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My "Heartbreaking" First Gen Buying Story.

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Old 03-21-2013, 11:34 AM   #1
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My "Heartbreaking" First Gen Buying Story.

I've been a long-time lurker but this is my first post. I always planned on becoming an "official" member once I got my Tacoma, but this seems like a good story for a first post. So hello everyone, and I look forward to meeting some cool people and getting some great advice on these forums. Now to the story (I hope this is the right forum for this, don't want my 1st impressions to be a "wrong forum" poster haha):

I've wanted a Tacoma for a LONG time, years and years now. Previously finances were an issue, and lately it's been finding the right one. My budget is around $14,000 (not counting whatever the interest/etc tacks on) so right there I'm already fairly limited in my search because these things are EXPENSIVE lol. It's not a bad thing though, as I'm a huge fan of the first gens anyway. So anyway, I've been SERIOUSLY searching (like ready to buy instead of just browsing) for about 8 months now and it's been a struggle. First, I'm in Rhode Island, and on a small island at that, so I don't have a lot of dealers around to search, so even finding them to begin with has been tough. I've used all the websites, like Auto Trader, Cars, Carmax, CarFinder, and even CraigsList and eBay, and I search all of them every few days (it's becoming quite tedious and frustrating to be honest haha). Seems like there's always SOMETHING "wrong" with the ones I find in my budget. Either it'a the wrong color, transmission, cab, or trim. I can't even tell you how many times I've Foud what seems like the perfect truck and then there's a feature I want that's missing. And let's face it, if you're gonna pay $250-300+/mo for a vehicle payment you want to get exactly what you want. The WORST is when I find the right color and everything and then the very last thing I see is an interior pic with manual windows....power windows are an import feature (annoying leaning across seats to roll down other windows when driving solo, plus, it's 2013, manual windows seem ancient).

So that brings me to the last couple of days. The Toyota dealer on my island, 5mins from my house, just got a 2003 TRD Access. It's silver, Auto, 6cyl, TRD, SR5, clean CarFax, 2 previous owners both from Virginia, so this truck hasn't spent 10yrs on the salty nastiness that is winter roads in the Northeast (especially key when you consider the Toyota frame recall on 1st gens). The best part? 73,000miles! This thing was MINT. I saw it Monday driving home but they were closed and it was dark so I didn't stop. Tuesday we had another winter storm so I also didn't get to go buy, but I had been in email correspondence with one of the saleswomen there and was going in today to test drive it. Well leaving work around 5pm yesterday it was nice out so I decided to just swing by and check it out in person. I didn't have time for a test drive or any applications for financing but the plan was to offer a $500 deposit to "hold" it for a day so nobody scooped it up before I could get there to spend some time with it. I pulled in lot and the spot it was parked was empty, but it was just there around 1pm when I drove past for work. I figured maybe someone was testing it already. Then I saw it on side of building, by service area. So I go look at it, and I have never seen a nicer 1st gen. Not a spot, scrape, scratch, ding or anything on exterior or inside, and the underside/frame looked brand new, almost like it hadn't even been driven. I went in and talked to the lady id been emailing te day before, and she told me it sold 3hrs ago.......

I felt like CRAP (still do, hence the novel of a first post venting about it lol). Here I've been searching for almost a year, and this one is every single feature and spec I want, and immaculate condition, and 5mins from my house (I've driven as much as 2hrs away (so 4hrs round trip) to look at Tacos, which is crappy when they turn out to not be what you want haha, and I missed it by HOURS, literally hours. THAT is a swift kick in the nuts lol. I've actualy felt sick about it, as I know finding low mileage 1st gens in great condition is extremely hard. The truck was valued at $1,344 ABOVE Kelly Blue Book value (according to CarFax), and the dealer had it listed for $400 under KBB.

So that's my story, does anyone else have any stories to share about their own Taco search? Was it this hard for all you 1st Gen owners on here to find yours (recently anyway, as I'm sure a few years ago they were a lot easier to find)?

TL;DR - I just found my dream Taco 2 days ago, at a certified Toyota dealer 5 mins fm my house, and it was showroom-mint condition, and someone bought it 3hrs before I was able to get to the dealer to drive it and do the financing application, and that still has me pretty upset almost 24hrs later, can't stop thinking about it. Anyone care to share their Taco hunt stories, is it this hard for all 1st-GENers to find the truck they want nowadays (given that 2nd Gen has been out for almost 10yrs now?
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:41 AM   #2
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shitty but you gotta jump fast. they go quick!
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:49 AM   #4
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have you looked at all these
http://www.motortrend.com/used_cars/...rice=&toPrice=
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:49 AM   #5
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Desirable vehicles in good condition go fast. Especially Hondas and Toyotas. You should have taken time off work, or a long lunch hour. I also looked for a Tacoma with just the right features, and it took me 8 months. I don't go to dealers because I didn't want to get ripped off. All on Craigslist. I saw the truck in the ad, called about 1 hour after it was posted, immediately went down to look at it, and bought it. His phone was ringing off the hook the whole time I was there, so I didn't try to bargain. I paid $7000 for a low-mileage 99.

Same thing happened when I sold my 91 Honda Civic hatchback. Put the ad on CL around 9am, got a response within 2 hours, met the person an hour later, and it was gone by noon. Got many more responses for days.

He who hesitates .....
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fouillard13 View Post
shitty but you gotta jump fast. they go quick!
Yeah, so I'm learning lol. That's not the first time one has been snatched away, a few months back there was a black 04 TRD with 102k and also in great shape but it was in Cape Cod, Mass (which is about an hr and 45 mins away) so I had to wait til Saturday, and it sold Friday (thank god I called to double check first, saved the drive lol). That one I was just like "damn, that suck", and that was it. But this one, man, I don't know why it's bothering me so much haha.

Are there any other good resources for searching for used vehicles? Anything else out there to broaden my search horizons?

I'm looking for an 02-04 access cab, would like TRD but not a must, 4x4 IS a must, obviously in good condition and lower miles the better, with power everything and either black or silver.

I'd also love an 07-08 but those are like $20,000+ for features I want, and that's not gonna work for my budget right now. The plan was this truck, and given that it's such good condition it wouldve still had high resell value after the 4-5yr loan, so if I wanted to upgrade to an 07/08 I'd have a decent trade value. The dealer trade value on this particular 03 was $10,700, private value was $14,300, according to KBB, which is awesome for a 10yr old truck. Itd probabaly still be around $6,000 after the loan ended, even more to privately sell.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:53 AM   #7
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I just finally got mine this month. My dad worked as a sales manager at a Toyota dealership and I have been telling to keep his eye out for "the truck" to come in. "The truck" was a silver, double cab, V6 auto, TRD Prerunner in great condition.

Well, after 3 years he finally got an 03 in really good shape with 113k on the clock that was owned by a guy who was METICULOUS about maintenence and has dealer receipts for everything. He was wanting to trade it in on a new Tacoma. I ended up buying it straight from him for the price the dealer offered him as trade in plus the tax savings he would have gotten.

Took forever to find a good one, but I am really happy with it (except for the stock bucket seats... they suck. Especially compared to my 05 4Runner seats).
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:13 PM   #8
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1st Gens and Toyotas in general that are clean never stay in the lot long. If we every drive any of ours into a dealer they pretty much rape you to try and have you trade it in.
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:23 PM   #9
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Another thing you'll notice is a lot of us first generation guys once we pay off our trucks we tend to hang on to them for awhile. I paid off my 03 off last year and as much as I would love to be in a 2o12 Tundra, I just can't seam to part with this truck it's been bullet proof. Surprisingly I get random people asking me at least once a week about it just random in parking lots and at work. I have even gotten asked if I wanted to sell it a few times and of course I'm like he'll no but still nice to see a truck this old has so much notoriety and solid reputation.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:07 PM   #10
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Well the only reason I have been searching dealers is because I need to finance, so I didn't know how CraigsList would work for me, not to mention given that I'm in the smallest state, on a small island, my "local results" for CL are lacking, which is where the long drives come in. Also, dealer-wise, at least the ones like certified dealers and not the sketchy small ones that "garauntee financing" by having astronomically high APRs, always seemed "safer" to me because I know the vehicles are gone through, and usually there are decent warranties. I'm not a mechanic, nor do i know a bunch about it (I know the general stuff, but IDK specifics to look for) so the private sale stuff has always ha me cautious, especially the far away ones, because I can't just take it to my mechanic to have him check.

As far as taking less features now and adding them later, that's not really possible since the features not adding up are like manual transmission or no power windows/doors, so I don't want to buy a truck then try to convert from 2WD, or change the transmission, and I'm sure making windows/doors power when they aren't probabaly costs some money. And I can't really put LESS miles on a truck if one has more than I'd want haha, so aside from the TRD package, there arent really any options that I could sacrifice now and add later on. Maybe color, cause I have found a fair amount that I have liked but it ends up being color is the deal breaker. Most are that green color, or white, which I'm not a fan of, or the bright red, which I absolutely don't want. How much does it costs to reliant a vehicle, like properly done, not a cheap Maco job lol? More than a few times I've passed on one because of the color, which may seem trivial, but again, it goes back to "if I'm paying that much, I want to make sure it's exactly what I want". In this case that would be Black, Silver, or Gold (or in the 2nd gens the charcoal grey color and the deep blue and that candy apple lookin red colors all look great too). If a professional paint job isn't astronomical then that COULD help my search because I wouldn't have to pass up all the "ugly" colors.

And I know I gotta jump on em when I find em, I went to see this one the first chance I had. It wasn't there Sunday, or Monday AM, I saw it after hrs Monday night, Tuesday was a winter storm so I figured I was probabaly safe that day, not many people car shop in a blizzard lol (plus, small island, figured my odds were a little better, theres probabaly not a lot of people shopping the exact truck i am....WRONG haha)and I went ASAP yesterday (Weds). My plan WAS to take a long lunch but I got sent out on a job an hr away and was gone all day. I drove by on my way back to my shop and it was there, at 2pm, and it was sold by 5:30 when I got there

Sucks, but can't do anything but continue looking lol.

What would be a "good" mileage for these years (2002-04)? Like if you were in the market for one today, what would you want to keep the mileage under? I always hear teu last forever, and stuff like "150k is barely broken in on a tacoma" etc, but realistically, what's a good mileage range to "invest" in?
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamaha Dave View Post
Another thing you'll notice is a lot of us first generation guys once we pay off our trucks we tend to hang on to them for awhile. I paid off my 03 off last year and as much as I would love to be in a 2o12 Tundra, I just can't seam to part with this truck it's been bullet proof. Surprisingly I get random people asking me at least once a week about it just random in parking lots and at work. I have even gotten asked if I wanted to sell it a few times and of course I'm like he'll no but still nice to see a truck this old has so much notoriety and solid reputation.
I LOVE the first gens, 2 friends have em, and one has a 2010. Both great trucks with "pros and cons" to me. I like the size, and exterior, of the later 1st-gens better than the 2nd gens. Seems like stock second gens just look "off" to me. But they are bad*ss once you swap rims/tires and lift a little. Stock first gens already look good, maybe it's the smaller body panels. However, the interior of the 2nd gens is way better IMO, ad that power outlet in the bed is pretty damn sweet for tailgating football games and days at the beach
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:16 PM   #12
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:19 PM   #13
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Not to take the wind out of your sails but does it make sense to take out a 4-5 year loan on a 10+ year old truck? If you plan on keeping it forever I guess it doesn't matter. Sucks either way in missing out on something you want, same thing happened to me while looking for a 1st gen as well and I after not finding what I want I went 2nd gen.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:48 PM   #14
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by matadorCE View Post
Not to take the wind out of your sails but does it make sense to take out a 4-5 year loan on a 10+ year old truck? If you plan on keeping it forever I guess it doesn't matter. Sucks either way in missing out on something you want, same thing happened to me while looking for a 1st gen as well and I after not finding what I want I went 2nd gen.
I have been agonizing over the same thing. I DO plan on having for awhile (or trading it for an 07-08 Tacoma after the loan), but then the little voice says "5yr loan for 10yr old truck" and that just starts the "but it's a TACOMA" counterpoint of them being so reliable and lasting forever. What also scares me is the price tags of them. For example, the one that was the subject of this thread. $13,950, for an 03.....OUCH. But again, 73k miles and still looked like it was brand new from factory, so I looked at it as an investment. It's either my super reliable truck for many years to come, or it's an awesome truck now that gives me excellent trade/resale value later down the line should I choose to go newer. Like I said, KBB trade in value for that exact truck was listed at $10k, private was $14k. That's damn good return on a 10yr old truck, 4-5more years should still be worth a pretty good amount for it.

*and as a side note to that, I was on Autotrader last night and saw an 04 TRD Crew, with only 52k miles......TWENTY-FOUR THOUSAND dollars!!!!!! Now THAT is something I can't even fathom. $25,000 (BEFORE interest) for a 10yr old truck....but it was SUPER nice, but still, you can get an ALMOST new one for that!

I HAVE to finance, I can't afford $10-14,000 (what i've seen 02-04s go for) cash for a vehicle, no matter the age/condition lol. Which is also the reason I'm kinda out of the running for a newer one, cause the monthly payments, coupled with required full coverage insurance, don't work for my budget. I'd finance a newer one if it were possible to keep the combined loan/insurance total under $400/mo, which seems impossible. Just for that 03 I was quoted by my insurance company at $113/mo for full coverage. I'm sure insurance on an 07-08 is a lot higher, and I don't see how I'd get a payment on an 07-08 that's under $300/mo as I've only got $2k for downpayment, no trade in, and I don't have a crazy high credit score, I'm mid-upper 600s, im right on the edge of the "medium" risk level, about to graduate to "low" risk when I earn a few more credit score points, according to my credit score monitoring lol. So I won't get a super low interest rate either. If I could SOMEHOW get a $250-300/mo payment on an 07-08 I'd do it in a heartbeat.

By the way, I appreciate eeryone's replies and input here. I was wondering how the thread would go. You never know when you're a new poster. Some ignore it, some troll it just cause, others don't offer helpful/constructive replies at all, but so far my experience as a poster has been pretty good lol. Which is good, because I've been reading here awhile and it seems like a cool community, and when I finally DO get my truck I'm sure I'll have an awesome time being an active regular here, can't wait!
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:55 PM   #15
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Sucks you lost out on a clean Taco, they are getting harder to come by. When I was upgrading to a D-Cab from my 00 ExtCab I flew out to buy a 04 certified D-Cab with 28k from Toyota dealership. Prior to me flying out pics and documentation had checked out. When I got there the body/interior looked like a 28k, but the undercarriage was completely rotted. The dealer thought they could pull a fast one on a out of towner. I ended up loosing some frequent flyer miles on that. four months later I bought a *Mint* 04 TRD D- Cab and never looked back.

If you are stuck on a first gen you will have to travel.

I think I just found your next truck:
http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/1st...sville-ky.html
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zork View Post
Sucks you lost out on a clean Taco, they are getting harder to come by. When I was upgrading to a D-Cab from my 00 ExtCab I flew out to buy a 04 certified D-Cab with 28k from Toyota dealership. Prior to me flying out pics and documentation had checked out. When I got there the body/interior looked like a 28k, but the undercarriage was completely rotted. The dealer thought they could pull a fast one on a out of towner. I ended up loosing some frequent flyer miles on that. four months later I bought a *Mint* 04 TRD D- Cab and never looked back.

If you are stuck on a first gen you will have to travel.

I think I just found your next truck:
http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/1st...sville-ky.html
Woah, that truck is Basically exactly what I just missed out on, except with a cap and color matched fenders!........starts looking up airfare to KY lmao........that's awesome man, I appreciate the link. You're story about flying out only to have the frame be terrible is exactly what happened when I drove to New Hampshire to check one out. Almost a 4hr drive and same thing, get there and everything was great UNTIL I looked underneath. There was an actual section just gone. Rotted to the poit where if I looked at it any harder it would have crumbled lol. Not as crappy as FLYING to a place to have it happened, but still, wasted a whole day and all that gas money for nothing. That's why I try to look as close to home as possible. It gets old after the 4th time of driving over 2hrs to a location just to have it turn out to be not a good truck. I'd gladly travel, or hell even have it shipped, if I knew beforehand that everything checks out, but unfortunately there aren't any garauntees.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:09 PM   #17
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Good story. Im glad you found one in the end. welcome to TW

I wanted a tacoma for the last 5 years. My grandma had a 2010 and had stoped driving and kept syaing he was going to sell it to me cheap but everytime I brought it up he said he wasnt ready. when I had graduated college. Had a good job. Bought a house and got married. I decided it was time. I went to the toyota delearship and found a 2011 I really liked. But they were only offing me 5,000 for my trade in. I knew it was worth 8 or 9 so I said no. The next day I drove to a 100 cycling race. On the way home from my race the tranny blew in my saturn. It was 3,000 to get it fixed. I got it fixed and spent 3 months trying to sell the dam thing for 8,000 bucks to get some of my money back. I should have traded it in. The day it sold I went and bought my current tacoma.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:10 PM   #18
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I missed 3 extended cab 4x4 5-speed tacomas that were in good condition for my price range before i got a hold of mine, all 3 were gone within 2 days and the one i got was posted on craigslist for 2 hours and i was the second caller on it, and went down that day before another person could and got it
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:07 PM   #19
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Mademan - I DIDN'T find one yet lol. Well, I've FOUND a bunch, but I don't OWN one yet :/
I did find the perfect one, snatched away a few hrs before I was able to get to dealer, so my Tacoma buying story is still being written haha. LOVE that blacked out Tacoma too BTW, such a bad*ss look, which is why my first color choice is black. Question about your roof racks, are they permenant or can you remove them without a trace of them being there? I've seen a LOT of new Tacomas with em, and I don't care for them (purely aesthetical reasoning), so I'm just wondering if they're permenant?

Kbauman - I'm curious, when you purchased on CL did you just have the cash or did you go through your bank for a loan? The needing a loan part is what kills me, cause that takes some time, and in the meantime the truck usually sells (private party anyway, dealer does it all for you right there) since it can take a few days for an answer. So it's like a catch-22 cause I need a loan to buy a Tacoma, but I need to find a Tacoma in order to know how big of a loan to get lol. And your black Taco looks awesome too (lmao, that sounds weird). I love that you guys posted consecutively, so there's a comparison of the 2 generations both blacked out right there.

Kind of a side question here (for everyone), what is the cost of making a base Tacoma 4x4 into a TRD package? It's just Bilsteins and the locker right? What am I looking at for parts/install? The TRD package is the only option I can really sacrifice on to help broaden my search results. Everything else, like drivetrain, engine, power windows/doors, I can't really change after (easily/cheaply anyway), so TRD is about the only prerequisite I can omit, aside from color choices and having it repainted if I find a truck woth the features i want but its acolor I don't like, and even that is something I want to avoid.
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:07 PM   #20
A country boy can survive
pyroskier is one of the sharper tools in the shedpyroskier is one of the sharper tools in the shedpyroskier is one of the sharper tools in the shedpyroskier is one of the sharper tools in the shedpyroskier is one of the sharper tools in the shedpyroskier is one of the sharper tools in the shedpyroskier is one of the sharper tools in the shedpyroskier is one of the sharper tools in the shedpyroskier is one of the sharper tools in the shedpyroskier is one of the sharper tools in the shedpyroskier is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Name: Jacob
Joined: Mar 2011, #53622
Location: Laramie, WY
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,109
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I had 3 bought out from under me, as I was on my way to the dealership(s) to buy them. I test drove all of them, then went to the bank. Then on the drive back to the dealership, phone rings with salesperson telling me they sold it. Every person bought it without test driving it. This happened not once, not twice, but THREE times. I finally found the one I wanted and jumped on it right away after a carfax and inspection. Everything I wanted except manual (it was auto tranny), but after having 3 bought out from under me, I decided it was as close as I was going to get.

TL;DR, you will find one. I had 3 bought out from me, it's just what happens. You think it's bad out there? Try finding out out here in the Rockies. Everyone and their dog wants one. They sell for close to $20K for 1st gens with 150K+ miles. You want it bad enough, and they are great trucks. Don't settle, you will find one! Best of luck to you. We are a great cult to be a part of

Edit: You should be able to install shocks yourself, but you might as well go with a setup like mine (and so many others on here) and lift it. And a locker is pricey and I'm guessing is a pretty hefty install. I don't know anything about 3rd members, though.
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