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Old 10-16-2001, 09:18 AM   #1
westy66
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Default WRX antilocks + bumps = dirty draws!

phew.... had another *almost* disaster this weekend. i was in heavy traffic trying to get to the stadium and was merging over a lane, right on top of those steel "zipper" looking things that join sections of overpasses together. hit the bump, brakes went TO THE FLOOR, wife screamed , almost slammed into a BMW X5 that was stopped in the right lane.

DAMN, something has GOT to be done about this.... at this point tho', what can Subaru do? nothing!! its not like they can change a part to correct this, they are F#CKED UP! am i to assume the entire '02 lineup has these problems? or is this an Impreza problem? im worried for winter

Bob
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Old 10-16-2001, 09:30 AM   #2
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I believe this is a common problem in all 2002 WRXs.

Interestingly, someone posted an opposing view: http://www.i-club.com/forums/showthr...hreadid=102889

Not that I'm about to disconnect my ABS.

I wonder what breaking will be like this winter in New England?

Cheers!
David
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Old 10-16-2001, 09:57 AM   #3
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It happens to the 02 RS too.
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Old 10-16-2001, 03:08 PM   #4
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Lightbulb

Have your car checked out by competent independent shop, since nobody here trusts Subaru to do anything but sit and smile. Then after they fix it, send the fix to SOA for their amusement, and call the NHTSA Auto Safety Hotline (toll free at 1-888-DASH-2-DOT) to report safety defects or to obtain information on cars, trucks, child seats, highway or traffic safety.
But remember it took them 15 years to catch up to Ford and Firestone, so please be patient.
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Old 10-17-2001, 09:29 AM   #5
Dr. WOT
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There is simply no way I'm giong to buy a WRX untill this issue gets resolved.
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Old 10-17-2001, 09:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: WRX antilocks + bumps = dirty draws!

Quote:
Originally posted by westy66
phew.... had another *almost* disaster this weekend. i was in heavy traffic trying to get to the stadium and was merging over a lane, right on top of those steel "zipper" looking things that join sections of overpasses together. hit the bump, brakes went TO THE FLOOR, wife screamed , almost slammed into a BMW X5 that was stopped in the right lane.

DAMN, something has GOT to be done about this.... at this point tho', what can Subaru do? nothing!! its not like they can change a part to correct this, they are F#CKED UP! am i to assume the entire '02 lineup has these problems? or is this an Impreza problem? im worried for winter

Bob
This isn't a Subaru poblem, but a typical 'con' with ABS. Everything is a trade-off. ABS can be fooled by bumps on the road, railroad tracks, snow,etc. The most common examble is that of trying to stop in heavy snow. ABS makes it worse, since it does not allow the tire to 'dig in'. This has been an OLD OLD issue since ABS first came out with ANY car.

The good news is your ABS in the Subaru is top notch and as most modern cars has 4 sensors.. each tire works independently... so the effect is minimized as much as is possible.

Don't like it? Pull the fuse and practice manual panic bracking. Personally, I prefer ABS. I believe its pros outweight the cons. I got a couple flat spotted front tires on my Miata once that really brought the point home ($$).

Rick
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Old 10-17-2001, 02:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Re: WRX antilocks + bumps = dirty draws!

Quote:
Originally posted by Flashman
This isn't a Subaru poblem, but a typical 'con' with ABS. Everything is a trade-off. ABS can be fooled by bumps on the road, railroad tracks, snow,etc.

Rick
i dont know.... ive driven a lot of different cars with ABS and havnt noticed ANYTHING like this before.
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Old 10-17-2001, 02:42 PM   #8
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Question Really?

The brake pedal really went to the floor? At the point where the resistance in the pedal left were you still getting baking power at all or was the car free to coast? I really don't think that you can say that the pedal dropping from under your foot is "normal".
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Old 10-18-2001, 02:09 AM   #9
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Ive had the exactly same thing happen to me twice coming into a tollbooth over bumpy pavement. ABS decided tires were slipping, and hence, no brakes. Scared the @#$$ out of me.
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Old 10-18-2001, 02:12 AM   #10
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No, it really does go way down, almost to the floor. Braking power appears to disappear completely. I experienced this on a test drive when I was braking for a stoplight from 40mph and crossed a section of rippled pavement. Thank god I didn't have anyone in front of me because even with panic braking (foot HARD to the floor) it took me 3-4 times the normal distance to stop the car. I started braking WAY early because I was testing out how smooth I could get the car to downshift, and I still almost rolled into the intersection.

This is a very real problem that both SOA and numerous posters on the I-club are trying to discount. The WRX is a great car, but this braking problem is a serious issue. I wonder how many of the NUMEROUS wrecks that have occurred recently could have been avoided had the car's braking system been working properly. In my opinion, this is more serious than the infamous Audi "unintended acceleration" problem of the 1980s, only in this case the problem is real and not a hoax invented by a television show.

Evidently Subaru thinks that the press would be so bad from this that they choose to ignore the problem, hoping that they can make it through this model year without major drama until they can fix the problem in the next revision of the ABS system.


Last edited by Porter; 10-18-2001 at 02:19 AM.
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Old 10-18-2001, 03:20 AM   #11
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I get behavior similar to this on my MY00 RS (thought not as bad from the sound of it), so it's not limited to the newer Imprezas. There were some bumps in the pavement at the joints on a bridge on my way to work, just before the parking lot turn in. If i was braking hard when i went over them, the ABS would kick in, and refused to let me slow down. Very disconcerting.

If you have the brakes on, and the tire bounces up off the pavement, the tire stops. ABS sees that as a locked wheel, and triggers. I always wondered if having nicer shocks would help this (thinking they could help keep the tire in better contact with the road), but i lost my job before i installed the new AGX's. =\
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Old 10-18-2001, 08:02 AM   #12
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OK this is a long one....

Quote:
braking (foot HARD to the floor) it took me 3-4 times the normal distance to stop the car.
When you hit the brakes, do you just leave your foot on the brake?

If you hit a (one) bump at the time you engage your brakes hard, the ABS will go on and STAY on until you lift off the brake.

Yes, it will take about 3-4 times the distance to stop because the ABS was designed for you maneuver AROUND an obsticle in your way without locking. Turning locked front wheels causes severe understeer and you'd plow into the subject you were trying to avoid.. hard.

Learning proper braking in any given situation is very important. 1st rule is STAY CALM. Let your brain control your foot and not your reactions to the events... adrenaline. (or your wife/passenger screaming or gasping for that matter).

If you feel your ABS come on, yet there's no continuous bumps, (ie you hit one bump that forced them to activate) ease off a little and re-apply the brakes. It only takes a fraction of a second to do this. But, make sure you are going in almost a straight line. If you do this at speed around a corner, you WILL get lift throttle oversteer.

Practice this in a parking lot that has bumps, or near street that has bumpy pavement or potholes. Here in the North East, we have plenty. Just make SURE there's no one else in front or around you when you do this. Be in a rural area, out of residential neighborhoods. (Train tracks in the middle of nowhere helps.) Just practice will get you the better feel for things. (We auto-x on some bumpy courses, and I've gotten familiar with the subaru ABS system over bumps... my RS used to do this too...I do feel that Subaru makes one of the best ABS systems out there).

If you get stopped by those in blue, explain the situation witha cevat like, "i'd rateher learn the limits of my braking and what happens with ABS in a safe envronment where there's no danger of hitting anyone instead of getting in an accident." Usually they either say, ok, or just take it somewhere else. If you're alone in a non-0residential area and there's no-one around, it'd be hard to get a ticket for learniong to be a better driver.

It takes practice, reptitiveness and patience. But learning where ABS Kicks in and what to to braking wise, can mean the difference between a non-accident, a fender bender or a totalled car.

--kC
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Old 10-18-2001, 10:07 AM   #13
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Thanks for the great explanation KC, but what you're describing is a normal ABS system in operation. This is exactly the kind of BS response that everybody who's experienced this problem has been getting. This is NOT a normal ABS system in operation. No other car with ABS has acted this way, and I've driven LOTS of them.

Once I realized the pedal had gone to the floor, I completely removed my foot from the pedal, then tried to reapply braking pressure.... there was NOTHING. No pedal resistance whatsoever.

By the way, your statement about ABS being designed to make braking distances 3-4 times longer is TOTAL BS. The whole point of AntiLock brakes is to reduce braking distance by preventing wheel lock. A rolling wheel stops sooner than a sliding wheel.... remember? The ability to steer around an obstacle is merely a convenient bonus.

I ESPECIALLY resent your implication that everyone who has this problem simply doesn't know how to drive. That seems to have been the #1 response on this board, and it comes from people who really DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY"RE TALKING ABOUT because they haven't experienced the phenomenon firsthand.

Trust me, I can drive quite well, and I can brake with ABS quite effectively. Believe me, I've explored the limits of ABS on too many cars to mention right now, most of them rentals. This behavior is in NO WAY normal.

:monkey:

Last edited by Porter; 10-18-2001 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 10-18-2001, 11:11 AM   #14
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Default Experiment

Quote:
Originally posted by Porter
...Once I realized the pedal had gone to the floor, I completely removed my foot from the pedal, then tried to reapply braking pressure.... there was NOTHING. No pedal resistance whatsoever...
Is this phenomenon reproducible? Can you make it happen given the correct (or incorrect) environment and driver input? There seems to be a common thread to the posts on this subject. Most are mentioning an expansion joint or flex joint on a bridge as being a key ingrediant.

It is obviously not normal and needs to be brought to Subaru's attention. The only way to get over the hurdle of getting people to believe that it isn't driver error is to demonstrate the failure to them. I suppose there is another way to get them to admit that there is a problem but that involves many Subaru accidents and subsequent insurance claims. The latter isn't the method of choice.

So far I have only experienced the ABS engaging when I didn't think it should have. I was braking and starting a turn at about 15-20MPH over a bumpy area. The pedal didn't go to the floor but the ABS activated and it gave the impression of extending my stopping distance. I believe I could have pressed harder on the pedal and brought the car to a stop faster but I didn't need to. This cannot be what you are experiencing. If the pedal drops it is not driver error. Let's get past that.

My question, if you missed it is, can you make it happen again (and again), given the correct environment? This would make it much easier to address.
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Old 10-18-2001, 11:20 AM   #15
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It seems as if some can reproduce the problem. If so, have they been able to get a Subaru tech to experience the problem? What was the result?

Here's a link to a somewhat dated site that contains quite a bit of ranting about similar problems:
http://home.sprynet.com/~mklphoto/SUBARU1.HTM
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Old 10-18-2001, 12:56 PM   #16
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It's amazing how many people recently woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Chill dude. Let me explain what I said in a better way, using my and your comments.

I'm not the best writer in the world. I'll admit that whole hartedly. I never really cite reference becuase no matter what, someone else has other reference to refute a claim. So I can only respond to certain comments brought up. I'm not saying YOU HAVE TO do this or else. There are just suggestions that I put above and you can ignore them or try them out. It's up to you. Also, sometimes things are left out of the original story to make a point, or just throught they were so insignificant, they didn't matter. ("It's all in the detials")

Quote:
Yes, it will take about 3-4 times the distance to stop because the ABS was designed for you maneuver AROUND
It's not 3-4 times. I was using what you said as a quick reference. After re-reading it, I'll change that to... ABS, on dry pavement, does NOTHING to SHORTEN your stopping distances compared to a like system without ABS using threshold braking. (Threshold braking...braking to the point just before the wheels lock up). ABS releases the brakes and then engages, then releases, then engages, ohhh about 100 times a second. That's what they do. Threshold braking and braking uner normal circumstances on flat, level dry road, going straight, will ALWAYS stop better than ABS in the same car.

Quote:
A rolling wheel stops sooner than a sliding wheel.... remember? The ability to steer around an obstacle is merely a convenient bonus.
See my 1st post. In simple terms: Sliding=bad (understeer in my post was meant as sliding, locked tires... you have no manueverability) ABS=Good to move and stop better. Threshold braking=best. It also depends on vehicle speed.

Me:
Quote:
I ESPECIALLY resent your implication that everyone who has this problem simply doesn't know how to drive. That seems to have been the #1 response on this board, and it comes from people who really DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY"RE TALKING ABOUT because they haven't experienced the phenomenon firsthand.
You:
Quote:
Once I realized the pedal had gone to the floor, I completely removed my foot from the pedal, then tried to reapply braking pressure.... there was NOTHING. No pedal resistance whatsoever.
Why did you take offense at a suggestion? That's all it was. You in fact did what I said... remove foot from ABS and re-apply. So you agree with me. What happened next was not normal. And wasn't said in the orginal post. But you resent the fact that I suggested you do something you already do? I don't get it.

Lastly, you read too much into what I said. That's the problem with the written word instead of face to face communication. You can get too many interpretations.

Quote:
I experienced this on a test drive when I was braking for a stoplight from 40mph and crossed a section of rippled pavement. I started braking WAY early because I was testing out how smooth I could get the car to downshift, and I still almost rolled into the intersection.
So you were concentrating on your downshifting rather than braking, in a car you were testdriving? Was it your car then, or were you looking at purchasing a car? Friends car? See the problem with the written word?

You may indeed have a problem with your car. I never said that in my post because just as "get it checked out, you may have a problem" is a suggestion, "learn threshold braking" is another.

I'm on your side. If you think it's a problem have it looked at. But most of the other symptoms listed in this post by others here ARE NORMAL in a Subaru. The issue I would have (with your car) with the dealer is that when you lifted and then re-applied, there was NO braking pressure. That's a problem. ABS going on, under hard braking over bumps, is normal. Having no braking at all afterwards is not.

Nebver at any time. I never questioned your ability to drive.

I mean you no harm. Take me to your leader.

--kC
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Old 10-18-2001, 01:38 PM   #17
Porter
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Sorry KC, I didn't mean to jump all over you like that.

The reason I'm a little touchy about this is that many people in other threads dedicated to the subject have reported exactly the same phenomenon.... TOTAL loss of braking when attempting to brake on an uneven surface. Not one wheel, but all four calipers completely ceasing to clamp.

I'll go back and find the other threads so I can show the pattern a little more clearly, i.e. owner reports problem with the braking system letting go on him, and several other I-clubbers jumping on him and telling him that it's perfectly normal ABS operation and that he simply doesn't know how to drive with ABS.

Please don't take my comments personally, I was just expressing frustration. I personally prefer to threshold brake, I learned to drive in a non-ABS vehicle and learned how to make it handle in all kinds of weather and surface conditions.

BTW, this happened on a test drive from the dealer, the salesman sitting next to me almost had a heart attack... he was like "Um, I'd better get that checked out when we get back." He told me later that he'd had another customer who had brought their car in several times for this problem and they'd been unable to fix it.

BTW this was a dealer in Virginia.

I'll dig up those old threads, see ya in a minute....

[edit] hmmm.... the search function seems to have crapped itself.

Last edited by Porter; 10-18-2001 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 10-18-2001, 10:53 PM   #18
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My dad had a '97 dodge ram with 4 wheel abs. I used to drive it up and down my street in the winter time and intentionally slam on the brakes. The brake pedal fell totally to the floor pan and then kicked back up at me and then sunk once more and stayed there while the brakes were doing their thing. My mom's Honda CR-V does this although not as hard as the truck, my 2.5RS does this although less than either of them. Thus far it feels the best. I've driven a new generation Dodge Neon with abs and it feels like somewhere in the middle of the ram and the CR-V,
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Old 10-19-2001, 02:38 AM   #19
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So, wow, I had been reading about all of these breaking problems and had never really experienced it until the other day. I just started college and moved into an apartment complex, and right after the entrance (a couple hundred feet) there's a crack type dealey in the ground, then a speed bump. So after turning into the place, I'm going about 10~15 mph, and slowly start applying the breaks for the speed bump (they're huge) and right then and there, EVERY TIME, my abs triggers, and the pedal drops to the floor. Keep in mind, this is under light breaking.

Since I'm not familiar with the area enough, I can't bring my car in and say try to fix it right now. And yes, you're probably thinking, oh it's a young guy, he doesn' t know how to drive. Well, I would think I have some experience driving, I went to Bondurant, and i've driven a few high performance (camaro ss, viper) and well built (bmw 330, toyota sequoia) and my old car, toyota celica... I've experienced ABS on all of those, except for the celica and the viper (no abs one either) of course. And I'm quite familiar with threshold breaking. The ABS on all of these other cars never felt anything like this. I totally agree. It scared the living daylights out of me when it happened, but i'll just hope that someone else gets it fixed, and then posts on the board so I can tell the dealership what to do.
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Old 10-19-2001, 09:43 AM   #20
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I had a 95 GMC Jimmy that did this! I almost had numerous accidents due to the ABS engaging on bumps under light-moderate braking. I wanted to sell the car, once I figured out this was "Normal" and not a fluke type thing. I can see the class action suit on this one..... Brakes that disengage to cause accidents!
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Old 10-19-2001, 10:43 AM   #21
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I have not noticed any unusual braking behavior in the few weeks that I have been driving my WRX, but some of the reports here definitely sound like there might be an issue. We probably won't be able to figure out on a message board it there is a problem with all cars, some cars, of if this is "normal".

I would encourage everybody who observes these problems to report them to their dealers. Especially if you can reproduce it, please have it checked out! If the service technician doesn't give it the proper attention, talk to the service manager, your regional service manager, etc., until you feel like your concerns are addressed. If there really is a malfunction here, it needs to be found and fixed as quickly as possible, before people start crashing their cars. And while it makes perfect sense to validate your observations with other owners, discussing it on a message board will not solve a problem. When I saw my dealer about a less serious issue, and mentioned how it had been discussed online, the technician said (paraphrased) that he doesn't care about the issues that people report on the internet, he only cares about issues that customers bring to him, and that SoA informs him about. So let them hear it!
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Old 10-19-2001, 03:42 PM   #22
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My 98 M3 did the same thing. Would scare the CRAP outta me but usually if I backed off break (disengaging ABS?) and hitting the brake again then it would bite.
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Old 10-23-2001, 06:11 PM   #23
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OK, having experienced on 2-3 occasions the previously discussed ABS problems, I did some experimenting. It was rainy and slick outiside today, so on a few occasions I engaged the ABS in a safe spot where I knew I wouldn't get into trouble if something went wrong. On all tests it worked just as it should. I could definitely feel/hear it working, but the pedal did not drop, and I felt that I had maximum braking (for the surface) at all times. Never once did I get the OH-GOD, NO BRAKES feeling that I've experienced a few times on the dry pavement. The pedal stayed firm and although I stayed on the brakes hard, it returned control to me as soon as the wheels regained grip. I did not have to lift the pedal to disengage the ABS. I also felt the 4-channel system working as I could feel the car yaw slightly from one side to the other as the individual brakes worked independently. When the problem ocurred it was as if ALL the brakes released regardless of the fact that only one wheel had lost contact with the pavement for a microsecond. I just wanted to share this with you, and maybe get some feedback.
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Old 10-23-2001, 10:03 PM   #24
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I haven't had this problem with the Legacy yet, but my 97 Chevy S10 used to do this when I first bought it.

Hitting a bump under braking would sometimes cause the ABS to activate. The brake pedal would go to the floor and the truck would keep rolling forward like it had no brakes. Not fun when you are approaching a busy intersection. And this was on perfectly dry roads.

After about a year I replaced the brake pads with some good quality aftermarket ones. Made a big difference in the way the ABS system responds and I haven't had the problem occur since then.

Good tires with better grip than the stock ones should help as well since they will be less prone to lock up.

-Steve
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Old 10-24-2001, 01:47 PM   #25
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First, to all who believe that SOA is trying to "sweep this under the carpet". If you stop and think for a moment, I'm sure you will realize that the liability (if nothing else) would preclude them from taking a position like that.

I experienced this anomoly one time. As a result, I spoke to SOA and the tech dept. is on the case. My car is at the dealers at this moment being checked. I'm sort of a test case, since apparently very few calls have been made about this problem. So, I would suggest that anyone who has had this experience should call SOA (be nice!) and let them know what has happened. I know from personal experience that nothing is more difficult to fix then the "it only happened once" type problem. Without symptoms a cure is hard to develop.
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