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1955 Ariston which engine to install

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1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Roy » Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:16 pm

I have recently acquired a 1955 Ariston that would originally have had a Chris Craft MBL engine. Sadly this has long since disappeared. I have come across a couple of them for sale in the US but as yet nothing in Europe. What I have come across though is a Riva 220 V8. This is the same engine I have in my Olympic so the question is go original or go updated.

I have to admit I'm torn as I really do like the column gear shift in the Olympic but on the other hand I would like to keep the Ariston as original as possible. So much has already been lost of the original boat as it now has a wrap around windscreen, a 60's dash board, no seating and all the instruments have gone the same way as the engine. The dash and windscreen I will probably retrofit but I really do like the lift up drivers seat which wasn't introduced until some years later. I can't remember the last time I drove the Olympic with the seat in the down position.

So to modernise or go original, views...
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Eric T. » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:43 am

Roy,

This is a problem that many Riva owners have encountered.

If you truly would like to restore the boat to it's original "as manufactured" state, with all of the items restored that you have listed... you have a difficult task ahead of you.

An MBL should not be a difficult task to to find in the USA... and then have the engine shipped over there. There are a few specialists in that engine in the USA that completely know the Chris Craft engines inside and out and can take a systems approach to the motor to give you complete reliability and pleasure in use. Transportation overseas is not a major cost nor issue and the cost would be saved in the purchase of engine itself to outweigh.

There are some wonderful shops in Europe as well that understand the engines, but those may not be nearby or even in the same country. I've had detailed conversations with Andries and Sieste van der Molen at WOODENBOAT SERVICE (woodenboatservice.nl) and they impressed me as being one of the most knowledgeable shops in europe that truly understand the needs to make your old engine issues less troublesome. Nautica Casarola also has a complete engine facility with a load-cell dynomometer to trial the engine and transmission before installation and top notch technicians that understand these older engines.

The engine is a VERY important part of the boat and should represent a significant portion of your restoration costs.

The Chris Craft 6 cyl engines were quite heavy and you will want to pay attention to that when you decide on what to replace it with. Also, do not be tempted, as many are, to replace the engine with a larger more powerful motor as that will change the "feel" of the boat....Carlo made a lot of decisions based on the weight and power, I would suggest you try to remain close to that.

The Riva/Crusader 220 from the olympic is a solid, but lightweight engine that was offered over a decade later in your boat. It is lightweight and more modern. If you do go that route... you should take the complete engine system into account...

Do not be tempted to simply install a USED engine into the boat if you want good reliability...Remember, those engines are 40 years old as well... ALL parts would need to be made new or restored for proper function. This includes the carburetor, distributor, both water pumps, fuel pump, cylinder heads upgraded for unleaded fuel, proper engine mounts, exhaust manifolds that have been pressure tested for no internal leaking... and a transmission that has been restored to operate without issues.

For an engine that has been restored correctly, and operates without causing issues, the cost will be similar to a modern engine purchased new.

To make the decision a good one ask your self some questions and be honest with yourself in the answers.

1) Will I be returning the remainder of the boat to the original configuration as much as possible?
2) What is the budget for this restoration that I'm comfortable with and will I include the Proper amount for engine/trans?
3) What are the options available, cost and weight?
4) Given the restrictions of the hull design, what are your performance expectations?

The floor mounted shift lever can be installed and connected to the transmission with some creative thoiught.

The early windshields would be simple to recreate if you can find a fellow Riva owner or boatyard owner that will loan you the older parts to have duplicated.

The beauty of the instruments is that they are easily available at a reasonable cost. They can be made as original with mechanical drives or converted to electronic operation.
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Roy » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:14 pm

Finding good engine mechanics is no problem in the UK. We may not have any lakes worth talking about but we do have a long coastline and a lot of boat owners. I have found two MBL's and an original Riva 220 out of an old Florida. As you probably know the 220 is built on a small block Chevrolet and these are easy to find. In fact the design predates this Ariston. The more difficult part to find is the Borg Warner 'velvet' transmission. This of course is if I decide to go the 220 route instead of the original MBL.

I am coming to the view that 'replanking' the hull is a waste of effort and that cold moulding onto new frames will give a significantly longer lifespan for the boat. So now it comes down to how 'original' I want to be with he rest of the boat. The previous owners have stripped it and allowed it to seriously deteriorate to the point that after rebuilding there will be very little of the original fabric left. But to be fair that is not uncommon with many wooden boats. A friend of mine is having a turn of the last century Fife restored. There is very little in the 'new' boat that has seen the year 2000 let alone 1900.

As you say getting replacement spares for Riva's is fairly easy, well it is in Europe anyway. Www.marinariva.net have most parts, I don't know if you are familiar with them they are based in Sarnico. I am tempted to restore the original dash, instruments and windscreen. It is the engine I can't make my mind up about as the 220 is not a great deal more powerful than the old MDL and is actually a little bit lighter. It would mean having the dash mount gear change but then I actually like that as it makes the boat very manoeuvrable, so much so that at slow speeds you can spin it round on its own centre. Ideal for some of the harbours on the Italian lakes.

Number 71 has had all of it's gear removed, engine, prop shaft, propeller, stern gear and even the wiring. Lord knows what some past owner thought they were doing. So in terms of putting something back we really are starting from scratch, just depends how 'original' we want to be.
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Eric T. » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:11 am

The Velvet drive (Borg Warner) 1:1 71C transmissions are a non-issue and quite easy to find. Not worth paying for a "good" used unit. If you choose the 220 Crusader that was introduced to Riva production about 10 years after your boat was made, a brand new 1:1 71C with all of its updates and more a robust clutch package than older versions of the 71C will be the best choice for a modest price.

The Small Block Chevrolet, which is the "base" for the Riva Crusader package. Was first introduced into production, for automobiles, in 1955 as the 265 cubic inch motor. I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit... members of my family were involved in the original development of this platform. I believe the first marine versions were released in 1959 as the 283 cubic inch Chris Craft 283's as shown in Don Ayers 1959 Ariston project... He has addressed most of the issues you are facing.

Although the small block Chevrolet engines are easy to find... Many are assembled poorly when "restored" with questionable results. There is no such thing as good inexpensive engine...all of the ancillary components on engine from the fuel pump to the carburetor to the water pumps must be re-manufactured to a high standard if you want your boat to provide reliable service.

The following should be discussed in a new thread to keep this topic of engines on track. :mrgreen:

Fairing the old hullsides and cold molding over them using the unremoved originals as a mold will give you better results than molding over the frames... much better.

Please start a new thread on this in the proper sub-forum and we can continue the discussion there to keep this thread on topic.

I'm extremely familiar with the stock at Marina Riva, Morosini as well as the restorers like myself, Alan Weinsten, Giovanni Morosini and Sandro Zani that have gone through great pains to recreate parts that have been unavailable through the standard sources. I spend quite a bit of time in Italy and have explored the wares of many large and small boatyards... so I feel for your mission.

The windshield brackets will be a bit of work... but find someone to loan you some originals and a good foundry and there you go.
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Roy » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:17 am

I take note of all your comments including budget. Budget as such isn't an issue other than trying to keep the cost of restoration at or near the end value of the craft. The range of advertised prices for Aristons varies from as low as €59,000 to a high of circa €139,000 for this 1957 restored model. http://www.classicboatsamsterdam.nl/cms/index.php?page=riva-ariston-hull-131&hl=en_EN

It's very difficult to know what to spend on any element of the restoration without having a rough idea of the end value. My finger in the air budget figure for a fully restored engine/gearbox/trans is circa £6000, on the high side of $9,000 at today's rates but it is only a budget figure and when push comes to shove I may be way out.
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby bjornbakken » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:53 am

Congrats on your purchase. I looked at A71 this spring, glad to hear it's in dedicated hands.

I would go original. I've been struggling with the same topic myself these days on my F319. The boat was updated to a later 60's Super Florida look, probably in the same time period. With black/white bottom, turquoise/white interior and waterline, and a white steering wheel and chrome switches. Should I keep this "identity" which the boat probably had for the last 40 years or go original to it's "funky" 1958 interior, yellow with black checkers, etc. (I happily take everyones opinion too..)

I know that Dave Van Ness at Van Ness Engineering in New Jersey have a Chris Craft/Riva MBL available. I contacted him after looking at A71 for suggestions on engine choice. I understand that the "Riva" MBL is quite different from the CC MBL's readily available in the US. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the "Riva MBL" has an added oil filter and the exhaust elbow has the RIVA logo in the casting, among other differences.

There is a Chris Craft MBL available in the Netherlands, look at the bottom of the page of this link. But I think you will get the same or better price from Van Ness incl. shipping. http://www.boesch-riva.eu/index.php/overige-merken

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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Eric T. » Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:28 pm

The 1957 Boat in Amsterdam is a good example of modernizing a boat while attempting to preserve a vintage feel.

The engine now installed AR-131 , a Chris Craft 283 Flywheel forward, was not available in Riva boats until 1959, which was the first year that CC produced them for the consumer market.

This engine has the configuration of the CC283, but has been re-blocked, is missing the normal standard cast iron manifold of this era and is obviously re-blocked, probably with a 5.7L monoblock (short-block). The carburetor is different from original CC is an Edelbrock version of the Carter AFB with an anodized alloy Zenith flame arrestor and electric choke, and what appears to be a lack of a crankcase ventilation system.

A beautiful boat certainly though.

As a 1957 Boat, AR-131 has an older "vintage" design motor, but not an engine made in that year or available on any of the 1957 Riva Boats.

Original these days has become a very loose term.

To me, original and to a Concourse condition is making the boat as close as possible in materials, methods and equipment as is possible and safe.

The only one that can make these decisions is the owner restoring the boat or contracting the restoration to be done.

"Repaired" and made to function well... And "Restored" can be two completely different philosophies. Many Riva boats are represented... by owners who are often unaware of what original really is.. as being restored when they should really be represented as renovated.

Many Rivas were modernized over the years...when original was simply looked at as "Old"... Like with Tritones that were made Aperto... or an older Riva that gets Turquoise or Ivory rather than those "Old fashioned" colors they came with.

Now, because of many Owners and Restorers, we are seeing these classics restored to their original glory.

Start by asking yourself "What is important in the restortion of my boat?"... Take this question seriously and give it some time to develop an answer.

Using the words "boat" and "investment" in the same sentence is an entertaining concept that are very seldom true. Restore the boat because you love it... if you try to make the end value meet the investment...you may be in for a challenge that is very complicated.... Even with a Riva.

Make sure that your engine is done well...VERY well.

A MotorBoat that has a broken motor in the middle of July with the family on the lake is now just a floating "Cocktail Barge" ... Choose wisely, have ALL systems in the motor restored and it will reward you.

Roy wrote:I take note of all your comments including budget. Budget as such isn't an issue other than trying to keep the cost of restoration at or near the end value of the craft. The range of advertised prices for Aristons varies from as low as €59,000 to a high of circa €139,000 for this 1957 restored model. http://www.classicboatsamsterdam.nl/cms/index.php?page=riva-ariston-hull-131&hl=en_EN

It's very difficult to know what to spend on any element of the restoration without having a rough idea of the end value. My finger in the air budget figure for a fully restored engine/gearbox/trans is circa £6000, on the high side of $9,000 at today's rates but it is only a budget figure and when push comes to shove I may be way out.
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Roy » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:04 am

Ah the dreaded concourse. Being English we tend to keep our boats on the coast and by that very nature they are sea going. Most of the English people I know who have Riva type boats don't keep them in the UK and the concourse circuit, if that's what it is in the US, just doesn't exist in Europe. I am not saying there are no events of this type but they are few and far between and so for those of us who own these boats do so to 'use' them rather than show them. I don't keep my existing Riva at home for example, it's in Italy and I have never trailed it anywhere.

In fact part of the problem with owning a boat in this way is the feeling of ownership. I sometimes feel that it's on hire from the boatyard and I get to use it only when I call them and ask them to drop it in the water. This was even worse when I kept the boat at Arcangeli as it was craned in and started up for you as you arrived and craned out and cleaned off as you were getting into the car.

With that mindset it is difficult to suddenly go 'all original' because no matter how much love we put into the restoration eventually it will pass back into the hands of, for example, the Italian boatyard and again we become users and not owners. The care we lavish on the restoration is destroyed the first time they don't winterise the engine properly (if at all), or you return to find the hull still full of water even though you had asked them to "look at it". They shrug and still send you the bill. Perhaps "look at it" has a literal translation in Italian without the same connotations as English. I have no experience of US boatyards but in English ones if you want to wander in and fiddle with the engine no one minds (as long as it's your engine) and within 5 minutes you have a crowd of 'advisers'. In Italy they look at you as though you are mad and are taking their living away.

My intention is to be as original as I can within the bounds of economic and modernist sensibility. I'm certainly not looking at the boat as an investment (at least I don't think I am but you have made me think about it) but equally I am not prepared to pay twice its eventual value just to restore it. The Amsterdam boat is a classic example of a very good restoration or is it renovation but either way there will be very little of the original 71 left by the time the frames and hull etc are restored. It's an old chestnut in many spheres of boating, if you only have 1% of the original boat left have you just restored it or built a new one.
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Don Ayers » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:26 am

Roy,

You bring many valid points and most are universal to vintage boating.

regarding the yards, I can understand that feeling of ownership and how it is lost when a Yard does everything for you.

However, I would like that not all yards are equal and that some may be more understanding of a vintage Riva and other newer boats. Perhaps a different yard might change some of these feelings? Eric is far more traveled than I regarding this subject.

regarding the engine, it would be great to see you put it back to original but there are some trade offs. More tinkering as you say but the sound and feel are completely unique.

See video clip of a similar sound and feel in my SFL of 1959

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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Eric T. » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:53 am

Taking into consideration your inputs here... it sounds like you may want to consider a new marine engine, with the ariston there is really no height consderation. A good modern carbureted motor would do you well and give you reliable service on a budget you have described.
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Eric T. » Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:29 pm

Here's a pic to pique your interest.
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Eric T. » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:17 pm

Here is a pic of a bronze Riva Elbow.
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby adeneo » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:10 pm

This thread got me curious enough to register on this marvelous forum.

Apparently the boat in question is A71, a Riva Ariston from 1955, currently located in the UK ?

At the same time, A71 is supposedly for sale in Norway for around 20 000 euro, or at least the pile of rot that is left of the boat is, and it's been in Norway for the last 20 years, and it's even registered as A71 in the norwegian charter of the Riva club.

http://www.finn.no/finn/boat/used/object?finnkode=42641438

The question being, who really has A71, or are there several Ariston's with hull number 71, and would the one currently for sale be considered a good deal at €20k when all that is left is the hull, and most of the hull has to be replaced, and the owner apparently has no documentation on the history of the boat, nor it's authenticity ?
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Don Ayers » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:12 am

adeneo wrote:This thread got me curious enough to register on this marvelous forum.

Apparently the boat in question is A71, a Riva Ariston from 1955, currently located in the UK ?

At the same time, A71 is supposedly for sale in Norway for around 20 000 euro, or at least the pile of rot that is left of the boat is, and it's been in Norway for the last 20 years, and it's even registered as A71 in the norwegian charter of the Riva club.

http://www.finn.no/finn/boat/used/object?finnkode=42641438

The question being, who really has A71, or are there several Ariston's with hull number 71, and would the one currently for sale be considered a good deal at €20k when all that is left is the hull, and most of the hull has to be replaced, and the owner apparently has no documentation on the history of the boat, nor it's authenticity ?



I understand the gentleman bought the boat but it still might be stored in Norway. A friend of mine says its still there as well. Not sure what the owner plans to do???

Thanks for joining the forum
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby adeneo » Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:34 pm

Don Ayers wrote:I understand the gentleman bought the boat but it still might be stored in Norway. A friend of mine says its still there as well.


I've actually considered buying the boat, but came to the conclusion the asking price was way too high considering most of the boat is missing, but I called the Norwegian owner a few days ago, and the boat is still in the same place, and still for sale, and this thread was started a month ago?

The reason for asking was simply because I'm still somewhat on the fence, and if the boat for sale in Norway turns out not to be A71, it's suddenly not worth much at all, so I'm still wondering who really has A71 ?
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby bjornbakken » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:52 am

Roy wrote:Number 71 has had all of it's gear removed, engine, prop shaft, propeller, stern gear and even the wiring. Lord knows what some past owner thought they were doing. So in terms of putting something back we really are starting from scratch, just depends how 'original' we want to be.


I looked at a boat presented to me as A71 in mid March this year in Norway, but I passed on this one. And when I saw the post with the description above from late March, I thought the boat was sold and we spoke of the same boat. The description is of the boat I looked at.
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Terry » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:37 am

Having read this post with interest I can reveal that I am the new owner of A71. I purchased it in the early hours of Sunday morning and will be arranging for it to be shipped to a yard in either Amsterdam or UK for refurbishment.
As to the comments about originality, I spent several hours inspecting the boat and can confirm that it is A71 (Number in the nose cone) and the previous owner has some history to substantiate this. That said, I keep looking at the photos and wondering what I've done :) However, I have achieved my ambition of owning a Riva Ariston and must now endure poverty until it looks the way it should. I sincerely hope that I achieve this before my wife has me comitted to an instituition for the insane.
I suspect I will be a regular visitor to this forum and will be looking for practical and moral support. I look forward to hearing from you and will be happy to provide any support I can to people who have been similarly affected by the addiction to the most beautiful boats ever created.
Best Regards,
Terry
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Don Ayers » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:14 pm

Terry;

Welcome aboard and congrats on the purchase. Yes, we are all heading to the mental institution!!!

You might find my story inspiring if you look under Hull Construction "Ariston restoration journal"

And my marriage has survived so there is hope for you!! :D

What country are you in?

We are here to help you in any way possible. Most of my research has been on early AR models.

Back to this thread. What are your thoughts on an engine?

Ciao

Don
Oklahoma USA, where we have three 1959 Riva's :D
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Terry » Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:49 am

Hi Don,

Thanks for the welcome and the reassurance it was very much needed.

I'm located in the UK in South Oxfordshire and quite close to Peter Freebody's yard so there is plenty around to inspire me.

I've already located an engine in South Carolina and it's a Chris Craft MCL. I know the original would have been an MBL but they are basically the same engine with a bit more power.

My big challenge will be the seats an upholstery as there is nothing there to use as a template. I am also agonising over whether to use the later windshield that is with it or to source the original style.

I'm fairly sure the hull will be restored with planks although a number of restorers have tried to persuade me to go for a laminated hull. I think this would be a step too far from the original.

It's been a long search for the right boat for me but this is the one. I've already read your blog and I may do something similar so others can monitor my decline into insanity. This is a very one sided love affair and that is usually a recipe for disaster.

Can I ask, do other members wives object to them taking pieces of boat to bed with them? I have the Riva badge from the port side and as it's the only piece I have at home I don't wAnt to be separated from it :)

Looking forward to meeting and interacting with other Rivarians.

Terry
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Don Ayers » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:24 am

Terry;

Your journey begins.

Let me save you some real headache!!! The MCL is NOT going to be good for you for one major reason.

The twin carbs....

What you will be faced with it cutting out the port engine stringer for the aft carb.

That aft carb is very low and in many Chris-Craft models changes had to be made.

Certainly, MCL's were delivered in later Aristons, ending in 1959 with a cut out stringer.

I can tell you this that the twin carbs add a little more trouble to properly choke to start and you will not notice much difference in overall performance.

MBL's run great and are very easy to tune and you won't have to notch out the stringer.

Just something to think about.
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Terry » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:26 am

Don,

Thanks for that, I've just emailed the guy who has the engine to let him know that it isn't suitable. Hopefully he will understand as I did make a genuine mistake and he did persuade me that the MCL would fit.

So, now I have to find an MBL......... I can see this will be an interesting journey :roll:

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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Don Ayers » Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:32 pm

the good news is that finding an MBL is easier than an MCL.

You made the right choice and you can restore the boat to factory delivered status.

We can help you find the right engine for your project.

Best
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Terry » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:23 pm

Don,
I just received this from my prospective engine supplier:

Are you under the impression that MCL's have twin carburetors? They do not. In fact, the MBL and the MCL are the exact same size block, use the same exhaust manifold and the same carburetor. The only difference is bore/stroke/compression ratio. If an MBL will fit, so will an MCL. I don't know where you are getting your information but that person is misinformed.

Now I'm confused.......
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Re: 1955 Ariston which engine to install

Postby Don Ayers » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:20 pm

Terry;

I don't know who you are talking to but you need to run away!!!! This person has no clue and likely was looking forward to ripping you off.

There are many smaller differences to an MCL other than carbs.

We will make sure you don't get taken advantage of.

See pic
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