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The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.

 

Part Thirty - Q&A 726 - 750


726. I have a 2003 GT PT and would like to install a boost controller to increase the power. The instructions say to attach a vacuum line into the fuel pressure regulator, but the PT doesn't have one to tap into. It also says that I can tap into the fuel pressure solenoid, but I can't find it. Thank you. - Dan, from USA.

Your parts may not be specifically designed for the PT. The fuel pressure regulator is inside the fuel tank. There are no adjustments you can make to it. Blocking the fuel pump regulator bypass has caused premature pump failures and voided pump warranties.

 


727. We have a used 2001 LE PT, which came with, what looks like is the OE roof luggage rack. Unfortunately, it did not include an owner's manual. Can you tell us how much weight the luggage rack will support? Thank you for your help. - Melissa, from Kentucky.

According the owners' manual the load must not exceed 150 lb. and be uniformly distributed over the luggage rack crossbars. Use both adjustable crossbar assemblies to support the load and distribute the load as evenly as possible. Make sure to adequately secure the load, and travel at reduced speeds and turn corners carefully, when carrying large or heavy loads on the roof rack.

 


728. I have a 2002 TE PT and hear terrible wind noise when I'm driving my car. It's very hard to explain, but I feel like my brain is thumping inside my head. I like to drive with the windows open, but this noise drives me crazy. I did not find a similar problem on your web site, so now I wonder if it's just my car or if others have the same problem. Is there something I can buy to fix this problem? - Melanie, from Maryland.

Wind noise can be caused by a variety of factors, including: options (roof rack comes to mind) installed on the vehicle, positioning of the windows while driving, faulty or improperly installed weather seals or body panels, etc. If it is the windows, you may be experiencing the effects of air pressure within the vehicle. This is common in many vehicles. Try to adjust each opposing (driver and passenger side) window to its optimum position in order to reduce the vacuum effect and or wind noise. If that doesn't help we suggest that you have your local dealer check out your concern. Before doing so please examine the problem closely on your own. The dealer will need a starting point - observe the problem during the next few days and write down details relating to when it occurs and under what conditions. We have a diagnostic guide for Wind Noise, which can be found in the Pit area.

 


729. I have a 2002 LE PT. My Cruiser has recently come out of warranty and shortly afterwards started cutting out and would not start. The local dealer diagnosed it as a faulty Transmission Range Sensor, which they replaced. I collected the car and was not 20Km from the dealer when the car cut out again. While trying to start it the engine turns over a couple of times, then while trying to continually restart, dies completely. (The engine diagnostic light then flashes on the dash.) Once again the technician came out and could not get the car started and it was towed in. They were unable to determine the fault code. The next morning they phoned to inform me that the Transmission Range sensor had been incorrectly "adjusted". I collected the car and had it for a month before the problem started all over again. Oddly, it was towed in and left over the weekend. It started again after been left to stand for a couple of hours. Now the dealer tells me I must take it and ride it until it happens again, but the last tow was 80Km from home and it's becoming very frustrating since I never know when it is going to fail. Any suggestions? Thank you. - Kevin, from South Africa.

If the engine light only flashes during the failure, a 'pending code' is set. A scanner can read pending codes, although they will not show on the odometer/code test. Only when the light stays on (hard codes), will the codes be readable by the owner. The tech should be able to identify the fault code.

The transmission range sensor is the gear indicator for the TCM. It tells the TCM what gear you are in, i.e.: park, neutral, drive.... It should only allow the engine to start in park or neutral.

Your description sounds suspiciously like a faulty SKIM, sentry key immobilizer module. If the 'chip' in the key quits sending its signature to the security module, the engine will be cut off. Try using your secondary key for a while to see if it resolves the problem. All domestic dealerships are required to have a key signal tester. This will determine if the key is transmitting its code.

 


730. I have a 2002 TE PT. I recently developed a problem while pumping fuel, where the gas pump shuts off prematurely. I can only pump a fraction of a gallon before the pump shuts off. I have to repeatedly squeeze the gas pump, while slowly filling the car. This has happened during the last three fill ups. I tried three different gas pumps at two different stations to rule out a problem with the pumps. - Bruce, from California.

We haven't received any problems of this type before. All vehicles have an inlet check valve on the inside of the fuel tank at the filler inlet. The valve prevents fuel from splashing back on customer during vehicle refueling. The valve is a non-serviceable item. If this valve is sticking closed, that may be the problem.

Follow up from owner - It seems that my inquiry was premature. I recently had the hitch replaced after being rear ended while towing a trailer. At first there didn't appear to be any damage to the hitch other than bending the ball carrier, however it was later determined that the hitch was pushed into the spare tire to the point where the spare could not be removed. I had the hitch replaced. It was a couple of weeks before I needed to fill the car and I've had problems with the pumps at the station before where I filled up. It wasn't until I went on a trip this past weekend that I noticed that the problem was consistent with any gas station. After I sent in my note for help it dawned on me that the problems started after the hitch was replaced. Upon closer inspection I noticed that the vapor return line under the hitch was crushed. I loosened the hitch to remove the line and carefully squeezed it open. I haven't filled it since the repair, but I'm sure it will correct the problem.

 


731. I have a 2001 TE PT with cloth seats and the up/down power option and would like to if know if it possible to swap them out for leather seats? (I know someone who has a 2002 PT with leather seats and would like to sell them.) The leather seats have the power seat option, plus the heated seat option. Will they fit, what do I need other than the seats for working heaters (wire/relays), is this really possible? - Chris, from North Carolina.

The service manual provides instructions for diagnosing issues with an existing heated seat; it does not provide any information with regard to swapping seats or for new installations. That said, to our knowledge it has been done once before by another owner, however the seat heaters were not a factor since the prior swap only included the power option.

We can't be certain if the wiring is in place to support the seat heater option. You will have to physically check under each seat and carpet for the electrical connectors. Dependent upon your PT, you may have up to three available electrical connectors:

A. SRS Side (driver & passenger) airbag system - yellow connectors
B. Power (driver) seat - gray connector
C. Seat (driver & passenger) heater system - black (4 pin) connectors

If your replacement leather seats have the SRS (side restraint system - air bag) option, they will be operable in your vehicle as long as the option is currently supported with your cloth seats. If you intend to hook up the SRS system during the installation of the replacement leather seats make sure that the restraint system is completely disarmed before you attempt to make any connections. Failure to do so can result in serious injury.

Resource Material:

Reference - Seat Swap Process
Reference - OEM Wiring Support For Options

The Seat Removal guide is available in the Pit area

If you have one black seat heater connector available under each front seat the next step is to check for the heated seat relay. The relay is located in the interior fuse panel to the left of the steering wheel. Remove the fuse panel cover and look at the very bottom of the panel under the fuses. You should see a "left - center - right" slot. Each slot holds a relay. There should be a black headlamp relay in the left slot. The center slot may be empty; it is designated for a spare relay. The right slot is designated for the heated seat relay. If it is in place you're in good shape, if it isn't there you should be able to order one through your local DC dealer.

Here's a brief description of the Heated Seat System system. Individually controlled, electrically heated front seats are available factory installed optional equipment on this model. Vehicles with this option can be visually identified by the two separate heated seat switches mounted on each of the seat cushion side shields. The heated seat system allows the front seat driver and passenger to select from two different levels of supplemental electrical seat heating, or no seat heating to suit their individual comfort requirements. The heated seat system for this vehicle includes the following major components, which are described in further detail later in this section: heated seat elements, modules relays, sensors and switches. For complete information on the system visit the Pit area.

 


732. We purchased a used 2002 LE PT through our local dealer. How can we determine which options came with the vehicle? Thank you. - Sarah, from New Mexico.

You can ask your dealer for a "vehicle information plus summary" report. Based upon the vehicles' VIN, it shows every option your car was supposed to come with.

 


733. I have a 2002 BE PT. Today, a friend rented a PT while his main car was in the shop. He drove it into a 6" puddle of water and the engine suddenly stopped running. We towed it to my garage and found that the entire intake airbox, boot, mass airflow sensor and air filter were soaking wet. The airbox was full of water and crankcase contained over a quart of water. The engine had not seized, but had clearly thrown a rod; it would only rotate about 150 degrees before it gave a solid metal "clank" and stopped. The rental company picked it up and took it back to the dealer. It looks like poor engineering to me to put a downward facing intake boot that leads directly to the fender well that would naturally be full of water, wouldn't you agree? - Thomas, from Texas.

We have received no other complaints of this type during the 2-1/2 years the site has been online. Although the airbox brings air in from the wheel well, I doubt that a 6" puddle could bring in that much water so quickly. I would venture to guess that the water was a lot deeper than he realized or perhaps wants to admit to. The engine failed by hydro-locking. Water cannot be compressed, like the air/fuel vapor can, which causes instant and irreparable damage. The same thing can happen if a head gasket fails. (There is no Mass Airflow Sensor on the PT. It's a speed density system using a MAP sensor on the other end of the intake manifold.)

 


734. I have a 2001 PT with 67k miles. I took it in to have the A/C serviced because it seemed to take a long time to cool. The shop found nothing wrong so I checked the (Freon) pressure. While the A/C was running the pressure was 40 PSI on low and 50 PSI on high. What do you think could be the problem? - David, from Arizona.

ThumbnailAccording to the service guide the high side pressure should be a few hundred PSI. We're not A/C specialists, therefore we suggest that you leave it to a pro to diagnosis the problem. (Preferably, someone other than the last shop that told you everything was ok.)

 


735. I have a 2002 TE PT. Is there a way to make the rear Power outlet hot all the time instead of only when the ignition is on run or accessory? Thanks in advance. - Dick, from California.

Yes, but you will have to run a separate hot lead up to the dash area to do so. You can tap into the "always on" power lead on the 12v power outlet located in the instrument panel or additional "always hot" power sources under the hood.

 


736. I have a 2000 BE PT with 42k miles. My automatic transmission started to whine and went out completely. From start to finish, this took about 15 minutes. A local dealer has rebuilt the transmission. Is this a common problem with automatic Cruisers? - Gary, from Texas.

Although the 41TE automatic transmission is occasionally maligned we have received very few transmission complaints, and virtually no reported complete failures during the past 2-1/2 years. One of the first tech answers discussed in the library talks about the 41TE as a weak link, however they seem to be more reliable in the (lighter, 2.4L) PT than in the (1000lb heavier, V-6) Caravan.

 


737. I have a 2003 GT PT and am looking for a 2" receiver hitch. I know I can get a 1.25" hitch, but I have a hitch mounted bike rack that requires a 2" receiver. I know there are adapters, but I don't want to use an adapter. Any ideas? Thanks. - Anton, from Massachusetts.

I suspect that the 2" receiver hitches for the Cruiser are harder to find because they exceed the PT's maximum towing capacity of 1000 lb. Most owners install the 1.25" hitch, which is less expensive and falls within the PT's towing parameters. You might try conducting an online search for a 2" receiver, but you may end up purchasing an adapter to utilize your bike rack.

 


738. I just purchased a used 2001 LE PT and would like more get-up-and-go. I'm considering the purchase of an ASE Chip to enhance its horsepower. What should I expect in terms of performance? - Brook, from Louisiana.

The ASE chip retails for about $500, but can often be purchased for less through their web site. The information on the site suggests that the chip will boost the PT's 150 hp to 167, and increase torque from 162 to 187 lb./ft. They recommend using premium fuel (92-93 octane) with this chip to achieve full hp/torque potential. The PT owner must send the vehicles PCM to ASE, where they install the chip and reprogram the PCM. ASE will return the PCM to the owner within 48 hours of receiving it. The chip is designed to work on normally aspirated engines. Engines that utilize Nitrous Oxide systems require more fuel and less ignition. The chip is not recommended for use on these engines.

 


739. I have a 2001 LE PT with an automatic transmission. I'm hearing a "gear" type noise while driving. It increases with speed and is not dependent upon acceleration load. If I'm at speed and shift the transmission into neutral, the noise is still there. The noise is actually a whining noise and I can feel the vibration through the gas pedal. I had the dealer replace the steering rack a year ago, however since then, the steering wheel has been in the 10:30-11 o'clock position. When I return the wheel to the normal center position, the noise subsides. The further to the right I turn the wheel, the more the noise goes away. Is this a steering pump/rack or CV joint problem? Thanks. - Dennis, from Michigan.

The problem certainly sounds like it is related to your steering repair. Your dealer should have never sent out a repair with the steering wheel off center. I wouldn't tinker with it on your own, let the dealer who repaired it inspect it. There's no point in giving them an opportunity to blame you for the problem. Be sure to check their repair work and only accept it in like new condition.

 


740. I have a 2003 GT PT and have attempted to replace the stock 9005/9006 headlight bulbs with PIAA Super Extreme White bulbs but I can get them in the socket. The stock bulbs have a connector on the back, but the PIAA's, and all other replacement bulbs that I've found have the connector turned at 90 degrees. The connector conflicts with the surrounding metal housings and I can't get the wiring harness on. How does one go about replacing the stock bulbs? Thank you. - Gary, from Florida.

We do not recommend replacing the OEM bulbs with aftermarket versions. We have received numerous complaints from owners who have purchased aftermarket bulbs and experience problems with and or post installation. Some owners' report burning up their wiring and or melting the headlamp covers. These are considered out-of-pocket (owner) repairs, when the dealer discovers that the bulb caused the problem. A list of OEM bulb requirements for the PT can be found in the owners' manual or in the Pit area. The PT utilizes:

Low beam: 9006XS
High beam: 9005XS


ThumbnailThe 9005XS/9006XS bulbs are straight-based bulbs, specifically made for new DC vehicles like the PT and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Standard 9005/9006 bulbs have an "L or right-angled" shaped base and are not interchangeable with vehicles that utilize 9005XS/9006XS bulbs.

 


741. I have a 2001 BE PT. My cruiser recently overheated. I dropped by the closest dealership to find that the radiator is leaking at the seal. I was told this is a plastic radiator and would require a new radiator? Has this been a problem with other PT's? Thank you. - Yvonne, from Oklahoma.

We haven't received any other complaints regarding the replacement of the radiator. Your dealer is correct, they are made out of plastic. The service manual provides information for inspecting the radiator, however they do not provide or discuss under what circumstances a damaged radiator can be repaired or must be replaced. A replacement procedure is provided in the service manual. I suspect that your dealer is correct, but it may be a good idea to obtain a second opinion through a shop that specializes in this type of work. The PT's radiator is a down-flow type (vertical tubes) with design features that provide greater strength, as well as sufficient heat transfer capabilities to keep the engine coolant within operating temperatures. The radiator has an aluminum core with plastic tanks. Although stronger than brass, plastic tanks are subject to damage by impact. Always handle radiator with care.

 


742. I have a 2003 BE PT with manual transmission. I am having difficulty finding the brake wire in the driverside kick panel for installation of remote starter system. Any assistance would be great. - Addison, from Wisconsin.

Sorry, but as a matter of safety we don't recommend installing a remote starter in a PT with a manual transmission. That would mean leaving the car in neutral and bypassing the safety switch and clutch interlock. The chance of it being left in gear and launching forward without a driver is a potential danger in a modification of this kind.

 


743. Do you know of any US availability of a LHD 2.2L turbo diesel with a manual transmission? Can they be imported? I am willing to do anything to get some decent mileage. Thanks. - Jim, from USA.

You will never get an export spec PT to pass US emissions. Importing is not possible. The PT's reputation for less than stellar mpg is well known, surely this must have been an accepted consideration when you decided to purchase your Cruiser.

 


744. I have a 2001 LE PT. I am beginning to notice considerable cracking of the dash on the driver side; it appears to have started near the VIN cutout and is spreading (large pealing pieces) quickly. How will the dealer respond to this? Thanks. - Stuart, from Connecticut.

We did hear about a few isolated incidents a few years ago where owners reported cracks in the dash cover. These dash covers were deemed defective by the dealership and replaced under the warranty. In your situation, with a 2001 model year PT, your warranty may or may not be expired. If so, the dealer will be under no obligation to replace it for you, however that wouldn't prevent me from paying them a visit and showing them the damage. Perhaps they would be willing to work something out for you.

 


745. I have a 2001 LE PT. I've noticed that when you have the heater setting on defrost the fan seems to run almost constantly. It runs, then shuts off, then literally seconds later it runs again, and so on. It only does this in the defrost mode. It is very irritating as well as being loud outside the car. In other heater positions it does not do this. Is this normal? Thank you. - Larry, from Canada.

The defrost mode uses the A/C to remove the moisture from the cabin. Any time the A/C compressor runs, the cooling fan also runs. It is normal.

 


746. I have a 2001 BE PT and have had problems with the rubber window trim fading from black to white. Also the F/R bumpers look like DC covered them with temporary plastic covers, but not completely. Where they weren't covered they're terribly faded out. I have used several brands of rubber/plastic conditioners that help for about two days, then fade back again. Is this covered by the warranty? My dealer says no. - Eric, from Hawaii.

The bumpers are covered in a plastic film only during shipment. The hood and patches of the doors are also covered during shipment and it's removed during prep. Since yours is a 2001 and is now 4 years old, I can't see a plastic wrap from 4 years ago causing fading now.

Follow up - Jim Morrison wrote, I own a 2002 PT; about 6 months after my purchase a white "tape residue" mark appeared along the upper section of both bumpers near the body. It, also, would abate when I applied some 303 Protectant, but would reappear in several days. Nothing removed it. The dealer replaced both bumper fascias last month under warranty (18 months into the warranty) and indicated it had occurred on several PT's delivered in 2001 and 2002, however most did not have the problem. I also live at the ocean, I don't know if that's a factor. The new ones look great, but as a precaution I'll avoid any treatments on them just in case the 303 brought out the flaw last time. I've used it for several years on other cars without any problem at all, and it's widely used for boat applications.

Follow up - Glenn, from Canada wrote: My 2001 LE PT developed what appeared to be paint overspray lines on a poorly masked bumper, on both the front and rear bumper. The dealer photographed the blemishes and contacted me today to inform me that Chrysler would repaint both bumpers under warranty, and even offered to color match them like the 2003's. He informed me that since my initial complaint over 3 weeks ago; he has received 3 additional complaints. He identified the cause as shipping tape marks during the initial delivery of the vehicle. I tried to remove the blemishes with virtually every type of paint thinner/reducer and compound available. The blemish lines run the width of the bumper next to the body and extend down the sides of the rear bumpers.

Follow up - Chase, from Louisiana wrote: I own a 2003 PT Cruiser. The white tape marks on the bumpers show up over time. When DC paints the bodies of the cars at the factory the bumpers are taped off leaving them the natural grey plastic color. The problem is that the masking tape they used also stripped the UV protectant out of the plastic. This causes the areas that are taped off to fade much faster than the rest of the bumper. No remedy has been found to fix this problem, except to paint the bumper the same color as the body, as is done on newer Cruisers.

PT DIY follow up - DC issued a TSB in 2004 for this issue, which affected 2001-03 model year PT's with the grey unfinished front and rear fascia. The TSB calls for repainting the grey fascias the original color, not the color of the vehicle. (We know of a few instances where the customer was given a choice by the dealer between repainting the fascias the OE grey color or the body color.) The TSB is available for review in the Pit area.

 


747. I have a 2002 TE PT. I was filling up my transmission fluid, when I noticed that I used motor oil (5 -30W synthetic, less than a quart) instead of transmission fluid. I quickly drained and dropped the transmission pan and took off the filter. I have not started the car or moved the gears. Can I flush the transmission myself, what should I do next? Have I done any major damage? Thank you for your help. - RC, from Nevada.

I'm curious to know why you were adding fluid? It's a sealed system. Unless there is a failure of a part or gasket, you should not have to add fluid. The PT uses a very special ATF+4. Do not use ATF+3 or Dexron or Mercon. Only Mopar makes the +4 ATF. Valvoline makes a generic fluid that claims to be +4 compatible. Amsoil claims their synthetic ATF is +4 certified. The 41TE automatic transmission has had enough notoriety that I only use Mopar fluid in them.

The filler tube goes directly into the pan. If the engine was not running, and you poured in motor oil, it "should" only be in the pan. A drain & fill "should" be fine. If it was running, you will need a complete flush using a pressurized flush machine. That machine must be emptied of all generic ATF and ATF+4 installed in it. Most machines keep a few quarts in reserve. Be sure it's not Dexron ATF. (We were unable to respond to this owner via email; it bounced back as (user unknown) an invalid email address.)

 


748. I have a 2001 LE PT. What is the procedure for changing the alternator? Is there a trick to it, or do you have to take the car apart to do it? - Bruce, from Michigan.

The service manual covers the domestic and export PT's and generically refers to the alternator as a generator as it relates to all PT's, which can be confusing to the novice DIY'er. An alternator is an engine-belt driven device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. The electrical output keeps the battery charged and operates the vehicles electrical system. A generator is similar to an alternator in that it generates electrical current to keep the battery charged and supplies electricity for a vehicle's electric system. A generator differs from an alternator in that it produces direct current (DC), where as an alternator produces alternating current (AC).

An experienced DIY'er with a service manual (There are several illustrations and a few sub-procedures.), necessary tools and equipment could probably handle replacing the alternator. All others may want to consider having a pro take care of it. (We were unable to respond to this owner via email; it bounced back as (user unknown) an invalid email address.)

 


749. I have a 2003 GT PT. Are the Champion Double Platinum 7440 spark plugs as good for the GT turbo as they were for the standard PT? I replaced the OEM plugs on my previous 2001 model with the DP's and it made a difference. Well I see the same increase on my new GT model? - Bob, from the USA.

The Spark Plug G states "The DP plug is recommended for use with stock PT engines only. PT owners with (forced induction) Hahn RaceCraft turbos or Whipple superchargers have complained of spark knock (ping) using the DP plug."

They "may, might, could" be a problem on the new GT models. The compression was lowered from 9.4:1 to 8.1:1 to make up for the increased boost pressures, but they have not been tested in the GT turbo motor. If they do not work, they will cause a misfire under boost. It's the abnormal cylinder pressures that create the misfire potential with the double platinum plugs. The aftermarket Whipple or Hahn add boost on top of the OEM compression, thus increasing it beyond the engineered design limits. Regardless of turbo or non-turbo application, there are no advertised horsepower gains from the DP plugs, however they do fire better and last longer.

 


750. A few weeks back I purchased a used 2001 LE PT. Yesterday I parked the car as usual and pulled the parking brake up. I usually put the car in reverse when parking, but may not have this time, I can't remember. At the end of the day, some coworkers alerted me to the fact that the car had rolled down the parking lot (backwards) jumped a curb and was straddling a grass median in the parking lot. It had side-swiped a sign on the way scratching the drivers side rear door, rear bumper cover, rear wheel well, and "ground effects" side molding. The car was on a slight incline but not much of one - it was so slight I didn't even realize that it was not exactly flat. When I found the car, the parking brake was still all the way up (to the usual 3/4 up position before it stops). I pulled the brake up further and this time it went all the way up with absolutely no resistance. Normally, it's not possible to make the brake go more than 3/4 of the way up. I then released the parking brake all the way down and pulled it back up again. When I pulled it back up again, the tension was normal and it would only go up 3/4 of the way as usual. I brought the car to the dealer and they said they could find no physical problems with the car or brakes. A body repair shop estimated that repairing the scratches would be $1000 CDN. Online I found out about a TSB "regarding replacing the parking brake equalizer with a stronger unit as regards the failure to engage problem." Could you tell me more about this TSB and how it might relate to what I experienced? Also, what should I expect from the Chrysler dealer? Thanks so much. - Trent, from Canada.

I'm sorry to hear of your accident. Although the parking brake may have let loose due to the equalizer problems on the 2001 PT's, the car was obviously left out of gear as well. As is indicated in the owners' manual, PT's with an automatic transaxle should be set in "park" and PT's with a manual transaxle should be set in "reverse" when setting the parking brake. Chrysler's responsibility may be very limited since your actions appear to have contributed to the accident, and reproducing the brake concern may be difficult and hard to prove.

Early in PT production, there were several complaints about the parking brake doing exactly what you said. It would pull all the way up with no resistance. When released and pulled again, it would work fine. Later production PT's have not had any complaints about the parking brake.

Were not familiar with the TSB you mention, and I've found no listing in the NHTSA database. We are aware of one TSB, which is posted on our TSB section. Bulletin Number: 050200 Emergency Parking Brake - Subject regarding revised parking brake equalizer assembly removal procedures. *TT

Follow up from owner - I appreciate your response very much. Thankfully, the dealer called today to inform me that the "engineering" team at DC wants to look at my brake and that they'll replace it and pay to have the damage repaired. Good news indeed! Lesson learned though - I'll always double check to make sure the car is fully in reverse after setting the parking brake.

 



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