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Magnetic ride - anyone know anything about it?

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by Metalex, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. Metalex
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    Metalex Member

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    [Jun 24, 2008]
    I'm almost certain to be ordering an A3 Sportback S Line 2.0 TFSI in the near future. I'm struggling to settle on what options to have, due to the sheer number available.

    One of those options is magnetic ride, and it's difficult to tell whether it will have a genuine benefit over standard S Line suspension and how the 'normal' and 'sport' settings will compare to standard. Audi's website and price guide doesn't really explain it very well.

    Is the 'normal' setting the same as an A3 S Line without magnetic ride, or is it softer? Is the 'sport' setting harder than the standard S Line suspension, therefore giving handling benefits, or is it simply comparable to standard? Or is the standard S Line suspension somewhere in between 'normal' and 'sport'?

    I'll be coming from a MkV Golf GTI, so I'm kind of prepared for the fact that the A3 S Line might not be quite as good on the handling front. Is magnetic ride going to close the gap, or will it simply be a waste of money that is better put towards other options?

    Opinions, educated guesses and hard facts are all welcome!
    #1
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  3. Macs
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    Macs Member

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    [Jun 24, 2008]
    I presume you already know how the magnetic ride works, it acts only on the hydraulic part of the suspension, the spring rate is the same on both settings.

    I have recently tested a TTS and the magnetic ride on the hard setting is really effective on flat surfaces, but on bumpy roads it can be counter-productive, it makes the car "jump" therefore reduces grip.
    I did not try it in the softer setting.
    #2
  4. o_rawlinson
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    o_rawlinson New Member

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    [Jun 24, 2008]
    I talked to my dealer about ordering this last week - he advised not to get it unless I intend to zig zag around rows of traffic cones on a regular basis - so I put the money towards other options instead!
    #3
  5. DemianM
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    DemianM RWD sucks!

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    [Jun 24, 2008]
    POS to resume it
    My dad TT has it........I notice almost no difference, it is only noticeable at high speed, it is much "bumpier", but on regular driving I dont find it worth! You are much better off getting some Bilstein PSS10 coilovers!

    I´ve read somewhere on this forum that the suspension lowers 1 cm on sport mode, but I did not notice this on our car!
    #4
  6. Macs
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    Macs Member

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    [Jun 24, 2008]
    It does not lower the car in any way.
    The oil inside the shocks has some particles in it. When you put the system on sport, a magnetic field is activated. This makes the oil to become more dense, making the shock absorbers stiffer.
    No changes at all on springs.
    #5
  7. crazylegscrane
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    crazylegscrane Active Member

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    [Jun 24, 2008]
    I was thinking of putting it on the S3 I've ordered but the dealer said it wasn't worth it
    #6
  8. consilio
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    consilio Up the owls!

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    [Jun 24, 2008]
    I always think this sort of thing is a bit of a gimmick.

    Like when Persil launch their latest 'much better than the previous' detergent, with 15 different layers in the tablet that amazingly all know what particular stains to target, but you have to put them in the little bag provided otherwise the whole process doesn't work properly. Who are you kidding, its just a tablet ffs!

    Advertising drives me mad sometimes, and its incredible how stupid and gullible some people are.

    Sorry, i'm ranting :tapedshut: :sos:
    #7
  9. Kontraband
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    Kontraband Active Member

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    [Jun 24, 2008]
    surprised to see so many dealers dissin it tho.
    #8
  10. Macs
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    Macs Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    surorised to see so many people trusting their dealer... :laugh:
    #9
  11. royjk
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    royjk Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    I had intended to have it fitted on my A3 Cabrio but after being informed by Audi that it would make the ride firmer still on a s-line I did'nt bother.:kissmyrings:
    #10
  12. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    The thought process behind it is clever, but the theory behind it is ancient.
    People have been pouring thicker oil into forks/shocks for decades.
    The trouble is, it's a pretty crude way of trying to make your suspension stiffer.
    You can actually end up hydraulically locking the shocks, as the thicker oil simply cannot go through the shims/orifices in time.
    Not only that, but you can blow seals.
    All the Audi system does is allow you to do this crude practice at the touch of a button.
    A clever way of allowing a crude practice.
    #11
  13. Metalex
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    Metalex Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    I've read a couple of favourable articles since last night, but only from the TT, so it's not 100% possible to say whether that would carry over to the A3. I guess the only way to tell is to drive an A3 with and without. Considering the dealers don't have the facelift yet, that's not really possible.

    Here's one of the articles I read:

    http://www.evo.co.uk/carreviews/evolongtermtests/210186/audi_tt.html
    #12
  14. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    Instead of giving us two choices (hard, or harder at the touch of a button) it would be nice if they just gave us proper damping adjustment.
    Once you got it sorted to your tastes, you'd probably never feel the need to touch it again.
    With proper high/low speed compression/rebound adjustment, it's perfectly feasible to get a comfy ride and good body control.
    It's not some unachievable holy grail.
    #13
  15. Macs
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    Macs Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    That's a good point! I've never considered the question from that perspective, but that's totally agreeable.
    I hope, then, that Audi considered that issue and engineered the shims, orifices and seals to work properly.

    I do not totally agree on this.
    Give people the possibility to play with hydraulic adjustments and the most of them will end up against a wall without even understanding why that happened. I think Audi has to consider the broad diffusion of their cars and accept that not all her clients have the knowledge to set dampers properly.
    #14
  16. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    Yup, so instead of offering magnetic as an upgrade, offer proper adjustment as an upgrade.
    That way, your 'incompetents' and 'competents' are both catered for.
    Having suffered S-line suspension for 3 years, I'm not so sure Audi are that competent with damping either, TBH.:jump:
    #15
  17. Macs
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    Macs Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    :laugh:

    Well, the actual S3 comes from the factory with dedicated Sachs shocks that are not bad at all...:yes:
    #16
  18. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    That's interesting, I didn't know that.
    #17
  19. DemianM
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    DemianM RWD sucks!

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    We found the stock S3 suspension is quite good indeed at the track..... we fitted some H&R springs and roll bars to my friend´s S3 and the handling was a bit worse, much more unpredictable and unstable while braking....
    #18
  20. Macs
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    Macs Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    My S3 is actually in the workshop being fitted with front and rear sway bars and springs, all from H&R. On Sunday I'll be on a trackday.
    What I am looking to achieve is a neutral behaviour instead of the understeering balance I experienced in past trackdays.
    I hope that with a more unstable car (and therefore more sharp on turn-ins) I'll be able to perform better laptimes.
    #19
  21. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    Not that it's necessarily relevant to cars, but Sachs fit OE shocks to a few bikes.
    Aprilia and Ducati.
    They're viewed as 'ok', but easily improved upon.
    #20
  22. Macs
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    Macs Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    Surely also the S3 OE Sachs shocks are easily improvable. Mainly because any OEM part is a trade-off between parformance-comfort-ease of driving, and that's something that happens even more often on cars than on bikes.
    I just think that, anyway, they're a good starting point! :happy:
    #21
  23. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    You forgot cost...:icon_thumright:
    Bike or car, suspension designers/technicians always set them up for a 'worst case scenario'.
    So your car/my bike has springs able to cope with passengers, luggage and full fuel tanks without bottoming out.
    I bet you'd get away with lighter spring rates for solo S3 driving.
    Which goes against the general belief, that you should always go harder.
    #22
  24. Macs
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    Macs Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    yes, you're right... :sorry:
    And again I won't bet against you:laugh:
    Also with softer spring you'll be able to have softer dampers and a lot more grip...
    But sadly I have to cope also with those days when I have to carry passengers (even if it's not easy at all to squeeze them in with the sports seats; I hoped it to be a sort of a deterrent, but it doesn't...) and/or luggage (and you have absolutely no idea of how many things my wife needs for a simple two-days trip...:banghead:)
    #23
  25. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    Oh yes I would.
    I bought a spare alloy and tyre for my D3.
    My wife went mental when she saw how much room it takes up in the boot.
    She couldn't fit her make-up and hairdryer in, or something.
    So I've sold it.
    If I ever have a puncture, she won't be allowed to moan.:mad:

    With regard to suspension, I would actually love to go on an Ohlins course to show me how to rebuild dampers etc.
    It would have limited practical use for me, I'm just really interested.
    #24
  26. Jo Sharp
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    Jo Sharp Member

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    #25
  27. PaulAr
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    PaulAr S3 (8P)

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    [Jun 25, 2008]
    Ferrari have been using the same technology in the current 599 for a while now, and according to the motoring press to amazing effect.
    Im sure everyone will agree that, Ferrari know a thing or two about handling.

    Crude practise? or an elegant solution?, Ferrari seem to have got it right. l
    What it does show is that implemented correctly, its works.

    It sounds more like AUDI maybe have the right idea but havent executed it as well as they should have.

    Paul

    PS - The R8 has this system too. Is it any good in that?
    #26
  28. dultanur
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    dultanur all promises, no action :)

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    [Jun 26, 2008]
    i've read that the system works very good on the R8 and is pretty good in the TT.Don't know about an A3. i know the s-line is terrible :)

    my 8L S3 had a terrible ride and terrible handling with the OEM (albeit 7 year old) shocks. i installed bilstein pss9s and was amazed at the result. high frequency damping was at least as comfortable as the OEM and the handling was, needless to say, very much improved.
    #27
  29. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 27, 2008]
    I'd be interested to see how the respective systems work, in detail.
    It could work well, if done properly.
    If the only thing that happens is that the fluid thickens, then I think that's a pretty crude way of doing it.
    However, if other changes happen within the dampers to react to the thickened fluid, then that could work well.
    For example, if the shocks automatically switch to another set of shims/damper rods/holes, then the effect would be like going from one set of shocks to another set of shocks, both with complimentary damping curves etc.
    That would be pretty damned cool.
    Maybe Ferraris/R8's have that, because their greater price allows it.
    I'll have to read up on it properly.
    BMW motorbikes have electronic suspension adjustment that allows you switch between 3 adjustments.
    That's proper adjustments, which compliment each other.
    Preload and damping are changed, by motors.
    That's a better solution than just making the fluid thicker, but leaving everything else as it is.:no:
    #28
  30. treblesykes
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    treblesykes Member

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    [Jun 27, 2008]
    Bowfer never gives up does he :banghead: Imagine if Alpina had fitted the mag ride before Audi then it would have been the dogs wotsits and anyone who disagreed would be called incompetent.
    Mag ride is more than simply thickening the oil. sensors on the car decide when to thicken the oil and which side of the car needs it.

    http://www.gizmag.com/go/5752/
    #29
  31. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 27, 2008]
    You're evidently unable to differentiate between a sensible discussion and what you deem to be something else.:tocktock:
    What are you seeing that gives rise to your accusation above?
    I was enjoying this thred too, because suspension's interesting to me.
    Ho hum.

    Your article link just reinforces what I've been saying all along.
    The fact it adjusts each wheel accordingly doesn't change anything.
    Note the line that says "Since no mechanical parts must be moved".
    So, as I have said all along, the only thing they are changing is the viscosity of the fluid.
    Which is a pretty crude way of doing it, whoever does it (seeing as you're paranoid I'm being anti-Audi):whistle2:
    When changing the viscosity of the damping fluid, you should change other things to match it.
    Otherwise all you are doing is, effectively, 'locking' the movement.
    It might make the car handle better, but it'll affect bump control etc.
    #30
  32. mitch78
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    mitch78 Active Member

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    [Jun 27, 2008]
    :thumbsup:
    #31
  33. treblesykes
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    treblesykes Member

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    [Jun 27, 2008]
    I never said Bowfer was anti Audi just maybe he shouldn't knock new technology so quickly,This is not lads in a garage pouring thick oil into old motorcycle parts. Extra moving parts are the last thing you need in a shocker that's the whole point, less to wear out. If the first edition of mag ride can work (reasonably)efficiently without those extra parts then watch this space I'm sure it will get better and better quickly.
    The mag ride has nothing to do with previous systems, its made by Delphi. Audi are not the only customer for the mag ride system
    #32
  34. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 27, 2008]
    Firstly, it is, in effect, exactly the same as "lads in a garage pouring thick oil into old motorcycle parts".
    Can you show me why it isn't?
    It uses the same internals as any other shock, so all they are doing is thickening the fluid as it flows through conventional damper rods.
    You seem to think the shocks contain no moving parts, but this video clearly shows damper rods.

    http://www.germancarblog.com/2007/08/audi-how-magnetic-ride-works.html
    #33
  35. PaulAr
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    PaulAr S3 (8P)

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    [Jun 27, 2008]
    Im not a suspension expert so bear with me as Im looking at this in very simple terms.

    If a manufacturere can take an apparently primitive technology and apply it in a way that produces excellent handling/ride characteristics, then is it a bad thing?
    Ferrarri have done it, fact.

    Didnt the Corvette put in an amazing lap time and some real driver entertainment on Top Gear with leaf springs?

    Thats about as primitive as it gets but the engineers got the whole set up right and had Clarkson and Co scrathing there heads.

    Ok, Im not saying we should revert back to leaf springs, but why isnt mag ride a good thing? just because its `been done before`

    Is it just engineering `muscle flexing`or is mag ride the future?

    Cheers
    Paul
    #34
  36. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 27, 2008]
    It's interesting you mention handling/ride characteristics, because I have my doubts magnetic ride does anything other than ruin the ride.
    You simply cannot try and force thicker fluid through the same damping holes without ruining the ride (and potentially causing seal damage)
    I'd rather Audi, or anyone else, allowed proper damping adjustment, electronically.
    Are there any cars which allow remote suspension adjustment in a 'proper' sense???
    #35
  37. treblesykes
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    treblesykes Member

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    [Jun 27, 2008]
    Of course a shock has some moving parts, but why add more? the point is mag ride give controllability to the damping rate without extra moving parts, yes it is like changing the oil, but without having to stop mid corner and climb under the car. The viscosity can be altered at any time electronically reacting to road conditions etc etc. The oil thickening part is only a means of making the system affect the shocks, its the electronics and sensors that do all the work.

    I'm not saying the system is perfect and it makes all other shock designs redundant,but its a step in a new direction so it should be given a chance. Saying its just changing like the oil is a bit narrow minded.
    #36
  38. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 27, 2008]
    I don't see why, because that's the bit that's making the tangible difference.
    As clever as the electronics are, the bit 'you' feel is the oil being artificially thickened!
    Same type/number of moving parts as any other shock.
    Not like a Fournales shock, which alleviates the need for a spring etc.
    GP bikes are experimenting with GPS controlled shocks that automatically make adjustments for every corner on a track.
    Proper adjustments, not just thickening the fluid.
    #37
  39. PaulAr
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    PaulAr S3 (8P)

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    [Jun 27, 2008]
    So the 559 and R8 must have some other damper trickery going on then?
    #38
  40. Macs
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    Macs Member

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    [Jun 27, 2008]
    Just a simple thought.
    Why are we all speaking about thickening the oil?
    Let's just suppose that the oil is not thickening but it is becoming more fluid...

    If a thicker oil could damage the dampeners seals, let's just have dampeners that are "normal" when set to sport (thick oil) and just make the oil more fluid when the driver wants to go "soft"...

    I guess that if you put a more fluid oil into a shock absorber you will avoid all that troubles... Don't you?
    #39
  41. treblesykes
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    treblesykes Member

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    [Jun 27, 2008]

    Maybe true but we are talking production cars here not gp racers. the mag ride works. As mentioned most of the TT owners love it. The thing to decide is whether its worth £1000 or not - buyers choice. The average owner wont care how it works, aslong as it does.

    as quoted in the evo link above:-

    "However, the body control with Magnetic Ride feels truly next-generation in comparison. Once into a corner it’s amazing how the front reacts to keep the car cornering flat, and its ability to stiffen up at speed over crests and dips is something the more basic suspension simply can’t match. In short, if you’re buying a TT and can stretch to the fancy Magnetic Ride suspension, don’t hesitate"
    Seems Evo likes a bit of crude thick oil :moa:
    #40

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