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  • Andrew 5:54pm on Friday, July 5, 2019 Permalink |  

    Sound Proofing for Free 

    If any one is interested, I have 3 sheets of 19.5×15″ (approx 6 sq ft) of sound proofing Butyl. So before I throw them out, just checking to see if anyone wants it. Its enough to do the doors and possibly the trunk or some combination. Its easy to install, but you will need a 1 inch wooden roller or something to press down the material plus a utility knife to cut it.

    If interested, post on this page and I’ll bring it to Sunday’s luncheon.

    See the attached link for more details: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012B5EMGO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

     
  • Andrew 7:12pm on Saturday, June 15, 2019 Permalink |
    Tags:   

    Mobile Tire Install 

    As an option for those who rather not take their car to a dealership or tire shop and wait, today I used a mobile tire installer associate with Tire Rack.

    Given that the front suspension on our Miatas is quite sensitive to wheel weight and balance, Goodwin Racing recommends that you have your tires balanced using a Road Force Tire Balancer. Road force balancers, in addition to performing a traditional spin balance, measure both the wheel and tire by pressing a large roller against the tread of the spinning tire. The roller applies 1,200 to 1,400 pounds of pressure to simulate the weight of the vehicle on the tire as it rolls down the road.

    There are not many places that have this machine typically your premium cars dealerships. According to Tire Rack, there were only a small number of installers using this machine. For any other car this is probably an overkill, but for a small extra cost I think its well worth it for the Miatas.

    So, I ordered a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S in 215/45 17″ size, the suggested limit for a the stock 7″ wide wheel. Tires were delivered to the MobileTireExperts.com in 2 days, Tire Rack even called up last week to ask if I would prefer delaying the order as Michelin was starting a $70 rebate this week (which dealer would tell you to wait on buying so you can get an additional $70 off?). This mobile installer was the highest rated installer in the area, but being skeptical, I called Tire Rack and confirm the company’s quality installs and reviews.

    Once delivered the mobile installer called me and set a next day appointment. As you can see from the photos, they did the work on my driveway. A peek inside the trailer shows all of the needed equipment. Everything was operated via a quiet generator. The tires were installed to my pressure specifications and hand torqued. They used care in manually removing my McGard lugnuts.

    Overall very pleased, will use them from now on.

     
    • Mark Gilbert 5:41am on Sunday, June 16, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Will be needing tires soon too as I reached 25,000 miles on my original set. Going to opt for the new Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS I think. Always have had good luck with that brand and the tread width on their 215’s is the widest I’ve found.

    • Andrew 7:10pm on Sunday, June 16, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      GOOP – After the tire install, the removal of the old tire weights left quite a bit of gummy adhesive on the wheel. The installer advised me to use GOOP. I did not fully believe him as I use it for oil, grease and paint removal from my hand, but after trying adhesive removal liquid with limited result, I tried GOOP.

      I should have trusted the installer, its works. Although you still need some elbow grease with a paper towel to rub the adhesive off, each wheel took about 5-10 minutes minutes to do as each wheel had about 3 inches of thick sticky residue. The GOOP is also good for clothing stains as reed on the packaging; never would have thought.

    • Steve and Tracy Dillon 9:02am on Thursday, June 20, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ve had great experience with TireRack. Having done a TrackNightInAmerica i get $70 for that. My last set of tires I received 3-$70 rebates (SCCA Member, Factory Rebate, TNIA Rebate).
      Between the 2 Miatas with track use, I’m ordering 2-3 sets of tires a year.

      When ordering some autox tires (245/40-17) I had tire track call and say “That is listed as ExtremeTrack Fitment” and ask if I was sure.

      I also had an issue with a TireKingdom install. They were listed as HunterRoad Force but did a terrible job balancing and they charged more than the RateCard listed at TireRack. TireRack called TireKingdom, got me a refund, they then called another shop, Firestone Complete in Coconut Creek, verified Hunter Road Force Availability, and setup an appointment for a re-balance.

      For the 17×7 standard wheel and Street/Track use I really like the Continental ECS (Extreme Contact Sport) , They come in 205/45-17 and 215/45-17 are priced well and currently have a $70 rebate through end of month.

      I had Mixed feelings about MobileTireExperts, I used them once, After tire delivery, it took 4 days to get an install appointment. They day of the appointment he was running a couple hours late (he texted and so not that bad of deal), but he was late because ‘a bunch of people had their tires arrive yesterday and wanted them installed today’. What about me and my appointment?

      He’s a little more expensive but convenient. I’m at a point where I have multiple sets of wheels for the Miatas and now just throw wheels in the back of the truck, take it to firestone, and come back later.

    • Andrew 7:27am on Friday, June 21, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Originally I was going to use the Firestone dealer (a Tire Rack recommended installer) in Pembroke Pines who had the Hunter Road Force balancer. However, when they tried to convince me to buy the tires from them (would match Tire Rack prices), that put me off and decided to try the mobile installer given the excellent ratings (Firestone did not have any ratings, but I had dealings with them years ago). Plus I was concerned that unless I watched them do the install they would damage either or both the painted wheels cap I have and the McGard lugnuts which could be damage with an impact driver.

      My experience with the mobile installer was with the weather to which I canceled the initial appointment due to heavy rain and lightening. He was gracious to come the following day on Saturday morning. According to the owner, he puts in 10-12 hours daily and works 6 days weekly. I believe him as his phone kept ringing during the install. He normally works with his son during the weekdays and alone on Saturdays. He had expanded and franchised to various locations in Florida and plans on selling his business and retiring off the royalties. All of this started one day at the Homestead race track (he competed) when a bunch of drivers were lined up with a guy and his beat up truck to swap out tire; no balancer. He thought he could do it better.

      Like everything else in life, your mileage will vary. I plan on having a second set of tires/wheels primarily to deal with colder weather, have as a backup and facilitate installation.

  • Andrew 12:24pm on Monday, May 27, 2019 Permalink |
    Tags: Autocrosser, , Gulfcoast,   

    Gulfcoast Autocrosser and Performance Driving 

    UPDATE: here is a link for a training run I did with an instructor. It was a lot of fun. The tires were starting to squeal which is the sound you want to hear running running at its limits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUqDWvjsx9c&feature=youtu.be

    The hard part is learning where the imaginary rod lies in relations to the cones. As for the car, it handles very well with stock tires. My swaybars were upgraded to GWR RoadsterSport brand, a medium upgrade for swaybars. Its helps to reduce, but not eliminated the strong roll of the car.

    ************************

    For anyone interested, I will be out at the training ground this coming Saturday, June 1st for another round of novice training. Its a great learning experience, well worth the drive there and nominal cost for about 2-3 hours of driving practice through cones on a safe airfield. You can drive the car as hard or soft as you like. For me its about learning the feel of the car, its handling, braking and threshold of grip.

    Preregistration is going on now: http://rollbase.gulfcoastcloud.com/prod1/portal/portal.jsp?c=142720&p=144437&g=211172 You pay the $25 at the event, helmets are available for free use.

    This is the last session for the summer and the program resumes in September. Pretty much everything you need is on site for nominal cost: food, drinks/water, paper signage for your car. Do bring lots of sunscreen, hat, proper clothing for direct sunlight as there is no shade.

    The novice program starts at 9:30 AM sharp, I expect to be there around 8AM.

    Your car will need to be inspected (tires, brakes, engine for loose battery and anything loose) and cleared by the officials at the site. The facility is broken down into two parts for Saturday use: novice school and 1/2 mile test/tune track. Novice school is in the morning then they break for lunch around noon and give you 3 runs (tokens) for the test track. You can earn more tokens (more runs) by working the cones (people stationed to reset the knocked down cones). On Sunday the entire field becomes a 1 mile race track.

    Contact me for any other questions.

     
    • Robert Burr 2:52pm on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Sounds great!

    • Anonymous 3:23pm on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Where is this held…Google map?

    • Andrew 5:15pm on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The address is: 3987 Sunset Road, Lehigh Acres, FL 33971

      Also see this link: http://www.gulfcoastautocrossers.com/gcacmap.html

      Its about 140 miles (one way) from West Broward County, a straight run on I-75, exit 138 then a couple of miles east. You will/should refuel off the exit. There are a couple of gas stations there and nothing else near the facility. One tank of gas was more than enough to have made the trip and back and do the various runs. Between gas, registration, paper decals, food on site, you will probably spend around $70

    • Frank Falcone 11:09am on Thursday, May 30, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Sounds like fun, Do you know how to register for the novice class? I tired registering at the site, but don’t know what to put in for the car number and class.

      Also, My tires are getting close to needing replacement, think that will be problem?

    • Anonymous 12:25pm on Thursday, May 30, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Andrew, i can’t make it this Saturday but would like to do the event in September. Please keep me informed.

      BTW, I’ve done two of the Equipe-Rapide autocross events at the St. Lucie Fairgrounds this year. They won’t start back up until October but I’ll post the date when it becomes available.

    • Andrew 5:24pm on Thursday, May 30, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi Frank,

      Go onto the website and register. You will need to first create a car/person profile and class. Pick a car number from the list available; that is your number from now on. I picked CS as its a basic stock class. Then when you register click on the button for attending the novice class. Its only offered on Saturdays. I don’t compete so I only go for the training class. Need to do it by NOON Friday as you can’t register at the site (as far as I am aware).

      That is basically it. You pay when you get there. Bring cash, makes thing easier. There is a $1 entry fee, paper numbers costs $0.50 each or $3 for a set of 6 numbers, three on each side. $25 for the novice class, sodas are like $1 or $0.50 for water. There is a food vendor making hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and some other meat sandwiches for like $5-$7.

      As of 5:23PM, the site seems to be running slow and I could not get onto the registration page. You can always send an email to the contact person listed.

      As for the tires, not unless they are bald and showing wire or have obvious physical damage. Note, what ever you bring in the trunk will have to be emptied at the site (tools, spare tire, etc.). Not a problem as everyone does that and I have been told that nothing has been stolen.

      I inflate my tires the night before to 34 PSI for this purpose only, although they have compressors on site for use.

    • Frank Falcone 10:14am on Friday, May 31, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks, I was able to register for the class. I used the CS car class as well, but it might be wrong, since I have the supercharger installed.

    • Anonymous 4:49pm on Friday, May 31, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi Frank,

      For purpose of novice training, I don’t think it matters as you are not competing. If you were to race on Sunday, then it would make a big difference.

  • Andrew 6:17pm on Saturday, May 18, 2019 Permalink |
    Tags: , Front   

    Front Camera Installed 

    Hi Folks,

    For those with a ND (Club or GT), MX5 ThIngs sells a front camera that works with the display.

    I did this install today in about 2 hours. After already installing the rear OEM camera and Airplay, taking apart the dash took perhaps 15 minutes, could have done it faster.

    The camera is a nice option for those worried about hitting the curb or wall. In my case its my kayak in the garage since it lies below sight once you get up close. You can clearly and easily see any object. The attached photo is my garage door. At this position I am approx 16″ from the door. and you can see the 6″ concrete footer at the bottom of the screen. I also have the mirror control (not yet connected, waiting to see that the camera works without issue). The AIO box also came with a turn signal alert if I leave it on for more than 20 second a LOUD beeping sound is heard.

    I did have to lengthen the wires by 16″ to mount the AIO box behind the passenger side front panel and to allow for room for the cables.

    Contact me if you have any questions.

    Here is the link for the kit: https://store.mx5things.com/item/front-camera-switch-mirror-controller-universal-kit


     
  • Andrew 2:25pm on Friday, April 26, 2019 Permalink |
    Tags: , , ,   

    Gulf Coast Autocross and Performance Driving 

    If anyone is interested and care to join, I am heading out the following Saturday, May 4th to begin autocross/performance driving training. The GCAC offers a monthly novice class training at a very reasonable price as well as autocross racing. My goal is to learn the limits of the car and improve my overall driving abilities.

    Here is the link to their website (doesn’t work very well): http://www.gulfcoastautocrossers.com/

    I have been in email contact with the operator and pretty excited about making this next leap. They have helmets and most of the things there on a loaner or purchase basis. You will need sunscreen as this is an open field, no shade. Not sure how long we will be outside, but expect several hours. I don’t plan to compete, just to learn more about performance driving and how my car behaves and how to recover when pushed to the limits of traction.

    Its a 130 miles trip one way so I will be leaving around 6AM to make it before 9AM. Waiting now for its online registration to open up to simplify the process. Novice class starts 9:30AM sharp.

    Contact me in interested in attending so I know to look out for you.

    Andrew

    PS: Doug, I believe you have been there, if so, please chime in and give us some feedback

     
    • Robert Burr 2:35pm on Friday, April 26, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Sounds great. Some of our members have done it in the past and loved it. Take some photos and post a review on your return

      • DJ 6:40pm on Friday, April 26, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        One of the best things you can do with your car. So much fun! Bring water and sunscreen. I am planning on going. I have been to almost every one this year. I use to go every month years ago, prior to doing track days.

    • Steve and Tracy Dillon 9:22pm on Friday, April 26, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I should be there also, probably in the white 2016. Its a great experience.

    • Andrew 11:09pm on Saturday, May 4, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I had a great time today at the event. Lots to learn and practice. Plan on going again on June 1st; its sure is worth the time and trouble to get there. For about $40 in fees, food and drink (all provided at the place) plus one tankful of gas, I was able to spend quality time with an instructor and gained valuable experience, one of which is I need to practice and practice. Not easy trying to understand “cone” language.

      I especially want to thank Steve for taking time to show me around and taking a couple of test runs with him in his car.

  • Andrew 11:12am on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 Permalink |
    Tags: ,   

    classic car videos on Amazon Prime 

    It’s too bad I could not attend these events. What beautiful cars! Maybe next year.

    On Amazon Prime, there are classic car videos, one of which I saw last night was about Jaguars and Aston Martins. There are others on Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romero which is the oldest company of the three. Sad thing is that all of the main Italian cars (including Ferrari) are currently owned by Fiat/Chrysler. Lamborghini is owned by VW, the Jags by Tata Motors an Indian (India) company. Aston Martin is held by investors and so on.

    It kind of makes it special that my Miata is still owned by Mazda while all of the exotic cars now have “mixed” ancestry. All the other car companies appear to be making cars aimed at specific price $$$$ markets instead of a car for the enthusiast.

    Enzo Ferrari built road cars primarily to finance his racing passion. However that was not sustainable.

     
  • Andrew 7:50am on Thursday, February 28, 2019 Permalink |
    Tags:   

    Another Modification 

    I love to build things like models, furniture, bikes, landscape, etc.. My Miata is no different and even somewhat special as I can enjoy the benefits of a modification every time I drive. Since owning the car, I have made many changes, mainly for safety reasons, some for esthetics, comfort and others for performance or maintenance. Generally most of the modifications are not immediately noticeable.

    Until the 2019 models, you could not get the Club specs along with the GT features; the 2019 gives you both in the GTS. I opted in 2016 for the GT figuring it would be cheaper to add the Club specs (Bilsteins, LSD and STB) improvements later as needed vs the other way.

    Between this past weekend and yesterday, I added the STB (shock tower bar) to the GT. There is no clear definitive answer on the forums as to whether it improves steering response (mostly vague “feelings”), but since Mazda includes it on its Club model and Long Road Racing list this modification as standard on its Ultimate MX-5 spec, there must be a performance reason.

    If you have the ND GT and thought about adding this, it is an easy install only requiring hand tools. The cowl bracket has to be changed since the GT bracket does not have the two bolts needed to secure the brace. That part cost about $60 and up plus shipping depending on where you get it. I got mine from Amazon for $60 shipped and that was the cheapest I could find by at least $30. Its an OEM part from Mazda and uses the existing bolts from the old cowl bracket. Install is around 30-45 minutes.

    Adding the bar takes another 15-30 minutes. You need to know the torque specifications to avoid breaking the two cowl bolts. Note: If you have a Club, you can easily just change out the bar for another one.

    The brace (bar) comes in many flavors and price ranging from $90 to over $500 for the LRR brand. I did not bother with the OEM bar. They vary in materials and construction. In the end I choose the cheaper one from Mega Racing (out of CA and Japan) mainly on price. Picked it up from Ebay for $90 including shipping.; normally list for $120. Its well made, light (aluminum) and fits perfectly. There are several positive reviews on Miata.net regarding this model, but nothing that stands out. Other reviews on STB in general tend to state it reduces NVH in the ND (noise, vibrations and harmonic sound) front end, but they could not notice if it improved handling. All the more reason that I went with the lower cost option. I am betting that the construction of the Megan bar provides at least the same benefits as the OEM stock bar but with a nicer appearance in the engine bay.

    See attached photos.

     
  • Andrew 10:14pm on Saturday, February 16, 2019 Permalink |  

    Back Up Camera and CarPlay Install 

    If anyone is interested, today I installed both Carplay and the OEM backup camera in my 2016 GT. Overall it took about a few hours requiring only fours screws and two 10mm bolts to be removed. The rest of the dash comes apart like a Lego set. The bumper requires cutting with a utility knife and drilling of the dense foam to make space for the camera.

    The two scariest parts was doing the firmware update (could brick the CMU) and cutting the rear bumper for the camera. Note, the OEM camera requires a much larger hole than the Ventura camera.

    Saved myself a bit of money as the dealer wanted $400 plus tax for the Carplay and probably another $200-$300 in labor for the camera. If you do the Carplay, you really should do the backup camera since you have already removed all the parts you need. To me, that was the easiest thing to do.

    Ordered Carplay parts from Ebay (Mazda OEM parts) for $155 including shipping and the camera and cables from Amayama for around $326, although is could have been $16 cheaper had I waited another week or two. Both arrived within 2 weeks.

    Last weekend, I added sound proofing material to the trunk and rear bulkhead wall. About a five to seven pounds of material yet it makes a significant difference in reducing noise in the cabin with the top up, about 5-7 dB per my meter. That doesn’t sound like much, but it is quite noticeable. Planning on doing the floor boards and doors soon.

    Andrew

     
    • Robert Burr 10:45pm on Saturday, February 16, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Wow, what difference to use google maps and waze rather than the MX-5 built-in navigation system. And, the upgraded USB port charges the phone much faster. I’d like to see it at the next meeting.

    • John Morris 7:32pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Andrew that sounds like some precision work. I hope you can be at the next meeting and tell us all about your installation. Looking forward to seeing it. I also installed a new radio unit in my NC. I put in a Pioneer with car play,siriusXM radio and a backup camera. I did not install it myself. I have a great radio installer if someone is not as brave as you.

    • Andrew 2:08pm on Thursday, February 21, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi John,

      I plan on being at the March 10 meeting and willing to go over the procedure for anyone interested. The install of both items was fairly easy to do, just requiring a bit of care and taking your time. Its mainly plug and play. I held off on both items as I was weighing the difficulty of self install vs dealer cost.

      I could not justify paying the dealer and with the help of many on the forums who have posted videos and detailed instructions, I took the shot. I think the videos and instruction come across being more difficult than it really is. Don’t get me wrong, one can easily make a mistake and break or scratch a part due to the wrong tool, being impatient, etc..

      I actually wasted over an hour trying to figure out why the camera was not displaying, taking things a parts and rechecking everything. Had to walk away to check the forums and found out that the CMU had to be reset by holding down three buttons on the center console for 20 secs, not the 3-5 seconds I was doing. Others had to disconnect and reconnect the battery cables for the same thing.

      So, live and learn from other people’s experiences.

  • Andrew 3:07pm on Saturday, December 29, 2018 Permalink |
    Tags: , ,   

    Dr. ColorChip Review 

    With all the fun we had driving the Tail of the Dragon, my car came home almost without any insult from the road. The PPF did its magic, but since there is no film on the doors, I did sustain three very small scratches; I heard the rock hit (graze was more like it) while on the highway).

    Anyway, the point of this post is to demonstrate the value of Dr. ColorChip. From what I have read and viewed on YouTube, its only designed to color in the chip/scratch and not give you a blemish free repair. For that you will need to sand/fill and spray paint the area.

    The primer coat of the Soul Red paint is white as you can see in the photo. I did 3 applications of the paint in an attempt to fill in the scratches. its goes on very easily and a bit scary when you first put in on as you essentially smear small dots of paint around and over the damage area. You end up over painting quite a bit. That is how it is applied, without any precision and minimum skill. Then after a 2-5 minutes to dry, you wipe over the area with the sealant to remove all the access paint using the enclosed lint free towel and using a flat light wiping action. You wipe with light pressure to remove the extra paint while not pulling the paint from the scratches.

    The process worked as instructed and took the access paint off while leaving the damaged area painted. Afterward letting it dry some more I applied my detailing spray to remove any remaining sealant and leave a high gloss.

    I had a hard time finding the scratches afterwards to take a picture. Although the shot is a closeup where you can still see the edges of the scratch, once you step back a foot or more, you can’t see it. The high gloss on the door creates enough reflections that makes the scratches invisible; it filled in the white primer paint.

    I plan on doing another 2-3 applications in a month or so and see if I can do a better job. Overall, I am very pleased with the product. I bought the basic kit and added the small squeegee, approximate $49 with shipping/sales tax. There was a 15% holiday discount that helped.

     
    • Anonymous 3:18pm on Saturday, December 29, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I also used Dr. Colorchip on my RF. It works great. Like Andrew said, it doesn’t fill the chip completely but covers it so the chip is almost unrecognizable. Great product!

    • Robert M 7:37am on Thursday, January 3, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Where do you buy it. I have chips on my reflex blue, only black shows thru on the rear bumper

      • Anonymous 11:56am on Thursday, January 3, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Online via their website. Google them. You will need the color code found on the label located on the driver’s side door frame.

  • Andrew 3:55pm on Thursday, July 5, 2018 Permalink |
    Tags: error, failure, , Screen   

    Alert – Infotainment Center Issue 

    Heads up for anyone with a ND:

    On Monday, I noticed that the LCD screen on my 2016 GT was displaying 4-7 white thin horizontal lines (see attached photo). It is most prominent on startup and fades a bit with use of the applications. I noticed when I was using the Nav and saw that parts of the map was broken up by the lines.

    I usually set the display to off unless I am using the Navigation system or listening to music. So perhaps it might have started earlier. The car is garage kept and although I was driving it for about an 1hr in the sun, the display was not too hot to the touch.

    Off to the dealer I went, knowing that most likely the display will need to be replaced (not in stock) under warranty. On a computer system its either the video card or the monitor. Plus the dash will need to be taken apart to replace the unit (it would be nice if I could get them to pre-wire the display for a backup camera – wishful thinking).

    Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on the outcome. There is some chatter in the MX-5 Miata forum discussing the screen going completely blank. This has not happened to me, but for anyone with a hack, I would start to consider on a way to remove it should the need arise to have the display replaced. Not sure if they would argue that the issue is due to a hack and voids the warranty. I have not hacked my system, its what some were saying on the forum.

    The entertainment center still functions it’s just the lines are annoying and indicative of pending failure.

     
    • Robert Burr 4:12pm on Thursday, July 5, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks, will keep an eye out for such issues.

    • Andrew 10:02am on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      July 10 Update: All fixed; zoom zoom again. Gunther replaced the display unit (list for approx $1100 plus labor) under warranty and they did it an hour. Yesterday I received a call from Teri (service rep) advising they received the part. Set appt for 8:30 today, arrived early and it was done; no hassle or issue.

    • Mark Gilbert 6:25pm on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Glad you got it fixed without any issues. Guess Cathy made it there without a problem.

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