BMW 7-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • trimastertrimaster Member Posts: 163
    I took my car to a muffler/ air repair shop & they checked the system. They added some freon & found no leaks. Charged me $40 for the freon & sent me on my way...

    Funny thing I have a Buick Park Avenue that's having a/c problems. I took that car into the same shop & THAT car needs a new compressor. $600 job. Better the Buick than the 7! The Buick is my backup in case the 7 gives me problems...LOL
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Ohhh, yeah, you don't want to have to buy a compressor for a 7.

    Regarding freon loss, do you periodically work your a/c even in wintertime? These systems don't like to stay dormant for long periods of time, as the seals will probably start leaking.
  • trimastertrimaster Member Posts: 163
    "Regarding freon loss, do you periodically work your a/c even in wintertime? These systems don't like to stay dormant for long periods of time, as the seals will probably start leaking."

    No, I never ran it in winter, but I'll do that this winter. (I honestly never thought bout it.) I got the freon added 2 weeks ago & it's still running well. Thanks again 4 your help Sir!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    yes, at least once a month, run the a/c.
  • f1buickf1buick Member Posts: 45
    Mr. Shiftright, I meant 10lbs.

    Believe it or not, the published spec for the V12 only allows 5lbs variation. The specs for rings, piston clearance, bearing clearance, etc., also are much tighter than for a typical passenger car engine.

    I assume the V8 spec is slightly looser, because I think the V12 spec has more to do with a "this is our premier motor and it will be assembled CORRECTLY" (read this with strident German accent) approach than with a belief that a serious operational or even life expectancy problem would arise if the tolerance was exceeded.

    Overall, though, and regardless of the issues I sometimes have with BMW's overall approach to a car, Bavarian MOTOR works writes a very tight spec for their motors. Hey, at the prices they charge, you ought to get something, right?

    FWIW, one of my cylinder walls is slightly out of spec at 90k, but compression is dead-on-spec perfect for that cylinder and the engine burns no oil. I suppose it might be an issue if I was cruising everywhere at 150mph on the Autobahn instead of in stop-and-go urban american traffic.
  • trimastertrimaster Member Posts: 163
    Mr. Shiftright,

    Do you suggest a person use oil treatment, gas treatment, etc. in their older BMW's? (I have an 88 735i 200k.) I'm thinking about preventive maintenance. The owner's manual says do not use additives, but they sell the various items on bavarian autosport???
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Nah, I wouldn't bother. But I was thinking of switching to synthetic oil for mine, as I do a lot of high speed desert driving in summer. Clean oil, clean filters, that's the way to go.
  • feedwaterfeedwater Member Posts: 3
    I own a 97 740IL. When using the heat or AC there is no air flow from vent in arm rest console to the back seat area. What's the problem and fix for this(...and how much?)
  • feedwaterfeedwater Member Posts: 3
    Thanx for the reply. The noise has stopped but my son noticed that there was no air flow from the vents in the arm rest to the back seat area...could this be a related problem?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You mean the center console when you say "arm rest"?
  • feedwaterfeedwater Member Posts: 3
    Yeah. The center console.It has vents on it that discharge into the rear area.
  • jen2003jen2003 Member Posts: 1
    I bought a 2003 745Li and have had nothing but problems. I get a lot of error messages on my screen (i.e., engine malfunction", "airbag restriant error" and the like), the car shuts down into a "safe" mode after it sits for a few hours resulting in no interior lights and the convenience package on the doors which should pull the doors shut stops working, and then the CD changer shuffles and starts at the first song on the first CD. The car seems to have even more problems (i.e., the NAV doesn't even come on the screen) if the car sits parked outside in the heat for a few hours. The car also runs very rough. I have put the car in the shop so many times but the idots don't seem to know how to fix the problems. Does anyone have any advise on this issue? I am at wits end.......!
  • pb2pb2 Member Posts: 4
    Any help this forum would be extremely appreciated. I need any info relative to this vehicle. It has 113K miles, good condition cosmetically and is priced in my opinion reasonably. I think I may have room to negotiate a better price because of the following problems:
    1) weak battery - they jumped the battery (may not be a good thing for the electronics this car has). Also, how do you get inside if the battery is dead?
    2) Once started, it idles rough for a minute, settles to about 500 - 600 rpm, it will stumble intermittently causing the check engine to come on but it goes out as soon as you tap the gas pedal.
    3) I have already been given the opinion that most non-dealer service shops may not or will not work on this particular model because of the diagnostic equipment needed as well as the expense
    involved (theirs and what they will charge you).
    4) Almost forgot, the A/C wasn't working, they said it needs refrigerant but just in case, how common is a A/C compressor failure? I know it will be expensive to replace if it comes to that, what's the range?

    I am competent in mechanical repair but having looked thoroughly under the hood and chassis, I will accept the fact that the most I'll be able to do is just basic fluid changes if that much.

    My apologies for the lengthy message. Thanks very much in advance.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You'b better steer clear of this car. Never EVER buy a V-12 with problems. I would suspect the seller knows very well what is wrong with the car and is unloading it. You could run up a $5,000 repair on this car in the blink of an eye with just a little bad luck. Why do you think it is being sold at a good price? If it just "needed freon", why wouldn't they do that for $150?

    I don't know if you've checked on repair prices for this car, but just to put things in perpective, what's your guess on brake pads and rotors? (nothing else) Try $1,600. Ball joints? $850. New drive belts? $300. A/C compressor and re-charge---easily $1,200-$1,500. Alternator $600-$800. New engine? Probably $20,000.

    The newer 5s and 7s are much better cars, and a big 6 or a V-8 is all the power you'll ever need in a BMW.

    If you are bargain hunting in a 7 series, try a 735i E32 with the M30 six cylinder engine. You can buy a low miles one owner car for $5,000-$6,000 and not have half the troubles of a 750.
  • lovemyclklovemyclk Member Posts: 351
    Excellent advice!! A '91 750iL will turn someone into a BMW-flamer faster that you could drive it to your mechanic...

    So many choices in that price range, even for a "classic" German performance sedan. Heed Shifty's recommendations for a more pleasant vintage-BMW ownership experience
  • blockislandguyblockislandguy Member Posts: 336
    Excellent advice on the V12. Let me add my 2 cents. How much negotiating are you going to do about a battery, $65??

    The larger issue is that anyone selling a BMW V12 with a bad battery should be avoided like the plague. What else did he try to save $65 on? Save your breath about the weak battery for the walk home. (You didn't intend to drive your present ride and all that it communicates about you to inspect this gem did you?).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I've been thinking about that rear a/c heat problem on your 740i.

    If I recall you have a button on the dash that selects "rear air" or soemthing like that right? So when you press that button, do you hear a plastic flap closing in the dash, behind the stereo or climate controls? Or do you only hear the hiss of air?

    the way a/c gets to the rear I believe is that an air flap, controlled by vacuum, diverts some of the cool air from the front vents down a flat tube that runs under the carpeting, then under your center console and into the vent at the rear of the car. So either the control flap is stuck, or therer is a vacuum leak at the flap (that's the hissing sound) or the manual flap that the rear passengers use might be broken.

    If it's a vacuum leak under the dash, you might be able to pop the radio and get at it. If the flap is stuck, that could be more of a problem with access.

    The flap is controlled I think by a little vacuum "servo" (a little vacuum robot) that might also be defective. That should be attached to the flap, as it is a vacu-mechanical device.

    I presume the a/c blower is working.

    Another idea....some of the vacuum lines are, I think, located in a vacuum junction area under the vent where the wipers are. This fresh air cowl can usually be lifted up by loosening some screws. It's the vent under the windshield on the outside of the car. Be careful not to scratch anything.

    but first off, listen for the flap closing!
  • pb2pb2 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for the info. I didn't really expect to get a bargain just based on a weak battery but on all the problems I mentioned plus the seller's remarks or at least what I interpret to be the willingness to possibly go lower. Having read the responses so far, I may just leave well enough alone.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Sounds like "free" isn't cheap enough for this car.
  • bmwnabmwna Member Posts: 32
    I’m with BMW of North America, LLC. I’m so sorry to read about this problem you are having with your 745Li. If you and your BMW center would like our assistance, please phone us at (800) 831-1117, and mention Reference # 200416000611 so that we can help you more efficiently.

    BMW NA Customer Relations
  • william1william1 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 740il, 60,000 miles no outstanding maintenance problems. A good vehicle but will these next few years of possible maintenance costs make it a good time to sell?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well you know just about any car will start to need what are called "expendables" at various milestone mileages. I think that around 80,000 miles is a milestone for suspension items, such as the lower control arm bushings that typically get mushy in BMWs at this mileage, in the same way that say 30K-40K is a time for tires. I don't foresee any major mechanical issues but it is possible that things like water pump, alternator, catalytic and/or exhaust might possibly start to deteriorate around 80K.If you aren't planning to hold onto this vehicle for life (its or yours) then selling a car with less than 100K on the clock seems like a good idea. At your current rate I think you have a year or two to make up your mind what to do, and that decision could be based on how the car behaves in the next year or two. If it starts to kick up a fuss, that could be your message from god right there but if she purrs along, well, you might want to stick with it.
  • bm4evrbm4evr Member Posts: 1
    How can I be sure that a car's service warranty is not violated? I am planning to purchase a 04 7 series with 5k miles just need to make sure the warranty is still good?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I would suggest two things. First, run the VIN at the dealer to make sure there are no factory prohibitions on the car; second, run a CARFAX check to make sure there is no salvage title.

    Also, make sure you have firmly established the identity and location of the person who owns the car, not the one who sells it.
  • craigecraige Member Posts: 1
    My cd in the trunk is not working. It does not recognize the cd. The cd mag sticks and does not pop out on its own. One problem I noticed is I have to do a lot of pulling & prying on the cd mag to get it out. Any suggestions out there?
  • norms75norms75 Member Posts: 6
    I own a 1990 750IL and have recently noticed that it leaks gas while in motion. When it sits in my driveway it's fine, no leaks. Does anyone know if this is an easy repair or have any idea of what it's going to cost me?
  • davieboy1davieboy1 Member Posts: 14
    Just bought a 2003 745i with 18000 miles. I discovered several problems which I wonder if anyone else has had. Love the car for the 2 days I have had it and have been able to use the I drive fairly well.
    Navigation system does not show street names(dvd says 2001-2)
    Buzzing in left side speakers constant with radio on/off
    Radio stations disappeared twice after setting fm/am and had to reset

    Thanks for any help!
  • jvallejvalle Member Posts: 3
    Hi all!
    I am thinking of buying a 97 740il that is in excellent condition. One owner who took great care of the car. It does have 123000 miles on it, and I am wondering how many miles a well-loved no problem BMW will get on average? He is asking 12,500.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    norms, you gotta get on this right away. This is a dangerous situation (possibly) as it seems you are leaking fuel under pressure (that is, when fuel pump is pumping).

    Most fuel leaks should not be a big deal to fix unless there is a really nasty access problem. But even then, usually you can dig out a fuel line in an hour or so.

    Have this checked immediately!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Price is good, and may leave you a little room for repairs should you need them.

    It's really hard to answer a question about "how many miles" a car will go, because it will go to the moon and back if you keep re-conditioning it, and will last 50 years if you want to pay for that.

    If you mean, how many miles before a major component fails, well, that's hard to predict but it would not be uncommon for a BMW engine to be running great at 225K. After that, though, the odds of ANY car running without major failure are not so good. It's all about the "theory of large numbers". In other words, you will hear about or even see a BMW with 350K on it, or maybe even 5 of them in your vicinity but when you project the odds onto a huge number of cars around the country, you'll see that most do not go that far.

    I'd have the car checked stem to stern, especially for things like oil and power steering leaks, front end bushing wear, any damage to catalytic converters, damage to brake rotors (not cheap!)bad tires, etc. In other words, find out what it would cost to recondition the car back to factory specs. Also play with all the bells and whistles repeatedly. Check every gadget switch and function exhaustively. you don't want to be pulling the dashboard out of this car to fix something that you failed to notice.

    When you are dealing with highline luxury cars, you never want your "to do" list to be very long.

    With a 7 series BMW, buy the best car you can afford, fix everything that's wrong, and stay on top of it. That's the key to success--"go in right and keep it right".
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You might check with the dealer for updates to the software on your NAV system.

    The speaker glitch sounds like bad wiring somewhere or bad grounding. Have you played with the fader and balance switches?

    Could be you may have to pull this radio and have it bench tested at a high end stereo shop (the dealer just sends it to them anyway). Find out who fixes the dealer's radios and by-pass the dealer and just go there.
  • norms75norms75 Member Posts: 6
    Thank you Mr. Shiftright. This eases my mind a bit. I will be taking it in today.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I know, with a 750 you always worry about being burned and pillaged at the dealer. I think the trick is to not let them oversell you. If you have say one leaking injector they will try the old "let's replace them all" routine, when popping out just one and resealing it might be all that you need.

    Your "problem" is that most independent BMW shops won't touch a 750 or only reluctantly, so you have the choice of either the dealer or having a very expensive planter in your driveway.

    Be sure the dealer calls you before they do anything and if it's convenient you can go down there and ask them to show you the defective part--that is, where it's leaking. Don't give them a blank check on a car like this and don't let them use scare tactics: "Okay, we'll fix that one line but if another line breaks later, blah, blah."

    If it's economical to do something preventative, by all means do it, but make sure you are on top of the repair process and have control of it at all times.
  • jvallejvalle Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for that info. I have narrowed my search to 2 cars and would appreciate your thoughts.
    Option 1- '97 740iL 124000mi. for $12,500 My sisters car. (the one we discussed) After speaking to the mechanic, the car seems to be in Factory spec. Most or all of the items you mentioned, have been either replaced or repaired recently. The interior and exterior are in excellent condition. (Always garaged, home and work) Everything works like new.
    Option 2- '98 740iL 66,900mi. for $23,000 2 owners, car appears to be in excellent condition, there maybe a sunroof problem. Bonus-the car still has extended warranty to 100K or 11/07.
    Do I choose the car I know and save the $8000 to $10,000 (which I could use) or go for the less miles and warranty?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Boy that's tough. Question is, is 60,000 miles worth $10,000?

    Given the high depreciation rate of the 740i (well, all 4-door luxury cars tend to drop pretty hard relative to say sports cars), and given that you KNOW exactly how your sister's car has behaved (I presume she'll confess), I'd tend to think that you are better with the devil you know than the one you don't. HOWEVER,

    The extended warranty IS tempting I have to say.

    Perhaps if you could get the '98 for $20K or under, and if you READ the extended warranty on his car and carefully find the "exclusions" (what are you getting, after all?), then a spread of $7,000 + entended warranty + 60,000 fewer miles---well, that's starting to sound a lot better. If we presume you milk that extended warranty for $3,500 over the next three years (very likely you will), then you've paid maybe $4,000 for a car with one year newer build date and 60K fewer miles. Not bad.

    so I think the answer to your question hinges on:

    1. the agreed upon price

    2. the exclusion of the extended warranty and the reputation of the insurer who is behind it.

    3. the past performance history of the '98 car as opposed to your sister's car. (often traceable at the dealer who services the car).

    PS: are sunroofs covered in this warranty? Hope so, that ain't cheap to fix!
  • norms75norms75 Member Posts: 6
    I picked up my vehicle yesterday afternoon, and for the first time I left the shop paying less than $200. Total cost to fix the leak, which turned out to be a rotted line, and an oil change with full synthetic oil was $129. Learned something new about my vehicle, that it has a cartridge oil filter with the metal housing attached to the car. Interesting. Is this better or just another expensive part on the car?
  • jvallejvalle Member Posts: 3
    Mr. Shiftright;
    Thank you for such great advice. You have made our decision process much easier. Thank you for your time and expertise.
    Talk to you again soon.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Cannister filters are nice on some engines because you can access them from the top. Probably BMW chose that as a design feature rather than having anything to do with "superior" filtration.

    Good news on your gas leak!
  • autobroker1autobroker1 Member Posts: 1

    Just recieved a new '04 745Li, supposedly a post recall unit (latest recall is for a brain malfunction caused by reversed fuses installed at the vendor who makes them) This vehicle seems to run fine, however, the iDrive is frozen in the "accept" mode, so no audio, or navi functions will work. Is there anyway to "reset" the system by hard boot, ie: disconnect battery or the like?
  • trimastertrimaster Member Posts: 163
    Hello all. I have an 88 735i.
    I have to press my locks 2 times to lock/unlock my doors. Looks like the culprit is my front passenger door. I have to manually lock/unlock it. Where can I take it to get the lock fixed? Do you think I'll have to take it to the dealer?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Argh, not if you can help it. An independent shop that will install a used or aftermarket door lock motor would be best, since the factory lock motor costs over $300, plus the dealer labor rate, so you could be looking at a $500 bill there.

    But with a clever indy shop and a used part you could get away with $150 perhaps. You should first have the indy shop pop the door panel and see what's up in there. Also some systems have a fuse system for the door locks, and some fuse the doors in pairs, not all four together.

    You can also get plenty of used 735i parts on Ebay. I used to do that all the time---requires some patience but it sure did save me money.

    If I were you, I'd talk to an indy shop and ask them to estimate labor and parts---you might get that lock motor from "Worldparts" or a similar company that specializes in aftermarket German car parts.

    I got a door lock motor for my Porsche 928 for $96 brand new for instance. Had the same problem you did.
  • davieboy1davieboy1 Member Posts: 14
    Just got my software update on 2003 745i. Speakers work but still problems. Navigation does not show most street names at 400 ft scale. Scale off as screen does not correlate with scale(ie.400ft on up shows larger distances than scale number in feet or miles). Cannot turn off hotels or restaurants after turned on. Multidisc cd does not show tracks but single disc does. Everytime I start car the ac runs in auto mode even though it was off when car was turned off. Anyone had these problems.
  • stumped2stumped2 Member Posts: 4
    I've a '98 740iL with 90k miles. At about the same time it started slowly leaking radiator fluid (6 months ago), it developed what I can only describe as a subtle knocking sound that is not really loud but can be heard in the cabin when the radio is off. Coincidence? I don't know. The sound seems to be especially noticeable at low rpm going slightly downhill over rough paved roads. At first I thought it was related to the radiator problem (maybe air in the lines, vacuum, or over pressure), but after the dealership replaced the radiator pump and secondary coolant pump, the problem was still there. I now think it is mechanical in nature, but after a second trip to the dealership, they still couldn't find a problem. They drove and listened a little more and discovered worn exhaust center mounts. They replaced those for $200, but the sound is still there.

    I am stumped. The dealership doesn't seem concerned about it, but I'm a little embarrassed taking friends out in it and hearing the knocking. One reason the problem could be motion-related is that when I put the car in park and rev the engine, I do not hear anything. Also, although there may not be a correlation, it does seem to be more noticeable when the car is warm.

    Would appreciate any ideas to resolve this. As long as I have this problem, I consider our '94 van with over 162k miles the more reliable long-distance trip car, and that's pretty pathetic.
  • pitchpitch Member Posts: 2
    My 99 740i's garage door opener programs my garage door code correctly, but loses the data within a few days.

    I'm guessing that cleaning the contacts on the connectors would be a good first step.

    My question involves how to open the box without breaking or tearing something. It's so tight that I'm concerned about destroying the headliner.

    Has anyone else experienced this problem who has suggestions?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Have then check the lower control arm bushings in the front end. Chronic BMW problem at the mileages you have reached.
  • merckxmerckx Member Posts: 565
    Shifty,a neighbor has a 1984 BMW 733i he wants to sell. i don't have any real details about it yet;I haven't seen it up close. its odometer broke at 140,000 miles,the omner suggested it'd done perhaps 20,000 more.

    Not many details yet,I know,but could you say about what it's worth? Is it a problematic car? What should I offer?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    If it is really really sharp and has no issues, I'd say $2,500 is maximum---. If the AC doesn't work, or there are dents, rips, tears, dings, worn tires, electrical glitches, you can deduct from there.

    They are decent cars. Typical problems include warm AC and driveshaft vibration, both of which are expensive fixes.

    This is the type of car you either buy in "mint" condition or you don't buy at all, if you ask me (which you did, so there!).

    I bought a lovely looking 735i (CHEAP) and by the time I was done with it I was into it an additional $2,900. It looks great and runs great but I'd be hard put to get my money back. Fortunately, I drove it a lot so I'm content with having gotten good use out of it.
  • stumped2stumped2 Member Posts: 4
    Mr Shiftright,

    My knocking problem is definitely related to how warm the engine is. I took two coworkers out for short drives on two different days. Neither could hear anything significant. Later those same days, I drove further distances, including freeway driving, to pick kids up at school, drive home, etc. By the time I was getting home, 15 to 20 miles later, the noise was extremely noticeable. Sound is only noticeable when car is in motion. Stopped at a light and revving the engine does not induce it. Also, I would think "control arm bushings" would be making the sound any time the car is moving, including first thing in the morning when the engine is cold. Yet when I leave home this morning, I probably will not hear the sound until I've been driving for 20 minutes or more. I can't help but feel this is related to discrepancies the dealership found earlier this year that caused them to replace: water pump and thermostat, secondary water pump, and cam shaft sensor.
  • mediastevemediasteve Member Posts: 5
    I am currently experiencing something similar with my 2000 740i and would appreciate any input.
    Six months ago I hit a pothole going about 30. I then got on the highway and when doing about 60 had a very bad vibration start in the steering wheel and progress to the front wheels. Expecting to see a flat tire, I pulled off but everything looked fine. Got a front-end alignment and car drove great until last weekend. Driving on the highway and the steering wheel starts vibrating like mad, then the whole front of the car. Basically undriveable. The BMW dealer to which it was towed tells me the front brake calipers were completely seized in one wheel and partially in the other. Apparently the stability system that tells the calipers to pulse under certain conditions was telling them to pulse as I was trying to accelerate. Very scary. Dealer says this unusual. (I won't even get into the part about whether it's covered under the pre-owned extended warranty.) My big concern is that the stability system is working okay and all this won't repeat itself when I get the car back.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Okay, that's good information. I'm still leaning toward a suspension problem of some kind, as suspension parts do "work" and heat up as the car is used during the day. Perhaps we need to look at the front struts\shocks then. I'd tend to agree, control arm bushings shouldn't be time-related if they are loose. They should be loose all the time. But a weak strut might indeed act up only after it has been stressed for a while.

    RE: shaking steering wheel. That's an interesting problem and interesting diagnosis. Hope it's correct. I guess this has to do with how the stability control computer is reading what the wheel is doing. Makes some sense if the wheel or brake were damaged. That would send false data.

    I'm not sure about the wobble. I would thinking an erroneously activated caliper would only give you a pull or tug to that one side of the car, not a violent shaking---but you know, it may indeed be a correct diagnosis, especially if the rotor is warped.
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