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Campy Shifting Issue...calling out the smartest bike techs...

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Campy Shifting Issue...calling out the smartest bike techs...

Old 02-20-11, 11:38 AM
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Campy Shifting Issue...calling out the smartest bike techs...

I generally don't need a lot of help setting up my bikes but this one has me a bit puzzled and so thought I would ask for some advice here.

I have been upgrading my road bike. Some know of the 2009 Campy Centaur shifting issue and as a result I changed to 2010 Centaur shifters which have a much more positive feel. Left shifter perfect...no problem with triming and shifting my Chorus compact up front. On 'either' chain ring I can get the rear deraileur to shift perfectly....but not both. This warrants an explanation. I have had this bike on the stand trying to tune it for a few hours. I have a 2006 Chorus Rear Derailleur in back.
Starting with the small ring in front, I can trim the rear derailleur to shift perfectly in all 10 gears in back. But when I shift to the big ring in front, my rear derailleur seems to be 1/2 cog space off in back by virtue of changing the chainline from small to big ring in front. So when in the big ring, I can get the derailleur to shift up the cassette but it gets lazy going down in the smallest cogs. So...I then slacken cable tension in the big ring and can go up and down the cassette in the big ring, then shift again to the small ring in front and again, about 1/2 cog space off in back in the opposite direction...rear derailleur won't climb the cassette but will go down no problem. The only thing I can surmise is...my rear derailleur must be getting a bit long in the tooth. It will shift flawlessly in 'either' front ring when adjusted but will NOT shift perfectly when splitting the difference in adjustment between small and big ring in front.

In summary changing chain line from small to big and big to small rings in front affects the rear derailleur adjustment in back. Hard to believe but the play in the cage and parallelogram must be affected by the different angle of the chain in small versus big ring running rearward.

I have been tuning bikes a long time but this one is a bit surprising. I have adjusted the rear hanger dead plum vertically and horizontally and the derailleur looks straight. I have just ordered a 2011 Campy Centaur rear derailleur. Campy redesigned both their 10 and 11s rear derailleurs for 2011 which will likely work better with the revised late model Campy shifters. My guess is the new derailleur will solve the problem but thought I would ask if others have run across this odd dynamic of the rear derailleur not being able to be adjusted for both front chain rings?

Thanks for any comments.

Edit: After much toil and head scratching, it was determined that the root cause of my shifting issue after a month of chasing gremlins can be reduced down to a loose cable stop bracket which was rotating when shifting the front derailleur onto the big ring causing the rear derailleur to go out of adjustment. See page 4, post no. 92 for resolution if interested.

Lesson learned other than always starting a build with a new frame is...take nothing for granted and check 'everything' carefully if experiencing shifting problems when setting the bike up. Your issue maybe come from a source completely unexpected. Campy wasn't to blame for this shifting issue, it was me. I still learned alot along the way and changed a few things that needed to be changed anyway and thanks to my fellow bike addicts for your advice.

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Old 02-20-11, 12:25 PM
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Well, lets start with the basics...

1. How old is your chain? Even a slightly worn chain can throw off the shifting if the system is really delicate or picky.
2. Cassette - how worn?
3. Cables - can't stress enough that the cables are running virtually friction free throughout the frame and housings. I had a Cervelo I was working on last week that hesitated in the middle gears - worked fine but with a slight hesitation in the middle. Took a lot of troubleshooting but in the end, a new chain helped but what really solved the problem was a teflon coated cable and a cable "sleeve" for the internal down tube.

Good luck...

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Old 02-20-11, 12:32 PM
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I've seen this type of symptom on frames with internal cable routing, where the cables got crossed inside the downtube and the FD cable is influencing the RD cable with side pressure, altering its effective path to differing extents depending on how much tension's on the FD cable. If you have internal routing, begin by making sure the cables aren't interfering with eachother inside the frame.

Another variant is a BB cable guide that's shifting around on the frame with varying FD cable tension. Trek just released a service bulletin for some of their Speed Concepts that are having this problem, one I've already had to resolve once. If your BB cable guide can be rocked or pivoted on the frame, that may be a culprit.
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Old 02-20-11, 12:34 PM
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What year did Campy go from 5.9 to 6.2 mm chain width? I've had issues with 5.9 chains on a drivetrain designed for 6.2, though that was mostly on the front. It could be that your RD is for 6.2 and the rest of the drivetrain (and chain) are 5.9.
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Old 02-20-11, 12:52 PM
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I'd go with 55/Rad as that'll probably fix your problems. What your experiencing is usually caused by a bent derailleur hanger, but if you say its straight then it must be something else. I'd say wait for the new derailleur, if it shifts fine then you'll know it was the older one, but if not, time for new cables, chain, etc.
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Old 02-20-11, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
I have adjusted the rear hanger dead plum vertically and horizontally and the derailleur looks straight.
Did you use a derailleur hanger alignment gauge? If not, you should check the alignment with one or have it checked with one.
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Old 02-20-11, 01:25 PM
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If I'm understanding your issue correctly, it could also be that your front derailleur needs to be repositioned vertically over the chainrings. Sometimes that can make a large difference in the way it shifts front and back. Are your shifters new? I had much trouble trying to get my older campy stuff perfect. The springs and ratchets in those shifters are so tiny and so minute that they easily break and fatigue. They work great, but unfortunately don't hold up the same way Shimano stuff does. Are you also running a large cassette in the back? Does your rear derailleur take up enough of your slack if you're running a big gap in gearing?
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Old 02-20-11, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by 55/Rad View Post
Well, lets start with the basics...

1. How old is your chain? Even a slightly worn chain can throw off the shifting if the system is really delicate or picky.
2. Cassette - how worn?
3. Cables - can't stress enough that the cables are running virtually friction free throughout the frame and housings. I had a Cervelo I was working on last week that hesitated in the middle gears - worked fine but with a slight hesitation in the middle. Took a lot of troubleshooting but in the end, a new chain helped but what really solved the problem was a teflon coated cable and a cable "sleeve" for the internal down tube.

Good luck...

55/Rad
Thanks Rad. Chain has about 4K miles on it....a bit less with the cassette. Fresh cables and housings...all Campy.
Chain measures no appreciable wear with Park gauge. Cassette looks good. A lot has been written about Campy cables and housings.
I may end up changing to Shimano housing if the issue isn't resolved after replacing the rear derailleur.
Thanks for your thoughts.

Last edited by Campag4life; 02-20-11 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 02-20-11, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
I've seen this type of symptom on frames with internal cable routing, where the cables got crossed inside the downtube and the FD cable is influencing the RD cable with side pressure, altering its effective path to differing extents depending on how much tension's on the FD cable. If you have internal routing, begin by making sure the cables aren't interfering with eachother inside the frame.

Another variant is a BB cable guide that's shifting around on the frame with varying FD cable tension. Trek just released a service bulletin for some of their Speed Concepts that are having this problem, one I've already had to resolve once. If your BB cable guide can be rocked or pivoted on the frame, that may be a culprit.
Good thoughts. Frame is Look 555 with no internal routing except for rear brake cable. My cables are routing briefly though FSA K wing handlebar but there doesn't feel like any cable drag. Again...can get flawless derailleur operation up and down the cassette just not for both front chainrings without readjustment for each which is quite peculiar. BB cable guide is in great shape.
Thanks for your help.
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Old 02-20-11, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by well biked View Post
Did you use a derailleur hanger alignment gauge? If not, you should check the alignment with one or have it checked with one.
Yup...used the Park alignment tool. Got the hanger on the money. As you know, hanger can be on the money but the cage may not be although it looks close. Bike never wrecked.
Thanks.
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Old 02-20-11, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by IchbinJay View Post
If I'm understanding your issue correctly, it could also be that your front derailleur needs to be repositioned vertically over the chainrings. Sometimes that can make a large difference in the way it shifts front and back. Are your shifters new? I had much trouble trying to get my older campy stuff perfect. The springs and ratchets in those shifters are so tiny and so minute that they easily break and fatigue. They work great, but unfortunately don't hold up the same way Shimano stuff does. Are you also running a large cassette in the back? Does your rear derailleur take up enough of your slack if you're running a big gap in gearing?
Have the front derailleur set up to spec...correct gap and alignment with front chainrings. Front shifting is flawless and rear shifting is excellent as well...just not for big and small chainrings without adjustment. Maybe it is a chain tension issue as other than chainline, what else could affect shifting and need to adjust the rear derailleur for the big and small ring independently?
Thanks. Running pretty standard 12-25 rear Centaur rear cassette. Shifters are brand new as are the cables.
The common denominator is the rear derailleur and decided to replace it. Much has been written about balky shifting with the new Campy Ergolevers with older 10s Campy driveline. I will be sure to report if the revised rear derailleur works better with the new shifters.
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Old 02-20-11, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by halfspeed View Post
What year did Campy go from 5.9 to 6.2 mm chain width? I've had issues with 5.9 chains on a drivetrain designed for 6.2, though that was mostly on the front. It could be that your RD is for 6.2 and the rest of the drivetrain (and chain) are 5.9.
A good thought. I am running a KMC X10 chain. I have had good luck with KMC 10s chains with Campy but this chain does have some mileage on it and if the rear derailleur replacement doesn't resolve the issue, will likely be my next replacement.
Thanks.
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Old 02-20-11, 07:27 PM
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Have you adjusted the B-Tension screw? Turn it all the way in and see if there is an effect.
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Old 02-20-11, 07:48 PM
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Next one: confirm that your freehub body doesn't have any axial play on the hub. For example, if it can be slid toward & away from the spokes, and the whole cassette moves with it, that's a problem. I see this in the field sometimes.
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Old 02-20-11, 07:51 PM
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Change the top pulley wheel / bearing in the rear mech if it is old
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Old 02-21-11, 04:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
Have you adjusted the B-Tension screw? Turn it all the way in and see if there is an effect.
Hi Bob. Good tip...yup...tried it both ways...more and less chain wrap. Didn't affect upshifting in back while in the big front ring. Good tip as suspected like you did that amount of chain wrap with some affect to overall chain tension maybe a contributor...but no noticable difference.
Btw, I received the dashboard genie from Taiwan for mounting my Cateye to the new FSA Kwing handlebar. A very nice piece and glad I found it versus purchasing the reported to be more flexy FSA version. Your design is rock solid and elegantly designed....thanks.
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Old 02-21-11, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
Next one: confirm that your freehub body doesn't have any axial play on the hub. For example, if it can be slid toward & away from the spokes, and the whole cassette moves with it, that's a problem. I see this in the field sometimes.
A good one. Freehub is tight and no axial play of the cassette but if the case would explain why RD would lose adjustment when changing chainline from big to small ring in front. Thanks.

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Old 02-21-11, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by lazerzxr View Post
Change the top pulley wheel / bearing in the rear mech if it is old
Old is relative but a good tip. That pulley and bearing have a fair amount of play and makes sense that even if the parallelogram moves if the pulley captured by the cage doesn't move with it because of a worn bearing and the pulley just cocks a bit then the upshift down the cassette in back won't occur. I suspect my rear mech just isn't playing nice even though there are no glaring issues with it. It can be a whole range of things as you know for the rear derailleur and why I decided to go with a new rear derailleur that Campy redesigned for 2011. I suspect the new design rear derailleur will pull the chain down the cassette correctly while in the big ring in front. Campy made the parallelogram beefier by spreading out the pivots...cage pivot is closer to the bottom of the cassette...they redesigned the pulleys and cage...a complete redesign that is stiffer and I presume will work better with their new Ergolevers which are reported to have more cable drag then the earlier smaller hood Campy shifters. I presume this will solve the issue as most report excellent shifting with the 2011 11s stuff and Campy cloned 11s for their new 2011 10s. I will be sure to report. One thing about being able to rebuild Campy stuff that bugs me about their rear derailleurs as you likely know is....you can't change the parallelogram spring on Campy rear derailleurs. Their parallelograms joints are pressed in pins and they don't sell replacement springs other than for the cage pivots which in my experience don't stretch much. Replacing the parallelogram as a sub assembly doesn't make sense when you can replace the whole derailleur for under retail for almost the same price. I suspect the joints in this 2006 Chorus RD are a bit worn and the rotory spring that translates the derailleur outboard when cable tension is relaxed is getting a bit lazy even though it still feels like it exerts decent tension. It maybe a combination of factors for the RD however and perhaps you have identified the leading contributor...if the pulley has slop in it...it won't shift the chain laterally with much precision. Will see shortly if this is the case with the new RD. Thanks.

PS: Nosing around the web I found this tidbit below. Most of us at some point have been perplexed with an odd shifting issue after doing what we think should correct it. This comment is relative to Campy's new and improved 11s rear derailleur which speaks to...too much pulley play maybe an issue even with the stiffer rear derailleur design:
My original Chorus 11 derailluer was having problems shifting in certain gear ranges. I troubleshooted it with a mechanic who spends a lot of time on newer Campy stuff. After checking the hanger allignment, etc. he disassembled the derailleur and checked the pulley bronze bushing/sleeve and there was visible BUSHING wear. This was at maybe 7000 miles. He scavanged a set of new pullies/bushings from an in stock bike, installed them, and the thing worked perfectly. We surmised that excess play was causing the situation (I know there is supposed to be some "looseness" in the top(?) pulley that is normal to the functioning of the rd but apparently there was too much in my case.

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Old 02-21-11, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Hi Bob. Good tip...yup...tried it both ways...more and less chain wrap. Didn't affect upshifting in back while in the big front ring. Good tip as suspected like you did that amount of chain wrap with some affect to overall chain tension maybe a contributor...but no noticable difference.
Yup. That's pretty much where I was going with that.

Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Btw, I received the dashboard genie from Taiwan for mounting my Cateye to the new FSA Kwing handlebar. A very nice piece and glad I found it versus purchasing the reported to be more flexy FSA version. Your design is rock solid and elegantly designed....thanks.
I'm glad you like it. They seem to coordinate especially well with the K-Wings.
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Old 02-21-11, 08:31 AM
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Got a similar problem a few weeks ago, new veloce shifters 2007, veloce rd and chorus fd. Had to put a new chain and a fairly new cassette to make it work fine. Still can't figure it out why it happened. Looks like the low end of campy is picky about the components, as for the old record it will shift no matter what.
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Old 02-21-11, 09:39 AM
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I've seen similar problems and they have always been realated to 1. Der hanger (which you state is fine) or 2. Cable friction.

The new style Campy levers are REALLY susceptible to cable friction, even if using genuine Campy cables/housing. Even something like wrapping your bar tape too tight can give it issues sometimes. I'd go over everything and make sure all of your bends are as smooth as possible, remove your cables and lube them. Do you have the shift cable exiting on the outside of the bar? That usually helps as well.

Then, I'd try the shifting before you even tape the cables to the bar (and certainly before wrapping the bar). If it works, then tape the cables down and check again, if still good then wrap the bar and check.

Good luck!
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Old 02-21-11, 11:05 AM
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Thanks Guys...yup haven't entirely ruled out rear derailleur cable friction. Front derailleur works perfectly....very stout front derailleur spring to overcome cable friction for the LH shifter. Why I am kind of interested to try the new Campy 11s rear derailleur design...trickle down to 10s. I want to see if they beefed up the parallelogram spring to overcome the inherent friction of the newer style shifters. Yes the new levers seem to be particularly sensitive as you say...maybe aggravated by mixing with an older style 10s rear derailleur that aren't exactly compatible even though the throw ratio is the same. Not many reports of sticking with the newer 11s stuff...of course its all new components but the new style rear derailleur may work better with the newer shifters as well. For the shifters I am routing around the outside of the bars and then thru them (FSA Kwing)...bends are not tight. I may have to pull the cable off if the new derailleur doesn't solve the problem...possibly use Shimano housing as DaveSSS suggested...which apparently has lower internal friction. Generally this stuff is a stack up of things...chain and cassette wear as mentioned...a bit tired rear derailleur...a little too much internal cable friction...all adds up to balky shifting....what makes it hard to figure out...many contributors.
Thanks again.

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Old 02-21-11, 12:50 PM
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There were some reported problems with the Centaur levers and older model rear ders. Something about the return spring not being strong enough, if I remember correctly. I can't remember all of the details, there are some posts on RBR and WW about it.

I never had any problems mixing and matching, but others did. That could be combining with a bit of cable friction issue to give you the problem dropping down to smaller cogs.
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Old 02-21-11, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by briscoelab View Post
There were some reported problems with the Centaur levers and older model rear ders. Something about the return spring not being strong enough, if I remember correctly. I can't remember all of the details, there are some posts on RBR and WW about it.

I never had any problems mixing and matching, but others did. That could be combining with a bit of cable friction issue to give you the problem dropping down to smaller cogs.
Thanks. Believe I found the excellent thread you speak of:
https://forums.roadbikereview.com/sho....php?p=2278850

'Many' reports of newer Campy shifters with older 10s Campy derailleurs...Record and Chorus having shifting balkiness. Seems that late model rear derailleur replacement almost universally resolves the issue and hopefully will be in my case as well. This thread is a bit older but again Campy likely smelled the coffee which they sometimes do a bit late in the game and opted to change their 10s derailleur to clone the new 11s design. Some report in the thread that even the 11s Athena rear derailleur works wonderfully with '09-10 Centaur 10s shifters...but beware the 11s rear derailleurs have a bit longer throw for the same shifter pull so will fractionally overshift...still better than trying to live with the older 10s derailleur with the new shifters which have more cable drag that older Campy rear derailleur can not overcome.
Hopefully this thread will help others trying to upgrade their Campy bike as putting the newer Ergolevers on a 10s Campy bike is a popular upgrade...just beware if you don't go for the new 2011 10s rear derailleur you may be in for poor shifting unless you get your cable fricton perfect.
Thanks again.
PS: Below is a pic of the redesigned 10s Centaur rear derailleur which is an all new design replicating 11s only with a slightly different throw. It is a very different design compared to 2010 and earlier Campy rear derailleurs.
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Old 02-23-11, 01:34 PM
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Campag4life
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Update:
Just installed the 2011 Centaur rear derailleur thinking this was going to do the trick with my shifting woes...but nada. Wasn't the issue.
Feeling Campy's new derailleur in hand side by side with my 2006 CF Chorus RD that came off the bike...the parallelogram spring on the old Chorus derailleur felt every bit as stout as the new deralleur. Yes there was more slop in the upper pulley as expected with a few thousand miles. If anything the old derailleur may have shifted better than the new derailleur so wanted to pass this along to others going the same route as myself with the newer Ergolevers in front. Balky shifting does not necessarily equate to an aging rear derailleur if going with the new Campy shifters.
Now that I have new shifters, cables and rear derailleur on the bike and it still shifts like @$$ in back...we are starting to widdle it down.

Rad's comments above are starting to make a whole lot of sense. Thanks Rad.
I am starting with a new chain...just ordered. That will be first effort per Rad's suggestions.
Next I will go with Shimano cable housing which DaveSS suggested to me a couple of months back...thought I would try new Campy housings first since they came with the new shifters.

Lastly, if all else fails I will swap out the rear cassette which has about 5K miles on it and still looks pretty good but possibly slightly degraded by the aging chain.

I really believe at this point it is the chain...but big cavaet is...using the Park gauge it isn't showing a lot of elongation due to roller and pin wear. There maybe a fair amount of lateral wear however which is making the chain laterally flexible and hence its resistance to shifting when pushed on with the cage/pullies.
Will see.
If I end up changing everything and it still shifts like $h#t then I will rip it all off and go Shimano...seriously.

Will update when I get the new chain on and thanks for all the great suggestions.

Last edited by Campag4life; 02-23-11 at 01:41 PM.
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