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i leased a new 2000 honda odydessy van last year. i noticed an immediate problem. when going down a long decline, when i start to lightly apply pressure to the brake pedal, it will suddenly downshift hard...as if i stepped on the brake pedal hard. the dealer said this is normal.

my next MAJOR problem occurred 6 months later. i was parked in a public parking lot with rows of parked cars. each car had a concrete curb in front of them, separating them from each other, each car facing the other. i got in the car to leave, turned on the ignition, put it into reverse, and the car jolted suddenly backwards, hitting a light pole. i was shocked. i sat there for a minute in "park" to gather my thoughts on how this could have happened. i shifted to "drive", and the car took off as if i had put the accelerator to the floor. it catapulted the car forward as if i were going 100 miles per hour, hopping the 2 concrete curbs, and into the 2 cars parked facing me...spreading them apart, my van going in between them. the roar of the engine, the deep 20 ft. skid marks, were as if i had "floored it." people ran from all around thinking someone was drag racing in the parking lot. there was much damage done to all of the vehicles, but luckily no one was injured, although it could have killed someone if they had been in front of my van. i had the van checked out because SOMETHING went very wrong, but they found nothing. i was so afraid to drive that vehicle after it was repaired, that i traded it in for a new 2001 honda odyssey.

i still have the problem with the hard downshifting - always on a long decline. i have never had another vehicle that does this. again, the dealer says this is normal.

my latest problem was last week and it happened twice at the same stop sign. i slowed down as i approached the stop sign, put on my brakes, and it was as if i had to forcefully hold down the brake pedal and the car engine was racing...while i was STOPPED at the intersection. it scared me both times. i lifted my foot off the brake pedal, thinking it would rev forward because of the pressure i was feeling as i pressed on the brakes, but instead the car slowly moved forward, and the engine reving went back to a normal idle sound.

what is going on??? has anyone else experienced these problems? i would appreciate any feedback.

for your information, i have my van serviced every 3 months like clockwork, by the book.

thank you,
dclary


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In your owner's manual, in the section about the automatic transmission, you will find the description of the "Grade Logic" feature of your transmission and how it works. When descending a grade, if the van is still accelerating while the brake is being applied, the trans will downshift.

I would put money on the fact that in the two circumstances you described about the unintended acceleration, you had your foot (or feet) contacting the brake and the accelerator at the same time. I know it's hard to conceive of doing that, but it's really the only logical way for it to happen. Another thing that can contribute is that with the radio on or any background noise, you can't hear the engine revving up.

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Chuck
Click here for Ody pics, mods and fixes.

[This message has been edited by ckonarske (edited 08-02-2001).]
 

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i slowed down as i approached the stop sign, put on my brakes, and it was as if i had to forcefully hold down the brake pedal and the car engine was racing...while i was STOPPED at the intersection

Just a "wild guess", may be your gas and brake pedals stuck to each other, so when you applied the brake so did the gas padle.

You should bring the car to the dealer for safety check.

Regards,

Phillip
 

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The Odyssey's automatic transmission has a feature called "grade logic" that causes the engine to downshift, and hold the gear, when going unhill or downhill.
This, effectively, matches the way you would drive a manual transmission. When going downhill you rely (in part) on the engine for braking, hence, must downshift. When going uphill you need more power, hence you downshift to get the engine rev'ing high and producing more power.

On a long decline, if you don't use engine braking and rely on brakes alone, you run the risk overheating the brakes. That can lead to so-called "brake-fade".

Ask any truck driver, or consult your local driving school.

If you drive a manual, gear selection becomes second nature and you have a much better sense of the cars performance, and your control over it. Too bad you can't buy an Odyssey, or any mini-van, with a manual transmission.

Regarding the parking incident: did you have brake on when you changed gears?
Was the engine idling high before engaging
the transmision? How did it sound? Did you happen to notice the tachometer reading?

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by dclary:
i leased a new 2000 honda odydessy van last year. i noticed an immediate problem. when going down a long decline, when i start to lightly apply pressure to the brake pedal, it will suddenly downshift hard...as if i stepped on the brake pedal hard. the dealer said this is normal.

my next MAJOR problem occurred 6 months later. i was parked in a public parking lot with rows of parked cars. each car had a concrete curb in front of them, separating them from each other, each car facing the other. i got in the car to leave, turned on the ignition, put it into reverse, and the car jolted suddenly backwards, hitting a light pole. i was shocked. i sat there for a minute in "park" to gather my thoughts on how this could have happened. i shifted to "drive", and the car took off as if i had put the accelerator to the floor. it catapulted the car forward as if i were going 100 miles per hour, hopping the 2 concrete curbs, and into the 2 cars parked facing me...spreading them apart, my van going in between them. the roar of the engine, the deep 20 ft. skid marks, were as if i had "floored it." people ran from all around thinking someone was drag racing in the parking lot. there was much damage done to all of the vehicles, but luckily no one was injured, although it could have killed someone if they had been in front of my van. i had the van checked out because SOMETHING went very wrong, but they found nothing. i was so afraid to drive that vehicle after it was repaired, that i traded it in for a new 2001 honda odyssey.

i still have the problem with the hard downshifting - always on a long decline. i have never had another vehicle that does this. again, the dealer says this is normal.

my latest problem was last week and it happened twice at the same stop sign. i slowed down as i approached the stop sign, put on my brakes, and it was as if i had to forcefully hold down the brake pedal and the car engine was racing...while i was STOPPED at the intersection. it scared me both times. i lifted my foot off the brake pedal, thinking it would rev forward because of the pressure i was feeling as i pressed on the brakes, but instead the car slowly moved forward, and the engine reving went back to a normal idle sound.

what is going on??? has anyone else experienced these problems? i would appreciate any feedback.

for your information, i have my van serviced every 3 months like clockwork, by the book.

thank you,
dclary


</font>
 

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"i got in the car to leave, turned on the ignition, put it into reverse, and the car jolted suddenly backwards, hitting a light pole. i was shocked. i sat there for a minute in "park" to gather my thoughts on how this could have happened. i shifted to "drive", and the car took off as if i had put the accelerator to the floor. it catapulted the car forward as if i were going 100 miles per hour, hopping the 2 concrete curbs, and into the 2 cars parked facing me...spreading them apart, my van going in between them. the roar of the engine, the deep 20 ft. skid marks, were as if i had "floored it." people ran from all around thinking someone was drag racing in the parking lot. there was much damage done to all of the vehicles, but luckily no one was injured, although it could have killed someone if they had been in front of my van. i had the van checked out because SOMETHING went very wrong, but they found nothing. i was so afraid to drive that vehicle after it was repaired, that i traded it in for a new 2001 honda odyssey."

What a terrifying experience. Jeep is in the news today with a very similar issue. The Jeep issue involves cars jumping out of park and accelerating. The Jeep incidents have reportedly resulted in 3 deaths and numerous accidents. Of course the manufacturer publically is stating there is nothing wrong and these incidents are all because of "driver error."

Some of these incidents may have been driver error but I believe most folks know when their foot is on the gas pedal!

According to the news report this morning Jeep had settled on some of these accidents. Settlement is not something you would expect if it's not their fault!

Cars are in many respects controlled by computers, failures are possible. I believe you were correct in selling the car based on Honda's response and I hope the comments you received gegarding the fact that your car is behaving normally with respect to the "grade logic" issue will put your mind at rest.

Safe Driving!
 

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The fact that the accelerating problem occurred with two seperate vehicles, built a year apart, is just way too coincidental (do you play the lotto?!). I have a very technical response, so look closely at the words... take your other foot off the gas!

My dad still drives that way (two foot driving). It is EXTREMELY dangerous. I've seen people driving on the highway with their brake lights on... then they wonder why the brakes fail. You also have a tendancy to slam both feet forward when startled (this is human nature... a natural response to danger or alarm -- just like your arms or hands).

If you don't two-foot it, then you still pressed both pedals with one foot. Your van is fine... this one is "operator error."
 

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CMT4 makes an interesting assumption, do you drive using both feet? For drivers who learned on manual transmissions that could be a hard habit to break.

I do believe that the manufacturers are quick to dismiss these episodes. Audi's unwillingness to accept blame almost ruined them several years ago. You don't tell highly educated, many of which were professional people that they don't know the brake from the gas.

However, somewhat similar episodes (that part escaped me) in two different cars does raise a concern about the operator involvement.

Which would still beg the question, assuming the driver has been driving this way for a long time, why is it just now resulting in accidents/incidents?
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by bluesramsrock:
CMT4 makes an interesting assumption, do you drive using both feet? For drivers who learned on manual transmissions that could be a hard habit to break.

I do believe that the manufacturers are quick to dismiss these episodes. Audi's unwillingness to accept blame almost ruined them several years ago. You don't tell highly educated, many of which were professional people that they don't know the brake from the gas.

However, somewhat similar episodes (that part escaped me) in two different cars does raise a concern about the operator involvement.

Which would still beg the question, assuming the driver has been driving this way for a long time, why is it just now resulting in accidents/incidents?
</font>
Not one single Audi was ever found to be defective in this respect, despite being checked/tested by many agencies. Years later, the likely cause of this particular model having this problem was illustrated: the pedals were a bit closer together, but more importantly a bit differently placed than Americans are wont to find them, are were then at least. I personally had two (a '78 and a '79, I think) neither of which ever offered a problem. FWIW.

RFT!!!
Dave Kelsen.
If only women came with pulldown menus and online help.
 

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Here is the report of the Jeep Cherokke's taken off today's newswire.

"Other drivers have complained of Cherokees taking off on their own in parking lots or crossing roads and crashing into trees and buildings, according to the NHTSA files.
While not wanting to prejudge the case, Tyson said these incidents reflect enough of a trend to warrant an ivestigation. The preliminary probe covers 1.3 million 1995 through 1999 model vehicles. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is made by DaimlerChrysler.

“We’ve been through this same problem with another DaimlerChrysler product,” said Tyson. “We did an investigation and recall of Dodge Dakota pickup trucks for the very same problem.”

He said the Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Dakota pickup have similar transmissions.

MODELS SINCE 1999 IMPROVED
The investigation was first reported in the Los Angeles Times.

Dominick Infante, safety spokesman for DaimlerChrysler, told the Times the company is cooperating. He said the vehicle has been redesigned, and models since 1999 have a different type of transmission.

“We don’t believe there is an issue
with the vehicle, but we will investigate,” Infante said."
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by bluesramsrock:
CMT4 makes an interesting assumption, do you drive using both feet? For drivers who learned on manual transmissions that could be a hard habit to break.

</font>
I learned to drive a manual transmission early in my driving life. I used my left foot for the clutch and the right foot for throttle and brake. Unless I was doing a bit of heal/toe shifting (vary rare) my right foot was "either" on the gas or the brake, never both. When I graduated (?) to automatic transmissions I continued to use my right foot for throttle and brakes. My left foot became dead weight and I don't use it in any fashion related to operating a car with an automatic transmission. We've got one family friend that does use her left foot to brake and right foot for the gas. She's never had a problem with it. I tried it once!! I found that I absolutely couldn't apply the brakes with my left foot without pushing the gas too with my right. It was a residual from my manual transmission days when I was depressing the clutch (left foot) and brake (right foot) at the same time coming to a stop. I've never tried that again.

I don't know for a fact that this is what happened to dclary but I tend to count it as a distinct possibility.

FWIW,
Drive Safe,
Steve

[This message has been edited by Intrepid175 (edited 08-03-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Intrepid175 (edited 08-03-2001).]
 

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This is such a delicate issue to address without someone feeling like someone else is calling them stupid. It's unfortunate that when we're convinced we did a certain thing, there's no possible way to change our minds.

On the other hand, it's always really bothered me that Audi didn't stand their ground and tell people what actually happened. Instead they beat around the bush and tacitly took the blame in the end. As far as I know, the fact that their pedals were placed slightly differently is the only thing they MIGHT have done to contribute to the problem. Audi apparently felt they didn't dare tell the customers the truth; that they were standing on the gas pedal when they thought they were pressing on the brake as hard as they could. Personally, I think Audi damaged themselves more by taking that stance than they would have in the long run if they had been direct about what really happened.

I can't swear to this because I haven't driven every car out there, but I think I'm pretty safe saying that the WHOLE THING IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DO in the manner related by the "victims". There's no car out there that can out accelerate it's own brakes!

Prove it to yourself if you doubt it. It's very simple. Set up two scenarios.

Test 1. Find an empty parking lot somewhere. First, at idle and in Park, with a clear area ahead of you, apply the brakes firmly with your left foot. Then shift into gear and while still applying the brakes, floor the accelerator with your right foot. Nothing happens. Just a lot of noise. The engine doesn't have near enough power to overcome the brakes.

Test 2. In the same empty parking lot with a clear area ahead of you, Put your car in Drive. Now floor it and, once you're moving, apply the brake HARD with your other foot. Again the engine will just labor and you will eventually be able to bring the car to a stop, even after giving the engine a head start.

All cars respond this way, certainly the kind of cars we're talking about here.

There were cases of this "unintended acceleration" where people told the horror story of what their car had done to them and investigators found the gas pedals EMBEDDED in the floor. The driver was so convinced he had his foot on the brake that he just kept pressing harder and harder. But what he said happened is obviously and demonstrably, NOT what really happened. I'll bet he was never persuaded, though.

We ALL do strange things when we're panicked. It doesn't make us stupid, just human.

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Chuck
Click here for Ody pics, mods and fixes.
 

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PS: That's not to say that in Jeep's case, the trans isn't just popping out of gear with the engine running. (I can see a number of ways to make that happen.) But then the problem would become really severe when the alarmed driver, thinking he was hitting the brake, floored the gas instead. Jeep's problem would be transmissions that are out of adjustment or defective, not monster, evil engines that caused the car to run away.

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Chuck
Click here for Ody pics, mods and fixes.
 

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When the number of incidents tied to a model/make occur in such numbers that they point to a statistical likelihood that something is abnormal that is when my attention gets grabbed.

When the fed. gets involved, a.) it's usually statistically significant and b.) it's probably been occurring for a long time (say Firestone!)

In the Jeep case it appears to be transmission related and it appears to be real.

With so much of a car's operation under computer control I would say "some" of these cases are truly caused by the vehicle. Proving which ones are mechanical is tough.
 

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I remember years ago reading of a woman who was so concerned over the Audi unintended acceleration issue that she traded hers in on a Volvo, and several weeks later was involved in a unintended acceleration incident! I think every brand of car out there has had some reports of unintended acceleration. It is one of the reasons I prefer a manual transmission. Several magazines have done tests trying to duplicate unintended acceleration and could not duplicate it. Road & Track for one did an extensive evaluation, and the fast idle motors designed to rev the engine to prevent it from stalling at idle when the a/c is on or any other computer controlled function do not have enough range to really accelerate a car fast. I think the pedal design was the culprit. It is a shame that when in a panic situation we are unable to instantly say 'this is not working', & try something else. Like Chuck says, the brakes are designed to hold back the car, and most car magazines test a cars acceleration by keeping one foot on the brake while they floor the accelerator and release the brake when they want to take off. This is how they get low 0-60 times that usually cannot be duplicated by typical drivers.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
enough already. the majority seem to be convinced that i drive two-footed, which i don't, never have. i've tried to delete my original entry, but can't because i am not a "forum leader". whoever you "leaders" are, delete please. thanks to those of you who responded kindly.
dclary
 

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dclary - don't go away so fast. As I've stated i.) I believe that mechanical problems such as you described manifest themselves in cars. And I don't know why it couldn't happen to an Ody. ii.) I can also see how many would read your post and "wonder" how this happened and conclude it's probably the driver.

The two events although similar because you grouped them in one message are really not. First one is a runaway vehicle the other ones sounds like an elevated idle.

I'm certainly willing to assume that you weren't responsible for the first episode. And have no idea why the idle was high but there are numerous things that can cause that.

I have no clue how long you've been driving but if it's 10 years or so I'll also conclude your accident wasn't inexperience or "panic."

This could be a freak occurrence never to repeat on any Ody or it could be a problem that others have experienced. Hopefully your thread will at least establish a basis for others to post their experiences.

Thanks for taking the time to post your comments.
 

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dclary - sorry - I certainly had no intention of a negative reply, simply trying to relate what I have read about the situation plus my understanding of what is possible from an engineering background. I admit not being up to date on what auto computers can/cannot do, but in any case there seems to be several important things that need to be addressed, 1) what can cause the acceleration
2) what is wrong with the brakes that they wouldn't stop the vehicle.
In my mind, these are two distinct problems. No matter what any of our opinions are, it should be reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, where this type of thing is tracked. I have read and reread your post, and apologize if you take my replies as negative. You certainly had a terrible frightening experience, and as you say are very lucky no one was hurt. It is sometimes hard to gauge how the written word will be interpreted. IMHO this web site is one of the best around, full of info and nice people.
As for the downshifting, reread what the instruction manual says about it. This is a somewhat recent innovation in auto trannys, and the reason you never experienced it on any other vehicle.
I wonder if the braking problem could be a vacuum leak causing the high revs and a loss of power brake boost?
John
 

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My uncle is interested in getting an Odyssey with a Navi. I was browsing around the forum for info. I stumbled across this topic, it's interesting that members bring up the point about Jeeps.

I would like to clarify. I don't work for them, nor do I like their products. My intent is to clarify and not start a flame war with imports vs. domestics.

All Chrysler vehicles (Jeep, Eagle, Plymouth, Dogde, Chrysler, not sure about Mercedes Benzes though) do not have what's called a inter-shiftlock, which in all other cars by all other makes (American, Asian or European) or origin do. Basically, the inter-shiftlock is the driver must depress the brake pedal to get the transmission out of park. I know Chrysler vehicles do not have this, because Consumer Reports has reported numerous times that the Chrysler products they've tested doesn't have the safety feature. My friend had an 1998 Chrysler Cirrus (got rid of the car for a 99 because of problems), and he didn't believe me about it, until he tried it for himself in his driveway. Given that most engines when idling can pull a car in motion in drive or reverse very slowly and only on flat grounds without inclines opposing it, is leading cause of accidents with the Jeeps. It could be a flaw that the transmission pops out of park easily and the combo without the inter-shiftlock is a formula for disaster.

However, with dclary's Odyessey, it could be a MAJOR flaw with his vehicle which doesn't sound likely. (Because of the force of pushing two cars apart, not to mention jumping to bumpstops in the lot (most cars that pull itself forwards or backwards from a standstill will be stopped by a bumpstops)) and more likely than not, it's just operator error. BTW, Honda and Toyota are known for their expectional work in quality and reliability, so I highly doubt a flaw. They're only two brands I would buy.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ckonarske:
PS: That's not to say that in Jeep's case, the trans isn't just popping out of gear with the engine running. (I can see a number of ways to make that happen.) But then the problem would become really severe when the alarmed driver, thinking he was hitting the brake, floored the gas instead. Jeep's problem would be transmissions that are out of adjustment or defective, not monster, evil engines that caused the car to run away.

</font>
"...not monster, evil engines that caused the car to run away."??? That reminded me of my personal "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" a few years ago. I ended up with my late Grandmother's car. It was a Toyota, and although it only had 40,000 miles on it, it was a few years old and I noticed it was running a bit hot. It had all original belts, hoses, etc., so I took it down to have all those replaced along with the water pump, and a general going over. My wife drove me dowm the next day to pick it up and we had our grand-daughter with us that summer. They followed back home. I decided to open it up a bit to see if it would over heat, and I passed a couple of boats before pulling back in behind a motorhome when the passing zone ran out. The sucker just kept going full throttle and I had to whip out again to keep from crawling up the pipe of the MH. Now I'm passing all this bumper-to-bumper traffic on a hilly/curvy two lane Hwy with no shoulders @ about 50% above the speed limit, with images of Willy Coyote with a Acme Rocket strapped to his ass while thinking out loud, "Dang, no wonder Grandma died of a heart attack!". Thank God no oncoming traffic appeared in that section when all this went down. After getting around the traffic without plowing into anyone or stompping on the brakes right in front of a line of bummper-to-bumper traffic that included my wife & grandkid, I hit a straight stretch with no cars and I was now well ahead of the group I just passed, so I could concentrate on shutting that sucker down. I tried everything, the brakes would start to fade immediately, I tried down-shifting & it immediately jumped into redline so shifted back up, I put my foot under the gas pedal linkage and pulled up, I thought maybe the throttle cable is stuck so I pump the gas a few times hoping it would change something, I pull up on the parking brake, ...nothing is working and I think I just passed that Coyote _and_ the beeping bird! I was faced with my last resort, which unerved me at that speed... turn the puppy off! I knew I'd lose power steering which was no biggy, but I didn't want the steering wheel to lock on me. Anyway, I figured now is the time to do it on the staight stretch so I turned it off and hit the brakes again, and I can't believe it.. the key is off and it's still going!!!

Thankfully, just as the brakes started to fade again, the engine started missing & stuttering and I was finally able to overpower it with the brakes and got it pulled over on the edge of the road and shoved it into park, pulled the key out and got out... with the engine _still_ running!

A little while later the group I passed like a wild man went by with most of them pointing at the sky with their middle finger, ...hey, maybe a UFO triggered this, but I looked up and couldn't see anything. Then my wife pulled over about 5 minutes later... and the engine was _still_ dieseling! After a couple more minutes, it finally sputtered & died. The grandkid thought it was cool, with "Way to haul, Grandpa". But I think my wife was even whiter than I was.

Anyway, that sucker was possessed and not by dear ol' grandma, 'cause I was her favorite! Not to belabor this any further, but that particular Toyota was not known for such antics and I had it in multiple times & no one could figure it out. It would run fine unless you floored it into the passing gear, then it would either freeze at the speed you were at when you let your foot off the gas or worse, it would just stay full throttled.

I finally gave up & sold it to a mechanic, who wisely towed it away to part out. I'm sure some do panic and hit the gas while they think they are hitting brakes, but I'm also sure some Lemons will keep going even if you stand on the brakes, turn off the key, and throw out the anchor! How many would think the Ody would roll off by itself while in Park on fairly flat ground? I certainly wouldn't think so, yet I seen that very scenario reported by more than one individual. And as such I _always_ use the parking brake on the Ody, where as I virtually never use it on the Accord. ...Plus, I'm unrealistically gun shy of Toyotas, 'cause I know they be haunted!

#8-O

[This message has been edited by Skybolt (edited 08-05-2001).]
 
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