bargain banger for many motorway miles - mattL73

new job is going to result in about 20k miles pa - I don't want to use my family car as its too expensive to run like that and not what we bought it for - so looking for:

  • Something that does real world 45mpg plus
  • costs about £1k
  • only needs to last 2yrs - anything after that bonus or can go to the scrappy
  • reliable
  • cheap to insure and running costs
  • don't care if petrol or diesel
  • prefer mid size (focus, Leon, etc) but will settle for small (Fiesta, Ibiza) if that best option

Any thoughts besides that I'm looking for the impossible?

Anything to definietly steer clear of ?

Cheers Matt

bargain banger for many motorway miles - craig-pd130

If you can get a mid-2000s Focus 1.8 or 2.0 TDCI (NOT the 1.6) then that would fit the bill. No DPFs or complex EGRs to worry about, and they don't have the injector problems that the 1.6 versions suffer with.

If you can find a Leon or Octavia from the same era with the 1.9 PD TDI motor (either 105 or 130bhp) that would also work.

But be aware that you're buying a 10 to 12 year old car. It will have gremlins and you will need to spend money on keeping it going.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - gordonbennet

Kia Ceed, Hyundai i30 or almost anything from either of these makes, MItsubishi Lancer or Colt, Toyota Corolla Yaris, Honda Civic, anything not on the usual buyers radar, might be worth looking at Kia Magentis and Hyundai Sonata Diesels, bigger cars which might make more pleasant those miles.

Pay special attention to the MOT history before you do anything else, save yourself some wasted travelling, i personally avoid cars that have lived in Scotland or the north due to excess salt usage and the MOT history now gives where they were tested.

Avoidances, well any Diesel with a DPF, anything with an robotised manual gearbox no matter how many clutches it sports, electric parking brakes, but these are my personal lines in the sand, on another forum i use one of the poster's relations buys well looked after Toyota MMT (automated manual) gearboxed Corollas for pennies, cos no-one wants them, and if it packs up they seldom do just scraps it and does the same again.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - badbusdriver

Not asking for much are you?!.

Diesel choices mentioned could be great buys, but at the sort of age you'd be looking at, it's probably going to have mega miles.

I'd be thinking about something Japanese or Korean. GB has already mentioned the cee'd and i30, I'd also be looking at '01-'06 honda civic and '02-'07 Toyota corolla. The 1.4 or 1.6 petrol versions of both should manage 45mpg on the motorway and should be very reliable.

But of course, the age, and therefore condition, will make a big difference to what car would be best for you. An abused 10 year old corolla or civic could just as well be duffers!. Look for a privately owned car which has had long term owners and obviously been looked after.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - brum

For £1000 you are buying an old banger that will likely have reliabilty issues. Unless you know how to spot problems and sort them on a budget, ie you a good diy mechanic, then its high risk to expect 20k pa motorway without grief. A motorway is an expensive place to break down.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - Gibbo_Wirral

Peugeot 406

bargain banger for many motorway miles - JEREMYH

Thats what I was thinking aboslutly bullet proof I love working on the 2.0 HDI engine and have done a couple of cambelts

bargain banger for many motorway miles - SLO76
When buying on a £1k budget simplicity is best. Basic normally asperated petrol engines and a manual gearbox. Forget premium badge motors and buy on condition over anything else.

Suggestions with their approximate real world economy based on mostly motorway usage.

Vauxhall Astra G 1.6 8v, 40mpg. Tough and simple with a non-interference engine so it's no disaster if the timing belt fails. Decent cars available from £500 and the best of the best are £1,000. Good high speed stability and cheap for parts. The 1.7 Isuzu diesel is a good cheap diesel if you can find a good one but most have interstellar mileages and have been abused by owners running them on peanut budgets. Only buy the diesel if it comes with a good service history.

Astra H 1.6 16v, 40mpg. As above but not quite as well made plus the 16v engines will be destroyed by a belt failure which is due at 100k or 10yrs so price it in of its not been done already. Good cars start at £1,000 but decent 1.7 diesels are hard to come by at this money. Avoid the Fiat 1.3 & 1.9 diesels at this money, they suffer loads of problems.

Honda Civic 1.6 7th gen 01-05, 45mpg. Very robust and practical. Strong VTEC motor that'll run and run if looked after. Faster and more economical than the Astra. Watch for worn gearbox bearings, thrust bearings, steering racks and slipping clutches. Otherwise very long lived. Rare 1.7 Isuzu diesel is a good bet if you can find one in good order, it's the same motor as the Astra and fit for 250k with care. But the petrol is good enough on juice for most.

Mitsubishi Carisma 1.6. 40mpg, loads of room and buttons to buy. The old Renault 1.9 diesel is pretty robust too surprisingly but most are wrecks now. I ran one I took as a part ex for a year without a single fault and it did 50mpg with a reasonable right foot, 45mpg if you're always late. Don't touch the 1.8 GDi though!

Toyota Corolla 1.6, 40mpg. Tough as they get. There's also a 2.0 diesel that'll run to 250k with care but be wary most again have been ruined by penny pinching owners. Avensis can be a good bet but the early 1.8 VVT's are known for burning oil and most 2.0 diesels will have massive mileages and likely have been taxis.

Peugeot 406 2.0 HDi can be a great cheap motorway wagon if you can find a good one. This engine is a legend among the taxi trade and can do 1m miles if looked after. I've flogged E7 hackneys with 400k upwards and in good order and know of one with well over 800k before it was retired and it was still running. As with all old French motors though electrics are a pain.

I'd normally suggest a Mk II Focus 1.6 or a Mazda 3 1.6 as worthies at this sort of money but both struggle to better 35mpg day to day. The diesels are more bother than they're worth.

If you want us to have a look for some options near you then let me know where roughly in the country you are.

Edited by SLO76 on 09/10/2017 at 14:15

bargain banger for many motorway miles - mattL73

I live in SW London - so looking on AutoTrader within 50miles or so

bargain banger for many motorway miles - SLO76

I live in SW London - so looking on AutoTrader within 50miles or so

Spotted a few worthy of a look. I haven't looked up the Mot history on any of them so do your research on any that appeal. Auto Trader: www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170930983...3 Auto Trader: www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20171009012...2 Looks a winner this... Auto Trader: www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170915933...3 Auto Trader: www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20171003992...0 Auto Trader: www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20171009011...9

Edited by SLO76 on 09/10/2017 at 21:53

bargain banger for many motorway miles - mattL73

You sir are an absolute Gent

bargain banger for many motorway miles - SLO76

You sir are an absolute Gent

Happy to help.
bargain banger for many motorway miles - Andrew-T

Impossible question to answer. At that price level there will be a few good ones but lots of poor ones, and none of them with any kind of solid warranty. All you can do is follow SLO's advice and try to locate the best.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - mattL73

Thanks chaps - really blown away by the responses

2 quick questions from me then:

  • why do so many people say steer clear of old diesels. I thought diesels were the work horses that lasted for 500k miles without breaking sweat?
  • what about peugeot 207's or Renault Clios?
bargain banger for many motorway miles - SLO76

Thanks chaps - really blown away by the responses

2 quick questions from me then:

  • why do so many people say steer clear of old diesels. I thought diesels were the work horses that lasted for 500k miles without breaking sweat?
  • what about peugeot 207's or Renault Clios?

Diesels are much more complex and thus there's more that can and likely will go wrong. They also tend to have higher mileages and also the bulk of people buy them to save money and then scrimp on servicing which these more complex engines don't take kindly to. The days of the simple old bombproof non-turbo diesel motor are long gone sadly, they are in general far less reliable than petrol equivalents. French cars are fairly trouble prone as they age thus the exclusion of the Clio or 207. But that said there's an argument in favour of a well looked after base model 1.4 8v 207 as a cheap runabout. They're not brilliant on fuel for a small car though. I'd leave the diesels, the 1.6 is notorious and the 1.4 sluggish and £1k won't get you a good one. Don't touch the VTi petrols either, it's not a good engine. The Clio is mechanically fairly robust if you can find one that's been looked after but most buy them because they're cheap then don't service them at all. Almost ever one I've been offered has zero history or any sign of regular maintenance. Timing belts snap early on so again it's a must to fit a new one if there's no proof it's been done. Mk II's are known for the bonnet latches failing on poorly maintained cars too which can result in the bonnet flipping up at speed causing a hell of a shock and the high likelihood of an accident. Mk III's are better made but still a bit brittle regarding trim etc. I'd sooner buy a 1.25 Fiesta which uses a Yamaha designed motor. Very tough little engines and great fun to drive but not that great on fuel for a small car with 40mpg probably all you'll get. The timing belt is due at 8yrs or 100k but they're not prone to failure. I'd still do it if you intend on pounding motorways though if there's no proof it's been done already.
bargain banger for many motorway miles - SLO76
Strange the software on here doesn't let you post in paragraphs when using the quote previous message option... I'm not just being lazy.
bargain banger for many motorway miles - gordonbennet

Older Diesels are alright if you choose the right one, and its been maintained well and driven with mechanical sympathy and you continue that tlc.

They've gained bad reputations because IMHO some maker's idea of servicing is not going to give the vehicle the best chance of a long life, this applies to some petrols too of course.

Then as said you have owners who haven't the foggiest idea of what decent servicing entails, and wouldn't give a thought to treating the turbo well for a long life.

Not forgetting the EGR valve problems, which some German cars in particular throw up regularly, sited in stupid places in cars not designed with repair in mind so this job alone can be near enough a 4 figure sum to renew, the maker concerned normally reverting to type and only after an outcry or the recent scandal appearing to be in the slightest interested in its customers.

Don't mention DPF's, another world of trouble, Mazda anyone?

Cambelts versus cam chains, belt needs to be changed on or before time, and you have little way of knowing (at this budget) if the kit was full, the water pump if cambelt driven was changed or if the kit was decent quality or some third rate £20 belt only from the local accessory shop with everything else re-used.

Chains are supposed to last longer but some designs require a new chain at x miles, as some Merc owners have found to their cost when the MItsi engines fitted with a single chain require replacement at around 80k miles IIRC, and if people follow the minimal servicing specified and/or allow the oil level to drop then a chain and its tensioner/guides will suffer on all makes.

This is one of several aspects many people don't investigate properly, a chain will more than likely cost big money to change, cambelts can vary between about £220 (80 if you diy, one hour) for a Toyota 3.0 d4d, one of the easiest cambelt changes i've seen and done, or the job can be getting on for 4 figures for complicated designs with £500 belt changes quite common.

I cannot for life of me work out why cambelts have to drive water pumps, cambelts following tortuous routes and driving far too many things, the cambelt if properly designed has one purpose, to drive the camshaft(s), there is no earthy reason why it shouldn't be doing that alone, a water pump will happily do its job driven off the auxilliary belt and if it seizes or the bearing falls apart all it does is spring a leak and possibly chucks the aux belt off, leaving the cambelt untouched....my verdict..vote with feet, don't buy into vehicles designed to last little longer than the warranty period.

Edited by gordonbennet on 09/10/2017 at 15:56

bargain banger for many motorway miles - Avant

"Strange the software on here doesn't let you post in paragraphs when using the quote previous message option... I'm not just being lazy."

Certainly strange, as that's not a problem on my computer.

It makes one think - we put up with cussedness, obstinacy and sheer stupidity from software designers on our desktops and laptops which would be unacceptable in cars. A 1930s to 1950s sidevalve Ford started more quickly from cold than Windows does.

Fortunately the electronics in most of our cars are comparatively reliable.

Good luck with your search Matt - remember that at this budget level condition matters much more than make or model. That said, you've a better chance of gettng a good one if you look for a petrol Toyota, Honda or Mazda, and the advantage of Fords is there are a lot of the around to choose from.

As well as Autotrader, have a look at Cars for Sale on this website.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - SLO76
""Strange the software on here doesn't let you post in paragraphs when using the quote previous message option... I'm not just being lazy."

Certainly strange, as that's not a problem on my computer.

Must be iPhone related. I'm rarely on my laptop.
bargain banger for many motorway miles - Engineer Andy
""Strange the software on here doesn't let you post in paragraphs when using the quote previous message option... I'm not just being lazy." Certainly strange, as that's not a problem on my computer. Must be iPhone related. I'm rarely on my laptop.

That thing is an issue for me if and when I post comments to HJ's Saturday Agony collumn. Normally pressing the return key automatically adds a line spacing, but on those pages it never does for me anyway (whether I use my PC [Firefox on Win7] or tablet [Firefox on Android]). It tries to correct itself if I edit a post, sometimes, not all the time. Rarely an issue on the main Back Room pages, but occasionally.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - mattL73

thanks for this - certainly learning something today

bargain banger for many motorway miles - Andrew-T
  • what about peugeot 207's or Renault Clios?

I keep mentioning the diesel 207 SW I have owned since Christmas 2008. It hasn't done heavy miles (67K on the clock now) but it has never needed any unexpected work, just tyres, discs and pads. It has no DPF (just too old) which may have avoided some trouble. So it may be possible to find a pre-2008 model to fit your bill.

60+ mpg over 9 years.

Edited by Andrew-T on 09/10/2017 at 17:00

bargain banger for many motorway miles - Engineer Andy
  • what about peugeot 207's or Renault Clios?

I keep mentioning the diesel 207 SW I have owned since Christmas 2008. It hasn't done heavy miles (67K on the clock now) but it has never needed any unexpected work, just tyres, discs and pads. It has no DPF (just too old) which may have avoided some trouble. So it may be possible to find a pre-2008 model to fit your bill.

60+ mpg over 9 years.

Lucky you. The problem, as SLO says, that without definitive proof of a full service history and having no serious repairs (especially if the owner covers it up), there's a good chance the OP could be buying a proverbial money pit. Most really old diesels that were hardy are now, in my view end of life vehicles and could eaily fail for other reasons (even if the engine is still ok) due to age.

The OPs best way of getting an older car with an honest FSH is from a trusted friend, colleague or relative who they can vouch for (they may have, like me, a file full of all the car's receipts and service records), including that it was driven sympatheitcally, serviced as per the manufacturer's requrements or better (I would avoid ANY car on a 'extended mileage' service plan as many Euro makes have done over the last 10 years), and had fixed any MOT advisories well before the next one.

In my view, never trust the opinion of a 'friend' (anyone really) who drives like an F1 driver/maniac, and/or has lots of accidents/pts on the licence and/or a long line of MOT failures, especially on obvious safety-related items such as bald tyres. I used to work with a guy who only had fixed problems on his car if they became MOT failures. Needless to say I was the one volunteering to drive us to a site meeting in my car when travelling together.

I agree that for cars with relatively unknown histories, except MOTs and when the car was serviced (they can check with the dealerships if they are lucky), then its best to stay with a basic NA petrol driven car. If the OP does drive with a light right foot and is going to be doing mostly motorway miles, then he could, like me, get 40mpg out of a 1.6 Mazda3 petrol engined car...just (I get 40.5 - 41 ave even though its now 11yo, though admitedly its only done 62k miles).

bargain banger for many motorway miles - pd

I wouldn't totally rule out the French stuff. You can get 407s for nothing these days and they're not great cars but good motorway cruisers.

A 2.0 hdi is still quite a decent old bus. Main issues are rattling dual mass flywheels so check carefully I'd buying. Engines are usually ok and will do 50mpg. Egr Can be blanked off if they play up. Front ball joints are weak and need regular replacement.

Avoid a 1.6 as they're not more economical and a less reliable engine.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - pd

Just to add on history it is important but the most important thing is the condition at point of purchase.

It can have 28 stamps in the book and never an advisory but if it's been sold because a major fault has just cropped up you should avoid it.

You can never buy a cheap car on paper just looking at paperwork. The most important thing is what is wrong right here right now and what maintenance is imminent.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - argybargy

Old diesels are horrible; they stink and along with US and Chinese CO emissions they're killing the planet (though not the elephants). So please don't buy one.

Get a petrol Fiesta: not complicated, so likely to be an easyish, cheap fix which doesn't keep you off the road for too long if anything short of the catastrophic DOES go wrong.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - Metropolis.
Old diesels whilst often undefined can be good for upwards
of 500k miles before rebuild. Running one of those has got
to be better than buying a new car so far as saving the world goes.
With that said, what a car allegedly does or doesn't
to the planet has to be the most irrelevant factor
ever suggested. Who cares!
bargain banger for many motorway miles - argybargy

You can smell an old diesel a mile off. 500k miles of spewing out stinking filth...yeah, great recommendation.

Round here most of the minicabs are diesels, a mix of Mondeos and Rovers. Horrible, filthy things, and driving behind them for any length of time is like wearing a space helmet full of smog.

As for saving the planet, plenty of car manufacturers have got themselves in serious bother trying to make out that they're doing just that, so they acknowledge that car buyers care, even if you don't.

And I care too, so for me, no diesels, and hopefully not for the OP either.

Edited by argybargy on 09/10/2017 at 20:19

bargain banger for many motorway miles - JEREMYH

The OP never said he wanted to save the planet . He wont make any difference on his own so if he buys a car that is legal I dont care how much smog he spews out

bargain banger for many motorway miles - argybargy

The OP never said he wanted to save the planet . He wont make any difference on his own so if he buys a car that is legal I dont care how much smog he spews out

Well, I suppose we could employ that same logic in lots of other ways. For example, "I'll just throw this litter on the floor because a little bit of litter won't wreck the planet. Oh hang on, a billion other people are thinking the same thing, and now the world is knee deep in rubbish".

How good a diesel can you get for a grand--seriously? Something state of the art which, although the emissions might have been faked, isn't going to make much difference to the quality of the air we breathe? Or a stinking old rattle trap that goes on forever but pumps out toxic filth every day of its smelly old life?

I've always bought petrol. Some of those cars haven't been very good, but they've been bad buys because I've bought in the rain, not done my research, hankered after that marque too much to check the car over properly before buying, etc etc. They haven't ever been "bad cars" because they're petrol. I avoid diesel because for me, cheap diesel cars means mucky air. The presence of an old diesel is always, in my experience, heralded by an unpleasant niff. And I don't want to add to that.

I hope the OP doesn't either, but yes, his choice.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - focussed

The OP never said he wanted to save the planet . He wont make any difference on his own so if he buys a car that is legal I dont care how much smog he spews out

Well, I suppose we could employ that same logic in lots of other ways. For example, "I'll just throw this litter on the floor because a little bit of litter won't wreck the planet. Oh hang on, a billion other people are thinking the same thing, and now the world is knee deep in rubbish".

How good a diesel can you get for a grand--seriously? Something state of the art which, although the emissions might have been faked, isn't going to make much difference to the quality of the air we breathe? Or a stinking old rattle trap that goes on forever but pumps out toxic filth every day of its smelly old life?

I've always bought petrol. Some of those cars haven't been very good, but they've been bad buys because I've bought in the rain, not done my research, hankered after that marque too much to check the car over properly before buying, etc etc. They haven't ever been "bad cars" because they're petrol. I avoid diesel because for me, cheap diesel cars means mucky air. The presence of an old diesel is always, in my experience, heralded by an unpleasant niff. And I don't want to add to that.

I hope the OP doesn't either, but yes, his choice.

I hope you realise that while you are huffing and puffing about diesels you are chuffing out cubic metres of CO2 from one end of you and methane from the other end so a bit less of the holier-than-thou attitude from you will do nicely thank you.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - argybargy

The OP never said he wanted to save the planet . He wont make any difference on his own so if he buys a car that is legal I dont care how much smog he spews out

Well, I suppose we could employ that same logic in lots of other ways. For example, "I'll just throw this litter on the floor because a little bit of litter won't wreck the planet. Oh hang on, a billion other people are thinking the same thing, and now the world is knee deep in rubbish".

How good a diesel can you get for a grand--seriously? Something state of the art which, although the emissions might have been faked, isn't going to make much difference to the quality of the air we breathe? Or a stinking old rattle trap that goes on forever but pumps out toxic filth every day of its smelly old life?

I've always bought petrol. Some of those cars haven't been very good, but they've been bad buys because I've bought in the rain, not done my research, hankered after that marque too much to check the car over properly before buying, etc etc. They haven't ever been "bad cars" because they're petrol. I avoid diesel because for me, cheap diesel cars means mucky air. The presence of an old diesel is always, in my experience, heralded by an unpleasant niff. And I don't want to add to that.

I hope the OP doesn't either, but yes, his choice.

I hope you realise that while you are huffing and puffing about diesels you are chuffing out cubic metres of CO2 from one end of you and methane from the other end so a bit less of the holier-than-thou attitude from you will do nicely thank you.

Last time I checked, this forum was open to all opinions, as long as they didn't break any of the rules as stated above. I haven't attacked a person, but just a machine. A machine I don't particularly like or rate. Nobody has come to any serious harm as a result of my comments, and the sensible posters, of whom there are many, have just ignored them.

Only the fragile of temperament, it seems, have found it necessary to come to the aid of old diesels on this thread.

If you have one of those stinking old diesels and you're piqued by my comments, then I'm truly sorry for you, but not sorry for saying that I don't like them. After all, its an internet forum, and not real life.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - Big John

Must admit I've been impressed with my lift-share's Peugeot 207 (2009) 1.4 diesel. It's quiet , comfortable and very economical in real life (62-65mpg) . He's had it from new and has had very few issues (now abaout 130k miles). It is not fitted with a DPF (they didn't fit DPF's until about 2010). The only issue is setting off from a roundabout there is some turbo lag but it pulls reasonably once turbo is spinning.

There are quite a few of these on Autotrader within your budget.

I'm also a fan of the VAG 1.9pd diesel having had one in my previous 2003 Skoda Superb I (greeeaaat car) that did 50mpg all day long (Still going strong with it's new owner at nearly 200k miles)

I still have a Skoda Octavia 2001 1.416v petrol which has also been generally reliable (Catalyst rusted through at just over 100k miles and clutch needed changin at 120k miles) and the body is pretty rust free. This does about 43.5 mpg on a run

I've been doing highish mileages (currently about 15k miles /year) since 1989 so I've tred many permutations and combinations. Currently running a 2014 Skoda Superb 1.4tsi petrol (average mpg over two years 45.9)

WORD OF WARNING - With your budget of £1k and doing 20k miles a year , servicing and repair costs could (and probably will) eclipse your original budget. Condition, service history and simplicity important and check on the price of tyres!

Edited by Big John on 09/10/2017 at 21:50

bargain banger for many motorway miles - gordonbennet

I agree with BIg John, the 1.4 is not the bundle of hell that the 1.6 hdi is.

I had a colleague who used to travel a long commute, he was running that engine in a little Citroen C2, which he maintained impeccably, totally reliable and regularly saw 70mpg, it had covered well over 150k when i last worked there.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - Big John

To clarify - they didn't fit DPF's to the 1.4 207 until late but DPF's were fitted to bigger engines before then

bargain banger for many motorway miles - blindspot

vw polo 1.9 sdi 2004

bargain banger for many motorway miles - mattL73

Thanks with all the help and advice guys. Now I've got some legwork to do and calls to be making.

As for saving the planet - yep we all need to do a little bit better

bargain banger for many motorway miles - craig-pd130

Thanks with all the help and advice guys. Now I've got some legwork to do and calls to be making.

One thing that could be worth bearing in mind - a car that's a size above what you're looking for is often cheaper to buy. That is, a 2005 Mondeo will often cost less than a Focus of the same year and mileage, but will be pretty much the same in terms of performance and economy.

Go into it with an open mind and assess each car in terms of its condition and history. There are genuine, cheap cars that have been well maintained and cared for by owners.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - barney100

Mate of mine buys cheap cars to put his work kit in, lawn mowers, building stuff etc. Paid £500 for a Meriva which lasted 18 months with little done to it and the cureent one is a Merc E class estate for about the same amount, 10 months , all ok so far. I'd look Japanese, Toyota models would be a good start.

bargain banger for many motorway miles - madf

Mark 1 Yaris 1.3.

Lots of well serviced low miles ones.

Tough as boots if looked after..

Tyre costs are a consideration .. you will need at least 1 full set in two years... So £300 plus.. (cheap nasties are to be avoided)

bargain banger for many motorway miles - kiss (keep it simple)

Mazda6 goes for next to nothing second hand. Get a petrol one and check underneath for rust. Sold mine last year with 160k and all was running smoothly. Always refer to MOT history website, it tells you a lot.

 

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