Land Rover Defenders

Submitted: Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 16:04
ThreadID: 132777 Views:2537 Replies:15 FollowUps:28
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To recent Land Dover Defender owners, or former owners, have the reliability issues being fixed.

I had a Land Rover series 3 about 35 years ago, the damm thing leaked oil, the doors opened at 80kmph, it was noisy as hell, hot in summer, cold in winter, gutless and just about sent me broke. Since then I have sworn off them and been among the first to lineup with Land Rover jokes.

BUT........ something deep inside me is telling me to get a defender...

I REALLY don't want to start a LR bashing session so it would be nice to only have people with first person ( not friend of friend) experiences with them. Fat chance on EO I know.

What is the earliest year for a really reliable Defender. and what are the models.

PUMA??

Thanks in advance.
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Reply By: TomH - Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 16:11

Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 16:11
2018 Hopefully Sorry couldnt resist.
AnswerID: 601467

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 20:18

Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 20:18
I knew I was going to struggle keeping this on track LOL
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 09:39

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 09:39
Except that the very last Defender was built in February 2016.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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Reply By: garrycol - Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 16:19

Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 16:19
What reliability issues??

When you were describing your old series 3 I initially thought you were talking about a Toyota 79 series V8.

Defenders have always been reliable - so anything from when they were first released in the early 90s.
AnswerID: 601468

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 17:25

Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 17:25
Let the Games begin. LOL
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Gronk - Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 19:48

Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 19:48
Defenders have always been reliable


Ha ha......reminded me of a few people who used to own Triumph motorcycles in the 70's....if you got one that didn't leak oil you went back to the dealer and asked what was wrong with it !!!!
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Reply By: Member - Geoff B (NSW) - Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 17:46

Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 17:46
Have owned both a Series IIA and County 110 and neither ever left me stranded but both required constant attention, maintenance and sorting out niggling issues and the occasional more expensive repair. Once small kids came along I decided it wasn't worth it.
In terms of reliability its chalk and cheese with the 3 Toyotas I've owned.
But I get the deep longing. The County 110 regularly went places with relative ease where the lifted & locked mob were struggling.
But personally I'm still at the "never again" ... we'll see ...
AnswerID: 601471

Reply By: wendys - Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 18:18

Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 18:18
Had a 96 Tdi Defender wagon from new. Sold it in 2012 with 350,000kms done. A third of those kms were towing van. Was very reliable - and in some pretty rough places. Not dustproof. Once we got used to the rather cramped sensation - more apparent than real - it was much more comfortable to travel in than our previous Hilux. Sold it because our vanning days were over and it was time to get a "city" car. Our biggest problem was finding competent mechanics - gave up on the dealer service departments and were lucky enough to find a couple of ex-army mechanics who loved landrovers!
AnswerID: 601472

Reply By: Rangiephil - Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 20:16

Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 20:16
I recommend that you go to the AULRO forum and ask the question.
Unlike many forums, you will get some honest answers along with the usual hyperbole. ( or Hyper bowl If your name is Gillard)

Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 601481

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 20:22

Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 20:22
Yeah I know it was going to be a challenge. And as a past owner I have probably been one of the nay sayers.

I was naively hoping for some owner feedback

Thanks Phil, I'll try AULRO. I'm a member already as it has some great navigation posts.

I may have to take the piss out of myself if I go down this path.





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Follow Up By: Shaker - Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 20:45

Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 20:45
If they weren't any good, they wouldn't hold their resale value so well

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Follow Up By: wendys - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 17:16

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 17:16
We were very surprised by the price we got for ours - about double what we'd initially thought! I think being one of the last models before modern electronics were brought in, had something to do with it.
Reading the comments on here brings back memories - yes, we did have one persistent leak (onto passenger's foot) that no-one could ever fix.
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 20:54

Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 20:54
Reliabilty for all Land Rovers took a leap forward in 2006 when Ford bought them. They started using more engines and gearboxes that were common across a wider range of brands. I don't have a Defender but the build quality and reliability of my Land Rover has been first class.
AnswerID: 601484

Reply By: Tim Owen - Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 22:06

Friday, Jun 17, 2016 at 22:06
I have 2 defenders, a 1997 300tdi (with 350k on clock) and 1999 td5 (with 80k on clock) - both 130 dual cabs. They are reliable ...

they reliably let water drip on my foot when it rains,

they are reliably noisy, but

they reliably get me where I want to go, and

driving them reliably puts a smile on my face.

It is particularly pleasing when you get a big wave, or someone from the Landrover community is generous with their advice, loans you that special tool you'll only need once, or gives you a part your chasing - just cause they happened to have one. You simply don't get that experience of being part of a community with other makes (other than pre 1976 volkswagons)

I agree with the comments about finding landrover friendly independent mechanics, they are reliably hard to find in the country. But (touch wood) I haven't needed one for a few years - diy regular basic servicing. Apple a day keeps the doctor away.
AnswerID: 601488

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 00:27

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 00:27
"You simply don't get that experience of being part of a community with other makes"

Try driving a 40 series then......
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 09:50

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 09:50
Jeep owners like to stick together as well........you never know when you will need more than one fire extinguisher lol
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Reply By: AlanTH - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 09:21

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 09:21
Reliability? Well my 2010 110 Defender has done a 160K and never missed a beat.
Yes it's well maintained but no more than most vehicles used to go remote.
Yes I've had upgraded axles fitted.
We've had a remap for towing...... certainly pulls the van so well it totally leaves the Prado we had for dead with much better fuel consumption as well.
My 4th Landie....3 Defenders and 1 Disco.
1 breakdown (reduced power from TPO) with a Td5 Deafener..... LRA did everything to get us back home including camper.
You'll get plenty of the "I had a mate who had one" stories but they're mostly fantasy.
We stopped at Quobba recently and the old bloke running the site couldn't wait to tell me about the fit of the body panels on his early 70s Rangie.....
Try one you may like it.
AlanH.

AnswerID: 601503

Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 11:05

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 11:05
Had three Defenders over the years, but must say enjoy my current vehicle as well.

My only complaint was having to drive with a raincoat on when it was raining ;)

Good luck with your deliberations...

Cheers, Baz
AnswerID: 601509

Follow Up By: equinox - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 18:59

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 18:59
haha Baz, "drive with a raincoat on"

Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.
"Outback Yonder"


Lifetime Member
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Reply By: ant_schomacker - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 17:49

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 17:49
I had a 2010 dual cab 130 for 3.5 years. The only issues I had I believe were dealer caused and we're certainly fixed by the dealer at no cost to me.
The first was a minor issue ( hose clamp not tightened properly) which allowed an intercooler hose to blow off 10 min after servicing.
The second would have cost a pretty penny as the front diff blew outside Tibooburra. Flat bed to broken hill and then trucked to Brisbane (my final destination for the trip) while I was given a hire car and sent on my way. Cause finally diagnosed as no oil in diff from service 3500km earlier.
All in all I was very happy with my defender, and would have happily kept it except my 4'0" wife didn't believe it was family friendly... I just think she was sick of using a ladder to get in and out ??
AnswerID: 601528

Reply By: axle - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 19:48

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 19:48
G/Day BooBook, ...Its all very simple,you have to hate and luv them at the same time!, end of story....Ive had a 96 130 TDI tray back for 17yrs, transmission, engine , diffs, all original, at 350,000ks. Its leaked oil from day one
and engine is a bit fumy now. they are a very high maitaintance vehicle and the same probs can surface regulary, model wise I don't think there is a lot of difference in reliability, but you must get to know your vehicle and only have someone that knows landrovers work on it. they are as tough as they are weak so be careful in heavy going with weight on . Oh !, and yes a rain coat and ear muffs are handy if your not used to them..lol....Happy landroving

Cheers Axle
AnswerID: 601535

Follow Up By: Steve - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 20:37

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 20:37
... Not to mention the lack of insulation that was so lacking you didn't need the heater on because there'd be plenty of heat coming through the floor- a bit of a problem in the warmer states and time of year because the air conditioning struggled to overcome this little oversight. Still, had some great times and I've never had a car off the factory floor that could go where my 130 took me.
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FollowupID: 871051

Follow Up By: garrycol - Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 20:46

Saturday, Jun 18, 2016 at 20:46
A Defender 110 or 90.
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Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 07:57

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 07:57
Boobook...

On a more serious note than my previous offering, my favourite of the three I owned was a TDi200 three door, and in fact being a "closet 'Fender lover" (still) I am on the look out for a similar version as I rue the day I sold it...

Um, please don't mention if to Mrs Landy, some things are just best left, well unsaid, till it arrives in the driveway!

You can read some more about the "Red Rover - Makeover here"

Ps: I've still got my raincoat, lying in waiting for another 'Fender...

Cheers, Baz

AnswerID: 601544

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 08:09

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 08:09
Thanks Baz. From what you say and based on feedback from others here and on Aulro, Owning a Defender seems to be a love relationship with a lot of forgiving involved.

That is definitely the way I look back at my old Series 3. I had great times in it and cut my teeth 4wding in it. But looking back it was definitely a love hate relationship. I don't know why I am even considering getting a Defender. I love my 200 and it has been a great touring vehicle. But I think about Defender, dismiss the the thought and move on. Then a month later see one and think " It would be nice to have one again". It was fun...

Perhaps if I had a jeep in the old days I would lust after one of them instead.

The thought of leaking seals, noise, sluggish performance but go anywhere capability is somehow appealing.

If I go down this path, I'm over crawling under cars looking for problems and leaks every weekend though. Hence seeking info on later models.




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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 08:14

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 08:14
Funny thing is what you describe could be me, on all counts!

Which is good, I will reference this thread for later use in my defence when Mrs Landy asks why is there a TDi200 in the driveway...

The, "it is a well known affliction defence!"

Cheers, Baz
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Follow Up By: AlanTH - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 09:08

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 09:08
Landies leak oil?.....never heard such a thing. :-)) Not the latest Landies anyway. The 300Tdi 110 certainly did but got that fixed at a place that went out of business when the boss died. Pity that as they were good.
No leaks from the 2010 Puma with 162K on the clock but did have1 leak on the Td5 from the fuel regulator but that was fixed under warranty.
Overall I'm happy with the Puma especially off road but that could change soon as I've had it for over 4 years and like to have a change just for the sake of it..... and doesn't the Cook give me heaps because of it. :-))
AlanH.
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 11:07

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 11:07
Landies and Rangies don't leak oil ...... they're just marking their territory.

And you can add old 40 series to that list. And raincoats ....

Mind you, at least the electrics on Tojo's worked reliably.

* puts on helmet for incoming mortar rounds *
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 11:16

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 11:16
The Lucas motto: "Get home before dark."

Lucas denies having invented darkness. But they still claim "sudden, unexpected darkness"

Lucas--inventor of the first intermittent wiper.

Lucas--inventor of the self-dimming headlamp.

The three-position Lucas switch--DIM, FLICKER and OFF.

The other three switch settings--SMOKE, SMOLDER and IGNITE.

Lucas dip-switch positions: LOW and BLOW (Bruce Miller, www.hermit.cc)

The original anti-theft devices--Lucas Electric products.
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FollowupID: 871073

Reply By: Michael H9 - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 09:29

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 09:29
You've only had 2 replies from owners of later model (2010) Defenders. Both report no inherant issues, one saying his diff issue was caused by the dealer and fixed for free. No mention of oil or water leaks in these models, both having done reasonable kms. If you buy a 20 year old car you will be under it all the time. So your answer is to buy one that is up to 5 years old and you won't need overalls or a raincoat but the car may lack the character you crave. Personally, I hate driving them, give me a Disco any day. And old things? No thanks. I'm old and not much works well on me anymore, why should a car be any different? :-)

AnswerID: 601553

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 10:08

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 10:08
I'm really surprised to see the price of post 2007 used Defenders. They must be the highest resale value of any vehicle right now.

Obviously I'm not alone.

The end of life nostalgia effect must be huge.
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 10:10

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 10:10
Yeah, true, but wouldn't that take the fun out of owning a Landrover?


Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 10:23

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 10:23
I'm not after TOO MUCH fun Baz.
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Reply By: garrycol - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 13:21

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 13:21
Boobook you keep referring back to your old series 3 but they have not been made for nearly 40 years so as far as modern Defenders are concerned the series 3 experienced are not all that relevant.

I also owned a series 3 and my experiences with it are not all that relevant to my current RRS.

The ergonomics etc of the newer Defenders are not the greatest but once you get used to them they are fine. Actually similar inside to a newer 79 series diesel V8 ute but you get A/c in the Defender.

People say you are cramped behind the drivers seat and that certainly the first impression but it grows on you and is certainly comfortable. They are a vehicle where first impressions are misleading and you need to live in one for a little while to gain the full experience.

The issue of water and dust ingression is a problem - hey look at the glass half full perspective - it lets out the water quicker.

For sure the engine is only half the size of a 79 series but in the real world on the road there is not a lot of difference as the 79 series V8 for its size is a low performance engine where the 2.2 Puma is a high performance engine for its size.

A Defender is not a replacement for a 200 series V8 - for outback touring the 200 will it in more comfort and easier - afterall they are a different class of vehicle. The Defender compares favourably with a 79 series.

Oh - I do not have a Defender but am familiar with them - I don't have a 79, or 200 series but my brother has had both so reasonably familiar with them - he got rid of his 79 series and upgraded to the 200 series as he was not happy with the low power of the 79 and its poor performance (for engine size - is about the same as my 2.7 diesel). I mention the 79 as on paper it is logical competitor to the Defender.

If you are able try and borrow a Defender and see how you go - but they are basic motoring that is very capable offroad and pretty good onroad as long as you are not in a hurry. I don't think your series 3 experiences are still relevant to the newer vehicles.

Personally I think the 79 series and the Defender are dinosaurs and should have been pensioned off years ago as I prefer a bit more comfort these days. However there is a popular following for both and they have great resale value.

Good luck

Garry
AnswerID: 601575

Follow Up By: AlanTH - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 19:01

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 19:01
Oh dear. Someone mentioned a 200 series... if I'd had as much trouble with a Landie as my boy had with his I wouldn't be driving a Landie now. No end of oil consumption probs and the transmission wouldn't work until it built up pressure after he'd been away for a week on site.
Dealer said it was high tech. and it was to be expected but couldn't answer why his 12 year old Rangie drove straight away after sitting for 3 months.
Toyota didn't want to know until legal action was threatened and they modified the engine and put a new transmission in.
Problems solved but it was off the road for 3 months while they did it. And that cost them 3 grand a month for the Pajero they lent him while it was fixed.
I'm thinking of flogging the Deafener but not because of reliability or oil leaks or water dripping on me.... but I really want to annoy the Cook before I'm too old to protect myself from her fury. :-)))
AlanH.
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FollowupID: 871111

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Jun 20, 2016 at 08:09

Monday, Jun 20, 2016 at 08:09
With all respect Alan, I'm not interested in friend of friend type stories of the Defender, let alone the 200 which I already own and love.
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FollowupID: 871134

Follow Up By: Shaker - Monday, Jun 20, 2016 at 09:50

Monday, Jun 20, 2016 at 09:50
It's hardly friend of a friend, you can't get much closer to home than a son!
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FollowupID: 871139

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Jun 20, 2016 at 10:29

Monday, Jun 20, 2016 at 10:29
Yeah I know. I use the term generically. I've even seen recent "son's vehicle" stories that were incorrect.







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FollowupID: 871145

Follow Up By: AlanTH - Monday, Jun 20, 2016 at 10:45

Monday, Jun 20, 2016 at 10:45
As someone else mentioned a 200 series I thought I'd put my bit in about the one I really know about... my sons. And there's no friend of friend stories from me about Defenders.
I've owned 3 (plus a Disco) and this latest I've had for over 4 years and it's now done 162K and has never missed a beat so I'm fairly well qualified to talk about them from a personal view point.
Like most Landie drivers I admit when I've had work done on it and not carry on about how bullet proof the thing is unlike many owners of other types of off road vehicle, when they definitely are not.
My point in telling of my sons vehicles problems was to point out that all vehicles can suffer from both design or workmanship faults irrespective of where they're made. As I said if I'd had that sort of trouble with a Landie I'd never have stuck with them.
You may well love yours and if it does what you want, stick with it.
AlanH
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FollowupID: 871147

Follow Up By: garrycol - Monday, Jun 20, 2016 at 12:42

Monday, Jun 20, 2016 at 12:42
The only reason I mentioned the 200 series is because I see Boobook already has one and I assumed that if a Defender was purchased it would be replacing the 200 for touring etc.

I don't like Toyota products and am Landrover through and through but I also know Toyotas as well. As said if there is nothing wrong with the 200 then for touring I would stay with it as it will be far more comfortable than the Defender - however if going proper offroad the Defender would be better.

That is the only reason the 200 series was mentioned.

Garry

Personally if I was BooBook and looking to replace the 200 series I would go the Disco 4 - better vehicle, drives better, better performance, bigger inside, smaller outside but he is not after information on these.

Garry
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FollowupID: 871155

Reply By: Member - Rosco from way back - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 18:42

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 18:42
OK BB ....

Had a 3.9 Izusu County in '87 for a few years.
Rock solid engine but the gearbox failed at 70K and was on the way out again when I traded it for a '94 TDI.

Didn't have it long enough to form an opinion.

Traded it for a '96 V8 Disco which was great but had a tad of a drinking problem (may have been my driving style). It had a most annoying trait with the MAF where it would decide it wouldn't start when you wanted it to. You could crank the bejesus out of it to no avail. Get out and walk around it swearing your bloody head off, get back in and it would start first time.

Traded it for a '03 TD5 Defender which cracked 2 heads.

Thought about a Puma but couldn't get my head around a 2.2l engine.

All in all a very competent piece of kit straight off the showroom floor and IMHO only surpassed by a current 79 series (which must have front and rear lockers).

But as you can see from my record, reliability is still not their strong suit (obviously can't comment on current as have not driven one. I've spoken with many who have one and they are happy, but then again I'm very happy with my current grunt machine which has similar consumption figures to all the diesels listed above).
AnswerID: 601598

Follow Up By: garrycol - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 19:02

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 19:02
I owned 2 3.9 V8 Discos - yep your driving style. I averages 13.5 l/100km - better than the Jap crap petrol equivalents.

Your starting issue was not the MAF but the ignition module - they developed dry joints in the circuit after a couple of years - easily fixed with a $85 part.
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FollowupID: 871112

Follow Up By: Member - Rosco from way back - Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 19:15

Sunday, Jun 19, 2016 at 19:15
PS

Ride ............ the 79 is far far far far far far far far far behind the old Deefer
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FollowupID: 871114

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