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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 04-18-2009, 08:47 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Bilstein B14 PSS installed in my 540

Finally installed!

Got them installed today. Replaced the upper shock mounts with new Sachs/Boge oem spec "sport" versions. Also replaced the yellow nylon bearing used on the upper front mount. Also per a recommendation from a BMW tech here on Bimmerfest, installed a split lock washer under the top nut on each shock, to prevent knocking noises.

Used M5 alignment specs. Set up height at 13.75" on the front, measured from the center of wheel to bottom of fender lip, and 13.40" in the rear. This is about .75" front and .50" rear, drop from the oem 540 sport height. This maintains a very slightly higher front than rear look, as I didn't want a "nose down" look that some are after.

The car rides very firmly, and is well controlled over dips. Compression damping is much firmer than even when my car was new, and rebound damping is higher as well. I was concerned it would be "too firm" or harsh for my daily driver, but I was pleasantly surprised, that it suits me well. Only on the few, worst concrete panels on I-5 around Tacoma, Southcenter and Seattle do I find it a bit harsh, but everywhere else it is fine, and is superb on blacktop.

I have driven about 110 miles today and the only other thing I noticed is that on occaisional areas where you might hit two or more small, sharp bumps at freeway speeds (due probably to the firm compression damping) the car will not absorb them completely and the car will give a little "bounce" over them, but without any jounce, wallow or rebound. Though I don't know what it looks like from passerby, it reminds me a bit of what a slammed Honda might do...only had it happen a couple times, but surprised me...at least it didn't keep bouncing like those Hondas . The cornering is amazingly flat and the car gives great confidence in twisties that I have not experienced in at least the last 30K worth of driving. (car now has 122k miles) This suspension has firmer damping than the oem Bilstein, electonically adjustable coilovers, on my Ferrari 355.

Will post up a picture after I wash the car tomorrow, I'm embarrassed to post one in the present condition.
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  #2  
Old 04-18-2009, 09:59 PM
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Have the same Bilstein SS.. they are firm, but you will love them.

Good luck
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  #3  
Old 04-19-2009, 05:44 AM
kaptom540 kaptom540 is offline
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waiting for the pics ..
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  #4  
Old 04-19-2009, 05:56 AM
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Yes, pics please, interested in the looks as well
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  #5  
Old 04-19-2009, 07:38 PM
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I have about 160 miles on the car now, and it has settled a bit. Oddly the left front and right rear dropped slightly more than 1/4 inch, so I will need to get out the spanner wrenches and adjust it up a bit.

The picture is a bit deceptive, the car is not raked like it appears, if you notice, I had the camera at a slight angle...look at the relationship between wheels and the bottom of the picture frame...the rear wheel is higher, which gives it that raked look. Sorry. I will shoot another picture tomorrow...after I adjust the suspension further.

Obviously with coil overs, I can set it up, anyway I want...lower, higher, front up, rear up...etc.


Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 04-19-2009 at 07:54 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-19-2009, 07:46 PM
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nice.. if i keep mine long enough to warrant a suspension overhaul, i'd probably go this route.
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  #7  
Old 04-20-2009, 05:10 AM
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is this the non-dampening adjustable coilovers? i am thinking about going this route myself.

what kind of springs do you have paired up with this?
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  #8  
Old 04-20-2009, 06:29 AM
franka franka is offline
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quick bump for spring info
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  #9  
Old 04-20-2009, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chivas View Post
is this the non-dampening adjustable coilovers? i am thinking about going this route myself.

what kind of springs do you have paired up with this?
As the title states, these are the Bilstein B14 PSS which do not have the 9 adjustments for damping, but otherwise has the same shock, springs and adjustment collars. Includes spanner wrenches. http://www.bilstein.com/PSS_bro_fnl.pdf (click on the second page) The ones you get look identical to what is pictured for the B16 (not the B14, which must be for another application), in place of the damping adjustment knob is a hex nut. This kit sells for $975 or so from EAC Tuning...which is less than any other online seller I could find. I actually purchased from Ebay, and took advantage of the Microsoft CashBack program, so it netted to me for $750 delivered...a literal bargain...unfortunately the cashback deal with Ebay is gone, and the Ebay seller has raised prices so EAC Tuning is the place to go...ask for Jared, tell him I sent ya.

http://eactuning.com/bilstein-e39-an...kit-p-427.html

These kits are NOT easy to find, and many sellers may catalog them, but when you inquire, do not actually have them in stock. Jared has them (Bilstein USA told me they only make them a few times per year, so there is always a few month wait list to fill orders to dealers). The PSS9 I'm sure is even nicer with the damping adjustments, I just couldn't justify the extra $1300 for a car I will probably get rid of in the next year or so. I think the least I have seen the PSS9 sell for is around $2050.

Regardless of whether you have a 540 or M5 (kit fits both) you need the following to install the PSS or PSS9 (get new, I would not reuse the old mounts):

1) M5 or 540 sport front upper shock mounts (either will work)
2) The yellow plastic bearing from the upper front shock bearing (you remove it from the stamped metal housing (spring pocket) it comes in, as it only comes that way, but you only need the yellow nylon bearing, as the kit comes with a machined aluminum spring pocket, which you insert the yellow nylon bearing in. (I purchased 540 ones, I think they are the same on both cars) UPPER SPRING POCKET W/AXIAL CAGE BEARING part # 31331090612 They are only $13 or $14 each
3) Must use 540 sport rear upper shock mounts, the M5 mounts are not compatible with the PSS springs. Apparently M5 springs have a different style winding on the end, so M5 upper shock mounts will not match up with the 540 style spring used in the PSS kits.
I purchased the upper shock mounts from www.autohausaz.com, only $38 for the fronts, and $24 for the rears, with free shipping. They sell the Sachs/Boge brand which I believe are same as oem BMW.

That's all. Everything else is either included or not needed

Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 04-20-2009 at 10:32 PM.
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  #10  
Old 04-20-2009, 05:53 PM
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got em from Jared

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  #11  
Old 04-20-2009, 06:01 PM
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about this

"2) The yellow plastic bearing from the upper front shock bearing (you remove it from the stamped metal housing (spring pocket) it comes in, as it only comes that way, but you only need the yellow nylon bearing, as the kit comes with a machined aluminum spring pocket, which you insert the yellow nylon bearing in. (I purchased 540 ones, I think they are the same on both cars) UPPER SPRING POCKET W/AXIAL CAGE BEARING part # 31331090612 They are only $13 or $14 each"

are you telling me I need this? Cuz Jared and I decided, I dont. But you've done the install, so? P.S. I did buy all 4 shock mounts for a 540, do I still need these? Thanks man

http://www.eactuning.com/parts/produ...ls/31331090612

And whats the lock washer you speak of? Is there part number for that? Just wanna do it correct the first time
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  #12  
Old 04-20-2009, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
As the title states, these are the Bilstein B14 PSS which do not have the 9 adjustments for damping, but otherwise has the same shock, springs and adjustment collars. Includes spanner wrenches. http://www.bilstein.com/PSS_bro_fnl.pdf (click on the second page) The ones you get look identical to what is pictured for the B16 (not the B14, which must be for another application), in place of the damping adjustment knob is a hex nut. This kit sells for $975 or so from EAC Tuning...which is less than any other online seller I could find. I actually purchased from Ebay, and took advantage of the Microsoft CashBack program, so it netted to me for $750 delivered...a literal bargain...unfortunately the cashback deal with Ebay is gone, and the Ebay seller has raised prices so EAC Tuning is the place to go...ask for Jared, tell him I sent ya.

http://eactuning.com/bilstein-e39-an...kit-p-427.html

These kits are NOT easy to find, and many sellers may catalog them, but when you inquire, do not actually have them in stock. Jared has them (Bilstein USA told me they only make them a few times per year, so there is always a few month wait list to fill orders to dealers). The PSS9 I'm sure is even nicer with the damping adjustments, I just couldn't justify the $1300 for a car I will probably get rid of in the next year or so. I think the least I have seen the PSS9 sell for is around $2050.

Regardless of whether you have a 540 or M5 (kit fits both) you need the following to install the PSS or PSS9 (get new, I would not reuse the old mounts):

1) M5 or 540 sport front upper shock mounts (either will work)
2) The yellow plastic bearing from the upper front shock bearing (you remove it from the stamped metal housing (spring pocket) it comes in, as it only comes that way, but you only need the yellow nylon bearing, as the kit comes with a machined aluminum spring pocket, which you insert the yellow nylon bearing in. (I purchased 540 ones, I think they are the same on both cars) UPPER SPRING POCKET W/AXIAL CAGE BEARING part # 31331090612 They are only $13 or $14 each
3) Must use 540 sport rear upper shock mounts, the M5 mounts are not compatible with the PSS springs. Apparently M5 springs have a different style winding on the end, so M5 upper shock mounts will not match up with the 540 style spring used in the PSS kits.
I purchased the upper shock mounts from www.autohausaz.com, only $38 for the fronts, and $24 for the rears, with free shipping. They sell the Sachs/Boge brand which I believe are same as oem BMW.

That's all. Everything else is either included or not needed
ya know, after reading the first 2 lines of your reply, i realized how silly of a question i asked.

thanks for the heads up on everything. very well documented!
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  #13  
Old 04-20-2009, 10:31 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orxan4ik View Post
about this

"2) The yellow plastic bearing from the upper front shock bearing (you remove it from the stamped metal housing (spring pocket) it comes in, as it only comes that way, but you only need the yellow nylon bearing, as the kit comes with a machined aluminum spring pocket, which you insert the yellow nylon bearing in. (I purchased 540 ones, I think they are the same on both cars) UPPER SPRING POCKET W/AXIAL CAGE BEARING part # 31331090612 They are only $13 or $14 each"

are you telling me I need this? Cuz Jared and I decided, I dont. But you've done the install, so? P.S. I did buy all 4 shock mounts for a 540, do I still need these? Thanks man

http://www.eactuning.com/parts/produ...ls/31331090612

And whats the lock washer you speak of? Is there part number for that? Just wanna do it correct the first time
Well, I would not recommend reusing your existing yellow bearing, which is the alternative. I have no idea how much wear it gets, but BMW Seattle told me they always replace them when they replace shocks and upper shock mounts (I believe my tech greased it with wheel bearing grease too). It seems a waste since you toss the spring pocket, but oh well, they don't sell them seperately. And yes, you need the shock mounts, as you (again) don't want to be reusing your old ones...they have a rubber insert and is considered a consumable item...if you have more than 50k to 60k I would replace them with the shocks.

The lock washer is simply a split washer under the top center nut on each shock. I forget the size, and they are different between front and back (smaller in diameter in back). From previous threads, most important in the front, but what the hell, my tech had the washers, so he did them all. For some reason, on the front, you can crank down hard on the center nut, and there can still be some slop or play in there that can cause a "knocking" noise....very annoying. Placing a lock washer under the nut solves this. No biggie if you forget, it is easy to access on the front after the install and put them in later. Not so easy in the rear, since you have to rip out the rear seat, C pillars, rear deck and speakers to get to them.

Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 04-20-2009 at 10:42 PM.
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  #14  
Old 04-20-2009, 10:40 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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I have close to 200 miles on now and had a minor amount of settling. It is critical to measure on flat ground...I was surprised that only a modest amount of uneven ground can cause up to 1/2" change in measurements.

So the left front ended up about 1/2" higher after putting some miles on! So I adjusted it back down, and also had to raise the left rear about 1/2", which had settled. I will check again in a few hundred more miles and make any final tweeks necessary. The rear can be very easily adjusted by simply jacking up that corner...the front requires jacking and removing the wheel to access the adjustment, which takes some trial and error to get right. But still only took me about 40 minutes in total to accomplish from start to finish, including putting away the tools and cleaning up.

Now that I am confident in the process, I will have to check and adjust my Ferrari too, since it comes from the factory with Bilstein, electronic damping coil overs. I just need to look up the fender heights in the factory workshop manual.
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
Well, I would not recommend reusing your existing yellow bearing, which is the alternative. I have no idea how much wear it gets, but BMW Seattle told me they always replace them when they replace shocks and upper shock mounts. It seems a waste since you toss the spring pocket, but oh well, they don't sell them seperately. And yes, you need the shock mounts, as you (again) don't want to be reusing your old ones...they have a rubber insert and is considered a consumable item...if you have more than 50k to 60k I would replace them with the shocks.

The lock washer is simply a split washer under the top center nut on each shock. I forget the size, and they are different between front and back (smaller in diameter in back). From previous threads, most important in the front, but what the hell, my tech had the washers, so he did them all. For some reason, on the front, you can crank down hard on the center nut, and there can still be some slop or play in there that can cause a "knocking" noise....very annoying. Placing a lock washer under the nut solves this. No biggie if you forget, it is easy to access on the front after the install and put them in later. Not so easy in the rear, since you have to rip out the rear seat, C pillars, rear deck and speakers to get to them.
who cares I have to throw em out ($11 pockets), as long as I get a new part out of it. So Im gettin 2 of those for the front only? or are there four?
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orxan4ik View Post
who cares I have to throw em out ($11 pockets), as long as I get a new part out of it. So Im gettin 2 of those for the front only? or are there four?
Front only. If you read the back pages of the booklet that comes with the PSS kit, you will see some assembly diagrams....that will tell you all you need to know. Make sure you show that to whom ever installs them, so they see the relationship of the various parts, and where the yellow nylon peice goes. My tech struggled with that until he found that diagram!
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:49 PM
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my buddy and I will be doing it ourselvs, but u have helped alot thanks man
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Old 04-21-2009, 12:42 AM
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This kit may not be for everyone, but I really love how tight the car feels now. Yes, it can jounce you on a wash board or rough pavement, but I am more than willing to deal with a short section of bad pavement now and then to get the superb handling this kit offers. I'm in love with my car again....it is that much fun to drive...the confidence it inspires in the corners is amazing. I am surprised to learn this kit has actually been available for more than a couple years...but I guess not readily available in North America, only in Europe? I hope Jared sells a bunch of these, because it really solves the issue of height adjustment and appearance, that everyone is so concerned about. And it is reasonable compared to buying Bilstein Sports and H&Rs which would probably sent one back around $800....so for only $175 extra you get factory matched springs and shocks with threaded bodies.

One other feature this PSS kit offers, is more wheel travel, which may be why this kit is presumed to ride slightly better than Bilstein Sports with H&Rs...when you use lowering springs, they are typically shorter and stiffer, with coilovers you do not necessarily need to use a much stiffer spring to prevent bottoming, since the threaded collar is controling the height, not the length of the spring.

Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 04-21-2009 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 04-21-2009, 04:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
This kit may not be for everyone, but I really love how tight the car feels now. Yes, it can jounce you on a wash board or rough pavement, but I am more than willing to deal with a short section of bad pavement now and then to get the superb handling this kit offers. I'm in love with my car again....it is that much fun to drive...the confidence it inspires in the corners is amazing. I am surprised to learn this kit has actually been available for more than a couple years...but I guess not readily available in North America, only in Europe? I hope Jared sells a bunch of these, because it really solves the issue of height adjustment and appearance, that everyone is so concerned about. And it is reasonable compared to buying Bilstein Sports and H&Rs which would probably sent one back around $800....so for only $175 extra you get factory matched springs and shocks with threaded bodies.

One other feature this PSS kit offers, is more wheel travel, which may be why this kit is presumed to ride slightly better than Bilstein Sports with H&Rs...when you use lowering springs, they are typically shorter and stiffer, with coilovers you do not necessarily need to use a much stiffer spring to prevent bottoming, since the threaded collar is controling the height, not the length of the spring.
the thing about H&R sport vs race (this is for non-sport 540's since there's only one set of springs for 540 sports which is the same as 540 non-sport race H&R springs) is the Sport is like the OEM sport springs, linear. the race springs are actually progressive yet i doubt many would feel the difference.
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Old 04-21-2009, 01:43 PM
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you should drive my car on my fks... my car is slammed but comfortable... im right near childrens on sandpoint in laurelhurst... but ill have to agree that coilovers are not for those who enjoy a cushy ride... oddly enough i feel like ive seen your car multiple occasions in madison park(i work there) we should meet sometime...
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Old 04-21-2009, 01:47 PM
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540 M-Sport: Cashback is here and there. Last week it was at 9%, now not sure, I think 8%. Last holiday season was insane, I got some 25% savings in
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Old 04-21-2009, 01:50 PM
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anyone know if the ground control coilover offering for M5s works on 540s?

http://www.ground-control-store.com/...p/II=670/CA=16

edit: I just called GC. It fits 540s and M5s, not 530.
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Last edited by kishg; 04-21-2009 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 04-21-2009, 07:13 PM
jhstealth jhstealth is offline
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From your pic and what its set at, how much lower do you think these will go from where you have them, about how many inches. Im soo thinking about getting these but im afraid its not going to go as low as i want to. Thanks allot for any help.
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Old 04-21-2009, 08:27 PM
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you should drive my car on my fks... my car is slammed but comfortable... im right near childrens on sandpoint in laurelhurst... but ill have to agree that coilovers are not for those who enjoy a cushy ride... oddly enough i feel like ive seen your car multiple occasions in madison park(i work there) we should meet sometime...
I drive through Madison Park occaisionally on weekends, but usually in the Ferrari...happy to meet up sometime...PM me.
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Old 04-21-2009, 08:41 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 5,030
Mein Auto: 01' 540 M-Sport cdn, F355
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhstealth View Post
From your pic and what its set at, how much lower do you think these will go from where you have them, about how many inches. Im soo thinking about getting these but im afraid its not going to go as low as i want to. Thanks allot for any help.
I am not certain, but can tell you there is over 2 inches of threading left below the bottom spring perch! So you could go a lot lower.

Here is the deal. This is the best way to go low, with coil overs. Doing it with lowering springs you simply shorten the spring, and that greatly reduces wheel travel, and the spring has to be really stiff to prevent bottoming and knocking sounds from the coils hitting each other. With a coil over you lower the bottom spring perch, which drops the car, while maintaining wheel travel. Any coil over should have adequate threading to give you any height you want within reason.

My car has factory rolled rear fenders....you may need to have that done if you go much lower than I am in the rear.

BTW, see the picture above of the coil overs from Orxan4IK? My tech installed them at the factory setting as shown in the photo and my car was at least 1" lower than it is now...he had to crank on the spanners to get my car back up to a reasonable height. So you can go as low as you want...probably to the point of the tops of the tires rubbing on the fender liners!

Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 04-21-2009 at 08:46 PM.
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