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Used Trek 520 — what to look out for

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Used Trek 520 — what to look out for

Old 07-20-20, 09:55 AM
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koenbro
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Used Trek 520 — what to look out for

I am going to look at and probably pick up a 20 yr old Trek 520 later today. I am mostly interested in the frame as I would like to make a build of my own. Nevertheless will keep from this bike whatever is good. What to look out for and what are the possible pitfalls? Thank you all.





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Old 07-20-20, 10:40 AM
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Big thing I'd be looking for is any sign of frame damage: paint bubbling or cracking, (deep) rust, or cracks. Do a visual check that the frame and fork are straight and aligned.

I'd look components too, but since you want to build it up yourself, no need to worry about them.
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Old 07-20-20, 12:25 PM
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Stretched out chain/ worn out rear cassette. Loose spokes. I see that the bike came from Landis Cyclery in Phoenix, are you down there? Will you be touring on it? I live nearby and am heading out to Payson to ride a "cool" tour of Arizona in a few weeks.
Aside fron possibly putting on a smaller front chainring for touring, you may not need to really upgrade anything on that bike. At least that is my opinion.
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Old 07-20-20, 12:56 PM
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If it has been in storage a long time, make sure the seatpost can be moved. Seatposts can sieze up in a steel frame from dissimilar metal corrosion if they are not moved for a long time. That is one of the reasons why it is best to grease a seatpost when you put it in the frame.

If you are looking for more info on the bike, this site may help.
Vintage Trek Bikes- Information on Steel Road Bicycles made by the Trek Bicycle Corporation, bike

The sticker on the right side bar end shifter suggests to me that it has an eight speed cassette. Nothing wrong with an eight speed system, most of my derailleur bikes are eight speed. But that is an older system, so probably needs some grease on all the bearings. At that age, crankset is probably a road triple with a 30T granny gear which is a bit high for touring.

Fork is threaded, quill stem. Stem is not original.

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Old 07-20-20, 01:23 PM
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I disagree with the need to grease all of the bearings. Looks like it sports Shimano lx hubs, those are insanely sealed. The bottom bracket is of the cartridge type, and is sealed. Headset bearings are generally well sealed. I recently took apart an old 1964 Campagnolo hub that had apparently never been taken apart, the grease was in 1964 condition/ seemed to be perfect, Don't waist your time/ there's no benefit.
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Old 07-20-20, 04:47 PM
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SO I ended up buying the bike, and got front racks with it as well as some panniers. From the S/N It appears to be from 1994. Has a 7 speed 11-28 cassette, and a 45-36-20 triple in the front, pretty worn-out. The group set appears to be Deore LX. The tires are Conti TopTouring 2000 (says 700cx32, but I measure them at 28mm wide).

I am completely new at this and would like to use this bike to learn basic-intermediate bike mechanic and building skills. I have a pretty well set up home garage shop, can TIG weld, have a CNC (for aluminum), but will need to buy a few dedicated bike tools. Already got a Park inflator, and like it (generally I prefer to buy the last tool first). Also bought “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance” and Mel Allwood’s “Total Bike Maintenance Book”, if that makes any difference.

I will use this thread to document the build and ask a million questions, and THANK YOU to all the replies above.

First questions:
What crank extractor tool do I need and what cassette extractor?

Thank you all.




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Old 07-20-20, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Big thing I'd be looking for is any sign of frame damage: paint bubbling or cracking, (deep) rust, or cracks. Do a visual check that the frame and fork are straight and aligned. I'd look components too, but since you want to build it up yourself, no need to worry about them.
The frame looks straight, no damage.

Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
Stretched out chain/ worn out rear cassette. Loose spokes. I see that the bike came from Landis Cyclery in Phoenix, are you down there? Will you be touring on it? I live nearby and am heading out to Payson to ride a "cool" tour of Arizona in a few weeks.
Aside fron possibly putting on a smaller front chainring for touring, you may not need to really upgrade anything on that bike. At least that is my opinion.
The gearing seems to be 19 -110” range which is superb. Now, the components are worn out and would like to replace them with the same.
And yes, I live in Phoenix. Are you also in AZ?

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
If it has been in storage a long time, make sure the seatpost can be moved. Seatposts can sieze up in a steel frame from dissimilar metal corrosion if they are not moved for a long time. That is one of the reasons why it is best to grease a seatpost when you put it in the frame.

If you are looking for more info on the bike, this site may help.
Vintage Trek Bikes- Information on Steel Road Bicycles made by the Trek Bicycle Corporation, bike

The sticker on the right side bar end shifter suggests to me that it has an eight speed cassette. Nothing wrong with an eight speed system, most of my derailleur bikes are eight speed. But that is an older system, so probably needs some grease on all the bearings. At that age, crankset is probably a road triple with a 30T granny gear which is a bit high for touring.

Fork is threaded, quill stem. Stem is not original.
THANK you for the info, that website is invaluable.
The cassette is 7 speed. Can you suggest where can I buy a replacement?

The seat post came out easily. The saddle is Made in Italy, but has seen better days. I have a Berthoud on order and will replace it.

Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
I disagree with the need to grease all of the bearings. Looks like it sports Shimano lx hubs, those are insanely sealed. The bottom bracket is of the cartridge type, and is sealed. Headset bearings are generally well sealed. I recently took apart an old 1964 Campagnolo hub that had apparently never been taken apart, the grease was in 1964 condition/ seemed to be perfect, Don't waist your time/ there's no benefit.
Yeah, I think I’ll skip greasing for now, will focus on brakes and transmission elements.
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Old 07-20-20, 07:14 PM
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Interesting, I thought it was an eight speed shifter from the photo. My error.

I have several crank pullers, I think most of the ones out there are equally good. Around home I use a Pedros one. I need to pull the crank arms off one of my bikes when I pack it for airline travel, for that I use an XLC that is small for travel. I have an old Sugino one somewhere in the bin. My point is that there are plenty of good ones out there, but I would avoid the really cheap ones. You need one for square taper crank, if you do not see the phrase square taper, either ask or move on to another seller, there are pullers for other cranks that you do not want.

This is the XLC one that I use for travel, but Amazon now says it is no longer available.
https://www.amazon.com/XLC-Cotterles.../dp/B000NU2WAS

I have a couple different cassette pullers too, you can't go wrong with a Park for Shimano/Sram cassettes. I have one of those and a Nashbar one too.

You likely will want a chain whip too for removing the cassette. There are work arounds for avoiding that, but in the end if you are doing your own maintenance, you will want one. A work around is at this link, but this work around might not work if your lock ring is on really tight.
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/8...ip-travel.html

Eventually you will want a pedal wrench, that is a 15mm open end wrench but it is thin, likely thinner than a general use open end wrench. Note that some pedals use an allen wrench instead but most use a 15mm open end. I mentioned above that I use a XLC crank puller for travel, that uses a 15mm pedal wrench.

You might want some cone wrenches if you want to re-grease your hubs. Size, I do not know.

A lot of this stuff can be learned from youtube videos. The Park tool ones are especially good.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCza...uZN-I8_XT6AH8g

I usually suggest that people look at at least three you tube videos when they study up on something, as at least one of those will have incorrect information and the other two are likely right. But, you can be assured that if Park says it, you do not need to look at other videos to verify it.

If you try to pull your pedals off, one of them is left hand thread, the other normal thread. You will figure out which is which. Bottom bracket, one side is left hand thread too.

If you have a torque wrench, use it when installing a crank arm on the bottom bracket. Google search should tell you what torque to use. I do not think you need to buy a torque wrench just for that, but you have to make sure you get them tight enough. When at home, I use a torque wrench, but when traveling and assembling my bike outside of a hostel in some foreign country, I just wing it without a torque wrench.

I have no clue where to buy a seven speed cassette, but I am sure Google or some other search tool will help. My errand bike uses a seven speed, but teh rest of my bikes are eight or more. I usually buy eight speed cassettes on Amazon, same with chains.
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Old 07-20-20, 07:55 PM
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All really good information by MSN. I owned and did all of the mechanicing in my bicycle stores in San Diego for over twelve years. You will also need an 8 mm allen key to remove the main crank arm bolts. A lot of the you tube videos on cassette removal are by RJ the idiot bike guy... I recommend avoiding his terrible stooge videos. Always use your quick release to anchor a splined tool while removing a cassette lockring. A chain whip is definitely required to hold the cassette (while removing). The standard crank arm bolt torque is about 30 foot pounds. I am out in Globe.
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Old 07-20-20, 08:52 PM
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Nice that the seat post wasn't stuck, AFAIK some badly stuck seat posts can require a vise to remove which might mar (if not wreck) the seat post. The relevant 520 has nice crankset gearing but chainwheels, at least, probably need replacement. Recently I've seen that some (ie Sugino) square-taper triple cranksets have become quite expensive & don't even include that nice low 20-tooth granny ring so buying new chain rings (vs a new crankset) might work. BTW, square taper cranks can loosen, esp after installation, so on tour a crank tightener would be good to have.
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Old 07-20-20, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
I disagree with the need to grease all of the bearings. Looks like it sports Shimano lx hubs, those are insanely sealed. The bottom bracket is of the cartridge type, and is sealed. Headset bearings are generally well sealed. I recently took apart an old 1964 Campagnolo hub that had apparently never been taken apart, the grease was in 1964 condition/ seemed to be perfect, Don't waist your time/ there's no benefit.
I disagree with not taking the time to grease the bearings. LX hubs are well sealed, but they are not impervious to water. I run LX and XT hubs on our touring bikes, and lube them before starting a tour, which has been annually for the last 15 years. At least do the lubrication work before you take the bike on a tour. Most of my tours are multi-month tours, and I don't want to spend time fixing things in the middle of a tour, when trouble can be avoided by some simple pre-trip preventative maintenance.

You do not know anything about the bike you just bought. The previous owner could have used a pressure washer to clean the bike before the sale. I would tear bike completely down and clean, check and lube everything. Then you know what you have. But that is just me.

Headset bearings can cause problems.
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Old 07-20-20, 10:38 PM
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Buying the wrong size for a good fit.. how tall. what's the stand over?

touring I like bigger rather than race bike like smaller..






...

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Old 07-20-20, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I would tear bike completely down and clean, check and lube everything. Then you know what you have. But that is just me.
And me as well, couldn't agree more.
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Old 07-21-20, 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by koenbro View Post
Has a 7 speed 11-28 cassette, and a 45-36-20 triple in the front
The small ring in your photographs is definitely not a 20-tooth. It looks like it's closer to somewhere in the 26T neighborhood.

Also, are you sure the big ring is a 45T and not a 46T? 45T is theoretically possible, but would be unusual, and my eyeballs are getting more 46T-esque vibes from it.
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Old 07-21-20, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by koenbro View Post
....pick up a 20 yr old Trek 520....

...I am completely new at this and would like to use this bike to learn basic-intermediate bike mechanic and building skills....

...Yeah, I think I’ll skip greasing for now, will focus on brakes and transmission elements.

disagree. you bought a 20-yo bike, you're new at bike maintenance, and want to learn.
but you intend to skip one of the easiest yet most essentialest tasks.

i would recommend completely disassembling the bike to bare frame.
that includes removing the bottom bracket, but not the headset cups.
it'll need to be changed eventually, might as well make sure the threads are good and not seized.

go over the frame carefully, check for rust inside, and apply a rust inhibitor.

while the frame is drying, open and grease the hubs.
then get a shop to retension the spokes.
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Old 07-21-20, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
disagree. you bought a 20-yo bike, you're new at bike maintenance, and want to learn.
but you intend to skip one of the easiest yet most essentialest tasks.

i would recommend completely disassembling the bike to bare frame.
that includes removing the bottom bracket, but not the headset cups.
it'll need to be changed eventually, might as well make sure the threads are good and not seized.

go over the frame carefully, check for rust inside, and apply a rust inhibitor.

while the frame is drying, open and grease the hubs.
then get a shop to retension the spokes.
Good advice right here, koenbro .

I would do all operations to the frame first, then go about an entirely new build, with all new components. What the heck - hey after all they 520 is one of the most highly-regarded touring frames there is. Quite a prize in my opinion.

I have a similar frame thats waiting to be built up. I'm planning go with a 9-speed triple setup on 650B wheels, Paul Moto-lite brakes.
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Old 07-21-20, 05:57 AM
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In the early 90s, there were some weird Shimano bottom brackets that had a plastic bushing on the drive side (right side), if you have one of those, replace it with a new UN-55 bottom bracket.
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Old 07-21-20, 06:13 AM
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If you need an in-person tutorial on maintenance, or need salvaged parts, get over to BIke Saviours in Tempe. I'm not sure what they're doing for COVID, but it's a great co-op.
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Old 07-21-20, 05:21 PM
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Thank you all for a wealth of information and advice! I am embarrassed to admit I miscounted the teeth on the crankset, as HTupolev observed. The correct (I hope) counts are: 46 - 36 - 26; the cassette is 11-28T, 7-speed. With that, the factory gearing in inches (using Sheldon Brown's calculator for 700c wheels) is 25-114".

I agree with stripping down to the frame, as Doug64, robow, saddlesores, and jhiggins mentioned, prior to doing my own build. Can't do it just yet, as I am missing some tools, and that's what I meant by working on transmission first. I have ordered a Parc Tool crank remover. OTOH I can add/remove pedals without the bike specific wrench, because I have narrow wrenches.

In the meantime the bike is ride-able. I removed the old tires and tubes and they were so dry that they were practically disintegrating into a black dust. I have put on some Bontrager 38mm H5 that I had around from my other bike. This is the first time I had repalced tires/tubes on any bike, so I already learned something.

The size of the frame fits my body, but the head set is not comfortable. The previous owner had raced road bikes and he configured it with a more aggressive seating, whereas I prefer a more relaxed upright position. Can anyone recommend a quill stem that is more suitable for an upright position?

I adjusted the brakes, put new pads, as the rubber on old ones had become hard and shiny, with no grip. Now the brakes grip well, but the rear seems to have a lot of friction in the lever and cables. I noticed the recommendation for Paul Comp Motolites (thank you jhiggins!). Is there any other cantilever style brake I should consider?

andrewclaus thank you for the recommendation, will check out Bike Saviours.
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Old 07-21-20, 08:39 PM
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My errand bike was stored outside for over a decade before I bought it for $5 USD. When I got all the parts off of the frame, I applied a good coat of Frame Saver inside the frame because I planned to store it outside in the future.
https://www.amazon.com/Weigles-Bicyc.../dp/B0012GO58Y

I got my can of Frame Saver at the local bike shop, Amazon is out. I am not familiar with the Pro Gold version of it, but that might be a good alternative.

Before you buy new brakes, maybe new cables will solve the friction issue.

You can buy a quill stem or you can buy a quill to threadless adapter that allows you to use a threadless stem.
https://velo-orange.com/collections/stems

I think that Velo Orange might make the tallest adapter, not sure who would have the tallest quill stem.

A good cable cutter is not cheap, but it makes life so much easier when you are changing cables. Shifter outer housing is almost impossible to cut without a bike cable cutter. That might be the most expensive single bike tool that a lot of home mechanics buy. Mine is a Sram, bought it from a local store. Of all my bike tools I think it is the most expensive single item I bought.
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Old 07-21-20, 09:29 PM
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To the extent possible, buy Park tools. They cost a bit more, but are very high quality. Get a bike repair stand, as well. I also got that from Park. If you can’t afford a stand and have a wall available, you can use wall hooks that hold your bike far enough away that you can turn the pedals and work on it. The money you save in doing the work yourself will easily pay for the tools.
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Old 07-22-20, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
To the extent possible, buy Park tools. They cost a bit more, but are very high quality. Get a bike repair stand, as well. I also got that from Park. If you can’t afford a stand and have a wall available, you can use wall hooks that hold your bike far enough away that you can turn the pedals and work on it. The money you save in doing the work yourself will easily pay for the tools.
Very good advice here. I also want to say that when I was working and nearing retirement, I worked longer hours and put all of my o/t money into tools and equipment. It was easier to work those hours when I could see the results... beautiful blue tools adding up!
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Old 07-22-20, 11:38 AM
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Yeah I am on board with Park Tool. I almost always prefer to buy the last tool first. In fact have a few tools on order from various retailers, including a Park cable/housing cutter, chain tool, crank remover. So I am in a forced hiatus, while waiting for deliveries; plus I am working tomorrow, and Friday night (doing 13 hour shifts at a time).

In the meantime, school me on chemicals. I need to know what to use to (1) clean various surfaces, (2) what to grease with and (3) whether bolts need anti-seize, plain grease, or loctite. My project bike has no visible rust (Arizona FTW), just some grease-and-dust gunk. But I don't want to damage aluminum parts, so maybe I need to be careful about what chemicals to apply. If necessary, I will buy the right stuff, but prefer to use what I already have:

What to use as a baseline cleaner?
Should I use any of these thread compounds? Loctite Blue, Castrol antiseize paste?
Can I just use 3-in-1 or lithium lubricants?

Last edited by koenbro; 07-22-20 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 07-22-20, 01:30 PM
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Chain, cassette and chainrings get pretty ugly at times, but that depends on what you use for chain lube. I have used lots of chain lubes over the years. If you ask 100 cyclists what to use for chain lube, you will get about 150 answers. Yes, I know I did not tell you what I currently use, just explaining why, I probably will change my mind in a few months.

Cleaning chain, I put a bit of kerosene on a paper towel and turn the crank while holding the towel against the chain. Same for cleaning chainrings. Cassette, I usually just use some cheap gardening twine like floss to clean between the sprockets and don't bother trying to get it cleaner than that. I have some disposable gloves I got from my dentist office, use those when I use kerosene but I do not dispose of the gloves until I get a hole.

Cleaning other surfaces, mostly just soap and water. High pressure water stream can push water into bearings, I never use high pressure water except on tire tread and sidewalls. Otherwise mostly a water mist with soft brush. Dawn dish soap is a good grease cutter. I have some auto cleaner/wax that I often mix up a bit with a couple gallons of water and use a soft brush for frame, fenders, etc.

I have bought some brushes at the dollar store that I only use on greasy parts of a bike, for example chainrings, I do not bother trying to clean those brushes. Sometimes I put a dab of Dawn soap right on the brush if I start cleaning something that is really ugly with greasy dirt.

For grease, usually use Phil waterproof grease, but sometimes I use some Pedros, I have both. But if you want a suggestion on which to buy, buy the Phil.

I use blue (removable) threadlocker on rack bolts, shoe cleat bolts, fender bolts and kickstand bolts. All other fittings like water bottle cage bolts, stem bolts, etc., just use grease. Last time I needed some thread locker, this is what the hardware store had, but I have bought several similar products over the years:
https://www.truevalue.com/6-ml-remov...hread-locker-1

From the photos, I can't tell if your bike is black or a different color. I bought some black fingernail polish at Dollar Tree, use that for touching up my black racks and other black parts. Frames, I usually look for a fingernail polish that looks close for color. If you have bare steel and want to cover it to prevent rust but do not have any touch up paint, some clear fingernail polish would protect the metal until you can put the right color on it.

Back to tools for a moment. There are dozens of chain checkers out there. If you get one, read this first.
https://www.velonews.com/gear/measur...ar-accurately/

I bought the Pedros one that Zinn cited. Park makes a similar one if you want to stick with Park. The video is good for both teh Pedros and the Park.

I replace derailleur chains at 0.75 percent elongation, chains on my internally geared hub bike I replace at 1.0 percent.

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 07-22-20 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 07-23-20, 10:09 PM
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koenbro
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Wow thank you Tourist in MSN that is a wealth of information. I recognize that a perfect answer doesn't exist, i just want to avoid noob mistakes.

Just got home from work, so no progress on the build, but that’s what the mailman dropped off:


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