a heater in the rumble seat area. I ask him what he would do to improve your car for the adventure. He said that he would install an electric fuel pump, have a rebuild carb, a rebuilt distributor and coil as spare parts. He would change the fluid drive to a straight 40s overdrive. also a electric cooling fan  and run Evans for coolent.  I used Evans in my trucks when I ran in Mexico. Extra wiper blades and have a good washer system for the windshield. He said also run headers for more power and better fuel economy and the engine will run 20 degrees cooler. ask anybody on the forum about George. He is a walking Mopar book like 49er and a few others. Also have a heat shield around the fuel pump and a plate below the carb to keep heat away. Also when you travel and have a problem, just go on this forum and we will find somebody to help. I live in Northern central CA and if you have a problem, you can count on us to help. We have a fleet of tow trucks and a repair garage. Others should chime in also with info so he has you phone number.  I have a 48 Chry parts car and I'll save it in case you need parts.

Dave

Edited by countrytravler (see edit history)
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Me again. I think that I'm more  exited about the trip than you. LOL

I would also line the firewall, floorboard, and doors with sound and heat shield that come in rolls and is cheap since you don't have air. Find one of those outside air things that take ice and cools the air as you travel down the road. It gets extremely hot in the south and in South America. also have an external electric heater for defrosting and heat. I also have connections in South America if you need help.

Dave

 

evaporative-car-window-cooler-photo (1).jpg

Edited by countrytravler (see edit history)
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I am a bit concerned about this talk of air shocks and towing a trailer. This may be asking a lot of a car that is not a spring chicken. What exactly do you have in mind?

 

If you are thinking a trunk full of baggage and a small tent trailer or canned ham you should be ok. If you are thinking a family of 5, full trunk, roof rack loaded, towing an Airstream all bets are off. Sell the Chrysler and buy a motorhome or a Chev Suburban.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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