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Thread: Engine Crossmembers and Driveshafts

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    Engine Crossmembers and Driveshafts

    66BeachCruiser has been working on his 66 and some questions came up regarding 1st and 2nd gen crossmembers and driveshafts. Since I had some handy, I thought I would post up some pics and try to show the differences.
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    Black one is 2nd gen and white one is 1st gen. The spacing between the mounts is a quick way to tell the difference between them.
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    The rivets were removed and will be replaced with bolts. The mounts can not be switched left to right or from 1st to 2nd gen since the holes and shape do not line up.
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    I set up a sheetrock square on edge and lined it up with the forward bolt holes. Then I measured the distance from the square to the motor mount bolt hole.
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    Measured out right at 4".
    Then I set it up the same way on the 1st gen.
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    Measured out right at 1".

    So it looks to me that the 2nd gen crossmember moves the motor mount holes toward the rear by 3". While I did not take notice at the time, I don't think there is a difference in the height of the motor mount bolt holes so I don't think the motor is any higher or lower with either crossmember setup, but I will recheck this.
    I then went out to the 69 WedgieVan 90' wb and measured the driveshaft and also the 66 FreakyVan 90" wb.
    The 2nd gen driveshaft was 22 1/4" and the 1st gen was 24 1/2". This is measured without the yoke, just the driveshaft.
    108VanGuy...
    Last edited by 108VanGuy; 04-08-2020 at 11:07 PM. Reason: spelling errors
    1969 Chevy Panel, 250 CID, 3 Spd.with OD, 3.36 "WedgieVan" Daily Driver
    1967 Chevy Panel, 230 CID, 3 Spd. 3.36 "UtiliVan" 292 TFI coming. Owned since 76
    1964 GMC Panel, 194 CID, 3 Spd. "CrunchoVan"
    1965 GMC HandiBus Custom, 194 CID, 3 Spd. "MilkVan" Seized Engine
    1965 Chevy Panel 350 CID, 3 Spd. "RustoRoof" Runs but wiring bad
    1969 Chevy 108 Display 307 CID THM 350 Power Brakes 3.73 Posi
    1965 Chevy Panel, V8, 3 Spd. "Gold Hills Van" Best body of my 65s
    1965 CamperVan, V8, 3 Spd.

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    Interesting comparison. It would appear that when someone put a 283 in my '65, they used a 2nd gen crossmember. Is the motor mount bolt hole spacing the same? Will a 1st gen mount work with a small block chevy V8?

    The 3" setback is a good thing. It allows me to keep the stock '96 vortec accessories, and still have room for a large electric fan and shroud.

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    VCVC Member panelmanrd's Avatar
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    yes the first gen crossmember will work to support a small block chevy
    54 chevy panel truck 355 tpi 700r4 325/9in
    64 chevy 90 5.7 tpi 700r4 336 8.2
    69 chevy panel van 5.7 tbi 700r4 336 8.2

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    VCVC Member 66BeachCruiser's Avatar
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    Man, the 3" setback towards the rear is a big difference. This 2nd gen crossmember and and driveshaft is definitely something to consider to gain necessary clearance. Anything else moves back at the same time as the engine would? Then there's the transmission right lol, and then the shift levers if any lol. Well, we know crossmembers are different, are transmission levers longer too? I might have one of each to compare.
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    VCVC Member panelmanrd's Avatar
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    if I remember correctly the first gen vans have the mounting holes for the engine crossmember in different location than the second gens
    54 chevy panel truck 355 tpi 700r4 325/9in
    64 chevy 90 5.7 tpi 700r4 336 8.2
    69 chevy panel van 5.7 tbi 700r4 336 8.2

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    So...... If you are going to put a 2nd Gen doghouse in your 1st Gen to go with a V8 swap, which crossmember would you use?

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    VCVC Member No1rascal's Avatar
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    Great info Mark, thanks 4 posting it!
    1966 GMC Handi-Bus Custom (project)
    1968 Chevy 108 Sportvan

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    VCVC Member Wookee's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by panelmanrd View Post
    if I remember correctly the first gen vans have the mounting holes for the engine crossmember in different location than the second gens
    1st gens 64 to 66 only came factory with the 6 cylinder engines.
    V/8's where introduced with the new 2nd gen design in 67.
    Plenty 1st gens have been converted to V/8s muddying the waters a bit.
    ALL where factory 6 cylinder Vans....
    Its a "van thing". A life style you have to live to understand!!!!

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    VCVC Member TurboVan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wookee View Post
    1st gens 64 to 66 only came factory with the 6 cylinder engines.
    V/8's where introduced with the new 2nd gen design in 67.
    Plenty 1st gens have been converted to V/8s muddying the waters a bit.
    ALL where factory 6 cylinder Vans....
    Not true. My '65 came with the 4 cylinder 153 and standard trans. It sucked and I couldn't wait to get rid of it. The 153 used its own special towers on the first gen crossmember.
    When I wanted to put in the V8, I went down to the Chevy dealer and was able to buy just the towers for a six cylinder (which also fit the V8), drilled out the rivets, and bolted the new towers to the crossmember.
    Not sure if the 153 was an option and the six standard, or the other way around, but fours were surely available in '64 and '65.
    Last edited by TurboVan; 09-01-2019 at 05:53 PM.
    Keep one foot in the gutter, one fist in the gold...

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    '69 Sportvan 108 with turbocharged original 250 six and 700R4 (originally Powerglide), 3.73 rear, starred in eight Taco Bell commercials
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    VCVC Member Wookee's Avatar
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    Cool

    Sorry I forget about the 4 cylinders....
    Both the 4/6 cylinders also had a transmission, auto / manual with a mounting bracket /hanger formed into the transmission it's self....
    Last edited by Wookee; 09-01-2019 at 06:18 PM.
    Its a "van thing". A life style you have to live to understand!!!!

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    VCVC Member No1rascal's Avatar
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    So back to the question posted by VanSandy.....which cross member works best in a 1st gen with a 2nd gen doghouse & v8?
    1966 GMC Handi-Bus Custom (project)
    1968 Chevy 108 Sportvan

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    I used the 1st generation crossmember in my 66 conversation. I also used the doghouse out of a 69 van. The van had the V8 so I was able to use the engine and bell housing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by No1rascal View Post
    So back to the question posted by VanSandy.....which cross member works best in a 1st gen with a 2nd gen doghouse & v8?
    I've not done any conversions as you describe so I couldn't say which is better. I believe it's not as critical if you have a V8 since they are much shorter. When you read the posts of 66BeachCruiser, it sure seems that a six cylinder could benefit from the extra space that a 2nd gen crossmember would provide in the 1st gen. I would think that conversion would need a revised transmission mount if the original underfloor mount location was used.
    108VanGuy...
    1969 Chevy Panel, 250 CID, 3 Spd.with OD, 3.36 "WedgieVan" Daily Driver
    1967 Chevy Panel, 230 CID, 3 Spd. 3.36 "UtiliVan" 292 TFI coming. Owned since 76
    1964 GMC Panel, 194 CID, 3 Spd. "CrunchoVan"
    1965 GMC HandiBus Custom, 194 CID, 3 Spd. "MilkVan" Seized Engine
    1965 Chevy Panel 350 CID, 3 Spd. "RustoRoof" Runs but wiring bad
    1969 Chevy 108 Display 307 CID THM 350 Power Brakes 3.73 Posi
    1965 Chevy Panel, V8, 3 Spd. "Gold Hills Van" Best body of my 65s
    1965 CamperVan, V8, 3 Spd.

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    VCVC Member panelmanrd's Avatar
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    I used the first gen cross member when I went with a small block in the first gen
    also using a second gen dog house. 700r4 and a shortened driveshaft.
    54 chevy panel truck 355 tpi 700r4 325/9in
    64 chevy 90 5.7 tpi 700r4 336 8.2
    69 chevy panel van 5.7 tbi 700r4 336 8.2

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    VCVC Member kookykrispy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by No1rascal View Post
    So back to the question posted by VanSandy.....which cross member works best in a 1st gen with a 2nd gen doghouse & v8?
    When I built Hella Sunshine, (1965 with a v8) I used the original 1st gen crossmember in the factory location, with the 2nd gen doghouse and floor tunnel. I also used the factory th350 hanger, which bolted in place and the first gen driveshaft did not require modification.

    There was adequate space between radiator and fan, but just barely. I can see how an inline six would have problems. Note in the pic the electric fan motor was very close to the engine pulleys.
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    Last edited by kookykrispy; 09-04-2019 at 02:23 PM.



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    Fitment Issues with Electric Fan in a 1st Gen/six cylinder

    I checked the 1st and 2nd gen crossmembers against each other and they line up perfectly. This means there is no issue being able to install either crossmember in either 1st or 2nd gen van. The V8 install in the 2nd gen is pretty straightforward since they came with V8s as an option. V8 in a first gen is possible with the 1st or 2nd gen crossmember from what members report but the doghouse from a 2nd gen helps very much to access the spark plugs and wires. Many have welded in additional "boxes" to their 1st gen doghouse to help with access there. Seems to me, that the problem comes in when installing an electric fan in a 1st gen with a six cylinder. I spent a good amount of time trying to install the 18" Mark VIII fan into the 66 FreakyVan. There was just not enough room between the radiator and water pump. There was also not enough room to install it in front of the radiator which was my second choice. If a 2nd gen crossmember is installed in a 1st gen, the additional room would probably allow for the big electric fan installation between the radiator and water pump. IMHO, this is the preferred fan in the preferred location. I believe a smaller 16" fan could possibly be used without a 2nd gen crossmember but I didn't try that option since I had too many other fish to fry and Bill wanted to start driving his van sometime this year. Anyway, if a 2nd gen crossmember is installed in a 1st gen which gives you 3 more inches up front, where does that leave you on the back? The 3" rearward push will make it a lot tighter between the valve cover and the back of the doghouse. I'm not near my vans right now so I cant make a measurement but there may not be enough room to move a six cylinder back 3" in a 1st gen doghouse. This could mean a doghouse modification is required.

    My ultimate goal is a 292 in a 1st gen with the Mark VIII electric fan, hopefully without a tunnel or a scoop. That would keep the clean body lines when viewed from the front, a clear floor space inside, dramatically lower noise levels at freeway speeds (from removal of fixed fan) and increased fuel economy.
    108VanGuy...
    1969 Chevy Panel, 250 CID, 3 Spd.with OD, 3.36 "WedgieVan" Daily Driver
    1967 Chevy Panel, 230 CID, 3 Spd. 3.36 "UtiliVan" 292 TFI coming. Owned since 76
    1964 GMC Panel, 194 CID, 3 Spd. "CrunchoVan"
    1965 GMC HandiBus Custom, 194 CID, 3 Spd. "MilkVan" Seized Engine
    1965 Chevy Panel 350 CID, 3 Spd. "RustoRoof" Runs but wiring bad
    1969 Chevy 108 Display 307 CID THM 350 Power Brakes 3.73 Posi
    1965 Chevy Panel, V8, 3 Spd. "Gold Hills Van" Best body of my 65s
    1965 CamperVan, V8, 3 Spd.

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    VCVC Member 66BeachCruiser's Avatar
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    This is the dilemma I'm at right now. Keeping the six cylinder engine but wanting a 2nd gen crossflow in a first gen not only is there minimal space between a possible electric fan but even the stock fan. Since I'm not currently using a 2nd gen crossmember and driveshaft I decided to move the crossflow bottom bracket forward to move the radiator forward and gain inches in clearance. Moving just slightly forward means I'm taking over the space where my sway bar is supposed to go. I already drilled out a hole on each side of the bottom radiator bracket to line up with one sway bar mounting hole for each side. Im trying to see if maybe I can install my swaybar right on top sharing the same bolt holes. If so, I'll go ahead and drill another 2nd hole on each side of the crossflow radiator bottom bracket to do so. And get this, even with that movement forward I mocked up the radiator, took off the stock fan, mocked up the Mark electric fan and still not enough room. I only gained enough to make it safe for my stock fan. Getting a 2nd gen crossmember and a shorter driveshaft will be the ticket if wanting more room when staying with an I6 on a first gen
    1966 Chevy Sportvan seafoam green/white
    Sliding ragtop
    230 straight six
    HEI distributor
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    200r4 w/stock auto shifter, custom hanger, 96 suburban trans cooler
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    Front Disk Brake conversion with Dual master
    Recored radiator to 3core
    5 blade fan
    belly pan.

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    Certifiable Vanatic Leroy Jackson's Avatar
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    If it helps the conversation, on my second gen, I was able to stuff a 4l80e in my van without needing to massage the body. I did need to relocate the trans mount, shorten the drive shaft and re-route my exhaust....couldn't keep the x pipe, went to an h pipe setup.

    From my understanding, the 1st gens are basically the same dimensions at the rear of the dog house.

    Running a full sized HEI required some trimming of the dog house to get it to fit, so that may be the biggest issue if you push the engine back.
    The Raped Ape
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    Quote Originally Posted by 108VanGuy View Post
    Anyway, if a 2nd gen crossmember is installed in a 1st gen which gives you 3 more inches up front, where does that leave you on the back? The 3" rearward push will make it a lot tighter between the valve cover and the back of the doghouse. I'm not near my vans right now so I cant make a measurement but there may not be enough room to move a six cylinder back 3" in a 1st gen doghouse. This could mean a doghouse modification is required.

    My ultimate goal is a 292 in a 1st gen with the Mark VIII electric fan, hopefully without a tunnel or a scoop. That would keep the clean body lines when viewed from the front, a clear floor space inside, dramatically lower noise levels at freeway speeds (from removal of fixed fan) and increased fuel economy.
    108VanGuy...
    Having recently had a first and second gen in the driveway, as I recall, the second gen doghouse goes back farther, i.e. the hole in the floor is longer. If you moved your six banger with either the stock three speed or powerglide, you would no longer line up with the trans hanger, and need a shorter driveshaft. Not so much of an issue with a 108, but 3" shorter drive shaft on a 90 would be an issue? That's what she said...

    I just measured and there is only 2 5/8" between the valve cover and the rear of the the 66 doghouse. But the potentially bigger issue is that it looks like the top of the bell housing would butt up against or go into the rear of the dog house.

    As far as design flaws go, it has always seemed to me the 1st gen box is too much of that, a plain box or cube. It needs a tunnel, and would also seem to benefit from a sloped back wall for better air flow. But that would cut into interior space. The second gen is engineered so much better from a doghouse perspective, six or V8.

    The more I weigh options the more I like my 66 bone stock (except it has a replacement 250 with HEI). It moves just fine down the road, but I do want to convert to auto as soon as possible.

    Pictures, because six bangers are cool.

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    VCVC Member joyrde's Avatar
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    GREAT PICTURE and INFO!!!!

    My first Van was a '64 GMC, 194 c.i., 3-speed stick;

    I put a 283, then later a 327 in the Van. Using a stock short V-8 water pump, the 283, bolted right in - - - all I did was take out the factory 6 cylinder engine to motor mount adapter.
    - - -
    I reused the stock 6-cylinder runner engine mounts - - - the same bellhousing, clutch assembly, trans, and factory driveshaft. I did have the 6-cylinder radiator re-cored with a thicker radiator core. I also dropped the front of the bellypan 4 inches.

    I also kept the stock Doghouse - - - yes, I did cut the sides of the doghouse out just above the stock exhaust manifolds, and boxed them in with sheet metal.

    Sorry no pictures - - - that Van went down the road - - 45 years ago

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    Sweet ride! No doubt that was a beach towel, right?

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    VCVC Charter Member Vanner68's Avatar
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    1st gen cooling is one of those perpetual issues, when you look at the design changes from 1st to 2nd gen you can see many were to alleviate cooling issues, with GM ultimately abandoning downflow radiators in late 69. (Something I've noted, following these threads. Many 69 sixbangers have the crossflow, and seems like all the 70's do). My 69 with a factory 307/3 speed had zero overheating issues, even when I upgraded to a 350. I drove it as a daily for years, and many long trips of up to 8 hours on the road. (That was a long trip for me when I was in my 20's) My 70 no-door with a 250/PG and crossflow never overheated, even when sitting in cruise night traffic.

    Now, we are running later model engines that were set up to run hotter, as a hotter engine pollutes less. This is fine when you have the relatively massive radiators used in new trucks, but causes issues in the tight confines of an early doghouse.

    Those running relatively stock drivetrains should just start with the basics, is the block clean inside or gunked up with rust, does the radiator flow well, are all the belly pan pieces in place etc then go on rom there with modifications. If the stock cooling system i not working correctly, band-aids will only delay the inevitable meltdown.
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    VCVC Member Wookee's Avatar
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    Cool

    Most guys insist on using the factory 195 thermostat.For multiple reasons.
    Mainly because the manuals say so.
    I had my stock 6 cylinder radiator record when I had my factory 6 being rebuilt.
    I never got my six to run right when I received it from the machine shop.(a new one I have never used before )..
    So a went with the low mileage GM crate engine I bought new and was running in a 79 puke up.
    With every thing new or remand.She really likes a 165 thermostat running the 6 radiator.
    The only time i have had over heating issues was pulling long mountain passes in western MD.
    She would peg the new temp gauge going up the mountain.I kicked her into neutral and pretty much free rolled down the other side.At the posted speed limit.
    She never puked out any anti freeze when I stopped to check her out.
    Once we got here back on flat Ohio roads she went back to her old self.
    The factory V/8 radiators come with wider / thicker top and bottom tanks.
    I have spoken with other V/8 owners who have no issues with the V/8 radiators..
    Don't be scared to change your thermostat to a cooler one.
    The GM engineers definitely missed there mark.
    There fix was to move the radiator behind the grill in 3rd gen vans...
    Last edited by Wookee; 09-30-2019 at 04:44 PM.
    Its a "van thing". A life style you have to live to understand!!!!

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    I think the only advantage to having the engine in a doghouse is that the nose of our vans looks cooler than any design that came after!

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    VCVC Member Wookee's Avatar
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    Cool

    The Vans where,and all ways have been a long running engineering project...
    Its a "van thing". A life style you have to live to understand!!!!

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    Well Said Wookee RIP My VCV Brother

    When I reviewed this post, I noticed that I left out the information on the driveline length.
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    Here's the lengths of the three different drivelines (that I know about) that come in our vans. Each measurement is from end to end as shown on the top driveline. The yoke is not included in the measurement. As you can see, I don't have an example for the 2nd gen 90" WB model.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's a pic of the two different yokes that come in our vans. I had these available so I thought I would include them in this thread. The one on the left is for the earlier model Muncie three speed transmission and the one on the right is for the later model (~1966+) Saginaw transmission. The Yokes are interchangeable on the driveshafts but not on the transmissions (Duh).
    108VanGuy...
    1969 Chevy Panel, 250 CID, 3 Spd.with OD, 3.36 "WedgieVan" Daily Driver
    1967 Chevy Panel, 230 CID, 3 Spd. 3.36 "UtiliVan" 292 TFI coming. Owned since 76
    1964 GMC Panel, 194 CID, 3 Spd. "CrunchoVan"
    1965 GMC HandiBus Custom, 194 CID, 3 Spd. "MilkVan" Seized Engine
    1965 Chevy Panel 350 CID, 3 Spd. "RustoRoof" Runs but wiring bad
    1969 Chevy 108 Display 307 CID THM 350 Power Brakes 3.73 Posi
    1965 Chevy Panel, V8, 3 Spd. "Gold Hills Van" Best body of my 65s
    1965 CamperVan, V8, 3 Spd.

  27. #27
    VCVC Member ShawnM's Avatar
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    Clear and concise, nice!

    Great information has been shared here. I appreciate the details you have all been sharing and the pictures are extreamly helpful. Thanks for the knowledge you share.

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