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TECH WEEK: AV8 Start to Finish

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Woodlouse, May 5, 2013.

  1. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK

    This little A Coupe has been in the family for getting on 10 years and I've got through nearly as many 4 bangers in that time, ranging from a succession of stockers to full race spec.

    The project was born from yet another Babbitt busted block and the timely offer of a French Flatty motor.

    The plan was to fit the Flatty V8 keeping as much A as possible, with all the changes looking factory.

    I had acquired ready for the build an ex French military engine, a '36 gearbox which turned out to have innards from a variety of years and a '39 pedal set. I was sticking with the stock unsplit wishbones, torque tube and rear axle which had been rebuilt the previous year.

    I wanted the car that could have been, the Ford that never was, the missing link.

    THE STRIPDOWN

    Two spanners and a screwdriver and a spare Saturday with a couple of mates, we soon had the body off the chassis. Finished just as it was getting dark and the rolling chassis was pictured the next morning. A picture of the French flatty that will be used in the build.

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    ENGINE MOUNTS

    So where are we, after a quick mock up with the engine on a chain, I decided the surplus lip on the front cross member needed a trim to clear the new crank pulley.

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    Easy peasy first job soon done.

    As I wanted to keep the stock axle and torque tube, the engine position was really already decided.
    The engine mount centre ended up 6 1/4 inches from the rad mount centre.
    This will probably cause problems fitting a mechanical fan, but the spin off should be minimal cutting of the bulkhead, and a little more clearance for the steering box, and more important to me I haven't got to mess with the length of the torque tube.

    I made the mounts from 3x2 1/8 wall box using the pattern in the Vern Tardel book.

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    They will be plug welded into the chassis rails, the position is very close to the cross member, so I will run a bead of weld along the edge to strengthen them up nicely.
    That's done now on to the gearbox mounts.

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    Warning the following section contains images of welding that might shock, frighten or cause emotional intensity.

    GEARBOX MOUNTS


    Once the engine mounts were tacked in, my thoughts turned to the other end the gearbox.
    I jacked the gearbox up to keep the engine level as poss and avoid any acute angles on the drive shaft, also keeping in mind the steering box clearance.

    This position highlighted that I would be needing some alterations to the crossmember but nothing too complicated.
    Happy with the position I started fabricating the mounts.

    I cut them out of plywood then transferred these patterns to 1/8 steel.
    As the original crossmember is unboxed and my new mounts are all hanging on one side, I thought a little boxing around that area would be a smart move, so I plugwelded a couple of square plates to the crossmember as a base to build the rest up on.

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    Soon had the mounts tacked in, a quick strip down to check I could access all the nuts and bolts around the torque tube and that bit was done.

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    Now to sort out the clearance between the torgue tube and crossmember.
    After taking a few measurements I pulled the engine and box again, cut out the crossmembers centre to clear and welded a strip around the edge to put a bit of strength back.
    When everything is tacked and checked I am going to drop the axles and flip the chassis over for the final welding.

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  2. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK

    WISHBONE SUPPORT

    I decided from the beginning not to split the wishbones.
    The stock suspension has always worked fine, so the theory is, if it all goes back in the same place it should work fine again.
    I used my head and made a template before stripping the car,to ensure the wishbone went back in the same position.

    I did my usual routine of making templates in plywood first, then cutting them out of 4mm steel and tacking together.
    I have bolted the crossmember into the chassis at the moment, but I'm toying with the idea of riveting the new chassis pieces into position.

    Heres the pictures.

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    Template in position, made before dismantling.

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    I used the ball bracket I took off, which I believe is an aftermarket replacement one.

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    I used a bit of 6mm plate on the bottom just to give it a bit of extra strength.


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    CROSSMEMBER REINFORCEMENT

    To put a bit of strength into the centre crossmember which now supports the gearbox, I decided to make a couple of struts going to the main rails, turning it into a sort of back to front K member.

    The way I went about this to all the metalworker guys on here may seem a little long winded, but having nothing capable of folding 4mm steel I had no alternative but to cut and weld it together.

    I wanted the new pieces to look like factory parts stamped out on a press.

    A bit time consuming tacking and welding whilst clamped to a heavy piece of angle but they turned out fine, once riveted in place hopefully will look original.

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    Go in to any parts store and ask for part number A9641...

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    Mocked up and ready to go

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    You have to squint at this picture until the bolt heads turn into rivets.

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    Just like Henry's
     
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  3. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK

    BULKHEAD AND FLOOR ALTERATIONS

    As I mentioned before due to using the stock torgue tube the engine position was a given, so I was a little apprehensive when putting the body back on for a trail fit.

    I roughly cut the bulkhead to clear just to enable the body to go back, not to bad really, I would tidy it up later.
    What did surprise me was the work needed to sort the floor, that was not in the plan.

    After cutting the bulkhead into a neat radius, to keep the stock look, I was now looking for a bowl shaped peice of metal to weld back in.
    Thinking out the box I googled Woks and Frying pans, although the size was not a problem after a bit more reseach I found because of a high carbon content a Wok would be differcult to weld.

    So back on Google to learn a bit of metal bashing.

    We don't get a lot of stumps where I live so I made one from some 9x3 offcuts, added a piece of 18g, my rubber mallet altered to suit and a homemade slapper, I'm ready to start bashing.


    After a bit of practice I was well pleased with the results, it really wasn't that differcult and always an advantage not having a Wok handle sticking out the bulkhead.

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    The engine only needed about 3/4" clearance but allowance has to be made for that breather.

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    I hate cutting into virgin steel but it had to go.

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    That was the easy bit.

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    Had to make a few alterations for the steering column position.

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    Soon sorted.

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    This must be the only bit of wood turned back into a stump.

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    There was a few ash trays in the scrap bin before I got to this stage.

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    Nearly there.

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    Tacked in position.

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    Inside veiw, I had to cut the bottom section in two to get it to line up, not a lot of give in 16g.

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    A cup of tea I think.

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    I wanted to keep the floor as flat as possible, the gearbox only protruded by about 1/2" but over a larger area then the original, so some sort of support frame was needed if I was going to stick with the wood sections.

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    I made up some angled 16g and using the original floor cut into pieces as a pattern.

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    Looking the part now.

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    I cut the original ply floor to size for now but to be flash I will renew at a later date in varnished oak, as I want to run it with no floor covering.

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    Final pieces done just need to cut a hole for the gearstick and I need a very slight bulge in the angled bit.

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  4. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK

    STEERING

    When I was planning this project with the steering I thought I was home and dry.

    I had already fitted a F100 steering box altered to fit a stock A about a year or so before.

    What I didn't realise it would need to be set back to clear the headers, a new flange welded on, make up a new drag link and column drop and lastly change the pitman arm.

    Oh well that's hotrodding, heres how I got on.

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    I marked out the new box 21/2" back from the original centre to centre and used a 2" hole cutter to make the hole.

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    I cut off the old flange and intended to take the box to a mate with a lath to machine it down to take the new flange, but an hour with a grinder and hand file and I didn't need to, the slightly rough look actually mirrored the casting quite well.

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    I made the flange square instead of the usual triangle, my thinking was it should be a bit stronger and a little easier to access the fixing bolts.

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    When it came to the position in the chassis rail it was clashing with the rivets holding the hood fasteners on, but after grinding the rivet out I found I only needed to enlarge that hole a little bit and I was done, sometimes things go good.

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    Trail fitted in chassis ready for a couple of tacks on the flange for the final welding.

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    All welded looking good, now not being a welder I have a rule I never weld anything my life might depend on, so this bit was subbed out.

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    Setting the column back caused it to point towards the roof I assume it had already been shortened when it was adapted for the A.
    This was soon sorted by making a 1" drop from the original bracket.
    I whittled this out of a lump of ally and used two longer bolts, seems about right now, but we shall see when it's back on the road.

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    The drag link needed extending and whilst messing with it, I noticed that it had been rubbing on the track rod causing quite a lump to be worn away.
    I assume this had happened because of the lowered front spring and shall we say enthusiastic driving from persons unknown.
    I had the ends of the drag link turned down and tigged to a piece of heavy walled CDS tube felt safer that way.

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    Whilst on Ford barn a thread came up about shortened pitman arms that are available and they get a good press with the restoration boys, so I decided to give one a try.
    I figured it would sort two things, stop the drag link rubbing and I had also lost a 1/2" by setting the box in the centre of the chassis for extra clearance.


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    PEDALS

    The last piece of the chassis jigsaw is the pedals.

    I used a '39 Ford pedal set.

    The pedals need to be done last as there are so many clearance issues to be taken into account.

    A bit of a struggle at first working on my knees leaning though the drivers door, trying to hold the pedals up whilst checking clearance, angles etc.
    Then I had a brain wave, I made up an adjustable leg bolted the pedal set to the top and this enabled me to accurately try many different positions with out having to support the weight of the pedals, I think I'm getting old.

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    Once the pedals were properly supported I could make a template for the cross member, it was pointed out to me the wishbone cross member might need a little sideways support, so I decided to use the pedal rail as a brace to the centre cross member, this certainly stiffened everything up.

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    Now we are getting somewhere thinking bit over and main part formed and ready to try.

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    Fully welded and ready to fit

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    Underside view showing how it links the two cross members.

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    Last photo shows the pedals fitted, all that's left is to link up the clutch.
    A bit of a tricky job, and not a part I enjoyed, but all that's left on the chassis now is mount the battery and handbrake then a bit of paint and I'm ready for the final assembly, yippee.
     
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  5. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK

    ODDS AND ENDS

    On the last stretch now, most of the major alterations are done.
    So it was time to tidy up a few loose ends before getting the paint out.

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    If they were available this is what an AV8 fitting kit would look like, a good few hours of work sitting on that bench.

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    Chassis all fully welded now, checked cross members all still fit ready for a bit of Red Oxide, wasn't impressed with Hammerites performance first time round.

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    Had a go at riveting the braces in, after a bit of practice and drilling a few out went quite well in the end.

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    As the guy I had bought the engine from had gone to such great lengths to drill out for the engine stabilisers, I went to the trouble of fitting them.
    The passenger side was a straight forward bracket, but on the drivers side due to the pedals I put the old engine mount to use, a bit over the top but it was made by Ford.

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    When it came to finding a place for the battery, I decided under the passenger floor because I hate battery's in the boot.

    A bit awkward for access but very close to the starter motor and just like a mirror image of the original.

    I made it a little bit heavy duty to act as an extra brace for the wishbone cross member.

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    I had to cut and shut some clearance in the seat base for the new chassis braces, to enable the body to sit on top of the rails again.

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    Handbrake bracket pretty simple, hope the cable will be too.

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    Decided the sump drain plug was a little to close to the wishbone, so I cut it out and had a mate weld it back in the new centre position.

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    Finally finished welding the bulkhead alterations, a bit of filler and something else ready for paint.
    Well that's about it I think, picking up the modified A radiator this week then just got to put it all together, so that start up video won't be long now he says with confidence.
     
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  6. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK

    A BIT OF BLING


    Nice stage to be at the moment, body back on and fitting all the bits I have had in boxes for months.

    Just started building up the juice brakes.

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    LOOSE ENDS

    Have sorted the wiring alterations, clutch pedal linkage and halfway though the brakes.


    One thing I thought worth recording was how I got over a pulley problem with the fan.

    Never been a lover of electric fans, they always seem to start eating there way though the rad and it's never a convenient time for the thermostat to give up, I won't even get into how they look on a vintage motor especially an A wheres there is no where to hide it.

    The fan assembly is a 42-48 I believe, a quick mock up and a pleasant surprise it fitted with no clearance issues, but the down side the pulley didn't line up with the crank.

    Toyed with the idea of changing the crank pulley but after being loaned an alternative which brought it's own problems, I decided the way to go was to alter the position of the pulley on the back of the fan.

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    These two pictures show my problem, the fan belt used is only for the mock up.

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    The assembly consists of a main shaft which houses the bush and secures the fan, with a cup affair on the back to contain the oil and something to weld the pulley to.

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    After separating the cup I cut it into three using the edge of the pulley as a guide to keep it all square.

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    I needed a 1 5/8" extension and found a piece of 2 1/2" tube, 1/16" smaller and it would have been perfect as then it would have slipped inside the cup pieces making alignment easier.

    I used the old jubilee clip trick to cut them straight.

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    The pieces all cut and trued ready for tacking. The tricky bit was sanding everything square, in an ideal world they could be trimmed up on a lathe, in my world I used a sander and bits of MDF to align them, which is probably why I ended up tacking them three or four times before getting it right.

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    The funny mushroom bit I trimmed as small as I could, as it has become just a lid really, to keep the oil in.

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    Ready to tack.

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    Tacked and on for a trail fit looking good.

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    Belts fitted seems O.K. all that's left is complete the welding and refill with oil. Hopefully I don't next see it again flying though the Coupe bonnet, gulp.
     
  7. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK

    THE EXHAUST

    A couple of months before I took the coupe off the road, I had invested in a 2" stainless exhaust for the four banger.

    Made it up myself using preformed tubes and parts.

    Having a few pieces in stock left over from the first job all I needed was an extra bomb and a couple of over axle tubes and I would be sorted. Nice to use what I already had making this an inexpensive job.

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    THE BRAKES

    At the beginning my first thoughts regarding the brakes, was to keep the rod brakes and deal with them in a "phase two" at a later date.

    Soon became apparent this was a dumb idea, once the body was off a quick mock up with the engine and box, it was obvious all those rods and crossbars were in the way.

    Other then fitting the '39 pedal box way back, I left all the brake side of the project in my son, Clarks (Enbloc), capable hands, this is the third car he has completed the conversion, and a grand job he made of it too.

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  8. Woodlouse
    Joined: Dec 18, 2011
    Posts: 74

    Woodlouse
    Member
    from London UK

    That's it all done, for all those that are still here and haven't fallen asleep. A little video just to prove it's all up and working.
    Hope you enjoyed it, thanks for reading.


    </EMBED></EMBED>
     
  9. sawbuck
    Joined: Oct 14, 2006
    Posts: 1,796

    sawbuck
    Member
    from 06492 ct

    great tech ....super pics too...thanks
     
  10. stakebed
    Joined: Mar 10, 2010
    Posts: 31

    stakebed
    Member
    from White, SD

    Very nice, clean install, one question though, are those copper brake lines or is it some sort of coating on a steel line? If soft copper as they look in the pictures I would suggest you replace them with steel lines for safety. Jim
     
  11. Good job. I like your use of wood patterns to sort things out.
     
  12. 30modelacoupe
    Joined: Nov 1, 2006
    Posts: 359

    30modelacoupe
    Member

    Great job well done! I really like the step by step wordage and the pictures are really helpful. I'm not sure about the copper brake lines though?
    Thanks for sharing this with us.
     
  13. Brake lines are proper copper/alloy not pure copper as they appear in the pictures.
     
  14. brady1929
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 8,066

    brady1929
    Member

  15. Beecher
    Joined: Jan 28, 2004
    Posts: 159

    Beecher
    Member

    wow, best thread every, I have a bare frame in my shop looking for EVERY one of the these mods right now! Thanks for your time putting this all together, it will be heaven sent for me in the coming months!
     
  16. hoop
    Joined: Mar 21, 2007
    Posts: 573

    hoop
    Member

    Excellent job.Great write up.Thank you.
     
  17. ChuckleHead_Al
    Joined: Mar 29, 2004
    Posts: 1,787

    ChuckleHead_Al
    Member

    Amazing job, the coupe came out great.
     
  18. flthd31
    Joined: Aug 5, 2007
    Posts: 561

    flthd31
    Member

    Nice work. Lots of great ideas and well presented. Thanks for taking the time to put it all together in one great tech piece.
     
  19. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,912

    need louvers ?
    Member

    I wondered how many posts were going to pass before some said something about this... Haven't worked on much european stuff have you?

    Awsome awsome tech all the way down the line. I loved the cross member for the wishbone the best of the batch though.
     
  20. The build was so good I almost forgot about the finished product!
     
  21. -Brent-
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,955

    -Brent-
    Member

    Fantastic frame mods. I got some "a-ha!" moments looking at your motor mounts. Really nice work.
     
  22. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,276

    swissmike
    Member

    Excellent design and execution! Thanks for documenting everything!
     
  23. That's gotta be fun to run around London in. Nice build.
     
  24. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 25,881

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Nice build, I'm saving this for future reference on my own A V8 swap.
     
  25. NealinCA
    Joined: Dec 12, 2001
    Posts: 2,881

    NealinCA
    Member

    Very nice fabrication work! It appearrs very well thought out.

    Neal
     
  26. Very nicely done, congrats!
     
  27. hasty
    Joined: Jul 5, 2009
    Posts: 1,405

    hasty
    Member

    Nice neat job - thanks for sharing
     
  28. I really enjoyed this thread. You came up with some great ideas. One question though. Why four mufflers?
     
  29. HEATHEN
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,592

    HEATHEN
    Member
    from SIDNEY, NY

    Excellent article. Very easy to read and enjoy.
     
  30. gregaustex
    Joined: Feb 20, 2009
    Posts: 136

    gregaustex
    Member
    from Austin

    Thank you for another great tech article for tech week. I've saved this one to prevent some future headaches.
     

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