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2nd Gen Tacoma Intermediate Steering Shaft Replacement and Review

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by fast5speed, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. Apr 18, 2018 at 11:38 PM
    #1
    fast5speed

    fast5speed [OP] Well-Known Member

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1. Preface
    2. Goal/Purpose
    3. The issue
    4. Walkthrough
      • Tools Required
      • Tools Optional
      • Sources of additional 'pain'
      • Procedure
    5. Final words
    6. Review of eBay steering shaft (page 2)

    Preface:
    This is a how-to/DIY on replacing the intermediate steering shaft on a 2nd Gen Tacoma. I will also be reviewing an aftermarket steering shaft I used as the replacement. If using an OEM Toyota replacement shaft, the procedure is identical.


    MY goal here is to produce a high quality thread worthy of being stickied. When compounding 15-20 years of forum posts, Google results become cluttered and useless. The aim is for this write-up to be easy to find for members (to avoid "how to?" clutter) and for non-members via web searches.
    I will be writing this in the style that a casual DIY-er would feel comfortable with, as this is a low level difficulty repair.
    YOUR goal is likely to save a few dollars while getting your hands a bit dirty and learning more about your truck. Also, a big part is being able to see what you're taking on before you start the project.
    The dealer quoted me $338 for this job. Let's see if we can beat it.
    Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 1.40.11 AM.jpg

    What is the issue?
    As per Toyota's technical service bulletin (TSB, file attached below), it is claimed that 2005-2010 model year 4x4 and PreRunner Tacomas suffer from a steering U-joint that rapidly wears, causing stiff or binding steering.
    In their TSB, Toyota carefully describes this issue as a "noisy steering shaft" that makes a rattling noise when going over rough roads, and bumps.
    In reality, this is quite the understatement.
    The root issue is that the U-joint is exposed to road grime, moisture, salt, etc. The joint develops surface rust which creates friction in the steering linkage. Most owners report stiff or binding steering. Most people will fight through it or spray WD-40 on the linkage if they discover the issue.
    Each time this happens, they are grinding the surface rust away, which leaves the U-joint exposed again. The U-joint rusts again, the driver fights through it again. The joint gets worn down in the process.
    Here is an example of nearly a worst-case scenario:

    (I will update this with pictures of my shaft [above] after I removed it from the vehicle)
    As seen in the video, the joint exhibits lots of rust, and has been worn down so much that it has developed a large amount of play, allowing the steering wheel to turn freely for ~30° of rotation.
    I say the video above is 'nearly a worst-case scenario' because the worst-case scenario is that the joint separates and the driver loses steering control while in motion.

    WALKTHROUGH
    For this walkthrough, I will be expanding on the Toyota published TSB. The procedure listed in the TSB is an oversimplification, which was not realistic for my experience, and likely won't be for yours either.

    PARTS:
    Intermediate steering shaft (Toyota updated part #: 45220-04020)
    Bolt w/washer (Toyota part #: 90080-11555)

    TOOLS REQUIRED:
    12mm wrench*, and/or 12mm socket with ratchet.*
    Torque wrench

    TOOLS OPTIONAL:
    Jack, jack stands
    Large pickle fork *
    Pry bar *
    Torch *
    Penetrating oil *
    Sharpie or other marker *
    Straps/rope or steering wheel holder

    * indicates tools I used
    I did not use a jack, although it may have helped. I am of the size (and age) that I was able to shimmy under the truck onto my back. There was enough room to move my arms. My truck is a 2005 4cyl 4x4 that is 100% stock, including ride height and tire size.


    Sources of additional work, time, effort, struggle (collectively referred to as 'pain' from now on)
    What caused my experience to be more painful than expected or indicated in the TSB:
    • Struggling to remove the steering shaft on the lower end where it connects to the steering rack due to rust, friction, crud, etc. (single most 'painful' part - added ~1.5-2 hrs.)
    • Difficulty removing the upper steering shaft from the clamp (moderate pain - added 20-30mins)
    • Aligning the steering wheel (minor additional pain, 5-10 min adjust and check)
    PROCEDURE
    The procedure is quite simple - unbolt shaft, remove shaft, install new shaft. I will list the expanded steps in order here.
    1. Lock your steering wheel (SW) so that it can not move. Properly secure it in place via straps, or a steering wheel holder. In addition, make sure your front wheels do not move during this procedure.XkeatJd.jpg (borrowed from http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/1...-intermediate-steering-shaft-replacement.html)
    2. Behind the pedals, remove the dust shield at the bottom of the steering column - fastened by 4 white plastic nuts. Remove by finger. Pull back the carpet to access the 2 hidden nutsScreen Shot 2018-04-17 at 1.58.03 PM.jpg

    3. Pull off the steering column dust cover. It has a cut-through on the back, so it can be pulled off of the shaft.
    4. The TSB says to make match marks on the joint and the shaft so that it can be properly re-indexed upon re-assembly. Use a Sharpie to draw a line across both the shaft and the joint, so you have a reference mark to re-align it. Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 2.02.29 PM.jpg
    5. Remove the bolt holding the steering column to the joint. I am not entirely sure if there is a purpose of removing this bolt other than to replace it with the updated part (listed below). This bolt is 12mm as are the 3 other bolts in this procedure.Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 2.02.43 PM.jpg
    6. Gain access to the clamp that connects the upper and lower steering shafts. Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 2.16.01 PM.jpg
    7. Again, make match marks on these 2 shafts with respect to the collar.Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 2.16.19 PM.jpg 4R4steering.jpg(borrowed from http://www.4crawler.com/4x4/ForSale/Docs/BodyLift_HowTo.shtml)
    8. Remove the 2 bolts (may be hard to remove due to rust. Use penetrating oil and do not break the bolts off because your life will then be 100x more painful) holding the clamp in place and "remove shaft" as the TSB states. The ease of this step depends greatly on how the rotation of your steering prior to you parking the truck. I have a feeling that, when SW is centered, the bolts align themselves as pictured below, but cannot confirm yet.Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 2.17.22 PM.jpg
      • The TSB simply says "slide up and out".
      • Until now, I have been almost directly copy-pasting from the TSB, but this is where reality starts to deviate the course.
      • This step is not nearly as easy as pictured. There is friction involved, making the shafts hard to separate. *Remember: the shaft slides up, not down*
      • My truck recently had the frame replaced prior, so someone else had done the hard work and 'broken the seal' for me. Even so, I spent a lot of time on this step.
      • After trying by hand for about 20 minutes, I realized it wasn't gonna budge.
      • I tried to open up the collar by prying a flat blade in the slot. This did not do much on its own.
      • Then I got out the propane torch and penetrating oil. I put the flame right on the collar for 30-45 seconds. Then I quenched it with WD-40. Be careful how you aim the touch as there are brake lines nearby.
      • The shaft gave up and released after 3-4 rounds.
      • I found there was no proper way of using a pry bar or leverage in this instance (nothing to pry against) so you just have to hope that it eventually comes loose by hand through heating/cooling, penetrating oil, opening the slot with a flat blade, etc.
      • You can either do this from the wheel well, or from under the truck reaching up. It may be easier to create space in the wheel well by removing the wheel *be careful when placing jack stands*
    9. Remove the shaft from the vehicle. Somehow the TSB completely skips over this and jumps to "transfer match marks from the old shaft over to the new shaft.
      • Remove the bolt at the steering rack that holds the shaft in place. It is a bit hard to see from below, and nearly impossible any other way. The only way I could see it from below is lifting my head up between the cross members and following the shaft down to see the joint. Although difficult to see, it is rather easy to access. The access of this bolt depends greatly on how the shaft was rotated prior to you parking the truck.
      • Ideally, you should make match marks on the lower steering shaft and the rack because they are not indexed to each other. The TSB skips over this completely, which makes no sense because the other match marks are worthless if this is indexed incorrectly.
      • [Will add pictures later]
    10. Once the bolt on the rack side is removed, the only thing attaching the shaft to the vehicle is friction. A whole lotta friction. This was by far the hardest part of the job. I spent ~1.5hrs removing the shaft from the steering rack. The rust gets worse the lower down on the truck you go.
      • I tried Mr. Torch again, sprayed in WD-40 and repeated 4-5 rounds.
      • I tried to pull straight up by hand (while on my back below the truck). This is an odd motion/angle, so I didn't have much strength in this.
      • I tried to pull up from above through bending over into the engine bay (try standing on a crate or car wheel to have more reach). Again, weird angle with outstretched arms - no strength here.
      • I tried to pry from below. Bad idea because I was likely exerting forces at a non-parallel angle to the steering shaft - something the steering rack is not designed for.
      • Lastly, I used a pickle fork from above. I stood on a car wheel placed right below the driver's headlight. I then bent over the core support, and placed a pickle fork between the steering shaft and rack input shaft. There is a rubber hose in your way. Move it to the side, and insert pickle fork.
      • After a few 'gentle' pries, I was able to get the shaft off
      • IMG_0070.jpg IMG_0071.jpg
    11. Transfer everything to the new shaft. This includes the match marks and clamp.Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 3.11.01 PM.jpg
    12. Take the opportunity to clean and lube the parts up a bit.
    13. Re-install everything in reverse order. Rack end first, then the top shaft end.
    14. All bolts are torqued to 26 ft-lb. Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 3.14.27 PM.jpg
    15. Make double sure your shafts and steering wheel are properly aligned. You can always go back and adjust if you are a spline off, but it's easier to get it perfect at this time.
    16. Double check everything and go for a test drive. Your steering feel should be magnitudes better.
    17. The TSB says to calibrate the yaw rate sensor and steering angle sensor. There is also a note referring to vehicles equipped with traction control, VSC, BA (brake assist?), and EBD (early brake detection?). I admit, I do not know how to do this, but I assume my truck does not apply due to being a 4cyl model. I have not seen this step mentioned in other threads, but I will include it here for the sake of being thorough. I would say that if you put everything in the same alignment it was originally in, this is not necessary, but please investigate this according to your own needs. Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 2.17.01 AM.jpg

    Final words regarding doing the work:
    1. TSB quoted labor time is 1.2 hours. On a rust-free, brand new vehicle with freshly lubed steering shafts I could probably do it in less than 20 minutes, but in real world conditions, on a 9-14 year old truck with moderate rust, you should allow 4-5 hours for margin of error. I did it in around 3.5hrs with half of it being after nightfall, and on-off rain. 3x or 4x the quoted labor time is typical of amateur mechanic jobs. Everything takes longer 'than it should'.
    2. The dealer quoted me $338, but it only cost me $57 - the price of the shaft.
    3. The end result is beautiful. The steering in my truck is crisp and responsive beyond what I thought a 14 y/o, 140k mile truck was capable of. Very tight and solid feeling.
    4. In step 1 - Unfortunately, my SW had lots of free play (rendering my indexing worthless), so I chose to simply let the SW ignition lock hold my SW in place. I removed the key from the ignition, and rotated SW until the steering column lock clicked.
    5. In my experience, making match marks did not matter because the orientation of the shaft (independent of the steering rack) was not relevant with respect to the SW. What I mean by this is that you can rotate the steering shaft as much as you want, and be able to attach it to the rack and the SW at any angle. The only way to make sure everything goes on the exact way it came off is to make 4 match marks - steering rack, lower clamp side, upper clamp side, and inside the cab.

    IMG_0062.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
  2. Apr 18, 2018 at 11:38 PM
    #2
    fast5speed

    fast5speed [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Reserved for eBay part review. Will work on later.
    Link for now: https://www.ebay.com/itm/222848567902?ViewItem=&item=222848567902

    Here's a video showing how bad my old shaft was.
    Remember! 2005 - only 13 years old! 140k miles, from northern VA its whole life. This isn't Michigan, Pennsylvania, Canada, New England, etc.



    Here's my quick review of the new shaft I got. After driving with it for about 4 months, I think it's a really good replica. My steering has just one hair's worth of play in it, but that could be anything - tie rods, steering rack, top shaft, etc. Only noticeable when stopped and jiggling the steering wheel back and forth repeatedly. Barely a hair's worth.

    Here's how I got it in the mail.



    The shaft is almost identical, but not quite.



    The old shaft has a key-way notch that runs along the top bit of the shaft. The new one does not have this notch.
    Also, the new shaft is shorter by a hair.

    Other than that, they are pretty much an identical and interchangeable piece.
    I would 10/10 recommend, and will buy another one if I ever need to. Especially at 1/4-1/3 the price of OEM Toyota.



    EDIT: The ebay link above is still valid, as of 8/2/18, but the price has almost doubled! The price is now listed as $96. Seems the demand for these shafts went through the roof.
    I got mine for $56 :notsure:
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
    Crom and MacGyvR like this.
  3. Apr 18, 2018 at 11:38 PM
    #3
    replica9000

    replica9000 Non-Political Member

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  4. Jul 19, 2018 at 5:33 AM
    #4
    PagoBay

    PagoBay Active Member

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    @fast5speed [OP]
    Great write up! My steering is not hard or stiff at all, but I'm getting a bit of play and slight knocking which sounds more like it is coming from inside the cab as opposed to outside in the engine bay. Haven't done a full inspection on my truck yet (will do tomorrow), but I think my issue might be the intermediate shaft inside the cab (same as pictured in the TSB photos).

    Based on the pictures and write up in the TSB (same as what you included), it appears that the inner portion may be all that needs to be replaced in my truck. If that is the case, based on your experience, would you say that the inner shaft could be replaced without removing the lower shaft? Basically, only the steps listed in the TSB. Was thinking that maybe that is the reason for the TSB skipping the entire lower shaft removal process.

    The part online is about $200 and another $300+ for labor at various shops (even more at the dealership). If I could save myself a couple hundred bucks, that would be my preferred route. I am relatively mechanically inclined and perform a lot of work on my truck myself (within my capabilities). Was wondering if this might be something worth tackling on my own.

    Would appreciate any feedback.:thumbsup:

    https://parts.toyotaoemdirect.com/o...hvbclqv-1RPoha_11qu-pbeLUAUWT80xoCZbYQAvD_BwE

    This is the part number listed in the TSB and may be all that I need.
     
  5. Aug 2, 2018 at 9:47 AM
    #5
    fast5speed

    fast5speed [OP] Well-Known Member

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    At first thought, I would say no. I just don't think there is the amount of "slide" necessary without removing the lower shaft. You would not need to remove it entirely. If you loosen the joint inside the cab - right at the firewall, and then loosen the 2 bolts right after below the brake booster, then you can slip the collar up and the lower shaft will slide out.

    Additionally, I find it unlikely that the joint inside the cab would have gone bad. I guess it experiences the same amount of movement as the lower shaft, but with zero wear from water and rust. It may be possible that one of the lock-bolts is loose though! This happened to me. There was a slight bit of play, and every time I went over a bump, it knocked inside the cabin. The bolt was loose, and the shaft was sliding up into the top part of the collar and slapping against the other shaft. I just took the cover off and tightened it. 5 minute fix.

    Honestly, I would recommend to ANY 2 gen Tacoma owner - Just have someone turn the wheel back and forth while you are under the vehicle carefully inspecting the entire steering column.
    With the failure rate and deterioration of these steering shafts, it's just cheap insurance. The joint probably won't actually fail apart on you while you're driving (although it certainly could!), but it might drive you nuts in the meantime.
     
  6. Aug 2, 2018 at 10:07 AM
    #6
    fast5speed

    fast5speed [OP] Well-Known Member

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    updated post #2 above with product review.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Oct 11, 2018 at 5:06 AM
    #7
    Tylerpeterson

    Tylerpeterson Member

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    My new steering shaft didn't come with a new bolt and/or washer. Is it necessary to also order a bolt and washer? Or does the OEM bolt fit the new one? aka is it salvageable?
     
  8. Nov 11, 2018 at 7:05 PM
    #8
    Sr5_Tacoma

    Sr5_Tacoma Well-Known Member

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    -6 inch lift. -35×12.50r17 mastercraft MXTs. -17×9 FUEL Hostage black wheels. -20 inch RGB LED light bar mounted in the grill. -RGB rock lights -Led spot light ditch lights on Rago Fabrication ditch light brackets. -Tom Woods custom 1piece driveshaft. -Color matched guage trim. -Pioneer touch screen radio. -12" sub in custom box (between rear seats and center counsel) -Custom made hidden winch mount, with superwinch TS9500 winch. -10,000k HID fog lights. -Fog lights for reverse bulb mod. (Very bright) -Custom retrofit headlights, with switchback turn signals/DRL halos, and RGB demon eyes. -Back up camera. -Onboard air, with auxiliary 5 gal. Tank. -Dual battery (huge 8D mounted in the bed) -JBA UCAs. -Icon front coilovers for 6-7" lift with remote resi and CDCV adjusters. More to come (Icon 13" travel temote resi rear shocks ordered 3 to 5 weeks out) Working on a custom utility bed trailer for camping/overlanding.
    Thanks for the write up, just wanted to note im placing an bbn order now for this from your link and and price is $49.95
     
  9. May 10, 2019 at 5:47 PM
    #9
    mbrogz3000

    mbrogz3000 Well-Known Member

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    Picked one up and attempted to replace, but I couldn’t get the shaft to slide “up and out” enough to come out. I had only about 1/2” of movement and that was with use of Balpean hammers. I didn’t feel like breaking out the air hammer. I also was concerned that the bottom wasn’t going to come off once I had the upper connection off. Everything was pretty rusted, I had to wait an hour for the 50/50 atf/acetone + aerokroil to penetrate, and had to be really creative with extension rods to reach that lower bolt with the impact. I also wasn’t a fan of my ‘matchmarks’ melting away with all the penetrating oil I had all over everything .

    Cleaned it up and manually greased the original one with some molly, then buttoned it back together and will replace it with the steering rack some later time. Entertained sawzalling the old one off, but I really was worried about that bottom.

    Btw, the OEM column ujoints have China stamped in each bearing cover. This eBay part very high quality and just as good as the OEM part. No need to turn ones nose up to this non-OEM part.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
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  10. Jul 8, 2019 at 10:59 AM
    #10
    steveo27

    steveo27 Ask me about my weiner

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    The same shit everyone else has.
    Bumping this back up.

    How’s the eBay shaft holding up?

    I’m about 90% sure I need to replace mine. I hate not using OEM parts but at 1/4 the cost, it has my interest.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  11. Jul 8, 2019 at 1:05 PM
    #11
    intheblue25

    intheblue25 Well-Known Member

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    Did this, getting it indexed on the rack properly was the only hard part.
     
  12. Jul 8, 2019 at 2:46 PM
    #12
    Crom

    Crom Outside

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    Fantastic write up!!! I had the dealer swap out the intermediate shaft while under warranty. That was 9-years ago. If I ever have to do it myself, I'll use your great writeup Thanks!!!
     
  13. Jul 31, 2019 at 6:29 PM
    #13
    DH13

    DH13 Member

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    Thanks for the info and pics.

    I just replaced this today and this thread helped a lot. I was a little confused by the diagrams concerning the upper shaft as I didn't need to do anything with the upper shaft (inside the vehicle under the drivers dash).

    Some tips that I would ad. I didn't "lock down" the steering wheel until I was ready to start hammering, having the ability to rotate the shaft and have access to the seams to get things loose helped a lot. Once the seams were opened up I locked down the steering wheel and got the shaft off.

    I would also say. The key to getting the upper collar loose enough and the lower section off was to spread the collar more than I thought. Get a screwdriver or pry bar in the seam on each and get it opened up. I also had been PB blasting things for 3 days prior and used a torch to heat up the collar prior to pounding it loose.
     
  14. Sep 1, 2019 at 1:31 PM
    #14
    chriscc

    chriscc Member

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    Has anyone does this on a “base” 2wd model?
    I purchased the part thinking it was plug and play.
    Did nearly the entire job - got to putting the new shaft in and it’s 10mm longer than the original.

    I thought ok, maybe there’s some room but no such luck.

    Is the intermediate shaft for 2wd shorter?

    I may just buy a 4wd at this point - there are so many slight (very annoying) differences in the parts I find!

    Any help or part number would be super.

    Oh yeah - if anyone needs a shaft for a 4wd I likely have it. I got the knock off ebay one. Perhaps that’s the issue.


    Update: drove the truck last night once it was back together. After visiting 2 mechanics and not finding a thing, it turns out that torquing the sway bar link was the issue.
    It was tight but there was play between the rubber bushings; enough for a slight thud now and then while turning.

    I had tightened it before starting the steering job! Thought it was my steering u joint for sure.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  15. Oct 4, 2019 at 9:09 PM
    #15
    gnuenglander

    gnuenglander Member

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    I just did this today on a 2010 that had experienced nine New England winters. I purchased the Toyota shaft and three new bolts. I used a paint pen to make index marks but they all dissolved with the repeated application of PB Blaster. I left my steering wheel unsecured so I could turn the steering wheel and get better access to the upper and lower bolts and the screwdriver pry gaps. Removal was a bear and took some novel tool use. But, make sure you tie off the steering wheel before you separate the top portion of the shaft from the sllding yoke or you'll look in dismay as the steering wheel turns back to its neutral position. Lucky I took plenty of photos prior to dismantling. I applied never seize to the splined shaft ends and also put grease in the sliding yoke central gap between the lower and upper shafts. Maybe this will prevent some future water/salt intrusion and the rust, etc. that made this job take so long.
     
  16. Oct 5, 2019 at 5:55 AM
    #16
    Goosie0080

    Goosie0080 Well-Known Member

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    I did this years ago! Boy was it a pain in the ass! The rust... THE RUST!ahhhhh! Lololol! Great write up. Should be a sticky for sure!
     
  17. Oct 5, 2019 at 6:01 AM
    #17
    Goosie0080

    Goosie0080 Well-Known Member

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    Wondering if we could put a boot over that ujoint? It may be too close to exhaust but the joint doesn't have much movement. Not sure if it would help tho because I changed mine a few years back and and the bottom boot that covers the sliding part is already popping out at the bottom due to rust...
     
  18. Oct 5, 2019 at 7:52 AM
    #18
    gnuenglander

    gnuenglander Member

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    RE: A boot. I read one post where the poster installed a boot. My concern was to find a boot that would hermetically seal at both ends. They use a lot of winter road salt here and I was concerned that if there was any salt intrusion into the boot I would not be able to rinse the joint or see its condition. If anyone finds a good boot please post the manufacturer and part number. Thnank you.
     

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