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Old 11-13-2004, 04:21 PM   #1
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Red face Input on '99 Yukon SLT vs '00-'02

Looking for some general comparisons and improvements made from the 99 to the 00-02 Yukon SLT (not the Denali)

We are planning on doing some serious trailering across Canada and into the States over the next two years and want to move to the next level tow vehicle to give us the extra piece of mind and longevity in tow vehicle life.

We are looking at a '99 Yukon SLT with 5.7/ 3.73 GR - 4X4 6800#GTWR
(just a side note - we will not even be close to the magic 75%= 5100#- so that is not where I am asking input on).

This '99 is already 6 years old - but it has only 31K miles on her and she looks like she just rolled off the line. We took her for a spin and it was like taking a new vehicle off the lot! She has been well looked after and never towed with although the full tow package is in place. It was an elderly couple who owned her and traded her for a top of the line BMW Luxury car.

She is not as tight vs sloppy handling as the Kia (which I have heard the new Yukon platform also drives much tighter for lack of a better word).

Just wanting your general opinion on the changes when GM made their big move from the '99 Platform to - '00-'02 platform.

Are the improvements made - to the 5.3 engine that replaced the 5.7, and to the suspension along with the "Tow/Haul" fancy button really all necessisarly better than the '99 - platform in it's overall performance when not towing at it's maximum?

If we really don't mind the old style trim and the torque power and towing capacity is more than we need; and the TV will not be used very much for daily running (re: gas mileage) - is it worth spending another 5-6K for the shape/body trim and mechanical improvements?? to go into the 00-02 that has about 80% higher mileage? (compared to the '99).

There are so many little things to consider - it is really hard to make the decision. We have already taken the big vehicle depreciation hit this time last year with the Kia (purchased before we got into A/Sing) - but we can get out of this fairly unscathed to meet our needs better - but this next TV has to last for the next 10 years in order for us to get our money's worth.


(10 years being a long time yes and what about upgrading our GT??? - if we ever upgraded our trailer in this next TV's life span it would be to the dual axle 69-70 23-25 Safari or Caravaner -just love this year and trim so the weights will still be well within the Yukons' capabilities.

Any worldy advice, insight, input, or just your 2 cents from hands on experience would be greatly appreciated. .
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Old 11-13-2004, 05:39 PM   #2
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I have a '96 Chevy sedan that has a similar engine to that of the 5.7 found in the Chevy and GMC lines found prior to 2000. It's a VERY strong engine and is tried, true and tested. It's rock solid.

I recently bought a 2004 6.0L Suburban. So far it seems like a real winner. My pops has a 2000 6.0L pickup and tows about 5500lbs with it. Loves it and claims 14-15mpg towing as do some of the other 6.0L pickup owners here on this forum. The 6.0L in particular in the early 2000s had a piston slap issue (then again, other manufacs did too). You can read up about it (with a trained eye) here:

www.pistonslap.com

So far my pops, a few on this fourm and my '04 have yet to show any issues, which could mean something, or mean nothing. It seems to be a matter of luck somewhat.

In the end, they are both solid engines. Tow haul helps the tranny out a bit and also allows without modification to tow in overdrive which could save some wear and tear of towing in 3rd at higher RPMs, but they both get pretty bad MPG when towing regardless of tow haul or not. My 5.7 gets about 11 city as does the 6.0L. Highway not towing I get about 25 with the 5.7 with a light foot (and remember it's in a sedan body, not a truck). My 6.0L hasn't been on the highway too much to tell yet, but I don't expect 25 to appear-- even not towing. Compared to the pickups the Burb is a bit heavier I think, but I would guess it would get not towing highway about 15-16? Bottom line, I would look close at the transmission on both. If it's a 4l80e or it's pred (I think the TH400), the chips would lean that way for me compared to the 1/2 ton trannys out there since both engines are very strong.

The 5.3 I wouldn't waste your time with, not that it's a bad engine, I just seem to feel the 5.7 and 6.0 are a bit better. I think really the 6.0L was the replacement for the 5.7 (but don't quote me on that) Also if you can find one, GM was giving about $5500 off list to remaining '04s, plus then you can beat the dealer up for another $4500.00, still more expensive than a good used though.
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Old 11-13-2004, 06:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
The 5.3 I wouldn't waste your time with, not that it's a bad engine, I just seem to feel the 5.7 and 6.0 are a bit better. I think really the 6.0L was the replacement for the 5.7 (but don't quote me on that) Also if you can find one, GM was giving about $5500 off list to remaining '04s, plus then you can beat the dealer up for another $4500.00, still more expensive than a good used though.
Thanks for the heads up on the Piston Slap. We were considering spending some money to take out some warranty on it. I think if anything major is going to happen it will happen in the next two years of driving - so it will be well worth - we think?

I assume your quote is in US dollars? Our Dealers up here would not dream of giving anything away - tee hee. 04's list at $55 + freight (hmm I think I would put that into a new AS and have it delivered and sit in our country driveway and dream of the day we could take it out...

Sounds like you are both (Pops) are pleased with the new 6.0 Burbs. They are really nicely appointed! Something we would definately look at if we were going to tow around the 7K+ mark 3/4T model.

We just looked at a '92 Burb 1/2 ton - and wow was she in good shape but it does not look like the gentleman will part with her unless he sells his 85 limited first. - Hence plan B - trade the Kia straight and get into the best deal we can.

In all my reading your o.p on the 5.7 is comprable - there are more ya's than nas so far - which is giving us a nice comfort level to go with the older Yukon.

Still would like to hear more opinions. Have Sunday and that is it must make a decision and move on with our plans.
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Old 11-13-2004, 07:39 PM   #4
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Input on '99 Yukon SLT vs '00-'02

Greetings GT6921!

If my '99 Suburban is any indicator, the '99 Yukon with only 31,000 miles is just barely broken in - - my Suburban's fuel economy didn't stabilize until it had nearly 45,000 miles. While my Suburban is a 3/4-ton big-block, there are many similarities. After 137,000 miles, I have no regrets about the Suburban other than had I not needed the 4WD for traveling to work it would not be among the options that I would want as it has been TROBLESOME - - really the only recurrent problem with the vehicle. The transfer case (fully automatic with "Auto-4WD" as one of the selections) has been the problem, and more specifically the electronic circuit board that controls the transfer case - - the circuit board has needed to be replaced every 12,000 to 17,000 miles (only the first board lasted more than 17,000 miles - - it was replaced at about 22,000 miles). So far, all but three of the replacements have been covered under GM's warranty on repairs (my dealer handles all maintenance and repairs) - - two of the three replacements that I had to pay for were in the vicinity of $750 each while the last one was just under $600 (at 128,000 miles). Other than the transfer case repairs there have been absolutely no unusual repair work required other than normal wear items in the 137,000 miles with my Suburban.

Depending upon when the Yukon that you are considering was ordered new, it may have dual 8-way power seats, power lumbar supports, and electric seat heaters in the front buckets (that were part of a premium luxury package on the SLT) - - these seats are among the most comfortable that I have had in any vehicle (they are even more comfortable than the premium Biarritz seating in my '84 Eldorado). I also find the tailgate body with the "traditional" two-piece tailgate assembly is wonderful on a day-to-day use basis - - and the "icing on the cake" is that with the tailgate body you also get a rear-wiper/washer that is wonderful for driving in inclement weather.

Thus far, my '99 Suburban has given me no reason to think that it won't make it to the 300,000 miles that I expect it to travel at the bare minimum. I have it on a regular maintenance schedule based upon the "severe-service" recommendations found in the owners' manual. I don't think that you would find any particular issues with a '99 Yukon that has been well-maintained other than possibly issues with the automatic transfer case for the 4WD if it is so equipped.

Good luck with your investigation!

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Old 11-13-2004, 08:43 PM   #5
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Thanks Kevin - great detail!

I'm feeling real good about the decision we are about to make.

I will be looking forward to the heated seats. Was apprehensive about the leather because of the cold (had leather in our previous Jeep brrrrrrrrr)- but the heat will be great in our Cold CND winters. Back seats will be in stretch mode most of the time as it becomes a big "dog house " for our girls on most trips.

It has the tailgate which we both like better than the barn doors. Although if we ever have to haul "stuff" we use our 5X10 landscape trailer rated for 3500#. Never have to worry about dents, scratches in the truck beds or rips in the seats, broken windows tee hee.

How is the rear window wiper? Good and strong or just mushes the slush? - may replace with heavy winter wiper. Does the motor hold up? The Jeeps was pathetic! The Sorentos was great! with intermitant wiper to boot.

Yes we will also be putting her on a "severe" maintenance schedule - just preventative in most cases - but forces you to keep a closer eye on things. In many cases you can catch things earlier and save big repair bills. Peter puts incredible Hwy miles on his vehicle and we do a lot of towing, landscape, boat and A/S now so it will not hurt for sure.

Thanks for the review!

Anymore out there with the 1/2 ton 5.7? What about handling with about
4K #'s of A/S following - we have the reese easylift WD system with sway bar.

Hear that the brakes are a bit of an issue. Could it just be the style of vehicle and possibly the heavy footers not leaving themselves enough time (since she goes pretty fast for a big'n) - Are there any modifications or replacements we can look at to improve upon the factory installed ones?
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Old 11-13-2004, 09:27 PM   #6
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Input on '99 Yukon SLT vs '00-'02

Greetings GT6921!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GT6921
How is the rear window wiper? Good and strong or just mushes the slush? - may replace with heavy winter wiper. Does the motor hold up? The Jeeps was pathetic! The Sorentos was great! with intermitant wiper to boot.
The rear window wiper/washer has held up quite well on my Suburban. It too has both intermittent and full-on settings. The heavy winter blade is a good idea as heavy, wet snow does tend to cause some trouble from time to time. I did have to replace the spring-loaded wiper arm assembly at about 85,000 miles as the wiper had begun to skip, but this seemed to be more a regular maintenance item than a design flaw as the wiper saw tremendous duty through more than four winters (three in Wisconsin and one in Illinois before the arm was replaced).

Some trivia that you may not be aware of is that the '99 model year was an extended model year. The first '99 Suburbans/Yukons/Tahoes were delivered to dealers in March/April of '98 - - the date of delivery on my '99 Suburban was in late April of '98 (I special ordered the vehicle in January of '98).

My experience with a '95 K1500 Chevrolet Z-71 Club Cab pickup with the short bed suggests that you will likely find good towing performance with the 5700 VORTEC in the Yukon pulling your Globetrotter. I found the 5.7 Liter to be underpowered for my 6,100 pound Overlander, but am confident that it would be quite pleasant in combination with a coach the size of the Globetrotter - - the K1500 that I had was equipped with the factory towing package and 3.73 differentials. I only kept the K1500 for 45,000 miles so cannot comment on longetivity of the brakes, but I never felt that it was lacking for braking power even when towing the Overlander - - I felt shortages in pulling power but not braking power.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 11-13-2004, 10:58 PM   #7
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Yea, my bad, it is in US dollars!

I would say the 6.0L and the 5.7L are very close in power and performance. The 6.0L incorporates some aluminum and composite materials whereas the 5.7 is an all iron block and heads (I believe).

Our 5.7 pulled or Safari fully loaded with a GVWR of 6300lbs. The engine has more than enough guts to haul that load around, even in the hills. It still would if the car weighed more. Even on the best of days, the car was beat by the Safari by about 1000lbs. Gusts of wind and being lower than the Safari really had an impact on towing, which won't really be an issue for you with the 5.7 vehicle you are talking about. Now the 1/2 trans (4l60e) is not as strong as the 3/4 ton (4l80e), but after reading through my '04 shop manual I was impressed with the towing numbers they (GM) claims the 4l60/e can haul which is the trans I think the 1/2 tons have, even in the late 90s--it was more than I thought it could handle. Lots of folks in both the car clubs and truck clubs when they talk about the 4l60e, talk about them dying at about 80k. Some less, some more. Mine is at 81k and it acts quirky. When that time comes, a "built" 4l60e can be just as good as a 4l80e if you can find someone that REALLY knows their stuff. Rear gearing also helps as well. Our 5.7 is mated to 3.73s and the 6.0L is matched to 4.10s.

Also if the Yukon is the match to the Tahoe, wheel base is going to come into play at some point too, so if your coach is long, you might consider looking at the Suburban, a pickup or the Yukon XL (GMC Suburban).

One more thing to add about upgrading to making it better than stock....anything is possible with time and money. Before going to the 6.0L Suburban, I poured about $3k into the Impala (cooling- engine and trans, upgraded drive shaft, driveshaft loop, 3.73 gears, upgraded posi, shocks, springs, tires, rims, exhaust, brakes, upgraded lower control arms, car sway bars, programming, etc, etc, etc.
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Old 11-14-2004, 10:31 AM   #8
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I had the rear brake line fail (while towing) on my 96 1500K. Really glad to have been towing a Caravel. It's my understanding that one should expect to replace these at about 8 years due to corrosion. Other than that and the 4wd transfer case switch and doda being replaced it has held up well with about 88000 on the 5.7. Soon (1-3 years) to be replaced with a 3/4. I have a line on a 99 Suburban Diesel with about 108000 on it which books out at about 11000 US. What does a 99 go for you there?

Kevin you really think you'll get 300000 from the 8L. I've been leaning toward the oil burner because I keep see people wiht MH posting the 8L has to be rebuilt after 100000. The costs for 250000 would favor the 8L if it lasts that long.
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Old 11-14-2004, 11:02 AM   #9
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Input on '99 Yukon SLT vs '00-'02

Greetings Over59!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Over59
Kevin you really think you'll get 300000 from the 8L. I've been leaning toward the oil burner because I keep see people wiht MH posting the 8L has to be rebuilt after 100000. The costs for 250000 would favor the 8L if it lasts that long.
Yes, I am convinced that the 3/4-ton Suburban with the 7400 VORTEC that I have will easily surpass 300,000 miles. The K1500 is one of the few vehicles that I have owned since '85 that hasn't exceeded 225,000 miles before being traded. The closest experience I have had was with an Oldsmobile Tornado - - 225,000+ miles and no oil usage between changes (original motor with no significant repairs other than regular maintenance - - it did require a new intake manifold gasket about every 30,000 miles) - - the only reason for disposal was that the transmission was failing and I didn't have the time to wait for a transmission/transaxle rebuild (there were no Good Wrench or factory rebuilds that my dealer could locate). I am something of a maintenance fanatic, and my dealer's sevice department is aware of that and watches my vehicles very closely; and I also have had each of my vehicles treated to the full Ziebart-Tidy Car treatment within a few days of their original delivery (and follow up with the annual Z-Tech service).

I know that if I were faced with purchasing a new tow vehicle that there would be no question that it would be the Suburban with 8.1 Liter. My dealer doesn't have a full-time diesel specialist so I would rather have something with a drivetrain that is familiar to my regular service facility - - the option is traveling 175 miles to find shops with significant light-truck diesel experience -- something I did once when I was determined to have an import automobile, but that was a disaster whenever service was needed.

I currently have one vehicle in the garage approaching 300,000 miles on its original engine (it has had two valve jobs) and original transmission - - a 1960 Studebaker Lark VIII convertible (currently has 278,000 miles) as well as two that are heading for 200,000 miles - - a 1965 Dodge Coronet 500 convertible (it has had two valve jobs -- one with hardened inserts to permit use of unleaded fuel) 125,000 miles, and the 1975 Eldorado Convertible (original motor and transaxle with no major repairs other than new flywheel at 100,000 miles) 120,000 miles.

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Old 11-14-2004, 01:31 PM   #10
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I'm towing my 61 Overlander with a 99 Tahoe 5.7. and have encountered no problems. It has been very stable towing in heavy crosswinds though, that can more than likely attibuted to the Reese Dual Cam hitch. I've not towed yet in any mountains, just a few steep grades and the performance is fair, good if you consider that my rig came equipted with the standard rear end instead of th taller gears in the towing group. ( I did add heavy duty transmission and oil coolers). The 26 ft overlander is the longest trailer I'd attempt with the shorter wheelbase Tahoe. My Tahoe has 81k miles, is in perfect mechanical shape, and the only problems I've had is warping of the front brake rotors. I admit I'm hard on brakes, I have had the same problem with my 98 Regal GS. So far, no transmission problems. I personally like the older body style better, there seems to be larger windows and an airy feel in the cabin. My wife drove a new Tahoe, and nixed trading because she did not like the closed in feeling and blocked vision toward the rear and side with the bigger roof pillars. Mike
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Old 11-14-2004, 02:42 PM   #11
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This Yukon has the 3.73 gears and rides pretty high off the ground - actually higher than the Kia. But the Suburban from 92 was actually lower than the Kia.

Although I did not find one with diesel Over59 - the 99 Suburbans are ranging from about 103,000 miles @ $12,173 US to 45,000 miles @ 21,697 US. I like this site for looking up the market prices - what people/dealers are selling for - http://www.autotrader.ca

I did call about a 2002 Yukon X which is now the new Suburban because it has 25000 Kls (15Kmiles) and they were only asking $25000.00 ($21,739US). Loaded with the 6.0 HD package and so on. It was at a place that deals with GM replacement parts. The vehicle had been rolled - only damage to the exterior so he did a (frame off replacement- sound familiar you diehard A/S restorers) Anyway if you were into saving some huge bucks something like that would be perfect - that is a $60K car and it was only a few months old. Almost worth the paperwork in export/import.

We were thinking of the 99 Burbs too as they are about the same price as the 99 Yukon - not as luxurious Chev vs GMC only creature comforts all mechanics the same. But we honestly thought because we are trailering short trailers Under 25' we can skip the wheel base to lighten up the Tow vehicel a bit at the gas pump as well as give the extra power to pulling rather than moving her own weight - And a little easier maneuvering.

Okay we are getting excited now - must run out and clean up the Sorento. Have to remove all the AM towing items - as the next person who buys this will not have the compensation for trailering that we have with it - big screw up on Kia Canada's part - but I would not trust them as far as I could throw them if ever anything happened - I don't believe for one minute they would stand by their assurances made to us. Legally they probably could not - We haver held out for our letter in writing from them and have yet to receive it so that just tells us were we stand - hence one of the other big reasons for the trade!!! (We are sure they will be glad to see the back side of us and I too of their Service department - something I can not go into due to the grounds I may incriminate myself).
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Old 11-14-2004, 02:51 PM   #12
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I must be lucky. My 1980 Oldsmobeater has 167k on it and just turned 25 years old (based on date of production) this month! I have just replaced 2 brake lines and got over 20 years of Chicago winters and salt out of them.

IMHO, anything over 100k is gravy. I will say this, the problem for me has never been the engines. That 25 year old 5.0L 307 still runs like a top and burns ZERO oil. No lifter noise, no odd sounds, org everything except for the master brake cyl, 2 water pumps, 2 starters, 2 alts and 1 air pump, a trans, radiator, misc maint like plugs, wires, cap, rotor, etc-- the rest is all still stock. It's the body that goes south after the trans usually goes.

It is very possible to get 300k out of a well maintained gas engine, then again you may just have a chassis, no body, etc (unless you drive 25k+ a year and stay out of the rust belt).

3.73s would be a good average gear to use. If the coach was bigger or a bit heavier, 4.10s would be good too, particularly in hilly areas.

Bottom line, whatever you do, it should be a step up from the Kia (except fuel econ).
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Old 11-14-2004, 04:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Bottom line, whatever you do, it should be a step up from the Kia (except fuel econ).
It is not what they say either! We get about 15/20 and the Yukon is listed for 12/16. The Kia is a little beast weighing in at 4299# for a compact SUV with a little 3.5L engine that is alot of pudding to move.

Why with fuel today it does not matter what vehicle you have - one minute it is an Austin Mini the next a Suburban 2500. My motto fill er up and enjoy the ride while the gas lasts - then do it all over again and again

It is a step up in the towing department for sure - and of course is much roomier as the Yukon is a full size SUV.

We too prefer the Old Trim Style (It was a very sad day when Peter had to depart with his little 2WD Sonoma SLE) After 10 years it still ran but as Silvertwinkie says the body goes first - it had about 280 miles on her. One nice thing about the new trim is the doors shut a little more quiet and solid like and the inside is a little better sound proofed.

But you are right 61overlander the bigger windows are more practical for towing and the wider space inside will definately be a bonus on the long trips. You feel like you are in a cockpit in the Kia - nice for the elbow rests but a bit cramped after about 300miles.

I guess there will always be give and takes - but if there is one thing we have learned reading all the posts here - never comprimise on safety and peace of mind.

And if we ever do go beyond the 25' 5000# we will be in the market again for the NEXT step up - 1500 to 2500 and possibly the diesel.
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Old 11-14-2004, 04:59 PM   #14
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We tow our 1971 Tradewind fully loaded with a 1997 Suburban 1500 2WD
It is a wonderful daily driver, and makes a great tow vehicle to about 6000lbs. I would definitely get a 3/4 ton with 7.4l for anything heavier.
I have towed to Mexico and over the Rockies a few times now, and it has performed great at lower altitudes, and acceptable at high to very high altitudes. I never fell below 45-50mph pulling up mountain passes. This is ok for the limited amount of time we plan on spending on mountain passes.

The major shortcomings on the 1997 are the brakes and small wheels.
But - if you're considering a 99, then all that has been fixed and you're good to go.

The 5.7 l is a surprisingly sturdy and well mannered engine. It's power band is quite linear, and it does not mind long periods of 3000rpm+ when going up long grades in lower gears.
I've piled on over 30K miles in 14month, and it never showed any sign of a problem. The same goes for the transmission.
One thing, though, I am running Amsoil 100% synthetic oil in the engine and rear axle, and I do have the transmission looked after every 10k miles or so.

The newer body Suburbans did away with the silly leaf spring/solid axle combination, and instead are using coil springs and control arms on a solid rear axle. This improves ride, handling and safety tremedously, but makes little difference when towing a fully loaded trailer. It'd be nice to have this in the 97, because I like the older body much better.

I hope this limited post helps you make a smart decision. The post is limited because there's not much to complain about owning a Suburban 2WD. It's a tried, true and simple design that basically dates back to the 50's.
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