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Dodge Dakota - Quad Cab



  • mopar67mopar67 Posts: 728
    glenn973, Not to take away what others have said about the 45RFE (or 545RFE) but in my case with a 2000 club cab, I will say it was not one of mother mopar's better efforts in terms of smooth shifting. perhaps now as others have mentioned, it has "matured" and shifts better.
    I will outline what I felt were strengths and weaknesses of the dakota:

    *Robust engine design 4.7L was a smooth revving and tough piece of work! It beats the 318 in every measureable performance criteria. And as bpeelbes stated, it gets better MPG than the v-6 Sparkplugs were a challenge and the skid plates limit easy access to the oil filter but otherwise, its a honey of a motor.
    *Very well laid out climate control and other controls and switches. Excellent displays esp. at night.
    *Decent ride for a pickup. I understand the quad cabs ride a bit better.
    *Nice towing and hauling capacity w/o having to spend a fortune in upgrades.
    *Good looking tires but traction in snow with the Goodyear eagle 31x10.5x15 RTS tires leaves much to be desired.
    *Rims were sharp and drew lots of compliments.
    *my unit was carefully assembled and well finished.
    *Strong, rigid the big 94-2002 Rams
    *Good old fashioned manual 4WD....and it worked very well for me with no problems.
    *Torsion bar front suspension....IMHO....the finest concept of suspension design ever bestowed on a motor vehicle.
    *Liberal use of Denso USA components...DENSO is very highly regarded in the industry as making the best electrical components.
    *MPG I hit 19.4 on the higway with the 3.92 axle at 70MPH and the AC on.....ran about 13.5 to 14.1 in the city....a little less in cold weather.

    *Brakes....they work but watch out for severe rotor warpage...aftermarket (which was where I was headed next until I traded the rig)is the way to go. Others on this board will testify to this.
    *A/C drain plug known to clog however I never had this problem.
    *Leaf spring clips can and do come apart and I had to have mine replaced.
    *Watch the rear drums the rotors, they were for the 2000 model year sourced from Bosch of Mexico.....and believe me it showed!
    *PCM MAY need to be reprogramed to cure excessive spark knock and/or poor idle along with stalling after cold start. I went thru this 3 times before Chrysler got the coding right.
    *Headlights, esp on high beam are a bit weak. Not sure if anyone would agree but this is my statement.
    *Watch the "mayo maker" oil filler tube. ITs plastic (a truly dumb design here)and thus stays cooler than the rest of the engine which allows condensation to build up and create a not so attractive "goo" I would estimate that frequent observation of PCV performance is a MUST in cold climates.
    *Not necessarily a weakness here but be advised the fan clutch will roar on cold starts until the silicone fluid warms up....lots of complaints on this board and others on this and mine did it too but I never found it to be a problem. Rather, it was a sure fire indication to me that the fan clutch was working!
    *Heater a bit slow to warm on the cold days but once warm, generated good heat.

    SO there you have it. Good luck with your decision....I from time to time miss the Dak but I don't miss the problems I had. Be advised that others here have stated no problems or issues at all. So it really is then a crap shoot.
    BTW.....Mine was built on a Friday, December 19, 1999! At 5:45 p.m. no less!
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    Has anyone found extension mirrors that will fit the Dakota QC's 6x9, power, heated mirrors? I'm looking for the kind that attach to the existing mirrors. I'm towing a 7'-6" wide trailer and the extra visibility would be nice.
  • Thank you everyone for your input! It has been very valuable in helping me make a decision about what engine/transmission I am going to get.

    I'm going to go with the V8 but with a manual transmission. The don't think the price difference is enough to sacrifice power/mpg etc to warrant buying a V6. I also really don't like automatics anyway, I thought it was great when I saw that they would offer the V8 with a manual transmission. It looks like if I want that I'm going to have to special order it though, all of the dealerships around me only stock automatics.

    and yes the 'searching' description was about the automatic transmission, sorry I didn't clarify that properly in my first post :)

    Thanks again for eveyones input! I'm going to order my new Dodge Dakota in a couple of days!

    Take it easy!
  • ferousferous Posts: 226
    Glen, if your still worried about gas mileage, make sure you order the 3.55 lsd rear end. The 3.55 will give you better gas mileage, and the lsd will help you keep from leaving too much rubber when you take off around a corner. I have the 4.7 5speed manual 3.55 lsd and I love that combo.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Dodge has started to use the 3.21 axle ratio with the 4.7 Dakota. This would probably buy you more MPG, especially if your highway driving is a good part of your daily use. I don't know if it's available with limited slip.

  • bookittybookitty Posts: 1,303
    Dusty, I wonder if the 3:21 would actually be available with a 5 speed and 4.7. Sometimes these combos look like they are available, but when you place the order,it kicks back. Curious.

  • kjcdr1kjcdr1 Posts: 26
    for the Silver '01 Sport 4x4 QC auto with 3.55 axle, LSD and heavy duty package. This QC will be exactly 2 years old on Mar 1 and now has almost 12000 miles on the odometer. The 12000 mile maintenance was done last week. I reported to the dealer that there was an occasional CLUNK from the transmission and the maint. person explained that Dam/Chrysler had a fix the entailed updating the software and it was done under warranty. There have been no CLUNKS in the hundred miles or so that I have driven since the software update.

    Other than the klunks reported above and a bad CD player that was replaced under warranty during the first month of ownership, I have had no problems with this truck.

    With the 4.7 auto, poor gas mileage is a factor. During the first 5900 miles I averaged 14.86 MPG. This increased during the last 5940 miles to 15.58 MPG. In general highway driving averages just under 17 MPG and my short around town trips seem to average between 14.25 and 15 MPG. During the past year several tank fulls have only gotten about 13.75 MPG.

    I do like the truck and barring any drastic problems I expect to be driving it for a long time.

    Best regards to all. Ken
  • mtrialsmmtrialsm Posts: 159
    Wow and I thought I didn't drive my truck much!
    I have a 2001 Quad,2x4, auto, 4.7, lim-slip. Just turned 2 years. 22K miles. I love this truck.
    I have not been back to the dealer. I do have the
    front-end pops etc. The occasianal clunk from the
    rear, a little stumble when cold. Turn signals stopped woking twice (intermitent), might be "clock spring" in steering wheel? I replaced spark plugs with Bosch +4s at 15k, installed a "2-panel"hard bed cover (it's great), build a pvc bed extender. Use synthetic oil (Amsoil),changed ever 7500 miles. Gas milage is around 16 to 17, a long trip might get 20. Purchased a 7/75k extended
    Chrystler extended warrentee last month. Plan on
    keeping this truck for a long time.
    It's white/silver with wheel flares.
    I'm making a list for when I take the truck to dealer for above items.
  • ferousferous Posts: 226
    Ken - do you walk to work? At 6K miles a year, the truck should last you a long time. I would also like to add a point to your mileage results. I found a jump in MPG once I had 6K miles on the truck. I also know that if you are frequently driving less than 5 miles one way, then you will always struggle to get good gas mileage. I find it takes at least 3 miles to warm up the engine before I get my best economy out of it.
  • ahasherahasher Posts: 236
    yep.. 2000 QC and just hit 69,4000 miles. So how about another "update" on performance and quality? 4.7 auto T&H, TOW and all electric toys. Just replaced OEM Goodyear rubber with BF Goodrich 25570R15, and VERY happy with them. the Goodyear lasted just over 65,000 with EVEN wear.. no alignment problems. No bumps, shimmy, squeaks or rattles. I do have the POP from the end-links but poly bushings are on order. Engine has the Bosch +4s as well and home brew HomeDepot cold-air intake. Smooth idle and had the power when i want it, and SMOOTH tranny shifts (upgraded to ATF +4 synthetic) Good mileage averaging 18/19 due to 90 percent highway commute i guess. Homemade PVC extender and Extrang snapless tomneau, and the Extang looks good as new when cleaned.

    I'm very happy with my QC abd still enjoy the comments after a good wash/wax, since the clearcoat looks good as new after McGwiers (sp) polish/wax treatment.
    Ok thats my update..
  • Greetings to the Quad Cab members. I am teetering on the edge of an order, and thought I'd run this by you all and see what might come from other surfcasters who also commute in their truck. (The current vehicle's a 1993 Explorer with 150K; I like it fine, it's showing it's age, and I'm starting to shop.) I am new here and generally ignorant of things automotive, so feel free to question any bad assumptions I'm making. OK: the proposed vehicle is a Quad Cab 4x4, auto transmission (necessity), and whatever skid plates, stiffer shocks, off road tires, and fog lamps are best suited for crawling around East Coast beaches with a set of surf rods.
    Some of those beaches (Montauk, anyone?) are lumpy with rocks, and the Dakota has nice ground clearance. I'll get a cap and a pass-through window; it's nice to keep 11' surf rods indoors while you sleep, waiting for a tide to change. (Mostly I'm alone, so the rod can go cattycorner from one side of the truck to the passenger's seat.) Luxury is interior rod storage and a captain's chair that reclines enough for easy sleeping. Otherwise this truck is a commuting vehicle to the office, so mileage is somewhat a concern. I don't need a high torque axle or towing package, but do want a low range for soft sand and a locking differential is good security. You can't have too much available current, so any options for larger battery and alternator will be exercised. AC and a single CD-radio unit are fine. Now .... can I get by with 6 cylinders or is the small v8 a better pick? I gather that the Dakota has, ummm, "issues" with brake rotors and heating vents, and gas mileage isn't going to thrill me to death. Have I missed any obvious gotchas? And I'll take any suggestions as to caps, too.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    (brianbm) I will toss in my comments regarding your request for info.

    GET THE 4.7L V8... it has better MPG than the 1960's based V6 and has proven to be very reliable.

    You already mentioned it but it is worth repeating get the LSD rear end. (Dodge calls it "trac loc")

    DO NOT get the "fulltime" 4wheeldrive. The standard xfer case costs less has all of the features you seem to be looking for (including crawl) and does not impact MPG when in 2WD mode as much as the "fulltime" system does.

    For sand, consider the larger tires. The 'floatation' that larger tires provide will be welcomed.

    As far as I am aware, the ALTERNATOR on the 4.7L V8 is ALWAYS the higher-amprage unit. No need to spend extra $$ on "heavy duty" stuff unless there is somthing else in that package that you desire.
    (Like the power-steering cooler)

    You also mention the axle-ratio... If you are not towing, certainly get the LOWEST numerical value you can get... better MPG will be the result.

    BRAKE ROTORS...I understand these issued have been resolved since 2001. There have not been many 'complaints' in these forums since that model year.

    I have the ARE fiberglas cap. I like the SINGLE handle to lock/unlock and open the rear end. My wife and I have even slept on a futon mattress in the back of my truck... the mattress fit PERFECTLY and the 'passthru' window allowed me to pipe in the power for our 12V flashlight as a bedside lamp. (Do not forget to order the sliding rear window so the "passthru" will work!!)

    QUESTION: (since you mention that you are ALONE most of the time) Why are you considering the QUADCAB instead of Xtended cab? Do you realize that the QUADCAB has a smaller bed for your surf rods?
  • My truck is 3yrs old and has 27,000 miles. (that explains my 12 mpg gas mileage) I wouldn't have that much but I took it on a few long trips out of state.
    (Don't walk but should; but then I wouldn't be able to respond to fire calls)
  • brianbm - Brian I have been surcasting off the Carolina coast for the past 25 years and the Jersey coast before that. I have a 2K Dak CC and I would like to second everything that bpeebles said and offer a little more. Last year I had a beautiful cast aluminum fishing rod rack installed, it holds six rods and has a fold down tray to hold a cooler. It is removable and attached to a frame mount that is so strong that you can grab the rack and rock the whole truck. The rack came from a company in NC (they ship all over and have some local installers in some locations) their url is I also have an ARE cap and there is something you can do as a fisherman when ordering it that can be helpful. One of the options with the cap is to order a fold down clothes hanging rack which is mounted on the roof (inside the camper), if you order 2 of these one behind the other you can use them as rod holders. I did this and it worked well but I don't think it would work with the quadcab because the bed is too short. The ARE site is Hope this helps.

    Springfield, VA
  • Well it has been a long time since I last posted but felt I needed to help out one of my wave riding brothers!

    I sometimes wonder if you guys ever drive your trucks. I bought my 02 2wd Quad Cab 4.7 man. trans, heavy duty, towing, 3.55, LSD, T&H, the end of December 2001 and have already put 24,000 miles on it. No mechanical problems including the brakes and rotors. My truck still has a slight pull to the right that goes away every other tire rotation. I have therefore assumed (rightly?) that it is a tire defect (I regularly balance and rotate and my last alignment was within spec.) Does not really bother me any more. I regularly get 18 mpg city (17 when running the A/C I live in Indialantic, Fla. Brian) and have gotten 20 highway. Just returned from Miami last night and was doing between 70-80 mph on I-95 and got 19 mpg. Red Line Synthetic in the LSD and Mobil 1 in the engine. Plan on switching out the manual trans. fluid to Red Line synthetic soon. No need for 4wd here in Fla. and I am quite happy with my current set up. I find it quite odd here in the Fla. flats seeing all these soccer Moms and Dads with there 4wd's. Gotta keep up with the Jones's I guess. My "longest" board is a 6'6" for those rare overhead days and it fits diagonally in the bed just fine. I highly recomend Line-X. Beautiful and functional. The ride of the Quad-Cab is fantastic. I get in my Dads Ext. Cab Ranger and feel like I am in a tin can! I needed the Quad for my two boys. If no passengers the longer bed would be more functional especially if you ride a fun shape or long board. I am a major Rock-N-Roll fan and still can not believe that I find the standard single CD player w/changer control adequate! I will upgrade the stereo when the stock unit dies. For me it came down to the Dak vs. Taco. The Dak won due to available man. trans., more room, better looks, more power and similar gas mileage, cheaper based on my desired options ( I could special order and not have to pay for undesired options and dealer add-ons), and not having to pay Toyota premium price. You might want to wait a little longer for the next gen. Taco to compare if you are not in a hurry. The 04 4 Runner sounds sounds and looks pretty nice. I assume the next Taco will be the same platform, body style, engine etc. Only gripes with this truck is a barely adequate air conditioner and paint (graphite metallic clearcoat) seems to scratch easily. I am going to to do the A/C mod. soon. Summer is just around the corner. As for the paint my detailer says it is very common with modern clearcoat paint jobs: very thin coats (True or False anyone?). Did I mention I love this truck?
  • mtrialsmmtrialsm Posts: 159
    Aren't you the one that 1st posted pictures of your PVC bed extender project? I built mine looking at those pics, but made it out of 1" pipe
    and with more rear sections for support. I was gonna post my pics, but just got lazy. It's great
    for hauling grocies, now I have a Advance 2-panel
    bed cover!
  • Does anyone know if you can add the audio controls
    to the steering wheel as a kit from Dodge?
    if so do you know where I can find them?
  • ahasherahasher Posts: 236
    yep thats me.. PVC from Home Depot.. i use if alot and since I changed the pivot attachment to a pull pin it is easier to remove for full bed use. And I believe it was you who suggested reinforced support in the back , which I modified to meet. Good idea.. now I can lay stuff on the bars (PVC with a metal rod slid inside) and no bowing.
    I would really like to see your "brew"... and I even have had several people ask me to make them one... approx $25 vice the >$200 for a store bought one.
  • Hey, lepore, anyone who plays in the water is a brother. I don't surf, I surfcast - no boards, the preferred toy of choice is a Scott STS 10 weight flyrod or a Lamiglas 132-2 with a Penn Mag GS 525. Covers the spectrum from #6 hooks to three ounce plugs. bpeebles, I drag a niece & nephew with me whenever my sister will let me steal her kids. This is maybe a little silly, since I see the kids 8X a year at most, but uncle-ing is such fun, I gotta be able to drag the kids with me. I do have a fishing buddy but he's rediscovering his teenaged self in a rock band (everybody has a belly and no hair, but they sound pretty good) so lately it's mostly me, or me + sisters' kids. I haven't seen a bench seat yet that was fit for more then a midget and more then ten minutes,so will avoid an extended cab design in whatever I buy. I don't know if the total length of the available space, cattycornered from the passengers' seat to the diagonal far corner of the cargo box, is that different from the Quad Cab to the Extended Cab with a longer box. That's something I have to find a QC to check out.
    Lepore, the similarity in gas mileage between the QC and the Tacoma is surprising. I scratched that one off the list because it felt so bleepin' small when I sat in it, like getting into underwear two sizes too small. DEFINITELY designed for Japanese behinds. bpeebles, that Dakota shifter into 4WD - is that automatic/push button or manual? I ask because twice, in the ten years I've had the Explorer, I have gotten out of a nasty skid in mid-skid by punching that dashboard button and engaging 4WD. I know the trucker cognoscenti sniff at anything but manual hubs but I got 135K out of the originals on the Explorer before they needed replacement, and if they're available on the Dakota, I'd like that. An ARE or Jericho cap will go on the bed. I'll put a rod rack on the front and a ski rack on top (for rods) and stick the cooler in the cargo bed. Hey, maybe I'll get a cap with a solar panel on top, keep a trickle of current available! Any recommendations for Dodge dealers with good service departments in Suffolk County, NY, are appreciated.
  • Oh, yeah. I'll get fog lights, too, and find the reddest possible lens for them. That way I should eb able to crawl down the beach at night and annoy relatively few fish and other fishermen.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Pertaining to your followup questions...

    My 2000 Dak has the REAL Shift-on-the-fly lever that is connected directly to the xfer case. I beleive that starting in 2001, the xfer case was changed to some dash-mounted, electronic gizmo.

    The factory foglights were a disapointment to me. They are cheap, plastic lenzes that dont even TRY to focus like a foglamp should. They do not even have a TOP and a BOTTOM... the light splays EVERYWHERE with no sembalance to being 'focused' down underneath the fog/snow. They are very poor quality. They can ONLY be on with the low beams.

    If I were to order again, I would consider somting aftermarket that would be FARR superiour... and I could turn on when I want them on.

    Driving at night in a snowstorm, where the headlights are useless.... using JUST quality-focused, yellow foglights will allow one to see 30 yards... (Fog is not a big issue in Vermont.)

    Gee... when we go night-catfishin.... we PURPOSLY have a coleman lantern on the beach... to draw in the catfish. (Bullpout)
  • ferousferous Posts: 226
    Don't rule out the Century cap. I have had mine for 3 years on my QC and just love the quality, looks and options. I have the flip down coat rod, and for $10 I ordered a camper ceiling light and 12 volt jack from JC Whittney. I have even rigged up an electric heater for the off season camping when just my son and I go camping and we stay in the back. This spring I'm adding Yakama roof racks to the cap. I ordered mine 3 years ago, but back then the Century cap was almost $200 less than the ARE was.
  • brianbmbrianbm Posts: 55
    Ferous .... well, whoever you are, hi. No cap is ruled out, but I've been told that the Leer caps haven't done well on the Burma Road to Moriches Inlet. Too much frame twisting. bpeebles, striped bass and weakfish are light sensitive. A steady light is o.k., but if you cast a moving shadow on the water, they're gone. Striper congnoscenti avoid lights. Lepore, the wife is a big Toyota fan, and I am going to look at a 4runner tomorrow. I think I just missed a Dodge cashback (drat) that would've made for a more convincing price argument. Neither was I aware that a remake of the Tacoma is in Toyota's pipeline. Are the current Tacomas on the same frame as the current 4runners? Aside from price, there's a mileage difference, enough to matter, between the 4runner and the Dakota. (The Edmunds's description of the Dakota as "thirsty as a frat brother" may not be fair, but it's a funny line.) There isn't anything on the market that surpasses the 17/20 claimed for the v6 4runner, not in 4x4 .... may come down to mileage vs. space. The current 4runner seems about the same size as my 93 Explorer, and I could do with a bit more elbow room. The Dakota, now that's enough truck, but (geez) gas is reaching $2/gallon. What are you guys with 4x4 QCs and 2002 or 2003 vehicles getting in terms of real mileage? I see some talk, the last few pages, of specific synthetic oils. I keep synthetic oil in the Explorer, but do so for engine wear; I wasn't aware that it might also add to mileage. Does it?
  • ferousferous Posts: 226
    After 3 years and 57K miles, by 2000 4.7 5spd Man 3.55LSD 2wd has a life average of 22.1 MPG. My best tank was 24.9 and my worst was 15.6 MPG. It would only be fair to mention that this is not average. I use to drive 43 miles one way to work on quite 2 lane roads. Since I was forced to switch jobs, I can't come close to my highs any more.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    After 19K miles by a 2002, 4.7, auto, 4x4, 3.92 LSD my "mixed" driving average has been 13.6 MPG. The best has been 14.3, and the worst has been 12.3 (during near-zero temps). My definition of "mixed" driving is 5-20 mile trips over highway, suburban, and rural roads. My "highway" mileage has averaged around 15.6 MPG @ 70-75 MPH, with the best being 17.0 @55-60 MPH. Far short of the 18 MPG the truck is rated at by the EPA. The 2003 5-speed auto (545RFE) is rated 1 MPG higher than the earlier 4-speed auto (45RFE).
  • brianbmbrianbm Posts: 55
    never seem to have much to do with the real world, do they? You never even get close. Well, if my Explorer explodes tomorrow, I'll get either a 4runner or a Dakota QC. The one is pricy and offers less space then I'd like; the second is a bit of a pig - for the difference in size and weight between the Dakota and the Ram, it really ought to be more then 1-2 MPG better then the Ram - and looks crude to the point of primitive when compared to the interior of the 4runner. Rear seat foot room is merely the best of a bad lot, in the smaller trucks. I think I will wait for a bit. The Canyon/Colorado may be an improvement. (If the Dakota remake either improves mileage or rear footroom, I'd probably be content.) The next Tacoma, on the 4runner chassis, may be a useful improvement; the current one is painfully small, however good a machine.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    Well, here's been my experience with EPA mileage numbers:

         Vehicle EPA Hwy MPG My Hwy MPG
    1988 Mazda 323 GT 28 30-32
    1990 Toyota 4x4 PU 21 22-23
    1994 Subaru Legacy AWD 27 27-28
    2002 Dakota QC 4x4 18 15-16

    With the exception of the Dakota, every vehicle I have owned has meet or exceeded it's EPA hwy MPG number. When they first came out, the EPA numbers were way over estimated. But, after enough complaints, the EPA revised the test to make it more realistic. This happened in the mid to late 80s (I think). Based on my experiences, the Dakota is a bit disappointing. My neighbor claims that his Toyota Sequoia, with 4.7L, has yet to break 16 MPG on the hwy. Maybe it's just par for the course.

    As far as the next gen Taco is concerned, it probably won't share the 4Runner chassis. I remember reading that the new 4Runner chassis was developed exclusively for the 4Runner. I would, however, expect the Taco to be larger in its next incarnation. My complaint also was that it was too small.

    The new Tundra 4-door looks nice. How about that? It's not much bigger than the Dak, but is bigger on the inside and has a 6'-3" bed.
  • zonkzonk Posts: 208
    Guess I'll throw my two cents in on this. I have a 2001 QC Sport, 4.7L, auto, 3.55 with 17,500 miles on it. Gas mileage in town 13.5-15.5 mpg, mostly in the 14's, about equal numbers of 13.5's and 15.5's. Highway is 19+ mpg. Wish the mileage was more consistently in the 15 range in town. Love the looks and power, comfortable and enjoyable to drive. No problems so far, although my brakes do squeak and here lately have noticed a thunk (only sometimes) when it shifts into second, while driving at parking lot speeds. Only disappointing thing is a foot and a half scratch someone did to the rt rear door. I guess you can't keep anything nice these days. Best thing is my 7 year old grandson loves riding in it with me. Overall, very happy with it.
  • kjcdr1kjcdr1 Posts: 26
    regarding my (Ken) 2 year update. Sorry for the long delay as I am not a frequent visitor to this site--or any site. No walking to work and no driving there either -- now in full time retirement. Most of my trips in the Quad are fairly short which does reduce the gas milege--especially with the auto transmission.

      The mileage on the odometer stays low because I am an old Navy flyer. Taught my wife how to fly many years ago and most trips over 100 miles we do by air. It's safer.

      During the summer I do more frequent 50 mile one-way trips to get to the areas where I hunt woodchucks. That probably helps get the MPG average above the 15 level.

      The software change, update or whatever the dealer did at the 12K maintenance to get rid of the occasional transmission clunk has had a positive effect on the operation. There had also been some slight hesitation on the first start in the morning. This is also gone.

      Best regards to all. Ken
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