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Old 12-03-2021, 07:23 PM   #1
daniels740
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Default '89 744t Terrible Fuel Mileage

After repairing my own odometer and trip meter, I was excited I could finally calculate the gas mileage on my '89 744T.

That done, I was not pleasantly surprised.

I got ~13 MPG (150.2miles/11.6 gallons). This is no good, especially with fuel prices nowadays. Granted, this was 97% city driving, in oftentimes quite dense traffic, with A/C on almost 24/7. Despite this, I feel I should still be getting better mileage. In January, I remember doing a planned trip of about 50 miles and using about 2.2 gal. This was, however, in better traffic conditions.

So, what should I be looking at to help diagnose and repair this fuel-guzzling problem? Even the most expensive parts would surely pay for themselves in recovered mileage.
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Old 12-03-2021, 07:31 PM   #2
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It doesn’t sound like it’s guzzling fuel to me. 13 miles to the gallon is about all you can expect with heavy city traffic driving. With a mix of city/highway, probably closer to 20 miles per gallon. With pure Highway 65 mph cruising, approximately 25 miles per gallon.
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Old 12-03-2021, 07:39 PM   #3
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^ Really?
Unless you're driving it like a muscle car borderline light-light racing and slamming on the brakes, that still seems a bit low, no?

In heavy portland traffic I'd get ~17-18 driving uh...not totally leisurely, but not leadfoot either.

Worst I got was ~15-16ish in heavy traffic with the A/C on fairly lead-footedly, which sounds about right for horribly hot swampy florida climate with the A/C sucking the life outta the poor 4cylinder low compression turbo motor, even in good to excellent repair with no knock/knock sensor timing retard.

But what do I know?

13 doesn't sound uh..outta this world low or implausible in good repair, especially for a lead-foot, but horrific hot climate w/a/c blasting, city traffic, automatic turbo car, I'd expect...um...~15-16ish at worst?

Atlanta or florida heat and traffic does look other-worldly dystopian/have not experienced engine run times creeping in traffic for 2+ hours making little or no forward progress with other overheated people in a state of lemming-line brain dead paralysis & intermittent road rage or full power flooring it to merge safely or working the A/C & fan clutch/e-fan & alt that hard/heavily loaded in anything remotely resembling that.

What kinda duration/run times making little to no progress or flooring it to merge + what kinda ambient temps are we talking about here?
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:03 PM   #4
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With what he is describing, 13 isn't out of the realm of normal. I would take the car out for a highway drive and see what it gets on a nice steady trek before I would start to panic. In normal city driving he should be seeing what you are quoting,

When I take my Mustang GT Autocrossing, it averages 8 mph. Out on the highway, 27-29. Mixed driving, 25. Pure city, 14-16.


https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/5901.shtml
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:18 PM   #5
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^You're not wrong, and I can't even hardly wrap my brain around FL or ATL traffic in regular ~100(+?)ºF heat over ~130 (+?)ºF pavement making 2-3mph forward progress for 2 hour stints with the A/C on in the brain-melting dirty south sweat-box heat & humidity/arm pit of america punctuated by short stints of hard acceleration to make a green light or exit ramp with hard braking/wasted energy.

I could see some fairly atrocious mileage.

If it returns ~25mpg cruising, it's probably 'fine' more likely than not, but fuel economy is tough...so many variables...

Short of a 24:1 compression IDI diesel engine that can idle & cruise ultra-efficiently and change load rapidly with a lot of torque in a light aerodynamic car with skinny low friction/rolling resistance tires with regenerative braking/hybrid that doesn't idle where the A/C can run off the battery, IDK how you really achieve optimal city economy in an ICE vehicle with some range at reasonable cost and mechanical complexity (which that fails with all the wear and costly parts potentially).

Buy a prius? IDK?
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:18 PM   #6
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It's gotten quite cooler so I'd call the average ambient temp of about 75-79 degrees since my last fill-up. As for idling, I really couldn't make any estimates, I just know it's pretty city-like with a ton of stop and go intersections, one after another. I see how it can add up quickly.

I also don't drive all too gingerly but I wouldn't describe myself as having a heavy foot. Although, I do complete an 'Italian tune-up' from time to time. Helped free a sticking valve I had.

As suggested, I will get my highway mileage calculated soon. Keep wanting to drive a good 200 miles total on the highway for a trip with the Volvo, but that keeps getting postponed. Hoping on next weekend.
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:26 PM   #7
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Just remember, every time you step on the brake or engine brake to slow down and don't just come gently to rest purely from rolling resistance or aero drag, you're wasting energy in an ICE vehicle without regenerative braking.
Obviously, it's absurd to think you can get around driving with no friction brakes at all, or even feasible to convert that to even mechanical engine braking to drive the A/C pump to make ice for storage later or something or charge the battery from the brake pedal.

Every minute you spend making little forward progress with the A/C blasting powering the alt, engine cooling fan & all that waste heat just convecting thru the water cooled turbo and engine oil cooler on the low compression engine uses a LOT of fuel per slowly creeping mile (or whatever unit of distance you prefer...inch in ATL or Hell.A traffic prolly by now).

Turbo 4-cylinder in a mid-size car on an existing N/A engine design as volvo did/built isn't inherently a bad idea per se, but it's possible to have sluggish response with the low compression engine, absurd parasitic (fans required at low speeds) heat exchanger load (the coolant & oil running right next to the exhaust thru the turbocharger on the high EGT gasoline engine (no big deal on the high compression idling diesel with low EGTs)) as well as auto trans TQ converter generating heat idling or in city driving accelerating in gear & inefficiency (rad, IC & A/C sammich) and the moderate weight heavier automatic trans car that isn't much fun to drive & also returns terrible fuel economy and engine wear/longevity as well in hot congested stressful city driving.

I actually found in mixed driving my economy also improved by ~2mpg all else being equal substituting the OE 3.73 gears for 4.10 gears in the 700T auto-tragic, as well as driving enjoyment/response, dramatically!

Won't pass a/the federal emissions test standard as cleanly at steady-state 55mph cruise for NOX on the gas analyzer, however.
Hence the 3.73s & wretched non-lockup converter trans arrangement we got in the USA on 700 Turbo cars to the bitter end in 1995.

Makes sense the improvements with the 4.10s tho; more engine vacuum and less torque multiplication required with the converter unlocked/in city driving / speed differential from the converter wasted in heat thru the trans fluid with the 4.10s/lower gears with a tight good repair auto trans otherwise, acceptable response from the 8.7:1 compression basic SOHC only a lousy 2.3L engine in the heavy mid-sized car.

Canada got 4.10s, higher stall converter & AW-71L 1993-1995, however, but they don't have our emissions & fuel econ standards and have to traverse long distances in cold weather.

We got the AW71L shorter gears in the 93-95 N/A 940s, but the shift points are suuuuuper lazy if mis-matched with the low compression turbo engine on the valve body and stall speed on the torque converter is crazy slow.

IDK how anyone can tolerate converting to one of those without a less lazy 16V or (ideally) proper Turbo valve body shift points or higher stall 16V or Rest of world turbo torque converter...I guess cause they have it laying around & it's cheap???; TB mentality in a nutshell, no?

That said, in the last of the n/a 940s, the super lazy shift point/slow stall speed converter AW-71L returns good economy and longevity in an unloaded car for city or highway cruise with the 2.3 redblock SOHC if cared for! Slow, though.

The down-shift points and no lockup option in 3rd like the ZF automatic or it's electronic valvebody aisin cousins in other cars kinda sux tho.

They also had to install air-injection on the last of the cali higher compression SOHC 940s in the heavy 7/9 bodied car to get them to pass ever stricter cali NOX 1993+, tho 240s got it as well with 3.73s and the non-lockup trans for highway lean burn cruise & the higher compression N/A SOHC motor with the big bathtub combustion chamber more prone to hot & cold spots and old tech EFI.
Pulse air/no belt driven air pump, at least.

But the pulse air 'air pump' system volvo used is a no-go to install on a turbo engine as built.

I suppose the RPMs won't be as low for 80mph freeway flier uses in theory w/the 4.10s, though fuel econ is so terrible for aerodynamic reasons with these bricks above 60-65mph that IDK that it'd make *that* much difference with the stock sized tires, all else being equal; it's gonna be lousy whether it has 3.73s or 4.10s either way with the 2.3L turbo-4 & brick shaped car at those speeds.

What are speed limits in parts of TX now? 85Mph? 'Reasonable & prudent' (no speed limit) in flat BFE nevada desert or eastern MT?

I mostly don't drive that far or fast or have dry desolate flat road conditions where it would be remotely safe or feasible or even desirable to do so, so it's irrelevant in my case any (theoretical?) fuel econ hit for high speed cruising with 4.10s & the auto/turbo motor.

I also think it's theoretical & not practically possible to achieve better hwy econ with the 3.73s in most conditions safely or commonly, as I suspect you're right about to cross the 'point of no return' for cruising economy where you're no longer in vacuum/near ~0 boost & able to run in closed loop or lean burn & likely to be enough or slightly in boost at flat cruise even with the 3.73s by 75-80mph, even with all the air guides in place and generously inflated low rolling resistance skinny tires...maybe with moon-discs and a smooth under-belly & air-dam?

I also found I got better economy using the larger ø water pump pulley used on SOHC engines besides the B230FT in conjunction with the old quality made-in-japan aisin tropical fan clutch before the defective china-repop batch manufactured more recently.

IDK if that's advisable in extreme S. Florida heat with the A/C dehumidifying to keep your poor brains from melting on the hotter days A/C performance-wise (tho it's probably more dehumidification and solar gain you have to deal with at such low lattitude surrounded by so much water on all sides) than raw temperature like Phoenix.

I didn't have problems with that setup & I didn't miss the risk of the smaller WP pulley blowing out heater cores at high RPMs even with the nice factory style brass impeller water pump, but the factory did install the smaller pulley for a reason...in extreme heat you might well need the small pulley + tropical fan clutch to keep from cooking yourself, A/C pump longevity or adversely impacting engine longevity!

You can also increase the size or efficiency of the heat exchangers like they did on the R134A A/C USA E-fan cars for both the intercooler, radiator as well as A/C condenser as well as A/C pump displacement & install a variable orifice valve for the A/C (finnicky and can get stuck, so there is some risk if the A/C system isn't 100% perfectly new & surgically/precision assembly plant clean-room clean...IDK if its worth the risk, but it does save energy and increase fixed orifice tube A/C efficiency) and use a more efficient A/C refrigerant than R134A.

The 80s quad light 700s probably also are less aerodynamically slippery than say a 1995+ face-life smooth cowl 960/S/V90, tho that's not a concern in city operation vs. steady state cruise.

I'm all about optimal economy & hyper-miling (especially with $5-6 gas maybe here to stay?), but I also want to be able to enjoy using the cars/no fuss at minimal expense, complexity or deviating from the factory plan & execution of the building & maintaining of them without making that more difficult/introducing unforseen problems or going to too much effort.

Hope you get it to a good stage 0 & can make some improvements and still enjoy the car without serious compromises or costs.
Good luck!

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Old 12-04-2021, 05:46 AM   #8
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OP;
13 mpg doesn't sound that far off with the conditions you describe.
I think the figures 2manyturbos cited are in the ballpark.

Avoiding ethanol blended fuel, if possible, will help too.
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Old 12-06-2021, 01:43 PM   #9
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Check the coolant temperature sensor for LH not the gauge. It's best to check at the connector that goes to the LH computer, that way you can check the wiring to it too.
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Old 12-06-2021, 02:00 PM   #10
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My 780 with the same drivetrain averaged 13-15 city and maybe 22 highway.

13 isn't outside the realm of possibility.
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Old 12-06-2021, 02:31 PM   #11
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Low teens is completely normal for any redblock in real city driving, especially the turbos but the NA cars aren't a lot better. Wishful thinkers will talk otherwise, but the high 20s/low 30s numbers some people quote are almost guaranteed to either be invalid single-tank MPG calculations that include a lot of error, and/or highly unusual perfect conditions of steady-state suburban cruising at 40-50 mph in mild weather with very few stop lights and few cold starts.

The redblock engines are lame for mileage (and in so many other ways). The whiteblock motors are significantly more efficient, but the only thing that can really deliver MPG during light load operation is a diesel, capable of mega-lean operation, as kjets said (short of a hybrid of course). D24 and D24T cars can average high 20s in city traffic, fully double the mileage of the equivalent redblock cars. The gap closes on the highway. Example, here's ~60k miles worth of documented MPG data for my '86 745 TD from back when I was using it as a daily commuter in stop-and-go traffic commuting in Seattle and Bellevue every day. Almost 28 mpg. https://www.fuelly.com/car/volvo/740/1986/v8volvo/31991 I don't have a light foot either, and this is in a heavy 740 wagon with an automatic and a roof rack, and the AC running whenever I want. A lot of those miles were put on at 5mph or way less, bumper to bumper on SR520. No redblock will ever achieve that. My VW TDI cars have often averaged around 40 in similar city driving.

Keep in mind that any single-tank MPG measurement is irrelevant. Too much error in how full you got the tank, how full it was at last fill, etc. You need 10+ fill-ups to know anything. So you can dismiss any unusually low or high number taken from just one tank -- get more data first before you either brag, or worry. And a measurement involving less than one tankful (like your 50 miles on 2.2 gal!) is even less accurate. For a valid MPG calculation, you need both the gallon and mile numbers as large as possible so that they drown out the error down to a smaller percentage of the total.

As for how to help it improve, IMO, running a good light synthetic oil, making sure all basic tune is good (ignition, timing, filters), and making sure it has a good fresh O2 sensor in it is about all you can do. The O2 sensor will compensate for any drift in the ECT, AMM, etc so if you're accurate there, you can afford a little error in the other FI input parts, within reason.
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Old 12-06-2021, 03:34 PM   #12
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My $0,02:
Worst: 240 Turbo M46 in winter (-5F) 15 MPG, only city driving less than 10 mile trips
Best: 945 B230FK AW71 summer, 28 MPG mainly high way
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Old 12-08-2021, 07:06 PM   #13
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Wow - thanks for all the help and advice from those who chimed in.
Despite better driving conditions with a/c off occasionally, this tank seems to be going just as fast so far. (I know, not the best way to gauge gas mileage )

Anyway, before this, I did suspect my FPR. To check it, I pulled the vacuum like to see if there were any leaks with the engine running. None, however, the line smelled like gas. Granted, I did replace the fuel pressure regulator once before because the previous had failed, and didn't replace the hose afterwards.

So, I did a quick vacuum hose swap with one I had lying around, and when I checked after about 3-4 days, there was still a fuel smell going into the FPR. This same smell was present in the hose I checked going into the charcoal canister.

Could this be a bad FPR, despite not having a 'constant leak' like they usually fail? If not, should I be looking at anything else that might cause a fuel smell in the intake?

Thanks again.
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Old 12-08-2021, 07:30 PM   #14
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Yes, your fuel pressure regulator can fail without leaking fuel. Typically they fail internally and raise the fuel pressure causing a rich engine and bad fuel mileage. A fuel pressure test will tell you if that is the problem.
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Old 12-08-2021, 08:36 PM   #15
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No port for testing it, unfortunately: without any specific tools, anyway. I do suspect it because I've had 2 fail already - the original, and the first replacement, barely covered by warranty 11 months later. However, these both leaked into the vacuum line when they failed. The replacement I bought was Beck/Arnley, most expensive one avail. on RockAuto at ~$50. Still, should've went OEM..

If an FPR were to fail, would this cause a fairly potent fuel smell in the vacuum hose? Just want to know if this could be the cause of the fuel smell. If not, I'd still have something else I may need to look for.
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Old 12-09-2021, 09:06 AM   #16
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No port for testing it, unfortunately: without any specific tools, anyway. I do suspect it because I've had 2 fail already - the original, and the first replacement, barely covered by warranty 11 months later. However, these both leaked into the vacuum line when they failed. The replacement I bought was Beck/Arnley, most expensive one avail. on RockAuto at ~$50. Still, should've went OEM..

If an FPR were to fail, would this cause a fairly potent fuel smell in the vacuum hose? Just want to know if this could be the cause of the fuel smell. If not, I'd still have something else I may need to look for.
A very faint fuel/emissions odor from the vacuum hose might be acceptable but a strong fuel odor indicates a problem. On one of my older 240's I found inferior quality plug wires and worn cap/rotor played a role in poor mileage, although I recall you had replaced most components with quality parts ?

There are other tests you can conduct like resistance tests on the o2, CTS, etc..which if malfunctioning rich would in theory hurt fuel economy.

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Old 12-10-2021, 10:40 PM   #17
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Plugs aren't the best but have been replaced not too long ago. The wires might even be the originals. I could see doing them as a little tune-up.

However, I'm still not convinced as to what is causing the intake fuel smell, and it's quite potent. I have a feeling this is surely causing or at least is correlated to the somewhat crappy mileage.

In addition to this, I sometimes remark that my exhaust stinks real bad, perhaps from the engine running rich, though this is not constant, and has somewhat subsided recently. I'll have to pay more attention to things like this on my next few drives.
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Old 12-10-2021, 11:13 PM   #18
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My 91 740T wagon got an average of 22 mpg, even after running a T3/T04 with 42# injectors and a 3" MAF. It did that before then running a 15G turbo at 22PSI and #36 injectors. But it was always at a really solid stage 0 tune. There were other mods of course but it stayed at the same MPG as it was before I started messing with it.

Sounds like you need to do the stage 0 treatment. It really helps.
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Old 12-11-2021, 06:21 PM   #19
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Sounds like a plan. Little Christmas gift to the Volvo will include:
  • New BOSCH Cap + Rotor (To replace some chinesium)
  • New BOUGICORD spark plug wires
  • New BOSCH O2 Sensor -- Could benefit from the faster heating, response time, etc... In addition to possibly causing bad fuel mileage.
  • New VOLVO '270746' spark plugs

- Also replaced air filter w/ a MANN filter about a month ago.

LMK if I should add anything to my little tune-up.
Thanks in advance.

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Old 12-11-2021, 11:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daniels740 View Post
Sounds like a plan. Little Christmas gift to the Volvo will include:
  • New BOSCH Cap + Rotor (To replace some chinesium)
  • New BOUGICORD spark plug wires
  • New BOSCH O2 Sensor -- Could benefit from the faster heating, response time, etc... In addition to possibly causing bad fuel mileage.
  • New NGK BPR6ESSOLID copper spark plugs

- Also replaced air filter w/ a MANN filter about a month ago.

LMK if I should add anything to my little tune-up.
Thanks in advance.
All excellent choices except the wires. I’d been using Bougicord for many, many years on my Saabs and Volvos but noticed a few years ago the quality had gone way down. Spend the money for the OEM Volvos as they also have a higher heat range than the Bougicords. I also find the Volvo plugs best and not at all expensive over at FCP in Connecticut
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Old 12-11-2021, 11:25 PM   #21
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How funny, changed my mind to genuine Volvo plugs right before your reply.

As for the plug wires, order is already in for those. I'm sure they'll be just fine compared to what I think are the originals on the car. Hopefully, anyway.
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Old 12-12-2021, 11:08 AM   #22
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How funny, changed my mind to genuine Volvo plugs right before your reply.

As for the plug wires, order is already in for those. I'm sure they'll be just fine compared to what I think are the originals on the car. Hopefully, anyway.
True, It was the fit that sucked. Two of the boots on a couple sets were too long and didn’t connect to the plugs properly so just make sure that’s good. I actually cut them down to fit but eventually just returned them for the OEM’s
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Old 12-19-2021, 02:56 PM   #23
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Got my Volvo spark plugs the other day and checked the gap, .030" on all of them.
However, I see that the Owner's manual says the gap should be " 0.024-0.028" (0.6-0.7 mm) "

Do I keep the preset gap or should I gap them to the range in the manual? Thanks.
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Old 12-19-2021, 02:58 PM   #24
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I like to use .028" for the plugs in stock applications. As they wear out the gap will get larger.
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Old 12-19-2021, 03:30 PM   #25
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Good idea. Just gapped them all to .028"

They're going in tomorrow, along with the new wires, cap, and rotor.
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