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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wanted to share my experience with a 2014 Sentra SR I purchased about 6 months ago.

Just as a background, I previously owned a 2008 Altima 3.5 SE coupe and traded it in on the Sentra pretty much on impulse. I was helping my sister select a 2015 Sentra when I happen to spot a brand new left over loaded 2014 SR on the lot, with a very attractive price, so I pulled the trigger.

Having went to a car with almost half the engine size of the Altima I expected a very significant change in performance, but the Sentra really surprised me. I took it on a lengthy test drive and was not disappointed in the performance, especially since it had only about 50 miles on it and was obviously not broken in. Just as a side note I am 60 now, and the fast and furious days of my youth have long past, so performance is no biggie any more. The Sentra accelerates well enough to merge on to the highway, the few times a month I need it to, so I am quite satisfied in that department.

I have no significant complaints about the Sentra, mostly just nit picky stuff.

Placement of the hood and gas door releases could be in a more convenient location, as well as the performance selection switches. On that note since I always like to drive in sport mode so I wish it would remember the last mode selected, instead of defaulting back to standard.

As far as styling goes, it could be a little more sleek, but one has to keep in mind that a sleek taper at the rear is almost always going to compromise back seat head room in a compact sedan.

The accent LED lighting under the headlights could be a little brighter to make it stand out more, but after all, this is a Sentra not a Lexus. They do make aftermarket head light assemblies for the Sentra that have a more advanced look and supposedly brighter accent lighting, but at $300 a pair, plus installation costs, it's probably not worth it for a car in this price range.

The tire to fender gap is so much that the shocks are easily seen. You can purchase lowering springs that are supposed to provide a small drop without compromising ride quality, but as in the case of the headlights you are going to tie up a lot of money especially if you cannot do the job yourself.

This last thing I noticed, that is more under the laughable category then anything else is the 160 MPH speedometer.
Fairly certain the Sentra could not reach this speed on a steep downhill with a tornado behind it. :smile

All in all, I am very pleased with my purchase so far. Only time will tell if this feeling lasts.
 

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good stuff man. I hope to buy a 6MT Sentra one day. right now rockin the '12 Altima cvt �� lol I love it but would love 6MT more
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
good stuff man. I hope to buy a 6MT Sentra one day. right now rockin the '12 Altima cvt �� lol I love it but would love 6MT more
Manuals are a lot of fun to drive. I've owned quite a few over the years, the last being a 2006 Eclipse 4cyl. Performance wasn't that great mainly due to the car being so overweight, but it was still a lot of fun to drive. I reluctantly traded it in at 30K mainly because I was developing arthritis in my left knee. This combined with 90% stop and go city driving was killing me.

Don't know about the other car companies, but as far as Nissan goes it looks like the day of MT's, in anything but a car like the 370Z, is most likely coming to an end. A perfect example is the Sentra. I believe 2013 was the last year they offered a manual, and that was only on the base model.
 

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Manuals are a lot of fun to drive. I've owned quite a few over the years, the last being a 2006 Eclipse 4cyl. Performance wasn't that great mainly due to the car being so overweight, but it was still a lot of fun to drive. I reluctantly traded it in at 30K mainly because I was developing arthritis in my left knee. This combined with 90% stop and go city driving was killing me.

Don't know about the other car companies, but as far as Nissan goes it looks like the day of MT's, in anything but a car like the 370Z, is most likely coming to an end. A perfect example is the Sentra. I believe 2013 was the last year they offered a manual, and that was only on the base model.
nope they ended manual transmission in the Maxima and Altima :( in 2009 I think. But All versa and Sentra years, even the 2016, still offer 6MT (base model) :) Don't know why they would take it out of the Altima and max. I feel those two deserve a 6MT the most. One day I will buy a 6MT Sentra . probably a 2014 or newer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
nope they ended manual transmission in the Maxima and Altima :( in 2009 I think. But All versa and Sentra years, even the 2016, still offer 6MT (base model) :)
I stand corrected. You can still get a 6MT on the base model Sentra but it is not even an option on any of the other trims. Especially strange is that it is not available as an option on the SR. I know, except for the 17" wheels and rear disc brakes, most of the other options on the SR are just "cosmetic", but since this is supposed to be the "sport" version of the Sentra one would think the 6MT would at least be an option. You cannot even order the base "S" model and then add the SR options. If I am reading the 2014 sales brochure correctly the only option available for the base "S" is the CVT. Of course you could always buy a 6MT "S" and add your own aftermarket wheels, etc. Would probably be less expensive then a loaded SR anyway.
 

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Especially strange is that it is not available as an option on the SR. I know, except for the 17" wheels and rear disc brakes, most of the other options on the SR are just "cosmetic", but since this is supposed to be the "sport" version of the Sentra one would think the 6MT would at least be an option.
This kept me from getting an SR, I'd love to have the extra stuff but in all actuality my 6MT S is just how I get back and forth to work. Since it doesn't even have cruise (mine is a 2013 S base) there is no way it's a long trip ride for me.

Does the SR have different suspension other than the 4wheel discs and bigger wheels? I don't remember there being any engine differences.

roog
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Does the SR have different suspension other than the 4wheel discs and bigger wheels? I don't remember there being any engine differences
The SR has exactly the same suspension as all the other trims and there is no option for anything different. Would be interesting if they offered some kind of "performance" package with things like upgraded suspension, exhaust system, etc. A turbo option would really make things interesting. Most likely the CVT could not handle the increased HP and torque but I'm sure the 6MT would have no problem.

IMO cruise control should be standard equipment. Oh well, at least you got air and a radio. :laugh
 

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The SR has exactly the same suspension as all the other trims and there is no option for anything different.

IMO cruise control should be standard equipment. Oh well, at least you got air and a radio. :laugh
That's what I thought, discs and the 17s would be nice but the 6 miles I drive to work isn't really worth it for me now.

I think they made cruise standard on 2015s and newer for the base S model, again though, not gonna add it to my 13 for the 6 mile trip to work or errands I do in the city.

:D

roog
 

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That's what I thought, discs and the 17s would be nice but the 6 miles I drive to work isn't really worth it for me now.

I think they made cruise standard on 2015s and newer for the base S model, again though, not gonna add it to my 13 for the 6 mile trip to work or errands I do in the city.

:D

roog
Although and 2014 & up sentra trims have thicker sway bars, re-tuned suspension and steering ratio. Probably as a response to driving magazine critics about its "anemic" handling when the 2013 sentra first went out in the market. But as a daily commuter, it wouldn't made a difference except for the improved NVH for comfort.

One thing they made to improve NVH, is to delete the torque damper for the 2014 model. Personally, I would have kept it (2014 owners can buy one if they want to as the bracket in the right strut tower is still present and the screw hole in the engine block is still there).
 

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I recently bought a CPO 2013 Nissan Sentra SR with 23,000 miles on the clock. Having seen this thread I thought I would chime in with some initial thoughts of my own that I have arrived at during the course of driving this car for the past few hundred miles.

I came from a 2004 VW Passat 1.8T, which being very closely based on the Audi A4 of the time is a nice driving car. I had planned to keep the VW for a long time, and all was going great with no problems in the 12 years and 160,000 miles of ownership. Then I noticed soggy carpets on both driver and passenger sides one morning. Not regular water, but the sickly sweet and slightly sticky tell-tale sign of coolant. My heater core was leaking..!! The replacement parts are not too expensive, but the labor is very intensive. I do all my own maintenance quite happily, but this is a BIG job (entire dash removal) and I just don’t have the time to be missing with this. So, 12 years is a decent gap in which to treat myself with a newer and (hopefully) less maintenance intensive ride.

So, I am now rolling in my sweet little Sentra. For what is perceived an economy car I am very impressed with the ride and road manners of my Nissan. Suspension feels tight and compliant for the type of roads and driving that I regularly do .Strong brakes with good pedal feel .The CVT shifts quietly and smoothly and I have not experienced any whine or drone. I understand the CVT working and appreciate the way it shifts for me. I spend a lot of time on the freeway so I find the CVT to be very long-legged and cruises at an extremely relaxed pace. 2K ROPM @ 70MPH is what my wife’s Buick Enclave (3.6L V6) does, as well as what my long-gone Mustang GT did. As a result fuel economy is fantastic, and for once everything that the advertising claims. I am constantly getting mid to upper 30’s regardless of freeway driving or urban cycles. Being in Chicago, some of the freeway time is in heavy stop-n-go traffic.

One strange thing about my SR is that I have drum rear brakes. Hmmm, I though they all were supposed to have rear disc brakes?

The only slight annoyance with the car is with the CVT, and the tendency to shudder/vibrate for a moment when the revs seem to drop too low (around 1,200 RPM) when setting off very gently. On a normal road I can avoid this by pressing a little harder on the gas pedal. However, I like in a quiet cul-de-sac with a slight uphill and a sharp right turn. Kids are prevalent too, so driving very cautiously ins the name of the game. This slow driving, combined with a slight incline and turning really gets those revs low and vibrates the car until I can get moving a bit quicker. From my research so far this does not seem uncommon, but I am not certain if is harming the CVT in any way?

I typically like to get my money’s worth out of cars and run them for a long time. The Nissan should be no different, but the CVT makes me question this tactic on this car. Currently complete CVT replacement is the only cure, and $5K a pop at that. A regular tranny could be rebuilt for half of that cost, which is more bearable. I still have 4 years left on the powertrain warranty, so I can sleep easy at night for the foreseeable future. In 4 years from now I will know a lot more about the habits of my particular Sentra, not to mention 4 more years of reliability (or not) data about this model. I think a cheaper CVT replacement or CVT rebuild would encourage me to continue outside of warranty, but for now that $5K price for a new CVT is a huge risk.
I am enjoying the car and will continue to do so until the fork in the road arrives….
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I recently bought a CPO 2013 Nissan Sentra SR with 23,000 miles on the clock. Having seen this thread I thought I would chime in with some initial thoughts of my own that I have arrived at during the course of driving this car for the past few hundred miles.

I came from a 2004 VW Passat 1.8T, which being very closely based on the Audi A4 of the time is a nice driving car. I had planned to keep the VW for a long time, and all was going great with no problems in the 12 years and 160,000 miles of ownership. Then I noticed soggy carpets on both driver and passenger sides one morning. Not regular water, but the sickly sweet and slightly sticky tell-tale sign of coolant. My heater core was leaking..!! The replacement parts are not too expensive, but the labor is very intensive. I do all my own maintenance quite happily, but this is a BIG job (entire dash removal) and I just don’t have the time to be missing with this. So, 12 years is a decent gap in which to treat myself with a newer and (hopefully) less maintenance intensive ride.

So, I am now rolling in my sweet little Sentra. For what is perceived an economy car I am very impressed with the ride and road manners of my Nissan. Suspension feels tight and compliant for the type of roads and driving that I regularly do .Strong brakes with good pedal feel .The CVT shifts quietly and smoothly and I have not experienced any whine or drone. I understand the CVT working and appreciate the way it shifts for me. I spend a lot of time on the freeway so I find the CVT to be very long-legged and cruises at an extremely relaxed pace. 2K ROPM @ 70MPH is what my wife’s Buick Enclave (3.6L V6) does, as well as what my long-gone Mustang GT did. As a result fuel economy is fantastic, and for once everything that the advertising claims. I am constantly getting mid to upper 30’s regardless of freeway driving or urban cycles. Being in Chicago, some of the freeway time is in heavy stop-n-go traffic.

One strange thing about my SR is that I have drum rear brakes. Hmmm, I though they all were supposed to have rear disc brakes?

The only slight annoyance with the car is with the CVT, and the tendency to shudder/vibrate for a moment when the revs seem to drop too low (around 1,200 RPM) when setting off very gently. On a normal road I can avoid this by pressing a little harder on the gas pedal. However, I like in a quiet cul-de-sac with a slight uphill and a sharp right turn. Kids are prevalent too, so driving very cautiously ins the name of the game. This slow driving, combined with a slight incline and turning really gets those revs low and vibrates the car until I can get moving a bit quicker. From my research so far this does not seem uncommon, but I am not certain if is harming the CVT in any way?

I typically like to get my money’s worth out of cars and run them for a long time. The Nissan should be no different, but the CVT makes me question this tactic on this car. Currently complete CVT replacement is the only cure, and $5K a pop at that. A regular tranny could be rebuilt for half of that cost, which is more bearable. I still have 4 years left on the powertrain warranty, so I can sleep easy at night for the foreseeable future. In 4 years from now I will know a lot more about the habits of my particular Sentra, not to mention 4 more years of reliability (or not) data about this model. I think a cheaper CVT replacement or CVT rebuild would encourage me to continue outside of warranty, but for now that $5K price for a new CVT is a huge risk.
I am enjoying the car and will continue to do so until the fork in the road arrives….
Sounds like your Passat was a very reliable car indeed. I would happy if the Sentra turns out to be half that good.

The only way to get rear discs on the SR is to purchase an option called the "Driver Package" for about a $1000. At that price you do get a number of other options but they are mostly just fluff. What's kind of strange is that you can get the driver package as an option on most of the other trims but only the SR driver package includes rear discs.

As far as the CVT goes, I understand your apprehension. I don't normally keep a car for more than 5 years and since I do so little driving I never reach the 60K mark in that time so it's not really an issue for me. A Nissan service tech once told me that, regardless of what the maintenance manual says, a fluid change at about 30K is one of the best things you can do to ward off CVT failures. The fluid is fairly expensive, and I believe you can only get it from Nissan, so this may or may not be true. Since you could probably change it yourself, and all you would have is the price of the fluid, it might be worth a try.

Not sure if it applies to your particular CVT issue but I read somewhere there was an update to the ECM that cured a problem that sounds very similar to the one you describe. Might be worth your while to check with a dealer to see if yours has the update.

Was not sure if you were aware but you can access a copy of the 2013 Sentra factory service manual at Index of /FSM/Sentra

When you open the 2013 folder there are individual PDF files for each sub category. If you wish you can open them with Adobe reader and then save to your PC so you can view or print them off line.

Considering your mechanical skills this might come in handy if you decide to keep the car beyond the warranty period.
 

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I believe all 2015 SR comes with rear discs because they don't offer the driver's package like in '13-'14.

Regarding the CVT change, I heard there are two ways you can change it. One, is for the dealer to just drain it (some old fluid will remain) and put a new one which is the cheaper way. The other, is for them to flush it out using a proprietary gadget, before putting a fresh one. The later costs about $500 fluid/labor.

Got any info on this? I'm planning to keep this car so I won't wait till 60k mi before a CVT fluid change.
 

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Sounds like your Passat was a very reliable car indeed. I would happy if the Sentra turns out to be half that good.

The only way to get rear discs on the SR is to purchase an option called the "Driver Package" for about a $1000. At that price you do get a number of other options but they are mostly just fluff. What's kind of strange is that you can get the driver package as an option on most of the other trims but only the SR driver package includes rear discs.

As far as the CVT goes, I understand your apprehension. I don't normally keep a car for more than 5 years and since I do so little driving I never reach the 60K mark in that time so it's not really an issue for me. A Nissan service tech once told me that, regardless of what the maintenance manual says, a fluid change at about 30K is one of the best things you can do to ward off CVT failures. The fluid is fairly expensive, and I believe you can only get it from Nissan, so this may or may not be true. Since you could probably change it yourself, and all you would have is the price of the fluid, it might be worth a try.

Not sure if it applies to your particular CVT issue but I read somewhere there was an update to the ECM that cured a problem that sounds very similar to the one you describe. Might be worth your while to check with a dealer to see if yours has the update.

Was not sure if you were aware but you can access a copy of the 2013 Sentra factory service manual at Index of /FSM/Sentra

When you open the 2013 folder there are individual PDF files for each sub category. If you wish you can open them with Adobe reader and then save to your PC so you can view or print them off line.

Considering your mechanical skills this might come in handy if you decide to keep the car beyond the warranty period.
Thanks for the info, it certainly makes me feel better about why I don't have rear discs. I don't mind drums too much, but not being able to see wear without taking them apart is not as intuitive as being able to constantly monitor pad / disc wear.

Looking forward to taking a look at the service manual. Appreciate the link for that. :smile


I believe all 2015 SR comes with rear discs because they don't offer the driver's package like in '13-'14.

Regarding the CVT change, I heard there are two ways you can change it. One, is for the dealer to just drain it (some old fluid will remain) and put a new one which is the cheaper way. The other, is for them to flush it out using a proprietary gadget, before putting a fresh one. The later costs about $500 fluid/labor.

Got any info on this? I'm planning to keep this car so I won't wait till 60k mi before a CVT fluid change.
Same as a regular auto transmission. Drain and pan drop will get out between 50% and 70% of ATF depending on make / model of car. Flush will replace 100% of ATF. Pan drop and ATF drain / fill is a good approach if you plan to change the ATF on a regular basis; lots of people seem to like 30K changes using this method.

I can't vouch for the CVT, but 30K changes using the drain and fill method might be key an improved lifespan? 60K changes may benefit from the full flush. There still seems to be a lot of myth and misunderstanding about CVT right now. Regular automatic transmissions have been around for decades and mechanics know a lot more about them.

I'm wondering if CVT failures do a lot more damage to the transmission internals compared to regular automatic transmissions, which is the reason for factory rebuilds right now? Given their more simplistic build I would like to see manufacturers offer new transmissions for the same cost as a rebuild on an automatic transmission.

I do personally know 2 people with Nissan cars with CVT. My friend at work owns a '08 Altima 3.5 SE with over 200,000 trouble free miles. Does over a 100 miles a day Mon - Fri commuting. My neighbor has an '09 Altima 2.5 S with over 100,000 equally trouble free miles. I think there are a lot of reliable CVT units out there just going about their business and delivering economy and reliability. We hear more from the squeaking wheels who (rightfully) voice their displeasure about failures. A good number of documented CVT failures are at quite low mileage, leading me to wonder about a small number of units that are built badly from new. Failures with higher mileages....could this be down to poor or improper maintenance?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I believe all 2015 SR comes with rear discs because they don't offer the driver's package like in '13-'14.
I used a 2014 sales brochure as a reference so the option packages could have changed a lot for the 2015 model year. JMO, but when it comes to the SR the "package" concept should be confined to adding convenience and comfort features, not something like rear discs. I'm sure it all has to do with marketing strategy. Most people that buy the "sport" version of a vehicle just want the visual illusion that it performs better by adding things like bumper fascias and spoilers, and could care less about adding things that actually do make the car perform and handle better.

Actually in the case of four wheel discs you get the best of both worlds since they provide not only improved stopping power, but when coupled with larger alloy wheels and tires the look is vastly improved also. Only thing spoiling this is the hideously wide tire to fender gap.

Bottom line is that if you want a Sentra that truly performs as well as it looks you'll have to wait for the Nismo version.
 

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I bought a '14 SR because the lower trims have steel wheels. It would cost about $900 for the alum alloy upgrade. I also like fog lights on my car and that's another $300 upgrade. So buying the an SR model makes sense. I've asked hard for the dealer to give me a dark grey color which they don't have. So they instead got a me a car from another dealer but with a driver's package for the same price.

Personally I don't think the SR looks more sporty, it just made the sentra's look more upscale. I remember two years ago when there were still not much b17 sentras on the road, the other drivers would give my car a long hard look. They probably thought that it can't be "just" a sentra.

And it's only here n the US where manufacturers still offer steel wheels on their lower trims. I remember my '96 b14 Sentra 1.4L back in the Philippines, with the lowest trim, came with 14" alloy wheels. That was 20 years ago!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I believe all 2015 SR comes with rear discs because they don't offer the driver's package like in '13-'14.

Regarding the CVT change, I heard there are two ways you can change it. One, is for the dealer to just drain it (some old fluid will remain) and put a new one which is the cheaper way. The other, is for them to flush it out using a proprietary gadget, before putting a fresh one. The later costs about $500 fluid/labor.

Got any info on this? I'm planning to keep this car so I won't wait till 60k mi before a CVT fluid change.
The instructions for CVT fluid replacement in the factory service manual are as follows. Drain the old fluid, then fill it with new fluid and run it till it reaches normal operating temperature, then drain it again and finish by refilling with new fluid. The only special tool required is something called a "charging pipe". This is needed because you have to fill through the same hole as you drain. Since the manual does not mention any other procedure I am guessing they consider this a flush and fill. If that's true $500 sounds pretty steep, even considering they use 6 quarts of fluid in the process.

If you want more detail, the factory service manual can be found here Sentra FSM

Select your model year and then open the TM.pdf file
 

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The instructions for CVT fluid replacement in the factory service manual are as follows. Drain the old fluid, then fill it with new fluid and run it till it reaches normal operating temperature, then drain it again and finish by refilling with new fluid. The only special tool required is something called a "charging pipe". This is needed because you have to fill through the same hole as you drain. Since the manual does not mention any other procedure I am guessing they consider this a flush and fill. If that's true $500 sounds pretty steep, even considering they use 6 quarts of fluid in the process.

If you want more detail, the factory service manual can be found here Sentra FSM

Select your model year and then open the TM.pdf file
I read those same instructions, and that is not a proper flush in my mind. I would have hoped that a dealer would have a machine to properly remove 100% of the old fluid and replace with all new fluid; a CVT transfusion if you would.

Draining and filling 2 times in a row seems no better than the DIY method of doing likewise to ensure a decent amount of the old fluid is replaced by new fluid. This 2X drain/fill method replaces about 75% of the old fluid in the scenario were a drain removes 50% of the old fluid.

I am taking my Sentra into the dealership for a BioSweep operation tomorrow night (only bad thing about the car is that it stinks like a gym locker), so I will ask them what the CVT fluid replacement procedure is. The sales guy (believe what they tell you at your own peril) said CVT fluid service was 60K.
 

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I do personally know 2 people with Nissan cars with CVT. My friend at work owns a '08 Altima 3.5 SE with over 200,000 trouble free miles. Does over a 100 miles a day Mon - Fri commuting. My neighbor has an '09 Altima 2.5 S with over 100,000 equally trouble free miles. I think there are a lot of reliable CVT units out there just going about their business and delivering economy and reliability. We hear more from the squeaking wheels who (rightfully) voice their displeasure about failures. A good number of documented CVT failures are at quite low mileage, leading me to wonder about a small number of units that are built badly from new. Failures with higher mileages....could this be down to poor or improper maintenance?
What I'm worried about our Sentra CVT (JATCO CVT7) is that there is a additional mechanism ("sub-planetary gearbox" they say) that further increases the gear ratio. Its the one that we feel shifting, at 40 mph (can shift at lower speed if you drive in eco mode and threading the gas lightly.)

I think its a clutch plate/s base mechanism that can wore out, even if the main belt & pulleys of the CVT actually holds up.
CVT with an auxiliary gearbox for mini and small FWD vehicles | JATCO Ltd
Next generation XTRONIC CVT | NISSAN | TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES


CVTs of the Altima, rogue, and Murano has the JATCO CVT8, with higher torque rating, and it doesn't have this "sub-planetary" mechanism.
 
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