I found this 2nd Gen (1992) Trooper on craigslist. It was dirty; the A/C didn't work and leaked a lot of up front. No one wanted it so I got it for a steal. It cleaned up extremely well and was a one owner with good service records. I wanted a build project that I could do myself without taking it to a shop. The learning curve would be vertical, but there is no better way of learning than to jump right in.
I wanted an extremely capable crawler with IFS. I know that an SAS swap would make it bigger a tougher but I wanted to see what could be squeezed out of an IFS system and how it wheeled in the tough stuff. If it breaks, I will fix it (the build has taught me how) and keep wheeling.
The term monster is relative but based on all the posts; it looked like 35's were the largest that would work reliably on IFS Troopers. In fact I can only find a couple of people running 35's on IFS Trooper's. 33's seem to be the norm.
I will be running 35 Super Swamper Radials by Interco tire which are actually 35 1/4 inches tall. Usually called a 36 by most other brands of tire.
A friend of mine was parting out a 95 Rodeo and gave me the A/C compressor. I changed the expansion valve, dryer, all the o rings and installed the used Rodeo compressor. Had a buddy charge it with R134A and it works like a champ. Essential for living in the South. The oil leak was easily fixed with a new gasket that fits behind the oil filter. So far off to a good start with almost minimal expense.
I am fortunate that there is a Pull A Part near me that usually has troopers there. You go pull the part yourself and then pay for it. Parts are dirt cheap and experience is free. You learn an enormous amount, fast when you have to pull your own parts. Costs $1 to get in the yard.
An essential tool is the ISUZU FACTORY MANUAL, a must have.
HERE IS THE 92 TROOPER STOCK HEIGHT
Talking to bigswede he said he swapped his suspension for a wide stance suspension from the 95-97 Trooper and it helped him fit 35's.
So off I went to Pull A Part and found a 96 Trooper There. Got the complete rear axle, front upper a arms (they are longer), lower ball Joints (they are longer) and cv axles. This will serve as the wide stance suspension swap.
96 TROOPER WIDE STANCE REAR AXLE - $68 From Pull A Part
First job was to remove the rear brakes, knock off the dust shields, Remove the rear shafts then the 3rd member. Since I was lucky enough to find a set of 5:38 gears the 3rd member was sent to have the ring and pinion gears set up. (Something you do not want to do if you don't know how as you could destroy the gears).
REAR END WITH SHAFTS AND 3RD MEMBER REMOVED
I them removed the seals from the axle housing and scrubbed the inside of the housing with kerosene to clean out the old gear oil residue.
REAR AXLE HOUSING CLEAN INSIDE
INSTALLED NEW SEALS IN THE HOUSING
The 12 Bolt Aussie Rear Locker became available so I installed it in the 3rd member with the newly set up 5:38 gears.
First you remove the ring gear and take the spider gears out of the open carrier
Then you install the Aussie Locker in the open carrier, this does not affect your gear set up.
Reinstall the ring gear with lock-tite and torque. Reassemble the 3rd member. Not difficult, you just have to dive in.
FINISHED 3RD MEMBER WITH 5:38's AND AUSSIE LOCKER
I reassembled the rear end, cleaned, scrubbed and degreased it for painting.
As soon as it's painted I will reinstall the brakes and add the stainless Steel brake lines. New pads and turned rotors will be used. I would rather have a turned Japanese rotor than the low quality new Chinese made rotors.
Since I will be using the Super Swamper Radial in 35x10.50-15 on a snowflake 15x7 rim, it's going to be a tight fit. I am doing a 1" body lift and a 3 inch suspension lift. Combined with a little hammering in the wheel wells, it should fit with the wide stance suspension. If not, I will use the saw.
MONSTER 35 SUPER SWAMPER RADIALS
YES THEY REALLY ARE TRUE 35's. LOOKS LIKE 35 1/4"
First thing to do on the body lift is to read the instructions and lay out the parts.
Next is to remove the front and rear bumper. 4 bolts hold the front bumper on and 4 bolts for the rear please a couple of small rear side bolts. Next is to loosen the front body bolt near the radiator support and you have to remove the interior carpet door plates to get to 2 bolts under the carpet. One in the front area another in the rear passenger floor area.
BODY BOLT UNDER THE FRAME
There is an additional bolt on the side and two bolts in the rear. You loosen all 6 bolts on each side without removing them. You remove the bolts from the drivers side, jack up the Trooper, insert the lift plucks above the factory bushing and insert the new bolts. You use the front three factory bolts on the rear three holes.
TROOPER BODY JACKED UP ON ONE SIDE - A 4x4 Wood Block is really handy
FRONT OF TROOPER WITH 1 INCH SPACER INSTALLED
REAR OF TROOPER WITH 1 INCH SPACER INSTALLED
92 TROOPER WITH 1 INCH BODY LIFT
Seems to handle exactly the same with the 1" body lift. Did not have to change any hoses or brakes lines. Only removed the detach ring on the fan housing at the bottom. Looks like it was designed exactly for a body lift. With an automatic I would not want to go more than 1" for a body lift. I have heard so many bad things about a body lift that I was reluctant to do it. The 1 inch body lift worked extremely well and I am pleased.
I did not reinstall the factory bumpers as I am going to build my own. Not sure how they will turn out but going to give it a good shot.
Luckily my friend gave me a transfer case out of a 95 Rodeo so I tore it down and installed the Tera Low Gear Set. With the help of Bigpoppax2 and a good friend I managed to get the Tera Low's in the transfer case.
TERA LOW GEAR ON LEFT VERSUS STOCK LOW GEAR ON RIGHT
TERA LOW'S IN TRANSFER CASE
TRANSFER CASE FILLED WITH PURPLE SYN OIL READY TO GO IN TROOP
I removed the old boots from the CV axles, soaked the axles in Kerosene, scrubbed them clean, greased and installed the Mecatech boots. Once again I would rather have good used Japanese CV's than new Chinese made copies.
Cleaned up the upper A Arms, installed the ball joint spacer and flipped the ball joint to the underside. Since the ball joints were tight I greased them and installed a new Mecatech rubber boot.
WIDE STANCE A ARMS WITH BALL JOINT FLIP, SPACERS & BUMP STOPS
MECATECH BOOT ON BALL JOINT
The Trooper project is quite a lot of work, especially when you really don't know what you are doing but I can say it's extremely enjoyable. The guys at Planetisuzoo have been really helpful and I am learning a lot. If you are patient and have the FACTORY ISUZU MANUAL it all finally comes together.
Finished painting the wide stance rear axle today and assembled the brakes with stainless brake lines. Unfortunately the Factory rear rotors were too far gone to turn and I had to get a set of Chinese made rotors. Next time I am at Pull A Part I will try and find OEM rotors to use.
WIDE STANCE REAR END READY TO GO IN THE TROOPER
Just need some new brake pads and the rear axle is complete
The Stock rear lower links are prone to bending with extreme wheeling. I will be installing a heavy duty set that is adjustable. As you raise the rear suspension of the Trooper the rear axle moves forward shortening your wheel base. These adjustable rear links allow you to move the rear axle back to it's original position. The 3rd rear link that connects to the top of the rear axle is also adjustable that allows you to adjust your pinion angle as needed with the lift.
STOCK REAR LOWER LINK COMPARED TO MONSTER ADJUSTABLE LINK
The factory Isuzu tie-rods will break with monster tires and rock crawling. I will be installing a set of heavy duty tie rods. These are truly massive and you will not break them.
The heavy duty tie rod's come unassembled and un-painted.
HEAVY DUTY TIE-ROD BEFORE AND AFTER ASSEMBLY & PAINTING
While I am waiting for the front 5:38 ring gear to be machined, it's time to install the transfer case with the Tera Low Gear.
First thing to do is remove the three skid plates and then the front and rear driveshaft. Next place a jack under the transmission to support it when you remove the tansmission support crossmember.
JACK SUPPORTING TRANSMISSION WHILE REMOVING CROSSMEMBER
THREE SKIDPLATES AND TRANSMISSION CROSSMEMBER
Before cleaning and degreasing. I scraped them first with a putty knife to remove the heavy grease then I spayed and scrubbed them with Simple Green, a fantastic degreaser. They cleaned up very well.
Unplug the wires from the transfer case and remove the bolts that hold the transfer case to the transmission. Don't forget the shifter knob inside the Trooper. The very top bolt is a bear and requires a short ratchet or gearwrench.
TRANSFER CASE TO BE REMOVED
Once the transfer case is unbolted and unplugged you just tug backwards on it plops right out onto your chest. Yes it's a little heavy.
TRANSFER CASE OUT OF TROOPER
LOOKING INTO THE BACK OF THE TRANSMISSION WITH THE TRANSFER CASE REMOVED
It's then just a matter of the reversal of procudure to get the transfer case back in.
I got the transfer case all back in and it looks like the actual shifter is slightly different from the Rodeo to the Trooper. There is no room to shift the transfer case as the shifter hits the wall of the body. Looks like I will have to pull the transfer case out again and switch the actual shifter . Like I said the learning curve is vertical. It's all part of a build.
I pulled the transfer case out of the Trooper again and when I compared the rodeo shifter to the trooper shifter it was different. The rodeo shifter is straighter. Removed the 4 bolts holding the shifter arm and replaced the rodeo shifter with the trooper shifter.
TROOPER SHIFTER ABOVE, RODEO SHIFTER BELOW
I noticed that the rear seal on the transmission was leaking and replaced it as well. Put the transfer case back in the trooper and it shifts perfectly.
Smooth as silk going into Tera Low. That Tera Low gear is fantastic
CLEANED AND DEGREASED SKID PLATES
TRANSFER CASE BACK IN TROOPER WITH TERA LOW INSTALLED.
As you can see the crossmember and skid plates are nice and clean. I also just noticed that the cat looks like it was installed backwards by the previous owner. Not sure it makes a difference but I will probably switch it.
It looks like the front ring gear may be ready the end of this week so I decided to remove the rear axle today.
JACKED UP THE TROOPER, REMOVED TIRES & PLACED REAR ON 4 JACK STANDS - 2 in front of the link mount & 2 near the rear bumper mount.
You can see the bent factory lower link below
First removed was the drive shaft, then the rear shocks, sway bar links, frame bolts for the link rod's, removed parking brake cables, unplugged ABS brake sensor, removed upper brake line and 3rd member breather hose. Once everything was unplugged and unbolted the rear axle was removed.
NARROW AXLE OUT OF THE 92 TROOPER
TROOPER MINUS AXLE
I will be installing the OME 919 springs with 2 inch spacers, quick disconnect sway bar links and the heavy duty rear lower links.
OME 919 SPRING ON LEFT, FACTORY SPRING ON RIGHT
SWAY BAR WITH QUICK DISCONNECT LINKS, POLY BUSHINGS, 2 INCH SPACERS & OME 919 SPRINGS
With the rear axle out I decided to spray the wheel well with smooth bedliner spay. Should be ready to install the wide stance axle tomorrow
CLEANED UP WHEEL WELL WITH BEDLINER SPRAY
Will be installling a pair of gently used Pro Comp shocks. These are longer for axle articulation and measure 23 inches center to center bolt holes.
PRO COMP SHOCK AND LOWER LINK READY TO INSTALL
Decided to install the rear axle today. First to go in was the rear sway bar with the new poly bushings and quick disconnect links. Next was the 23" Pro Comp shocks. Measured each lower link and adjusted the to 1/2" longer than stock.
SWAY BAR WITH QD LINKS INSTALLED, 23" SHOCKS & LOWER LINK
The completed rear end was then carried and moved up under the trooper. Working on the ground has it's own challanges. Installed the OME 919 springs & 2 inch spacers, bolted up the 2 lower links, fought to get the jack under the rear end to raise it to allow the rear link to be bolted on. Bolted the bottom of the shock to the axle, bolted the upper adjustable link and it's almost there. Ran out of time today so the driveshaft, rear brake line and parking brake cables will have to be hooked up tomorrow.
WIDE STANCE REAR AXLE ON THE TROOPER
Put the rear wheel on just to get an idea of the lift and WOW !! thats tall, and the 35's are not on yet.
LIFTED WIDE STANCE REAR AXLE, STOCK HEIGHT FRONT - MAD MAX MACHINE
Once the front is lifted I will adjust the links to center the rear wheel in the wells and get the correct pinion angle on the 3rd member for the driveshaft. Starting to get excited now.
Waiting for the front 5:38 gears is tough. Decided to install the 35's on the rear end. Looks crazy.
Finished up the rear end work. Lubed the lower links, lubed the poly sway bar bushings, lubed the drive shaft and u-joints. Bled the rear brakes which was quite easy, filled the rear end with gear oil and adjusted the parking brake. Disconnected the front drive shaft and took the trooper for a spin with the 35's. It was really smooth. The Aussie Locker makes a popping noise when you turn and takes a little getting used to. At first I was not sure if I had left something unbolted and then realized it was the rear locker. It seems to work well though.
TROOPER WITH 35's MOUNTED ON REAR.
Finally after three months of waiting I got the front 5:38 ring gear machined for the ring and it is in the 3rd member. The project is back on track. Pulled all the front suspension and axle off the trooper. It will be easier to show in detail the re-install with clean parts. Will be installing the 10 bolt 5:38 gears & aussie locker with the diff drop brackets, wide stance upper arms, wide stance longer CV axles, Wide stance lower ball joints, Calmini tortion bars, poly sway bar bushings, stainless brake lines, heavy duty tie rods ,QD sway bar links and all the other front end gear.
TROOPER WITH FRONT SUSPENSION REMOVED
Here is the pesky 5:38 ring gear that had to be machined. I was told that whoever had sent the gear manufacturer the ring and pinion gear for the 10 bolt front Isuzu, sent them the 10 bolt older rear gears instead, hence having to have the ring gear machined to accept the spacer. Finaly after 3 months of tortured waiting it is done.
5:38 RING GEAR AFTER BEING MACHINED FOR SPACER
MACHINED 5:38 RING GEAR WITH SPACER
SIDE VIEW OF SPACER ON MACHINED 5:38 RING GEAR
Even finding the longer machine scews to hold the carrier and spacer on the ring gear was a real pain. They are 10mm 1.00 extra fine thread and need grade 8.
Received the 10 bolt 3rd member back from having the 5:38 gears set up.
Removed the carrier and installed the Aussie Locker. Applied Loc-Tite and set the torque on the bolts and FINALLY the front was complete with 5:38 gears. Did I mention it was tough waiting 3 months for the ring gear to be machined.
10BOLT 3RD MEMBER WITH INSTALLED 5:38 GEARS AND OPEN CARRIER
CARRIER OUT OF FRONT 3RD MEMBER, AUSSIE LOCKER WAITING TO GO IN
THE HARD TO FIND LONGER BOLTS FOR THE CARRIER, SPACER AND RING GEAR. RED LOC_TITE AND TORQUED TO 80 POUNDS
FINISHED 3RD MEMBER WITH 5:38 GEARS AND AUSSIE LOCKER INSTALLED
FRONT AXLE READY TO BE PUT BACK TOGETHER WITH DARLINGTON DIFF DROP BRACKETS
PUTTING THE AXLE BACK TOGETHER. PLENTY OF HIGH TEMP RTV SEALER
AXLES SHAFTS GOING BACK IN TO 3RD MEMBER IN HOUSING
FRONT AXLE ASSEMBLED AND DEGREASED READY FOR PAINTING
AFTER A COAT OF PAINT AXLE LOOKS FANTASTIC
I have found that a wire circular wheel on a drill press is wonderful for cleaning rust and crub off all your bolt before installing back in the vehicle. Saves you from binding up a bolt and breaking it.
CLEANING CRUD OFF ALL BOLTS WITH A WIRE WHEEL ON A DRILL PRESS
FRONT AXLE GOING BACK INTO TROOPER
Before installing the A-Arms I cleaned them up and painted them
PAINTING THE PARTS BEFORE INSTALLATION.
YOU DON'T NEED A FANCY CLEANING TANK TO GET THE JOB DONE. KEROSENE WORKS WELL AND CAN BE REUSED.
Installed the lower A-Arm with wide stance lower ball joint, installed the longer wide stance upper A-Arm and the longer wide stance CV axle.
WIDE STANCE UPPER A-ARM, LONGER LOWER BOLT JOINT AND WIDE STANCE CV AXLES - I LATER REALIZED I HAD THE LOWER BALL JOINT ON UPSIDE DOWN
Went to install the wheel spindle and the lower ball joint did not want to go in, realized the lower ball joint was installed upside down. That's the problem with not being a mechanic, stupid mistakes can waste a couple of hours. All part of the fun though.
LOWER BALL JOINT INSTALLED THE CORRECT SIDE DOWN
WITH THE LOWER BALL JOINT FACING THE CORRECT WAY THE WHEEL SPINDLE WENT ON EASILY
INSTALLED SWAY BAR WITH POLY BUSHINGS, SHOCK, BRAKE DUST SHIELD AND HEAVVY DUTY TIE ROD
Installed the cleaned inner and outer wheel bearings in the turned rotor and hub. Installed a new oil seal in the inner hub.
REPACKED CLEANED BEARING AND NEW OIL SEAL IN BRAKE ROTOR AND HUB
ROTOR AND HUB BACK ON WHEEL SPINDLE
Installed the brake caliper with pads, the stainless brake line, a set of junk yard cleaned and painted Asin manual hubs and the front end is back together.
COMPLETED FRONT END WITH ASIN MANUAL HUBS
Sprayed the brake rotors with brake cleaner to degrease them. When I installed the HD tie rods I noticed them seemed too short ans lots of thread stuck out. Forgot to keep in mind the wide stance swap when getting the HD tie rods. Matt was kind enough to exchange the center bars for longer ones. Had 7 1/2" center bars, needed the longest 8 1/2" ones.
FRONT END TOGETHER, INSTALLED QD SWAY BAR DISCONNECT. THE TIED ROD CENTER BARS SEEM A BIT SHORT - NOTE THE FLAT CV AS THE TORTION BARS HAVE NOT BEEN CRANKED YET.
EXCHANGED FOR LONGER TIE ROD CENTER BARS (BOTTOM ) 8 1/2" LONG
INSTALLED THE CALMINI HEAVY DUTY TORTION BARS
I came to the conclusion that after 160K miles the U-Joints were probably worn and 35"s locked were not going to help them so I decided to change them. Had to look through 8 boxes to find the Japanese made ones. As the older parts are sold all the new parts are made in China and probably won't hold up to serious wheeling.
START BY POPPING OFF THE CLIPS ON THE INSIDE OF THE U-JOINT
REMOVE THE GREASE NIPPLE AND HAMMER THE CAP DOWN
POP THE CAPS OFF AND THE U-JOINT COMES APART
ONCE THE U-JOINT IS OUT, INSTALL THE NEW JOINT AND TAP THE CAPS ON
DRIVE SHAFT WITH NEW U-JOINT
Lubed up all the u-joints, poly sway bar bushings. Lubed the tie rods, lubed the drive shaft centers, lubed the rear HD links. Checked to make sure that the front and rear diffs were filled with gear oil. Decided to replace the power steering pressure hose as wa not sure how old it was and 35's with a locker is going to put a lot of pressure on the system. Bled the brakes and low and behold installed the front tires. It's a true IFS monster. cranked the tortion bars to lift the front. Evened out the front end. Pulled a string and did a rough aligment on the front end and took it for a short spin. It ran really well. everything worked. The 5:38 gears are perfect with 35's. No loss of pwer at all. The Tera Low is really low combined with the 5:38's and auto tranny.
LOOKING AT THE FRONT END AFTER THE TORTION BAR CRANK. WITHOUT THE DIFF DROP BRACKETS THE ANGLE OF THE CV WOULD BE EXTREME
92 TROOPER WITH WIDE STANCE SUSPENSION SWAP, 35'S, LOCKED FRONT AND REAR WITH 5:38 GEARS. A TRUE IFS MONSTER.
Still have to install the sub frame brace. Looks like I will have to trim a small amount of the bottom if the front fender for extreme wheeling. Does not rub driving on the road.
GRINDING DOWN THE FACTORY BOLT SLEEPS TO GET THE SUBFRAME BRACE TO FIT
DARLINGTON SUB FRAME BRACE INSTALLED. DESIGNED FOR DIFF DROP.
THE FRONT OF THE FORWARD SKID PLATE HAD TO BE CUT OUT TO STOP THE FRONT DRIVE SHAFT FRONT HITTING IT
The inner fender liner needs trimming. The plastic liner has been removed,
the next step is to use a metal cutter and cut of the tabs and pound the inner metal lip back into the wheel well. You then cut the inner portion of the outer fender so you can trim the edge and round it in with a hammer.
FENDER WITH INNER LINER TABS INTACT
CUTTING OFF THE INNER LINER TABS AND BEATING THE METAL IN TOWARDS THE WHEEL WELL, ALSO CUTTING OFF THE BOTTOM INNER AREA OF THE OUTER FENDER AND ROUNDING IT IN.
A COAT OF SPARY BED LINER AND IT FINISHES OF THE WHEEL WELL.
WHEEL CLEARANCE WITH THE TRIMMED FENDER AND TIRE STRAIGHT
WHEEL CLEARANCE WITH TRIMMED FENDER AND TIRE TURNED ALL THE WAY IN ( THE WHEEL IS TURNED OUT AND THE REAR OF THE TIRE IS ALL THE WAY IN )
FRONT SHOT OF THE TROOPER WITH 35's
I really think true 35's are the largest you could run with IFS. It looks like part of the front frame where the bumper attaches will have to be trimmed as the tire is really close up front and would probably rub wheeling. A custom bumper bracket will have to be built.
THE REAR PORTION OF THE FRONT FRAME ( BUMPER MOUNT ) WILL HAVE TO BE TRIMMED OR WILL RUB WHEN WHEELING. THE AREA THAT IS THREADED WITH THE REAR BOLT WILL HAVE TO BE TRIMMED OFF
Since I managed to work out a trade with Joe Darlington, I decided to let him build the front bumper and rock sliders. He will trim the rear of the front bumper mount and make a custom mount for the bumper.
JOE DARLINGTON DID A FANTASTIC JOB ON THE BUMPER
CLOSE UP SHOTS OF THE BUMPER WITH A WARN M8000 WINCH MOUNTED INSIDE.
ROCK SLIDERS ARE NICE AND STURDY AND ALSO WORK AS A STEP INTO THE TROOPER
MONSTER IFS TROOPER BUILD FINALLY OVER. IT REALLY IS A MONSTER TROOPER THAT SHOULD BE EXTREMELY CAPABLE. It'S A LOT BIGGER THAN IT LOOKS IN THE PICS.
It really has been enjoyable building this Trooper. It has been a tremendous amount of work but a lot of fun. It drives very smoothly on the road and it is going for a test to URE this weekend to see how it climbs.
With IFS I think this is the largest tire you could run without any major modification to the wheel wells and front bumper frame. As it is, the front bumper frame had to be cut and a custom bumper mount made. The one inch body lift is just perfect without making the Trooper unstable. The Aussie lockers work extremely well, very easy to turn when locked up front. I prefer the front Aussie locker to the ARB locker. You can turn with the Aussie front locker and can not turn with ARB. I have found that the Isuzu Trooper is a very tough and capable vehicle and is probably the best value in a 4x4 today.
1ST TIME OUT - APRIL 2008
Daniel on URE was a flowing mud river when we got there noon Saturday. The rain was pouring hard. Two vehicles ahead of me turned around at the first ledge and went back down. The two vehicles that were with me turned back as well. There were 2 guys in rain gear that were taking pics of the rigs and said the last 8 rigs that were ahead could not climb the ledges and had to winch over them. Nothing like a severe test for your very first run of a newbly built rig. With the spotting help from the guys of American Wheeler the Trooper climbed both the ledges without a glitch. It ran better that expected. It climbed the whole of Daniel in the mud and slush without any problem. There were about 8 rigs that were all stuck on the bypass of daniel that had to winch up. I made it up the middle.
My exhaust did break after the muffler but it was rotten. I will have to trim back of the rear wheel wells as the the tires are rubbing. I am going to replace the rear bumper with a 2x6 steel bumper as the factory rear bumper is a mud catch all. Overall the Trooper performed better than I could have hoped for and was extremely impressed.
People are always shocked to see a Trooper climbing right past them.
Don't have any pics as I was trying to stop from falling off the mountain.
URE is 5 times tougher wet than it is dry.
I really do hate mud. I would rather rock climb any day than mud flop. Took 8 cycles at the car wash to get 90% of the mud off.
AT THE TOP OF DANIEL AFTER THE RAIN STOPPED. ONLY PIC I GOT THAT DAY. THERE IS A TON OF MUD UNDER THE TROOP. THERE GOES THE CLEAN SUSPENSION. I DO HATE MUD.
THE TROOPER IN ACTION ON THE FIRST TWO LEDGES AT DANIEL. IT'S A LOT STEEPER THAN IT LOOKS FROM ABOVE
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