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Toyota Corolla Front Brake Rotors & Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads and rotors on a 10th generation 2009-2013 Toyota Corolla including the part numbers.

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2010 Corolla Front Wheel
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Slightly Loosen Lug Nuts
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Front Jack Point

This automotive "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the 10th generation (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, & 2013) Toyota Corolla in changing the front brake pads and replacing the front brake rotors.

Owners of other Toyota, Lexus or Scion vehicles such as the Yaris, Matrix, Prius, Camry, RAV4, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra, FJ Cruiser, Venza, Highlander, Avalon, Sequoia, Land Cruiser, Allion, Premio, Auris, IS 250, ES 350, GS 350, tC, xB, xD, iQ and FR-S may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools and other items needed to complete this procedure include a lug nut wrench, a floor jack, two jack stands, a 12mm socket, a 14mm socket, a 17mm socket, a 3/8" drive ratchet, an "F" clamp and a tube of brake caliper grease.

I bought and can highly recommend buying the following replacement parts: Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1210 ceramic brake pads and Bosch QuietCast 50011478 brake rotors.

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Raise Front of Car
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Replacement Rotors & Pads
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Spin Off 5 Lug Nuts
The first two steps are to park the car on a level surface and turn off the ignition.

Engage the emergency / parking brake and place wheel chocks on both sides of the rear wheel to prevent the vehicle from moving.

Use the tire iron to slightly loosen the five lug nuts on the front wheels by turning them 1/4 to 1/2 turn in the counterclockwise direction.

Slide the floor jack under the engine bay and below the front jack point. (It is a re-enforced metal ring shown in Picture # 3.)

Carefully raise the front of the car until both front tires are off the ground by at least an inch or two.

Slide the two jack stands under the front parts of the driver and passenger side frame rails.

Slowly release the floor jack until the car is securely supported by the two jack stands. Please do NOT depend on the floor jack to hold the car up.

Spin off the five lug nuts in the counterclockwise direction and set them aside in a safe place.

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Five Lug Nuts Removed
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Bracket, Caliper & Rotor
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Front Brake Caliper
Pull off the front wheel to reveal the caliper, bracket, rotor and suspension.

Set the front wheel aside in a safe place.

The front brake caliper is held in place to the bracket by two bolts located on the back side of the caliper with the bolt heads facing in towards the engine bay.

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Loosen Top Caliper Bolt
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Loosen Bottom Caliper Bolt
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Spin Out Lower Bolt
Loosen the top caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the car) with the 14mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

Then loosen the bottom 14mm caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle).

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Remove Upper Bolt
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Two Caliper Bolts Removed
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Lift Off Brake Caliper
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

Gently pull the caliper out of the bracket and off the old brake pads.

Rest the caliper on the suspension or suspend it from the spring with a bungee cord.

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Remove Old Brake Pads
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Still Plenty of Pad Material
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Wear Indicator Bars Missing
Pull the old brake pads out of the bracket.

Make a mental note of where the wear indicator or "squeal" bars are situated on the old pads.

On this 2010 Corolla, the original brake pads (that I previously replaced) had the wear indicator bars at the top of both the inner and outer brake pads.

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Top Caliper Bracket Bolt
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Two Bracket Bolts
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Hang Caliper From Spring
Look on the back of the caliper bracket and locate the two larger bolts that hold it in place to the steering knuckle.

Move the caliper out of the way by suspending it from the suspension spring with a bungee cord or some twine.

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17mm & BBQ Lighter
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Flame - Heat Bracket Bolt
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Loosen Counterclockwise
Since the bracket bolts haven't been removed in 80,000 miles and almost 7 years, I knew they might be a bit difficult to loosen.

To help loosen the bolt just in case thread locking adhesive compound was applied at the factory, I used a long neck utility barbeque lighter to heat the bolt and the surrounding area on the bracket for about a minute.

Try to avoid placing the flame near the rubber dust boot around the caliper slider pins or the rubber brake fluid line.

Once the bolt and bracket around the bolt have been heated, loosen the bolt by turning it counterclockwise (as seen from the back side of the bracket) with the 17mm socket and a ratchet or a 17mm wrench.

If you are loosening the bolts while viewing from the outside of the car, you would turn the wrench clockwise.

To help turn a stubborn bolt, either use a breaker bar on your 17mm wrench or hit it with a rubber mallet.

Please be sure you are trying to turn the bolts in the correct direction: counterclockwise ("lefty loosey") if you are looking at the back side of the bracket / rotor and clockwise if you are looking at the outer face of the bracket / rotor from the outside of the car.

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Fire - Heating Top Bolt
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Rubber Mallet - Loosen
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Spin Out Bracket Bolt
Repeat the process of heating the top bracket bolt for about a minute and loosen it with the 17mm wrench.
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Remove Counterclockwise
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Caliper Bracket Removed
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Two 17mm Bracket Bolts
Allow the bracket bolts to cool down before touching them!

Spin out the two bracket bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

Carefully pull the caliper bracket off the steering knuckle.

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Old Rotor Exposed
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Loosen With Rubber Mallet
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Two Threaded Holes
Use a rubber mallet to tap the back side of the rotor and loosen it from the wheel hub.

Try to avoid bending or hitting the metal heat shield that covers most of the back side of the old rotor.

If you have trouble getting the old rotor to come off the hub, continue to the steps below.

Locate the two threaded bolt holes near the center of the rotor. These bolt holes can be used along with a 12mm bolt to remove a stubborn rotor that has become rusted and stuck or "frozen" to the wheel hub.

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Radiator Bracket Bolt
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Loosen Counterclockwise
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Spin In 12mm Bolt
The easiest 12mm bolt to use for this procedure is the bolt on the radiator bracket at the front of the engine bay near the 12V automotive battery and behind the driver side headlight assembly.

(There is a matching 12mm bolt on the passenger side of the radiator bracket.)

Loosen the radiator bracket bolt by turning it counterclockwise with a 12mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet.

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Tighten Clockwise - POP!
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Break Free Old Rotor
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Replace 12mm Bolt
Spin the 12mm bolt a few turns by hand in to one of the bolt holes on the rotor in the clockwise direction to help prevent it from becoming cross threaded.

Then slowly tighten the 12mm bolt with the socket and ratchet until you hear a "pop", "crack" or "snap" sound that indicates you have broken the layer of rust fusing the rotor to the wheel hub.

At this point, you should be able to slide off the old rotor. If necessary, insert the 12mm bolt in to the other hole and repeat the process.

Replace the 12mm bolt in to the radiator bracket and tighten it in the clockwise direction until it is snug.

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Slide Off Old Rotor
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Old Rotor Removed
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Slide On New Bosch Rotor
Carefully slide the old rotor off the wheel hub.

Try to avoid touching the back or front friction surfaces of the new rotor with your fingers or set it down on any dirty or greasy surface.

Line up the lug bolts with the holes in the new rotor and slide it in to place on the wheel hub.

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Pad Abutment Clips
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Remove Old Abutment Clips
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Apply Caliper Grease
If your new brake pads included replacement brake hardware, pull the old pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips out of the top and bottom of the bracket.

Clean off the bracket with some brake parts cleaner spray.

Apply a thin layer of synthetic brake parts lubricant to the areas of the bracket where they will come in contact with the new abutment clips.

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Lubricate Bracket
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Install New Abutment Clip
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Replace All Four Clips
Push the new pad abutment clips in to the top and bottom of the bracket.
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Pull Out Caliper Slider Pins
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Lubricate Slider Pins
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Caliper Pin Lubricated
In order for the caliper to operate smoothly, the two caliper slider pins or "guide pins" need to be well lubricated.

Pull the two caliper slider pins out of their rubber dust boots.

Apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to the smooth parts of the pins.

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Re-Insert Caliper Slider Pin
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Turn To Loosen Stuck Pin
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2nd Pin Removed
If you have trouble pulling the slider pins out of the bracket, loosen them by turning them back and forth with a 17mm wrench.



 

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Lubricate 2nd Pin
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Both Pins Lubricated
Once you have lubricated the caliper slider pins, push them back in to their rubber dust boots.

Spin them around a turn or two to help spread the grease.

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Caliper Bolts - Apply Loctite
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Line Up Caliper Bracket
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Spin In Bracket Bolts
An optional step is to apply a small amount of medium removable Loctite "Blue" threadlocker adhesive compound to the threads on the 17mm bracket bolts.

Hold the caliper bracket in place and spin in the two 17mm bolts a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to help prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

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Replace Lower Bolt
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Torque Wrench
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Tighten Lower Bolt
Use a torque wrench to tighten the two 17mm bracket bolts to about 79 lb-ft (106.8 Nm) of torque.

Double check that the two bracket bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.

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Tighten Upper Bolt
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Grease On Pad "Ears"
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Apply a small amount of brake caliper grease to the top and bottom tabs on the brake pads (known as the "ears").

These Wagner ThermoQuiet brake pads have built in "Integrally Molded Insulators" (IMI) sound insulators that do not require any lubrication or the use of other products such as CRC Brake Quiet.

I highly recommend buying these Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1210 brake pads for Corollas built in North America (VIN number starts with 1 or 2.)

(If you have a Corolla that was built in Japan [VIN starts with "J"], you will need to buy the Wagner QC1211 pads.)

I've had excellent results with the Wagner ThermoQuiet series of pads on the other cars in our family including a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP, a 2005 Corolla, a 2009 Honda Accord, a 2013 Nissan Altima and a friend's 2006 Chevy Tahoe.

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Attach Wear Indicator Bar
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Wear Bar Attached
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Install New Brake Pads
Snap the included wear indicator or "squeal" bar on to the top of at least one or both of the new brake pads.

The OEM setup from the factory had a wear indicator bar on the top of both the inner and outer brake pads.

Slide the new brake pads in to the bracket.

(If you are going to replace the caliper with a new one, the union or "banjo" bolt should be tightened to 21 lb-ft [29Nm]).

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Push Pads Against Rotor
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New Pads Installed
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Caliper Piston
Push the two pads together until they are flush against the rotor.

In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the piston needs to be pushed back in to the cylinder.

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Attach "F" Clamp
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Engine Bay & Cowl
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Pull Off Rubber Strip
Attach a "C" or "F" clamp to the caliper and use the back of an old brake pad to evenly distribute the pressure across the piston.

Move to the engine bay and locate the black plastic access cover for the brake fluid reservoir on the driver's side of the cowl (in between the windshield and the engine bay).

Gently lift the driver side end of the rubber weather stripping off the plastic peg or spike at the end of the cowl.

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Weatherstripping Removed
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Push In Release Tabs
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Lift Off Access Cover
Continue gently pulling up the rubber weather strip to disengage the plastic friction fasteners.

Push in the two release tabs on the front edge of the access cover before pulling it straight off the cowl.

Set the access cover aside in a safe place.

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Brake Fluid Reservoir
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Pull Off Reservoir Cap
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Compress Caliper Piston
Gently pull off the cap on the brake fluid reservoir and set it aside in a safe place.

Removing the reservoir cap will allow the brake fluid to easily travel back through the lines when you compress the caliper piston.

Slowly turn the "F" clamp handle in the clockwise direction to compress the caliper piston. Continue until the piston is fully retracted in to the caliper and flush with the rubber dust boot.

Try to avoid pinching or damaging the rubber dust boot that surrounds the caliper piston.

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Push On Reservoir Cap
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Replace Access Panel
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Re-Attach Rubber Strip
Since brake fluid is hygroscopic (readily absorbs moisture from the air), replace the reservoir cap as soon as possible to avoid contaminating the fluid.

Push the access panel back in to place on the cowl.

Push the friction fasteners on the underside of the rubber strip back in to place.

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End Of Strip On Clip
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Weather Strip Replaced
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Lubricate Caliper Piston
Slide the opening at the end of the rubber weather strip back on to the plastic peg at the edge of the cowl.

Apply a small amount of brake caliper grease to the outer ring of the caliper piston that will come in contact with the new brake pad.

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Lower Caliper Over Pads
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Spin In Top Caliper Bolt
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Replace Bottom Bolt
Carefully lower the caliper over the new brake pads and in to the bracket.

Spin in the two caliper bolts a few turns by hand in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the car) to help prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

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Tighten Counterclockwise
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Tighten Upper Bolt
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Torque To 25 lb-ft
Tighten the two caliper bolts with the torque wrench to just past hand tight or about 25 lb-ft (34.3 Nm).
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Torque Upper Bolt
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Rubber Valve Cap
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Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
Double check that the two caliper bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.

If your brake pedal previously felt soft or spongy, the brake fluid may be contaminated with water or the brake lines may contain a few air bubbles.

It would be best to bleed the brake lines at this time in order to flush out the old fluid and replace it with fresh DOT 3 brake fluid. For more on this topic, check out my Brake Line Fluid Bleeding With An Assistant DIY Guide or alternatively the Brake Line Fluid Bleeding With A Power Bleeder Guide.

(The brake fluid bleeder valve is 8mm.)

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Replace Front Wheel
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Spin On 5 Lug Nuts
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Slightly Tighten Clockwise
Carefully push the front wheel back in to place.

Spin on the five lug nuts a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the five lug nuts with the tire iron.

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Lower Car From Stands
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Torque To 76 lb-ft
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Pads & Rotor Replaced
Carefully lower the car from the jack stands by using the floor jack.

Continue progressively tightening the lug nuts in a "criss cross" or "star" pattern to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight. 

It would be best to use a torque wrench or an electric impact wrench with a torque stick to tighten the lug nuts to approximately 76 lb-ft (103Nm) of torque.

Sit in the driver's seat of the vehicle and pump the brake pedal a few times to restore the brake line pressure. Check the brake fluid in the reservoir and verify that it is at the proper level. If it is low, add some DOT 3 fluid.

To break in your new front brake pads and rotors, just drive normally for the first several hundred miles while trying to avoid any hard or "panic" stops which may glaze over the new pads and cause them to be noisy and/or not perform as well.

It's also a good idea to regularly check your driveway for drops of fresh brake fluid which may indicate a leak, check the brake fluid level in the reservoir, and also verify that the lug nuts are still tight.

For more, check out my other Corolla DIY tutorials at the links below -

2009-2013 Toyota Corolla Repair & Maintenance Guides

2014-2018 Toyota Corolla Repair & Maintenance Guides

2003-2008 Toyota Corolla Repair & Maintenance Guides
 

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