Contaminated Diesel

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 06:41
ThreadID: 100120 Views:5615 Replies:4 FollowUps:27
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I wasn't going to fit extra filters or water alarms ,but boy I think I was wrong with that decision. lately I am hearing about the number of local vehicles having expensive repairs because of water in the fuel. Numbers between $3000 and $11000.

The only time I have ever had bad fuel was about 35 years ago and that was some rubbish that came in from Singapore. You could smell it, and the horsepower was down about 25%. Still there were no problems with crud in the fuel. I have also encountered algae in supply tanks and fuel tanks, but never in my own vehicle.

Had a few problems at work with water but that was due to it getting in through the fuel filler necks. All the other vehicles fitted with a Banlaw system had no problems at all.

I am not going to install a another filter as the standard one will do the job and filter down to an acceptable level ,but I will be fitting a water watch system though, not cheap but hopefully it should do the job.

It is something we will have to get accustomed to with the new engines. At some stage we will all have to go over to a common rail due to vehicles just getting to old and unreliable.

My thoughts anyway.


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Reply By: 410 - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 07:14

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 07:14
This is on the forum a bit about dirty fuel and fitting extra filters, worring about warranty issues, where to put the filters, will it effect the performance etc, as someone suggested ; Mr Funnel Man filter funnel, about $40- $100 from BCF or Ebay and the dearer one having a flow rate of 42 L/min, so can fill up quick. Have a look and see what you think.
AnswerID: 503124

Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 07:35

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 07:35
Thanks Richard,
Although I knew about the Mr Funnels I didn't realise they would flow as quick as 45l/min. That is not to bad.

I don't believe I would have a warranty problem with the water watch as it doesn't impede the flow of diesel to the hp pump.

The Mr Funnel is certainly cheaper. Has anyone used one of the high flow ones as it looks like it maybe a little cumbersome to fill with.

FollowupID: 779734

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 08:11

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 08:11
Yes I have the larger model with 3 filter elements.
I would question its flow rate of 42 l/m, maybe more like 30. It all depends on the 'head', i.e. how full you can maintain the bowl while filling.
And certainly it was awkward to hold in position in the filler pipe until I did some mods with PVC plumbing fittings.
Also bulky to stow for travel, so I have shelved it.
However I did test it with water and it works.

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Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 08:24

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 08:24
thanks for your findings, I suspected as much. I am sure it works, but standing there waiting for it to transfer would be a pain. It would be fine at home I guess or if you were transferring from a suspect source.

Have a good one,
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Follow Up By: Ross M - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 09:39

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 09:39
While I think the Mr. Funnel system is a good idea it is for use where larger noticeable amounts of water are being delivered to you via the pump. Yes you can stand there and filter it out and that will help a build up of water from developing in your fuel tank,


What kills CRD engines is not globs of water which haven't got to the engine yet, it is the emulsified water in the fuel which is the problem.
A big glob of water into the CRD pump will destroy it and inj too.
But it has the get through the filter system first.

A "holed" or degraded filter will let anything through and this is usually the result of NIL service by dealers and or people leaving filters in their vehicles for far too long, 2 years max even if it hasn't been running.

The main trouble is the emulsified water in the fuel which when it goes into the CRD pump causes corrosion, pitting and it isn't a lubricant either, so it allows scoring of the pump and these all combine to TOTAL the injectors too.

So relying on just one filter , the OE filter, is the minimal position your engine can withstand.
If you fit an additional filter of sufficient flow rate ability, it should be able to absorb/remove from the fuel stream the emulsified water to a large extent and also filter contaminants down to a suitable micron size, although not quite as small as the OE filter does. This leaves the OE filter quietly doing it's task under less contaminant and H2O attack.

Therefore, the additional filter will also attempt to remove the emulsified water and contaminants leaving the OE filter to do a final cleanup. Otherwise the OE filter has to do ALL OF IT.

Although the water watch does a great job of detecting water in the fuel it doesn't filter unless it has a filtering feature, and to my knowledge it doesn't stop or detect the emulsified water in the fuel.
It may tell you there is emulsified water, but you can't see it or drain it out so you won't can't/do anything while your engine suffers.

Detection systems are great, but only a filter which blocks emulsified water, as much as is possible and also filters is any advantage.

If, with a CRD engine any one puts their faith in ONLY a Mr Funnel, then they are deluding themselves to a large extent.

PS if the Additional filter is large enough flow rate, the pressure pump in the tank will always cause more than sufficient flow through the filter so the OE filter doesn't see any significant restriction and everything will work as normal. If the pre filter begins to block then the vehicle sensors should see this as the OE main filter is blocking and you will then investigate because the warning is telling you it is fuel related.

If all this doesn't work then it is on your bike I'm afraid to say.
Truck have all this stuff and they seem to go and last ok.

Ross M
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 10:00

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 10:00
RA, As supplied, the funnel was impossible to hold in position whilst filling from a 20L jerry can unless you had two people or a very strong right arm. I purchased the flexible spout that enable filling of side-entry fuel fillers but that would not support the funnel so I manufactured the connection pictured below.
A correction.... my funnel only has two filter elements but is the largest model F15C. This is rated at 15usgpm which equates to 56 l/m. Maybe with petrol but not with diesel in my experience. I have not actually measured it but I would guess at 30 l/m. It certainly cannot keep up with the delivery rate of a service station fuel dispenser.
I purchased it being mindful of possible fuel contamination in some remote supplies but its bulk and difficulty of use has put me off this idea.


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Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 13:29

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 13:29
yep, if I was going to get a Mr Funnel I would have done exactly what you have done. I know what a pain it is to try and juggle funnels and containers at the same time.

You are correct in saying that size water watch doesn't remove water it just warns you so you can shutdown before you do damage. They make larger models for trucks that have the filter incorporated. These look very much like a Racor unit.

Thanks both for the info,

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Follow Up By: Ross M - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 16:37

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 16:37
I know the Water Watch doesn't filter or stop water, all it does is warn you of it's presence.
If you think you will suddenly be able to switch off the engine the instant the WW warns you without any risk of the water droplets swirling around actually getting to the engine filter and beyond, then I think you are placing great faith in the WW ability and the speed with which you can kill the engine.
Yes they do warn, but that fuel with it's H2O cargo will already be down the track, so to speak. No question about it.

The Water Watch, while quite sensitive only relies on the differing conduction of diesel fuel when containing water.
If the big drops go to the bottom and switch it on or there is sufficient small drops swirling around in the fuel, then it will also detect them.

The absorbed emulsified water precedes the big stuff and it will already be on it's travels around the fuel system. A bit like 4wd's and vans around Oz.

DEwatering filters is the only next best back up.

If you have a V8 diesel I would be fitting two dewatering filters plumbed in parallel so they provide a slower flow through each filter to provide the maximum water and crap trapping while giving a larger volume of water trapping and the slow flow allows the dewatering ability of the filters to work at a slower rate and pick out and precipitate water into the bowls to the highest level possible.
$200 to $300 buys alot of insurance not provided by Mr,Funnels or WW systems. WW is only a WATCH.
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Follow Up By: 410 - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 17:08

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 17:08
Hi All
It seems the two dewatering fiters are the go. What brand and where do you place the filters ? I have a new V8 Diesel Cruiser.
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 19:36

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 19:36
Ross may be able to help you more but I have never seen water filtered from diesel. I have used machines that use water separators though.

Racor is one and the other is Cat. The really good Racor type is very long as it has the filter on top and the separator on the bottom. It works really well but it would be hard to fit.

The fuel goes to the bottom and then separates some of the water. The fuel then flows up and more water is removed when it hits the top of the separation hood.

If you go down this track get some good advise on flow rates for the separator.

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Follow Up By: Ross M - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 22:31

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 22:31
RA & Rich
There are a number of products which attempt to remove water from fuel.
Here is my views on the subject.

A 1HZ motor for instance using 12L/100km uses the 12litres in approx 1 hour. That is a fuel usage of 1.2 L /10 min. and returns a minute amount back to tank. So an overall fuel flow rate of 12L + a bit /hr from the tank.

A similar sized CRD engine using 12L/100km uses the same amount of fuel for the engine but returns approx approx 25 to 30 L back to tank for cooling reasons as the dump off from the rail and the low pressure fuel control regulator. So this engine has a flow rate through it's fuel filter of at least 35 to 40 litres /hr. BIG DIFFERENCE increase.
This means the fuel flow force through the filter is also increased.
If the fuel filter has a larger/area flow rating then the flow through every sq cm is less than a small filter.

A steel tank cools the fuel, a plastic tank vehicle HAS to have a cooler.
Added filters or WW in engine bay are in temps around 70 to 80degrees so the fuel is being heated before it hits the engine. Sort of negates the intended design requirement somewhat.

My Isuzu has a system flow rate of 35 litres /hour so I use a filter which has 114litre/hr flow rate and 100psi pressure rating although the system pressure is 6 to 7 psi regulated.

I selected after some research, a Donaldson P902976 Low Flow Fuel filter kit.
This easily handles the flow requirements of a 3litre engine and far exceeds the max OE filter flow of around 70L/h.

The P 550588 filters have a bowl at the bottom which you can see and an easy drain valve.
The filter is around 10 microns and has the feature of a claimed 99% fine particle removal so catches 99% of everything 10 microns and bigger.
It also has a claimed 95% efficiency at removing water from the fuel because of the filter medium used. The lower the flow through this filter means the more water emulsified in the fuel it can remove in a given time. This isn't the water which drops to the bottom anyway, it is the water swirling in the fuel flow.

That's why my idea of two filters plumbed in parallel for a 4.5 V8 will mean a far greater filtering capacity and slooow (is good) fuel flow through the filters. This means less flow pressure ie need to get through in a hurry, so the filter/s has the maximum time to do it's work.

These are throw away filters so you need to carry spares (2 supplied with kit) but the two allows for greater bowl water entrapment and a vastly bigger filter area for the above advantages to work.
If out on the track and a filter blocks you can just change one and only bleed it and continue until full servicing can be achieved.

This all leaves the OE filter idling along and not stressed and working as it should and also as a back up with it's sensor system untouched.

Other filter manufacturers have other options and research will determine if they suit what you want. The price of mine was one factor considered and I have no proof if it is the best or not, but the alternative of not having something reasonably effective is not an option for me.
I don't have a WW or a Mr Funnel but they are ok for what they do, for a CRD engine it doesn't mean much for me but everything must help.

I hope this makes sense for you and I in no way are recommending any product over another, it is just what I have selected. Racor too long.and 3x price.
You can contact Donaldson, I did and found them very helpful.

I'm interested in your thoughts.

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Follow Up By: get outmore - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 23:51

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 23:51
your assumption is flawed, most of the fuel is returned to the tank , not a minute amount
FollowupID: 779823

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 00:34

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 00:34
With the 200, I see instantaneous fuel consumption well in excess of 300L/100km, not sure what that is in LPM, but would be well over 150LPM into the engine I reckon - no idea how much is being recirculated as well. Would need a mighty big filter to service a 200 under full roar!


FollowupID: 779825

Follow Up By: Ross M - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 09:39

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 09:39
get out more

What do you mean? With a conventional diesel the overall fuel flow rate is small and only small amounts are fed back to tank.
In a CRD system the fuel flow rates are many times the conventional one because of the quantity of fuel being returned to tank.
All the posts cover this issue and have been clearly stated. Perhaps you haven't read the thread?

The 200 series has a big filter for that purpose but not all that big and any pre filters should have an area more than that so as not to create flow restriction under full fuel requirements. That is obvious and the filters don't have to be all that big. Truck fuel filters are bigger and so is their flow rates. All in balance I think.
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Follow Up By: Ross M - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 09:54

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 09:54
Your statement of 150LPM into the engine means if you hold your foot down for 1 minute (not hard to do) all the fuel in both your tanks is delivered into the engine in just 1 minute.

WOW do you really believe things like that?

Items I have mentioned comes from knowing a little bit about what happens.
Can you pour 150 litres a minute into your tank with a high flow nozzle?????????
Does your engine really drink that fast???
What sized trailer and field tank do you tow behind?

The electric delivery pump in your tank isn't very big and doesn't pump vast amounts and it only delivers to the engine system through a pipe 10mm dia. All these factor do create some limitations I believe.

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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 10:27

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 10:27
Good point Ross, the 300L/100km is not LPM flow, my 150 was a guess and looks way out now. But its got me interested in what it is, the scanguageII can display instantaneous LPM so will see what it is.


FollowupID: 779845

Follow Up By: Ross M - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 13:05

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 13:05
If a 4.5 L V8 cruiser uses double the instantaneous the Isuzu 3 L engine then the fuel filters mentioned will handle the flows and filtering requirements for increased protection, nothing is perfect.

I did make one slight error in my figures but it was of a conservative nature/amount/time frame anyway. It seems no one has detected it yet.
I have a scan gauge and although it might suddenly say an instantaneous figure sometimes, I know the pump in the tank and the size of the fuel lines even without any filters in place cannot possibly deliver what the Scangauge is saying even if there was no regulation on fuel pressure.
I use a similar pump to supply fuel from a 60 litre tank under a Tvan and it takes 20 minutes free running to deliver the 60 litres to the vehicle tank.

If you use your phone and with the key ON, within 15 sec, record the sound of the pump in the tank. It will, under the same conditions be running slower if the fuel filter is restricting and near blocking because the restriction is causing a resistance to flow and so the pump speed will slow down because it is working harder, also draws more amps then too. An amp meter in the pump wire would also to tell you if the filter was blocking up. All testing with key on and engine off. though.

Everyone is trying to get a reasonably priced system with enough capacity to not cause any issues and provide an increased level of engine fuel system protection. There are many options available.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 13:13

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 13:13
Hmmm, let's see Ross. Obvious error? Where could it be?
Aha, "1.2 L/10 min"??... Maybe 1.2 L/6 min??
Do I get the money?

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Follow Up By: get outmore - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 15:31

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 15:31
Ross m. With a 1hz most of the fuel is returned to the fuel tank. The extra fuel is used to lubricate the pump.
If you don't believe me disconnect your return line and see what happens
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Follow Up By: Ross M - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 17:17

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 17:17
Allan B
Yes you have it. I was a bit lysdexic there and got it frack to bunt.

get outmore:
Fair enough.
Yes there will be some cooling flow return, I agree. The pump runs in diesel for lube but a cooling flow is essential.
It doesn't need anywhere near the CRD system return flows because of the heat being generated in the HP pump.
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 18:08

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 18:08
There's not "some" fuel flow. Most of what is taken is returned. So in an hour much more than 12 l an hour passes through the filter .
Like I said if you don't believe me remove the return line and have a look. Maybe less than a crd but far more than what is used pluss a little bit
FollowupID: 779868

Reply By: Member - John N (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 09:47

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 09:47
G'day RA,

We have a CRD Patrol and after reading all the horror stories, I was worried as well. The Waterwatch system has given me much peace of mind since installing it. It has trapped water and sounded the alarm on one occasion so far. It was not a lot (probably some condensation) and after draining the glass bowl, all was well but it assured me it worked. On another occasion, I had used all the fuel in the sub tank which must have developed a bit of algae - the system trapped that as well and sounded the alarm. It was easy to clear. I also have a Mr Funnel - mainly for decanting from Jerry cans on remote trips. For a couple of remote community fuel sources, I have used it too, but I found that just running 10 - 15 litres through was enough to see if the fuel was good and I didn't need to use it for the full tank. Some might think a bit of overkill, but it gives me peace of mind.


AnswerID: 503129

Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 13:48

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 13:48
Good to see you had a good result.

have a good one,
FollowupID: 779768

Reply By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 09:49

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 09:49
After speaking to a few local service centres and reading online about the number of water contamination damage I too have installed the water watch system.

The head mechanic at a local dealership said they get about one CRD in a week with water damage. Each time they are required to report it to the Automotive Engineers Association (or some body of that sort of name). He was informed WA had the highest incidence of water ingress in diesel for all the states.

I have installed mine under the tray where the two fuel solenoids come together from both fuel tanks. Instructions say anywhere between the tank and OEM fuel filter. I felt under the bonnet was too crowded already. Under the car but tucked up high I can poke my head under to service and the diesel will discharge on the ground and not all over my under bonnet area.

Also being so far from the filter should water come through in large quantities the alarm will go off giving me time to pull over and stop before water can flood through the common rail system. The OEM filter is good but enough water coming through will get past it as it is not a water filter just a 10micron particulate filter.


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Follow Up By: Ross M - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 10:38

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 10:38
Any additional filtering/detection is advisable to have but if your OE filter doesn't remove water and the Water Watch only detects a build up of water or it's presence, what is reducing the emulsified water in the fuel? The water you can't see is the stuff which kills the fuel system.

Only a filter which is designed to try and remove "emulsified water" is going to give the highest degree on protection.
These filters are termed "Dewatering" and they do try and stop it.
A Water Watch really only detects things you can see or a build up of water. The emulsified water in the fuel continues on it's merry way.

From reading your posted info, your system has no ability whatsoever to reduce or attempt to eliminate the emulsified water.

Slowly but surely if it is there, "and you won't know it is", it is reducing the life of your High pressure pump and injectors.

It was nice of Allan to show us the Mr, F gear, but it is only like shutting the door and forgetting about the flow though the gap underneath. ie stops the big stuff only but the mosquitoes are still getting through.

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Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 13:41

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 13:41
I have seen photos of the location of your water watch that you posted earlier.

I talked to water watch on the phone and they sent some photos to me of the mounting for the Ranger and Bt 50. I was going to mount it underneath, but when I saw their photos I will mount it in the engine bay.

I have just been over at Case Tractors and ordered one. The workshop foreman there has fitted one to his Navara.

All the best,
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 15:39

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 15:39
just a bit of info. Been informed water watch will see water down to 200 parts per million and alarm at that level.

I spoke to Dave at Responsive engineering and he told me they had a mechanic report that his front tank on a 70 series cruiser would alarm but the back tank was fine. The bowl looked clear but once the front tank was drained all came good.

have a good one,

FollowupID: 779784

Follow Up By: Ross M - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 16:51

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 16:51
Exactly right. The WW is sensitive as I said and despite the bowl looking clear to all and sundry the emulsified water is still killing you fuel system unless you take positive steps to limit it's ability of doing so.

Do fuel system manufacturers accept a certain level of water in fuel, I suppose they do, best if it is reduced to 10 parts per million if possible.

PS I don't endorse the fitting of WW or additional filters in the engine bay.
The manufacturers of BT 50 have the filter in the engine bay but it is shielded from engine turbo heat. Most vehicles/ not all have plastic tanks and thus fuel coolers too. This is trying to keep the fuel cool before it enters the high pressure pump where it's has work done on it, like compressed air, and it gets hot.
You DON'T want the fuel already pre heated as the HP pump uses the cooler fuel to help cool itself as it provides you with the 20,000psi for the common rail.

Even worse if a chip is added. Hot fuel + chip rail pressure above std, no wonder some pumps and injector suddenly say NO, even if they do get dewatered fuel.
What does water do when it gets to 100degrees C.
Although above the theoretical temp of the engine, do we want to be near to internally steam cleaning our fuel systems while we drive?
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 17:22

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 17:22
Thanks for that. The more I answer and ask the more I glean.

You have come up with some good facts.

Have a good one,
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 17:24

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 at 17:24
I zoomed in on that photo and they have made a new metal heat shield that both the original filter and the WW sit in. The photo is just a bit deceiving.
FollowupID: 779866

Reply By: Rockape - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2013 at 20:12

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2013 at 20:12
I was talking to the workshop main man at Tractor and Junk today, he informed me about a grader that they had done two fuel pump, rail and injectors in the last few months.

They did one rebuild that cost $15000 and a month later another for another $15000.

What they discovered was the owner had altered the overflow pipe from the air-con evaporator. It now ran over the top of the fuel tank. Result was cold water on a hot fuel tank caused condensation in the tank.

$30,000 later an expensive lesson.

Happy dry times,

AnswerID: 503580

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