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grand unified failure

When trying to re-install GRUB: # grub-install /dev/sda1
The file /boot/grub/stage2 not read correctly.
...but the intertubes saved my day, when I came across: # grub
grub> root (hd0,0)
grub> setup (hd0)
Checking if "/boot/grub/stage1" exists... yes
Checking if "/boot/grub/stage2" exists... yes
Checking if "/boot/grub/e2fs_stage1_5" exists... yes
Running "embed /boot/grub/e2fs_stage1_5 (hd0)"... 17 sectors are embedded.
succeeded
Running "install /boot/grub/stage1 (hd0) (hd0)1+17 p (hd0,0)/boot/grub/stage2 /boot/grub/menu.lst"...
succeeded
Done.
grub> quit
However, I still don't know why grub-install doesn't work anymore.