Oil in coolant

Tiny
SCOTTSPEER
  • MEMBER
  • BUICK CENTURY
2001 Buick Century Custom, 112,000 miles. I recently noticed that the car was using oil (approx 2 qts./Mo), but the car was not smoking or leaking the oil anywhere that I could see. Two days ago, my Low Coolant light came on. The temperature gauge never shows that the car is running hot. I added some fluid to the reservoir and took off the radiator cap and set it on the top of the radiator and started the car. When I came back to the front I noticed that it appeared that oil was running off of the inside of the radiator cap. Shining a light into the radiator you can tell that there is oil in the cooling fluid which explains where the oil is going. What is causing this? Also, there seems to be to no movement of fluid in the radiator even after the car warms up.
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Saturday, January 13th, 2007 AT 5:42 PM

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Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
Thank you for the donation.

The is there a oil cooler inside the radiator? Look for the lines. IF so, it may have ruptured inside of the rad.
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Saturday, January 13th, 2007 AT 5:52 PM
Tiny
BOOTDOG
  • MEMBER
That's exactly what it sounds like servicewriter. If that's the case then you'll need to replace the radiator and thermostat, and flush out the entire coolant system untill all the oil is out. Thanks for your donation
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Sunday, January 14th, 2007 AT 6:47 AM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
"Don't see any lines other than trans axle cooler lines. Where would the
engine oil cooler lines be if the car has a cooler? If there is no
engine oil cooler, what else would be causing this problem?"

My next expectation is a leaking intake manifold gasket. They generally fail from 60,000 to 120,000 miles. For as much oil that your losing, I'll bet your burning some also. These failures have very different symptoms, somtimes coolant loss, oil loss, air leakage, internal leakage and external leakage as well as mixing of fluids.
Both the 3.1 and the 3.4 motors have these gasket problems. Based on your situation, I'll bet you have the 3.4 motor. The 3.1 is more typlically coolant external leakage.
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Sunday, January 14th, 2007 AT 7:50 AM
Tiny
IDRIVEATITLIEST
  • MEMBER
No doubt. The intake gasket is blown. I had the same problem. About $900 for the replacement. Buick knew about this problem and has a number of lawsuits about it. The dex-cool coolant eats away the gasket. They don't replace them with the same kind.
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Wednesday, February 7th, 2007 AT 9:08 PM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
IMHO, dexcool wasn't the problem. Why doesn't it eat the 5.7, 2.2 or 2.4 motors?

IMHO, The Dexcool is being added to the lawsuit as there will be another defendant added to the case; that means another money source. Much like the Firestone and Ford explorer lawsuits. If the lawyers went after the GM design team I would be more acceptable of it.

The 3.8 intake manifold itself had a problem with a hot spot where heat became a catalyst for the erosion of it, had it been just the dexcool, we would see damage in more places I would think. The 3.1 and 3.4 motors had a poorly designed intake gasket design, Fel-pro has seemed to of solved it with metal gaskets. The 3.1 motors had this problem before Dexcool was put into systems. The 3.4 motors that are having problems with the intake gaskets are not always coolant related failures. Many suffer a breach in the gasket that sucks and burns oil, sometimes fairly quickly to the point of a dry sump and seized the engine from no lubrication We are pretty sure the designer of today s auto are divorced women previously married to mechanics.

Seems that in the early years 95-99 roughly, we saw a fair amount of Dexcool troubles of sludging. Some where only sludge in the neck as a TSB refers to. When we started flushing the coolant didn t look so bad. Others were very dirty at 60,000 miles. Some to the point of several flushes to clean it out. I have wondered if GM made a formula change to the dexcool. But, why some engines and not others? One thought is that in the early years, there were a lot of unknowns and mis-conceptions of the new coolant. What did owners or technicians unwittingly do or not do that may have promoted this situation.
I haven t seen problems in a while. I don t know that I ll ever truly know.

I do know that mixing the coolant types will reduce the lifespan to the lowest common denominator, in which case I would probably revert the system to the 2 year coolant.

Now fast forward to 2005 and here in 2007, Gm has gone to another new coolant, this one BLUE in color. We had a Chevy Aveo in the shop with a low coolant reservoir, with a blue color fluid in it. I brought the customer into the bat and asked him where he puts the washer solvent. After a dirty look, he pointed to the washer reservoir. I showed him the coolant bottle and he says he never checked at any point, let alone adding anything to it. He further stated that he has only brought the vehicle to us and to a dealership that just recently closed. So we proceeded to check the manual, it says, only add the proper coolant UUHHH, YEAH! So I went to the spec page for the coolant, it just says it meets astm m1825 standard. HHMMM, I ll call the dealer. This is where it became both humorous and scary at the same time. This Parts Guy say s Yeah, there some new stuff in they are using, I think it s the same as Dexcool. Then he yells to a tech at the counter about it. I hear the tech say, I think it s the same, I dunno , another one yells out, I think it s a 2 year coolant , Someones else says Yeah, that s what I thought , Then a condescending voice says, Should say it right in the owner s manual . The Parts guy says he has to research it. So I research the astm m1825 on the internet and it alludes to it being a 2 year coolant. 1/2 hour later the dealer tells me the same thing.
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Friday, February 9th, 2007 AT 4:10 AM
Tiny
IDRIVEATITLIEST
  • MEMBER
The dexcool eats away the gasket that was put in models from about 98 to 2003 of the 3.1 and 3.4. When they repair them why don't they use the OEM? They don't because they don't make them anymore. Dexcool would eat them up too. They use a different one that will last. I will agree with you a 100% about the tech's, most of them don't care and will tell most people anything to get them away after paying their bill. I think half of them are in a different world when you talk to them. But, they can't get anyone else any different so what are they going to do.
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Friday, February 9th, 2007 AT 5:52 AM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
OEM does make them, with a revised one. There are always parts being revised for better performance.

I'm not sold about the dexcool eating gaskets. I have seen the breeches in the gaskets, there wern't "eaten". It isn't logical from my perspective.

There are a lot of excellent techs that are quite professional and ethical, much more than many "businessman" or "ceo"s. There are bad apples in every walk of life. Can not paint techs with a broad brush. You can't imagine how difficult understanding and repairing cars can be. It takes some serious intelligence to be a tech in today's world.
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Friday, February 9th, 2007 AT 6:00 AM
Tiny
IDRIVEATITLIEST
  • MEMBER
I agree with you a 100%, but why is it that when someone has problems they always get the bad apple? I agree, it's like that in every profession. 90% percent of the owners want to do a good job, but most of the workforce just don't care.
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Friday, February 9th, 2007 AT 11:06 AM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
Perhaps we agree to disagree. Or mis-communicate.

This alone may be one of the most important dialogs I have be involved with on this forum and is essential that you get other opinion from our Moderators. This is the apex of customer & shop relationships. Thank-you for following through on this post!

You're 3 sentences are massive in nature.

Bad apple, I refer to those who are not ethical or competent.

(This is such a large and serious subject it is hard to begin.)

Let's deal with why problems happen first.

-Mis-communication- Potential for trouble:
-The customer does not clearly convey the problem.
-The service writer does not listen well enough to convey the customers problem to the tech, or fails to ask the right questions.

Our world:
-the tech is not given ample time to diagnose, the tech does not have access to the information needed, the information provided is not clear or logical or accurate that leads to unintentional mis-diagnosis
-The engineers that designed the car made mistakes.
-Parts are bad from new.
-

Complications from the car owner:
-The car maintenance was not performed as it should have been.
-the car owner allowed multiple problems to occur.
-The car owner has taken it to a different place each time.
-the car owner and "BOB the Neighbor" who gives the impression he knows all lot about cars, attempted the repairs. This alone creates a bit of a frankenstein. Parts put on wrong, parts that are bad, parts that don't belong to a vehicle, Things not reattached right, they couldn't figure out how to get it back together.

Customer's barrier to understanding:

- Customers can't comprehend why they are getting charged "to look at a car problem". We need to get to a connector or part that takes 45 minutes to access to help determine what is causing a problem, who should pay for it? Should the tech not get paid to do that? Should the shop pay the tech but not charge the customer, when he could have the tech work on a paying job? Many costs are associated with find a problem such as software, scanners training etc.

-Customer paranoia.

-Customer not understanding what is being explained because they are afraid to ask questions. They can be afraid they won't understand, so they shut out what they are being told.

-

idriveatitliest, I sincerly welcome this discussion and asked other moderators to help show our side of the nightmare of auto repair so you can understand our side.

I don't know that 90% of the owners of businesses want to do a good job or not. Some do care, some don't care. Some are ethical some are not. Same with techs. Good ones have enormous pride that will not collapse to unethical behavior, getting beat without giving their all nor taking a auto repair problem personnel. Both owners and tech get worn out or burnt out from customers as well. It seems that some folks believe they can take their aggressions out on the shop and it's employees. I won't stand for that behavior and wouldn't treat a customer like that.

There are those that are paid on commission that can alter one's judgement. Not all of them. A shop should charge what it needs to stay in business, one has the choice to go elsewhere. A good shop is not typically inexpensive.

There are shops that have a culture of unethical behavior and ones that strive to be pure.

There are just plain bad situations that make a good shop look bad. IT happens. A car comes in to relace the left headlight, and then the right one goes out. IT just choose to fail at a bad time for us, but, we didn't cause it to happen.

I know I haven't answered this well enough, and may post again tommorrow, there are other replies I need to address and it's been a long day already.

Thank-you for continuing this post. :D
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Friday, February 9th, 2007 AT 7:20 PM
Tiny
2CARPROS MIKE
  • ADMIN
The ethical cloud that surrounds auto repair shops is a difficult one to explain. Initial diagnosis can be incorrect and aging working parts are replaced with new parts but the problem remains. Mechanics need the vehicle in order to continue to diagnose the problem, but often owners are infuriated that they had to pay for a repair (which may have been necessary anyway) but it didn't solve the problem that was reported and refuse to come in for further "abuse". Generally customers that trust their mechanic can always work out difficult repair issues. Car repair by nature is an elusive beast. Symptoms don't often reveal the extent of damage to the vehicle and all of its systems. Diagnosing electrical problems can be extremely difficult. Todays cars have a fantastic amount of technology built into them. Which can lead to expensive and elussive problems.
Reputation is the only true gauge of a shop. The question is would you recommend your mechanic to a friend or family member. We will be developing a forum for recomending your mechanic and why. This list will be a fantastic current database for checking or complimenting of your mechanic.
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Friday, February 9th, 2007 AT 11:18 PM
Tiny
PEPPERMRJ
  • MEMBER
Scottspeer,
Sorry to hear about your oil/coolant problem. I am pretty sure you have 3.1 six. First thing I would do or have done is to have the cooling system pressure tested. Listen @ the dip stick tube for the hiss of a leak. I would also have a compression/leakdown test done to check for a head gasket or head leakage.

Also have the coolant flow tested, either things are pretty well clogged or your water pump is history. I would have the temp gauge checked also.

If the overall condition of the vehicle is good I would not hesitate to make the necessary repairs.

Good luck and let us know. :)
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Saturday, February 10th, 2007 AT 12:13 AM
Tiny
PEPPERMRJ
  • MEMBER
Now to address the other issues. My 2 cents.
Dexcool
Used it in several vehicles all different makes and models without issue. Is the gasket the problem or the coolant? I would say the gasket and that is why it has been updated.
Techs
Most techs that I know have a passion for their work. Both dealer and independents have above average integrity. A lot give countless hours on sites just like this one.
Business owners
Regardless of the business, owners are concerned with health of their business. This includes numerous factors, profitabilty, liabilty, and so on. Needless to say quality services at a good value are (or should be) part of that concern.

That said, the complexity of todays autos can require serious diagnostic time. In some instances this is skipped and the most likely culprit is repaired/replaced. This is done to controll cost, pass value on to the customer, or sometimes to add to the businesses bottom line.

A point in case is a dealer tech that I know for Ford. He was instructed to simply replace the DPFE sensor whenever a specific trouble code was found. No further diagnosis was allowed. I wonder if the vehicle came back with the same code they would replace the DPFE again!

Service Writer covered many of the other issues that can plague car repair. All are very valid concerns.

IMO there are both good and bad in everything. The car repair business is no different. People are most vocal when problems arise. So you only hear about the bad apples.

2CarPros Mike is correct, "Reputation is the only true gauge of a shop." Check with friends, neighbors, and relatives, not to mention the BBB.

:wink:
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Saturday, February 10th, 2007 AT 1:01 AM
Tiny
CARUNDELL
  • MEMBER
Hey All,
Was asked to chime in on this one (Paul) The subject of business reputation and technician quality is a subject near and dear to me. I spend 3-4 days a week traveling around the north east to repair shops and small dealerships as a troubleshooter and trainer. I see our work force (technicians) dwindling week by week. I see shop owners struggling to find quality help. And of course technology keeps on moving forward by leaps and bounds.( I'll try to add my 2 cents to all the points made here, just bear in mind its 5 a.M. Ok? :Lol: )

Idrive:I will agree with you a 100% about the tech's, most of them don't care and will tell most people anything to get them away after paying their bill. I think half of them or on drugs and are in a different world when you talk to them. But, they can't get anyone else any different so what are they going to do.

Not a fair statement, yet I can understand and respect your comment. All too often professionalism and plain old "good customer service" is lost in this industry, why? Several reasons. All too often we are not viewed as professionals and this promotes this misconception. 2. Some shop owners them selves lack certain customer service skills and do not hold their employees accountable for this either. A clear set of expectations would solve this dogma.

Paul: your mega post(s). You know good customer service, 1/2 the battle won. You seem to realize the "plight" of the tech's but I'm going to add to that "plight" and hopefully not anger/offend anyone here (especially the biz owners), These are my observations, having been in hundreds of shops and trained even more technicians.

1. TRAINING! There are still a huge number of technicians out there who lack the most basic of diagnostic skills. To date its still common practice to leave the "training" in the techs lap (independent techs, not dealer) meaning he or she has to pay for and find the time to learn. Solution? Biz owners/techs work together to ease this burden. A block of time in the work week for in house training, biz owner $ assist for outside/ASE/online training. Big business does it! Heck even wal-mart does it! Why can't we?

2. I call it "The cost of staying current". Tools and equipment to properly do our jobs. Tough one to address! But. If your investing in your career or your business then its a MUST HAVE. Makes life easier for the customer and makes life easier for you. We've all spent big $$$$ for this! And it does not get any cheaper! IMO a necessary expense.

Mike:Great Post! We MUST overcome the the perception that all shops are crooked! Public education and building the reputation!

Pepper:Most techs that I know have a passion for their work. Both dealer and independents have above average integrity. A lot give countless hours on sites just like this one. Business owners, Regardless of the business, owners are concerned with health of their business. This includes numerous factors, profitabilty, liabilty, and so on. Needless to say quality services at a good value are (or should be) part of that concern.

Well said, very good business practices indeed! CRUCIAL to this industry.

Dexcool: Uggggggg! Have seen studies as to the acidity of the coolant over time, negligible and not a factor. Pepper made the point! GASKET FAILURE! And all have been updated by OEM and Aftermarket, cut and dry!

Gonna close for now, also pm this thread to one smart a$$ lady/biz owner/service writer for her 2 cents. You'll be pleasantly surprised I'm sure!

Chris
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Saturday, February 10th, 2007 AT 6:21 AM
Tiny
BOOTDOG
  • MEMBER
After the repairs are made and you still wanna use dexcool, do not add any other water to the coolant system besides distilled. All other types of water have minerals and such which can cause electode build up in the coolant system.

On behalf of what I read, I also have seen these mishaps in the shops i've worked at. Example: I used to work at goodyear several years ago, I did an alignment on a customers car, they came back the next day because the car started missing and thought it was something I did during the alignment. Of course I know I didn't cause the engine to miss, but trying to explain to a customer who wants they're money back because they think I caused the problem is not easy.

I've also seen where the service manager charged the customer for a service that I didn't even do, when I found out about it I confronted him. Regaurdless what the situation is there are gonna be problems in the shop, whether it's the crooked mechanic (which gives use honests one's a bad name), or the paranoid customer. I don't think there's a solution to this. As a tech we have to do our best to make the customer happy, and try to build that trust. We can't make everyone happy, but at least they're in the minority.
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Saturday, February 10th, 2007 AT 6:42 AM
Tiny
CARUNDELL
  • MEMBER
Shane,
Though I don't agree with you on the dexcool side of your point, (and thats totally cool!) I'll offer up some alternatives for the customer. There are many, less expensive universal type coolants available. I'll use these every day of the week! Having seen too many problems with the so called 100k miles extended life. I'll liken it to the 100k mile spark plugs, sure they may last a 100 k but who in there right mind would leave a plug in for that long? John Q. Public will and then have a coronary when he/she came into the shop for a simple tune up and it turns into a head removal/machine shop rework because the plugs are fused in the heads. I'm sure as technology evolves the product will get better, but it's not there now! Unless GM's "blue cool" comes thru? Too early to tell.

Chris
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Saturday, February 10th, 2007 AT 7:18 AM
Tiny
IDRIVEATITLIEST
  • MEMBER
Great discussion and i'll leave it there. Here is a question that I would like for you to answer. Please read all my comments before answering. Its about the 2002 Rendezvous that my wife has. Summertime, out on the highway driving, I get anywhere from 26 to 30 miles to the gallon. Wintertime, out on the highway driving, I get anywhere from 20 to 24 miles to the gallon. Now, that said, let me get into my comments. The temperture in the summertime runs 195 degrees and that is right. In the wintertime, while driving down the road, the temperture runs about 165 to 170. The tech had a scan tool on while actually dirving it. If you stop and let it idle then the temp gauge and the scan tool will go up to 195 or above until the fans come on. The fans keep it anywhere from 195 to 215 while idling. We let it idle for about 15 minutes. When you start off you can actually see the temp gauge falling. They, actually GM, replaced the thermostat but it still does the same thing. I know the thermostat is good because I put it into some water on the stove and with a gauge and the thermostat opened at exactly 195. I have checked with other Rendezvous owners in my town and they have the same problem. I have looked at and drove a brand new 2005 and a 2006 and they do the same thing. I have been in contact with GM and Buick and they don't have an answer either. All we can figure out is the air circulates around the engine because of the design and cools the engine. All that takes place if the temperture is below 50 degress and that is on a gradual scale. At 50 degrees it runs about 180 to 190. At 30 degrees it runs about 160. When the temp is running at 160 the computer thinks that is still warming up and puts more gas into the engine. What do you think? All of you, please put some input to this question. Thanks
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Saturday, February 10th, 2007 AT 8:53 AM
Tiny
JACK42
  • MEMBER
WOW, how does one add to such elloquent and accurate posts. Yes, we have all worked with "hacks" and know that they dont last long if the shop is worth working at. As all that posted stated, reputation and customer service is key. It is impossible to please everyone every time, all we can do is be honest and do the best we can. If a shop does these things then the deserved rep will follow.I find the biggest problem to be that people dont understand just how complicated new cars are. Seems like the common misconception is that you just plug into the vehicle and it tells you what to do, change the part and I'll be on my way. Techs today must have training to keep up, no question about it, the more the better. I am proud to be associated with this group of people, your willingness to help others in your "spare" time should be recognized for the sacrifice that it is. THANK YOU ALL
Patience with the customer sometimes can be a trying experience: The guy hasnt worked on a car since he put a set of points in his 54 Chevy, and you are trying to explain to him ( at his request ) how you fixed his Cadillac that has more on-board technology than the lunar lander. Smile, make him feel a little more informed about his car. Customers will always balk at the price of fixing their cars, pay a doctor $100 just to walk in the door, $70-$80 to find out what is wrong with your car that you drive every day seems like too much? Anyway. Once again every Mod in here should be thanked for the help you provide. From your responses, Id bring my vehicles to any one of your shops!

Now. Dexcool. 3.1's were originally 2.8's. Couldnt keep intake gaskets in those either, is it really the Dexcool? Or any coolant/anti-freeze, personally I dont really like it, seen alot of muck from it, but it has to stay at least through manufacturers warranty. The updated gaskets from all companies work just fine.
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Saturday, February 10th, 2007 AT 8:59 AM
Tiny
CARUNDELL
  • MEMBER
Idrive (btw.I too drive a titleist dt100 wound to be exact. They are getting scarce though! :Shock: )

Interesting issue to say the least and I'm inclined to believe its a cooling system flow issue rather than an external air temp in the engine compartment causing this. I'm also a huge "lets run some simple tests" kind of guy too. Back in the day truckers would put cardboard over the radiator in winter. Those big diesels would never make temp! Looks to me like a simple test to rule in or out the coolant flow vs air flow. Ya really got my curiosity up! Run the test and re-post!

Regards!

Chris
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Saturday, February 10th, 2007 AT 9:09 AM
Tiny
CARUNDELL
  • MEMBER
Jack
Undoubtedly the best compliment that could ever be paid to a fellow technician! I feel the same exact way also! (Well, maybe not if Paul decided to break into his meager toolbox of "stuff" LOL :twisted: Sorry my friend, had to get ya!)
Great group of folks here and the willingness to share experiences and give help is simply the best I've seen! ANYWHERE!

Chris
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Saturday, February 10th, 2007 AT 10:28 AM
Tiny
M_H_RITZEL
  • EXPERT
There are shops out there that have inadicate help sometimes they push a car through without finding what the real problem is. Many people have only one car and with today society want the mechanic to hurry and get it done. In the old day we had just the spark plugs, coil and carberator to worry about. If we had other problems we would ask our friends. There are shops that will evaluate they problems before settling on what is wrong with the vehicle. Other shops just lok at it and replace what they think is the problem without really finding the cause.
Some people who post know little about the fundimentals of there cars. Like my wife she knows
where the gas and oil go and thats about it. Vehicles need to be maintained. With the posts I respond to, I have to sit and think about what the person is saying before answereing. Sometimes they leave out important facts that would make it easier to help them. I have seen new parts that were bad before they were even used. Some garages do play on the lack of knowledge that the customer has and will charge for things that were not done. I have not seen that too much anymore. But it still happens. Customers should ask to see the old parts. I notice a lot of posts that you could tell the people knew little about autos. What one should do is sit and think about the problem before they answer. There are many things I do not know so I leave it to someone who knows more about them to answer. I try to give my insight on the problems that are most logical to fit the problem. Some people gain knowledge with asking questions to learn more about vehicles. I had a drive axle go on my subaru. Went to a shop. Price of axle through there shop with installeation was $310 estimate. The axle alone was $220. Found a rebuilt axle from a auto store for 85. A friend helped me put it in. Toatal cost $94 with tax. Plus a six pack. After it was done saying me $110. With the prices skyrocketing people need all the help they can get.
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Saturday, February 10th, 2007 AT 10:46 AM

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