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    Thread: MkIV OEM control arm bushings?

    1. Banned
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      11-17-2005 02:53 PM #1
      UPDATE - install guide below

      Note for MkII/MkIII/Corrado/B3/B4/Passat owners:
      Yes you can use the R32/Audi TT bushings on your OEM control arms!!! For Passat, you may need to replace the control arm bushing sleeves (part #191407190A)


      Background: Why bushings?
      # The front suspension lower control arm (LCA) bushings, especially the donut-shaped unit towards the rear of the LCA, wear out over time. This causes the whole front suspension to move around 1/8" to 1/4" under load, thus changing the toe angle and making braking and extreme handling maneuvers less precise.
      # To restore your car to factory spec, replace these bushings with OEM units specified in the shop manual. To improve the handling response beyond OEM spec, you can upgrade to the stiffer Audi TT/R32 unit. Folks report that they don't add any harshness but do firm up steering and braking a little bit.
      # Polyurethane bushings are not a good choice for an LCA application because of binding issues and lubrication requirements. They do feel stiff for a few months and then wear out much faster than OEM rubber resulting in sloppy handling. They are often brightly colored in red or yellow to attract folks and close the sale. You'll be wise to avoid them for this application.
      # For the ultimate in stiff rides or for racing, you don't want a bushing at all. You want a spherical bearing. Generally, these bearings are not suitable for street use because of added noise/vibration and potential maintenance issues. Vendors such as http://www.h2sport.com and http://www.srsvw.com offer bearing kits for your LCA.


      Why not just get the R32/Audi TT control arms outright instead of messing with bushings?
      # Yes, the Audi TT LCA will fit MkIV cars but...
      # You need to modify the LCA (drilling + thread tapping) to use your existing MkIV sway bar. Otherwise, you must get Audi TT-style front struts and the Audi-TT style swaybar+endlinks, or run no front swaybar at all.
      # The TT LCA is a few pounds heavier. While this is good for durability and off-road/rally driving, this actually decreases performance potential.
      # The TT LCA offers a little more camber adjustment than the standard MkIV LCA. This is good for performance tuning, but most alignment shops don't know about this adjustment and won't adjust it because it is not in their standard book. You have to go to a performance tuner to have them make the proper camber adjustments.
      # For upgrades on your R32/TT LCA see http://public.fotki.com/mcphil...stall/


      Front bushing description

      # This bushing is supposedly OK to replace with poly because binding isn't really an issue, but you won't gain anything since the OEM bushing is already quite stiff. This bushing only needs to be replaced if it is obviously worn or damaged.
      # Note that R32 and late-model Audi TT LCA's have an entirely different bushing in this position. See http://public.fotki.com/mcphil...stall/
      # The original MY 1998-1999 Audi TT had smaller bushings similar to the GTI, but this setup was replaced in a factory recall that dialed in more understeer and added a rear wing to give more downforce at high speed.
      # Part number: 357407182
      # Price $5
      # http://www.parts4vws.com/catal...07182
      # http://worldimpex.com/item_detail.html?sku=5043
      # http://worldimpex.com/item_detail.html?sku=269277
      # http://www.parts.com/shoppingc...20GTI

      Another option for Mk1 Audi TT & MkIV R32 folks
      # http://www.modshack.info/defcon.htm

      Rear bushing aka donut bushing description

      # This bushing frequently develops obvious cracks and should be replaced. It is NOT ok to replace with poly due to binding issues.
      # Part numbers: 8N0407181
      # Price: $15-$25 each
      # http://www.ecstuning.com/stage...=3754
      # http://worldimpex.com/item_detail.html?sku=81148
      # http://www.parts4vws.com/catal...07181
      # http://www.ecstuning.com/stage...=3893 (heavy duty? This is actually the same as the Audi TT bushing but manufactured by Meyle instead of Boge. The rubber appears to be softer and smoother than the Boge brand bushing.)
      # http://www.trademotion.com/par...13799

      Control arm install write-up for MkIV


      Tools:
      # 13mm, 16mm, 17mm, 18mm sockets
      # 18mm deep offset wrench (makes getting the nut for the rear-position bushing a LOT easier - $15 at sears)
      # floor jack (2nd floor jack may be needed to jack up motor)
      # bottle-jack
      # jack stands
      # torque wrench
      # breaker bar
      # ratchet and socket extensions
      # Torx T25 screwdriver
      # Some cars will require the motor mount removal tools: http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=2357867


      Part 1 Uninstall:
      # loosen wheel lugs
      # Jack up front-end of car and secure with jack stands
      # Remove front wheel
      # Loosen swaybar link bolt with 16mm socket. There is some pre-load on the bar so be careful when it snaps out. You may use the bottle jack here to position the spindle/balljoint to a better angle.
      # Loosen the three 13mm balljoint bolts - don't lose the triangle top nut plate. You may re-use the bolts. The Bentley shop manual says to replace them, the ETKA does not, so its up to you.
      # Loosen 18mm rear-position LCA bolt. This one has a LOT of torque on it, so use a long breaker bar. Note that you have to secure the nut on top with a deep offset wrench or similar. Most regular wrenches or ratchets just won't fit! Again, you may re-use the nut and bolt.
      # Loosen 18mm front-position LCA bolt. This also has a LOT of torque. Re-use the bolt. (Note there is some risk in performing this step. In some cars, the bolt is rusted into place and when loosened the nutsert welded to the subframe breaks off. If this happens you have to cut a hole into the subframe and weld the nutsert back into place, figure out how to hold he nutsert stationary while tightening the bolt, or replace the subframe outright. This is not an often occurrence but be aware of the risk. Using some penetrating oil overnight *should* reduce this risk.)
      # Use the bottle jack to move the spindle up and down until you can slide the ball joint out of the control arm. It helps to have a second pair of hands here. Note that the balljoint can rotate quite a bit, so use that to your advantage.


      Part 2: Swap bushings
      At this point, you may take your old LCA's and extract the old bushings and replace with new bushings using one of the following methods:
      # take control arms to a local machine shop
      # http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=2797381
      # http://faculty.ccp.edu/faculty...x.htm
      # If you have a spare set of control arms to swap in, skip to part 3...


      Part 3 Re-Install:
      # Slide the new control arm into place
      # Insert the rear position bolt and fasten it with the nut. Don't torque it down yet.
      # Insert the balljoint inside the end of the LCA, and secure with the three bolts and top nut-plate. Don't torque yet.
      # Insert the front-position 18mm bolt and torque it to 52 ft-lbs +90°.
      # Torque the rear-position 18mm bolt to 52 ft-lbs+90°. Make sure to hold the nut in place with the deep offset wrench again. (This part is difficult on the passenger side because there isn't much clearance.)
      # Torque the three 13mm bolts to 15 ft-lbs. To get maximum negative camber, the bolts should be further out towards the edge of the LCA. Pull the spindle+brake rotor to get it in the position you want. There is about 2mm of leeway on the MkIV control arm, and about 5mm leeway on the Audi TT/R32 control arm.
      # Position the bottle jack to allow swaybar link to meet up.
      # Torque swaybar link 16mm bolt to 33 ft-lbs.
      # Remove bottle jack.
      # Re-install wheel.
      # Remove jack stands and floor jack.
      # Torque wheel lug bolts to 89 ft-lbs.
      # Get wheel alignment to check camber and toe.


      Oilpan/tranny getting in the way?
      # The passenger side control arm is a lot harder to get out on the VR6/TDI. You need to raise the motor out of the way to get at the front-position bolt. The VR6/TDI motor has a huge oilpan which completely blocks access to this bolt. You'll need to loosen the motor mount bolts quite a bit to gain access.
      # Automatic transmissions block the drivers-side bolt in a similar fashion requiring the removal of the top transmission-mount. See my motor mount guide for tools info: http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=2300076
      # You also may need to remove the bottom splash guard with a Torx T25 screwdriver bit.
      # The exhaust/downpipe shield leaves little clearance for using a ratchet or wrench on the top nut in the rear-position bolt. It is extremely difficult to get this bolt torqued properly without a deep offset wrench. Save yourself hours of aggravation and just buy the right tool for $15 at Sears.

      Install Photos
      Pic of VR6 problems on passenger side: Note plastic trim piece and oilpan blocking the bolt. Note 2nd jack to raise motor.

      Note 18mm deep offset wrench to hold nut for rear position bolt. Note bottle jack to stabilize torque wrench.

      Vendors:
      # http://www.ecstuning.com - good prices
      # http://www.mjmautohaus.com - sells OEM MkIV LCA with HD bushings already pressed in
      # http://www.vwgenuineparts.com - Chaplins VW dealer in Bellevue, WA
      # http://www.1stvwparts.com - Auburn VW dealer in Auburn, WA
      # http://www.worldimpex.com
      # http://www.germanautoparts.com
      # http://www.parts4vws.com


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      11-17-2005 05:08 PM #2
      The front bushing will last forever. I wouldn't change it. For the rear, go heavy duty way! It makes a noticeable difference.

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      11-19-2005 12:36 PM #3
      IIRC when I was looking to replace the bushings when I installed my coils, I called ECS about their "heavy duty" bushings and they said they were just the ones from the TT.

    4. 11-19-2005 01:03 PM #4
      Poly isnt right for any! I think the OEM are best overall.Just my opinion.


      Dick Shine


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      12-14-2005 09:37 PM #5
      Update. I got my hands on both the Meyle and Boge (oem) brand Audi TT rear-position bushings. The Meyle bushings appear to be softer than Boge and have a smoother rubber.

      I will be getting the Boge bushings pressed into my oem MkIV control arms later this week.


    6. 12-15-2005 10:07 AM #6
      That's good to know. Thanks! It's odd how the Meyle bushings cost more too. After hearing this news, I too will be getting the Boge bushings for sure.

    7. 12-15-2005 04:13 PM #7
      I recently installed te polyurethane bushings in the upper and lower slots..
      I thought these were supposed to be better than stock?
      What is bad about the urethane bushings and is it worth another $100 to take them out and put these ones in?

      I have a GTI. What is the best for the front and back. I want to know once and for all so I dont keep wasting money.


      Modified by BMP20AE 1253 at 4:14 PM 12-15-2005


    8. 12-15-2005 08:34 PM #8
      the bushings are designed to FLEX because that is how our control arms work... the rubber flexes and the control arm pivots about the bushing....

      poly is way to stiff, so it doesnt flex, so when you force it to flex, it will bind or wear out extreamly fast, forcing you to replace them even faster.

      maybe on a super smooth race track with no major bumps and a suspension system where you dont move all that much they might work...

      but for everday life... forget about it, people that sell you urothane bushings either have no clue of what makes our suspensions work, assume you drive a full blown racecar, or just want to make a quick buck off of you.


      (ps, my money is on the sphearical units, cant wait till spring... woopee!!)


      Modified by 7thGear at 5:39 PM 12-15-2005


    9. 12-15-2005 08:38 PM #9
      So what are the best ones for out cars and where to get them?
      It seems the links at the top of this post are mostly for T or R32.

    10. 12-15-2005 08:39 PM #10
      the TT/R32 are a direct fit, which is why people are advertising them, there stiffer, but they still FLEX so there is less side to side shifting around of the control arm, but still soft enough to provide for the vertical flex needed for the smooth and long lasting operation of your suspension.



      Modified by 7thGear at 5:42 PM 12-15-2005

    11. Senior Member 16vracer's Avatar
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      12-16-2005 10:56 AM #11
      doesn't Shine make metal spherical bearings?
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    12. 12-16-2005 11:07 AM #12
      yes they do

      as does H2Sport


    13. Senior Member 16vracer's Avatar
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      12-16-2005 11:19 AM #13
      Quote, originally posted by 7thGear »
      yes they do

      as does H2Sport


      Cool. I was hoping somebody would post them in this thread with links etc, so as to compile a list of all the control arm bushing options for us.

      Is anyone using either the Shine or H2Sports? How do they like them?

      '05 Evo GSR '08 A4 3.2Q S-Line '10 RX-350 /// Gone and dearly missed 06 Evo RS "Formula 409"--409awhp
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      12-16-2005 02:58 PM #14
      Quote, originally posted by groftja »
      That's good to know. Thanks! It's odd how the Meyle bushings cost more too. After hearing this news, I too will be getting the Boge bushings for sure.

      You know I don't know if they are actually softer or not, they just feel different because of the texture of the rubber. I can make a mark in both bushings with my fingernail.


    15. Member rracerguy717's Avatar
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      12-16-2005 03:10 PM #15
      Quote, originally posted by phatvw »

      You know I don't know if they are actually softer or not, they just feel different because of the texture of the rubber. I can make a mark in both bushings with my fingernail.

      if you know of any Dirt track's around you ,most racers will have a durometer in there tool box im sure they will let you use too check them both so you can get the exact stiffness of the rubbers . Bob.G

      Read below about mine and other fsi stage 3 owners bad experience and poor results with APR and there Stage 3 Kits. http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...ge-3-dyno-runs
      Quote Originally Posted by jhines_06gli View Post
      I'd say you have nothing to worry about, but then again.....you are driving a modified VW. You have EVERYTHING to worry about!!!
      -J. Hines

    16. Member rracerguy717's Avatar
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      12-16-2005 03:19 PM #16
      Quote, originally posted by 16vracer »

      Cool. I was hoping somebody would post them in this thread with links etc, so as to compile a list of all the control arm bushing options for us.

      Fred they sell them complete unit installed in the lower control arm, also Tom has modded arms that move out the ball joint location similar to the TT arm , but they use the lighter stamped out arm like in the link below . Give him a call , great guy to do business with and pick his brain with suspensions Bob.G

      http://www.h2sport.com/products.php?productid=215

      Read below about mine and other fsi stage 3 owners bad experience and poor results with APR and there Stage 3 Kits. http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...ge-3-dyno-runs
      Quote Originally Posted by jhines_06gli View Post
      I'd say you have nothing to worry about, but then again.....you are driving a modified VW. You have EVERYTHING to worry about!!!
      -J. Hines

    17. 12-17-2005 10:59 AM #17
      It looks lie H2 Sport only sells the whol control arm with the modded control Arm bushings.
      Do they seell just the bushings?

      Are those bushings better than the ones from ECS?


    18. 12-18-2005 07:46 PM #18
      go with the Audi TT rear C.A. bushing..

    19. Senior Member 16vracer's Avatar
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      12-18-2005 08:33 PM #19
      Quote, originally posted by rracerguy717 »

      Fred they sell them complete unit installed in the lower control arm, also Tom has modded arms that move out the ball joint location similar to the TT arm , but they use the lighter stamped out arm like in the link below . Give him a call , great guy to do business with and pick his brain with suspensions Bob.G

      http://www.h2sport.com/products.php?productid=215


      I guess I'd need to call him to find out about the arms with ball joint moved out?


      so is anyone using these? How are they? Too much for commuting with?

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    20. 12-18-2005 10:14 PM #20
      if the rest of your suspension is set for comfort

      ie

      SHOCK TRAVEL

      they shouldnt be that harsh


    21. Senior Member 16vracer's Avatar
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      12-18-2005 10:18 PM #21
      Quote, originally posted by 7thGear »
      if the rest of your suspension is set for comfort

      ie

      SHOCK TRAVEL


      Shut it
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    22. 12-18-2005 10:43 PM #22
      Quote, originally posted by BMP20AE 1253 »
      It looks lie H2 Sport only sells the whol control arm with the modded control Arm bushings.
      Do they seell just the bushings?

      Are those bushings better than the ones from ECS?

      there not really bushigns... they are sphearical bearing units that dont flex.


      Quote, originally posted by 16vracer »

      Shut it

      NEVER


      Modified by 7thGear at 7:47 PM 12-18-2005


    23. 12-19-2005 09:45 AM #23
      So the issue with the poly-urethane bushings is that they wear out faster or that they make the car handle worse?
      What I mean is that I just put them in about a month ago. Should I just go ahead and take them back out or wait a while until they go bad?

      If I am looking to only change the bushings and not the whole control arm, should I just go with the stock Audi TT bushings or what?
      Everyone here seems to be suggesting something different..


    24. 12-19-2005 10:03 AM #24
      Quote, originally posted by BMP20AE 1253 »
      So the issue with the poly-urethane bushings is that they wear out faster or that they make the car handle worse?

      Did they make your car handle better, worse, or no change?


    25. 12-19-2005 10:05 AM #25
      only laptimes will tell!

    26. 12-19-2005 10:12 AM #26
      Someone answer my questions plz!!!!

    27. 12-19-2005 10:40 AM #27
      You are the one with the poly bushings, so you should be telling us how they changed the car's handling, not us telling you. Most of us haven't tried poly bushings because some people who have, have said they regretted it due to them wearing out prematurely and when that happens they handle worse than stock. But I'm always open to new information and you've got them so you tell us about them.


    28. 12-19-2005 11:40 AM #28
      Quote, originally posted by BMP20AE 1253 »
      Someone answer my questions plz!!!!

      Quote, originally posted by 7thGear »
      the bushings are designed to FLEX because that is how our control arms work... the rubber flexes and the control arm pivots about the bushing....

      poly is way to stiff, so it doesnt flex, so when you force it to flex, it will bind or wear out extreamly fast, forcing you to replace them even faster.

      maybe on a super smooth race track with no major bumps and a suspension system where you dont move all that much they might work...

      but for everday life... forget about it, people that sell you urothane bushings either have no clue of what makes our suspensions work, assume you drive a full blown racecar, or just want to make a quick buck off of you.


      (ps, my money is on the sphearical units, cant wait till spring... woopee!!)


      Modified by 7thGear at 5:39 PM 12-15-2005

      Quote, originally posted by groftja »
      You are the one with the poly bushings, so you should be telling us how they changed the car's handling, not us telling you. Most of us haven't tried poly bushings because some people who have, have said they regretted it due to them wearing out prematurely and when that happens they handle worse than stock. But I'm always open to new information and you've got them so you tell us about them.


    29. Member MDVDuber's Avatar
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      12-19-2005 12:32 PM #29
      How involved is the maintenance on Spherical Bearings? I can't imagine that it's just stick 'em in and forget about it.

    30. 12-19-2005 01:15 PM #30
      probably need to lube them now and then


      probably take them out for cleaning if too much dust/grime builds up, id like to hear from Dick or Tom on this issue.


    31. Member Ricky Bobby's Avatar
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      12-23-2005 02:01 AM #31
      Quote, originally posted by phatvw »
      Control arm install write-up

      Tools:

    32. 13mm, 16mm, 18mm sockets
    33. floor jack
    34. bottle-jack
    35. jack stands
    36. torque wrench
    37. ratchet and socket extensions

      Having had the new TT bushings pressed into a spare set of control arms (thanks eggroller!) I proceeded to do the install:


      Uninstall:

    38. loosen wheel lugs
    39. Jack up one side of car and secure with jack stands
    40. Remove wheel
    41. Loosen swaybar link bolt with 16mm socket. There is some pre-load on the bar so be careful when it snaps out. You may use the bottle jack here to position the spindle/balljoint to a better angle.
    42. Loosen the three 13mm balljoint bolts - don't lose the triangle top nut plate. You may re-use the bolts. The Bentley shop manual says to replace them, the ETKA does not, so its up to you.
    43. Loosen 18mm rear-position LCA bolt. This one has a LOT of torque on it, so use a long breaker bar. Note that you're have to secure the bit nut on top with a wrench or ratchet. I found a ratchet works best. Again, you may re-use the nut and bolt.
    44. Loosen 18mm front-position LCA bolt. This also has a LOT of torque. Re-use the bolt
    45. Use the bottle jack to move the spindle up and down until you can slide the ball joint out of the control arm. It helps to have a second pair of hands here. Note that the balljoint can rotate quite a bit, so use that to your advantage.

      Install:

    46. Slide the new control arm into place
    47. Insert the rear position bolt and fasten it with the nut. Don't torque it down yet.
    48. Insert the balljoint inside the end of the LCA, and secure with the three bolts and top nut-plate. Don't torque yet.
    49. Insert the front-position 18mm bolt and torque it to 52 ft-lbs +90°.
    50. Torque the rear-position 18mm bolt to 52 ft-lbs+90°. Make sure to hold the nut in place with a ratchet.
    51. Torque the three 13mm bolts to 15 ft-lbs. To get maximum negative camber, the bolts should be further out towards the edge of the LCA. Pull the spindle+brake rotor to get it in the position you want. There is about 2mm of leeway on the MkIV control arm, and about 5mm leeway on the Audi TT/R32 control arm.
    52. Position the bottle jack to allow swaybar link to meet up.
    53. Torque swaybar link 16mm bolt to 33 ft-lbs.
    54. Remove bottle jack.
    55. Re-install wheel.
    56. Remove jack stands and floor jack.
    57. Torque wheel lug bolts to 89 ft-lbs.


      Driving impressions
      Absolutely no difference at all. Of course its raining here, so I couldn't really push it. I also need to get an alignment before I can really judge. My car is pulling to the right.

      pics to follow.

      Modified by phatvw at 5:45 PM 12-22-2005


    58. great writeup, i'm really interested to see after you get an alignment if you notice any difference whatsoever, i was thinking about doing the poly front bushings/TT rear bushings if i get new ball joints on my control arms in the spring

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      It's simply fabulous, sweetie.

    59. Moderator eggroller's Avatar
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      12-23-2005 02:33 PM #32
      I guess that means you don't need to install the LCAs at my place later, eh?

    60. Senior Member 16vracer's Avatar
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      12-23-2005 02:51 PM #33
      Quote, originally posted by eggroller »
      I guess that means you don't need to install the LCAs at my place later, eh?

      We'll have to do mine sometime soon I hope
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    61. Moderator eggroller's Avatar
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      12-23-2005 03:41 PM #34
      Fred, We'll get you taken care of. Just need good used LCAs in exchange.

    62. Senior Member 16vracer's Avatar
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      12-23-2005 04:10 PM #35
      Quote, originally posted by eggroller »
      Fred, We'll get you taken care of. Just need good used LCAs in exchange.

      Well after talking to "805" and I think "grofta" or was it 7th gear? I think I'll go with the Hsport control arms. From what they said, the increased noise and harshness wont be much at all, something about less deflection and the suspension being able to do it;s job etc.

      here's a quote from an IM from 805, talking about the spherical control arm bearings...he's using Shines, not Hsports but oh well:


      " They're actually Shine's kit and the ride actually got better as there is less friction in the movement of the control arm. The wheel follows the ground and bumps better. The noise increase was minimal. I run 45 series tires and those are noisy."

      '05 Evo GSR '08 A4 3.2Q S-Line '10 RX-350 /// Gone and dearly missed 06 Evo RS "Formula 409"--409awhp
      myFlickr

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