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We present first results of our on-going BIMA Key Project: imaging the CO(1-0) emission from a sample of 10 luminous IR galaxies (LIRGs) that are at various merging stages, with special emphasis on systems apparently in the early/intermediate stages of merging. We present here CO images with $\sim 5"$ resolution. An important result is the recognition of a plausible pre-starburst phase in some early LIRG mergers (e.g., Arp 302 and NGC 6670). Our initial analysis suggests that a merger-induceddoi:10.1063/1.52748 fatcat:udgmdeqf3vhtvp2q46drj6jhxi