Liz's Annual April Fool's Day Page

2005 Edition

Recreational Vehicle Answers by the RV Advice Webmaster

For the "uninitiated" every year I take over the web site on April Fool's day and I answer the questions emailed to Pete. These are letters that are both posted to the web site with Pete's answers and some that never made it. It is my therapy for running this web site for the rest of the year. Special thanks go out to all the unknowing email writers into RV Advice for use of their letters to Pete.

So, if you don't give a "LIZard's tail" about it just exit now, but reader be warned, Pandora's April Fool's Day box awaits you below. Don't you want to take "just a peep"?!

"There is a fine line between genius and insanity, I just haven't decided which side has the best fishing".- Webmaster Liz

Know it All (sound clip from the Mel Brooks movie Space Balls-and Liz's "Theme Clip" for this page)

 A Day in the Life of a Fool (music to listen to while you read)

Appliances/Accessories    Motorhomes    Newbies/Wannabies

Popups/Others    Tow Vehicles/Toads    Dinosaurs

Travel Trailers    Fifth Wheels     Sales Related


2005, Jeff of Mission Viejo, California writes regarding not being able to light water heater pilot

Can't light the pilot on my waterheater, but if I heat the thermocouple first then turn to the "on" position the heater will light.

Dear Jeff,

Sounds like it's lighting to me. So what's your problem?

2005, Nancy of Elk Grove, California writes regarding fresh water tank in used motorhome purchase

We bought a used motorhome that had been in storage for about a year. My question is, the fresh water holding tank was full of water that sat for a year or more. We have drained the tank and are wondering what we can run through the tank to clean and/or sterilize it.

Dear Nancy,

Why bother. If you're too cheap to spend the money to replace the holding tank that has had water sitting in it for over a year I would say go ahead refill it and drink from it.

You'll find out soon enough if your immune system is working properly. It should be easier to flush out your system than the fresh water tank system by now. It won't be cheaper, especially since a hospital stay might be required, but it "boils down" to about the same thing, you're going to have to spend some real money either way.

You can run any chemical you want through that tank but you'll never really know if it's clean until you drink from it. So, why spend the money running chemicals through it and still take the chance of "running" to the hospital and spending more money. Just fill 'er up, drink away and have fun or use some common sense and replace the tank and not have to wonder if when your stomach growls if there is an alien growing in you.

2005, Nat of Honolulu, Hawaii writes regarding the effects of an unlevel refrigerator

What will happen to the refrigerator if the RV is not level?

Dear Nat,

Nothing will happen to your refrigerator but the earth will tilt two degrees on its axis to try to compensate for your unlevel refrigerator. (This is why the planet Earth has a constant "wobble" in its rotation. Always trying to compensate for some dumb RVer parking out of level).

2005 A Fellow RVer from North Carolina writes regarding foul odor in fresh water tank

My fresh water tank has a very foul odor. The water coming out of the faucets is foul smelling. Is there a way to get this odor out?

Dear Fellow RVer,

Yes, remove the rotten trout from the tank that got in there when you siphoned the water out of the creek to use while camping.

2005, A Fellow RVer writes regarding toilet that won't flush

Related to a Safari Trek. The toilet does not flush. Could there be any other reason for this than the tanks being full?

Dear Fellow RVer,


Fifth Wheels

2005 Scott of Milton, Vermont writes regarding brake squeal

What causes brake squeal in just one of four the wheels on my 32 foot 5th wheel?

Dear Scott,

I don't know what the cause is but the cure is greasing it with Vermont maple syrup.

2005 Ken of Earth writes regarding leak in wheels

I took my 36 foot Alfa Gold fifth wheel into a truck tire specialist today to have a slow leak repaired. They found the tire was okay, but there was a leak in the wheel. The manager told me this was a common problem; that large fifth wheels often have wheels that aren't compatible with the weight of the trailer or the maximum inflation pressure of the tire mounted on it. I have two axles with 16 inch, all steel Goodyear tires rated at 3750 pounds at 110 psi. The guy at the tire shop told me my wheel was rated for about 3,000 pounds and 80 psi.

I have never heard of this problem before. Is this legit? Should I buy steel wheels? We are getting ready to start a long trip through Canada so I don't want to risk major problems on the road.

Dear Ken,

Even I'm not stupid enough to believe the wheels leaking story. No wonder you didn't want to tell us where you were from. Wheels don't leak. If they did, what would they leak, metal shavings? No, the tires are leaking from around the wheels, a whole different story. Use duct tape around the rims to dam the escaping air.

2005 Maureen writes regarding water leak in step and closet by entrance door of Fleetwood Terry

A friend of mine has a Terry 5th wheel. She is getting water in her step by the entrance door. I have tried to locate where the water could be coming from but can't seem to find it. Do you know where the water is coming from that is getting on her step?

Dear Maureen,

Let me take an educated guess. Do you think perhaps it is coming from the sky in the form of rain?

2005, Warren writes regarding landing jack not retracting

I own a 1994 36 ft. Alfa gold 5th wheel; my right front landing jack does not retract along with the left jack, any hints or tips for a quick cheap fix?

Dear Warren,

A quick cheap fix would be to knock it off with a sledge hammer.

2005 Jay of Earth writes regarding placing class III hitch on back of fifth wheel

I would like to know if a class III hitch can be placed on the back of a fifth wheel. I would like to haul a 280 pound dirt bike but I don't want to give up the living space to the bike like I would with a patio hauler from Kit Manufacturing.

Dear Jay,

Of course you can mount a class III hitch on the back of a fifth wheel. Whether or not you will be able to use it without tearing the back of the fifth wheel off is another question for you to ask.


2005 Tedd of Fort Morgan, Colorado writes regarding adding cruise control to a 1979 Dodge

Can you put a cruise control on a 1979 Dodge class A motor home with 440?

Dear Tedd,

Yes, I can; but whether you can is something I can't answer.

2005, Karl of Alle Park, Michigan writes regarding four tire blow outs in 2000 Jamboree class C in three years

I have had 4 blow outs in the last three years on my 2000 29' Jamboree class C. Tires were not dry rotted, speed did not exceed 75 mph, and blow outs were not caused by road debris.

Dear Karl,

You've had four blowouts and that's really all you say.

Do you want me to issue you some sort of medal for your experiences? What is your question? Am I supposed to guess?

If I have to take a guess, I'd ask if you have ever checked your tire pressure? Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not going to tell you to check it because I personally have NEVER checked tire pressure in twenty plus years of driving; but other people (including Mr. RV Advice) seem to think it's important to have correct tire pressure. Whatever.

A lot of folks say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." When it comes to driving my philosophy is, "If the air conditioner works and the vehicle moves when you give it gas, that's just about all you need; plus a loud horn."

2005 Betty of Metairie, Louisiana writes regarding dash lights not working on 1995 Pace Arrow

Recently purchased a 1995 Pace Arrow. The lights on the dash, i.e. speedometer, gas gauge, do not come on. Any suggestions?

Dear Betty,

Suggestion # 1. Take it back to where you bought it and ask for a refund.

Suggestion #2. Do not drive at night.

Suggestion #3. Learn to live with it.

Suggestion #4. Pay to get it fixed.

Suggestion #5. Trade it in on one that works.

2005 Don of Irvine, California writes regarding towing capacity of 1987 Winnebago Minnie Winnie

What is the towing capacity for a 1987 Winnebago Minnie Winnie with a Ford 460, C-6 Trans, and 3.54 rear axle? I have contacted both Winnebago and Ford and neither can help me. HELP!!

Dear Don,

Wow, I feel flattered that you wrote me for the answer since neither manufacturer of the product knows. Gee, go figure.

Let me look in my crystal ball. Hmmmm....looks like the towing capacity is the sum of the earth's gravity mass on the motorhome and the tow vehicle's square footage area times the speed of light divided by your weight times ten and then squared to the sum of the motorhome's weight divided by the number "9" and then added to the sum of the days remaining until your next birthday divided by your birth weight.

2005 Dick of Pahrump, Nevada writes regarding increasing towing capacity of Fleetwood motorhome

I have a 34 foot Fleetwood Motorhome with a Ford V10. It limits towing weight to 3500 lbs. I need to increase that.

What is the weak link preventing me from doing that? Is it the motor or the transmission? If it's the engine, can I install a Banks Power System on the engine to allow me to increase towed weight to 5500 lbs.?

Dear Dick,

The "real" weak link is the Department of Transportation that states by law you cannot change the manufactured capacities of a vehicle.

The "actual" weak link is you. You did not do your homework on either the motorhome before purchasing it or on the dinghy before purchasing it. Makes a person wonder where the use of the word "dinghy" came from to refer to a towed car.


2005 Devin of Indiana writes regarding swapping out transmission in 1980 Dodge class C

I need information on swapping out a 3 speed 727 with an A518 or other overdrive transmission in a 1980 Dodge class C motorhome I need the gas mileage

Dear Devin,

I barely know what a transmission looks like so asking me for information like this on April Fool's Day is like people in hell asking for ice water.

2005 Randy of Salt Lake City, Utah writes regarding stuck window in 1973 Avco

I have a 1973 Avco Motor home. I can not open the windows due to the seals are wore out. I have went to every RV part dealer and window shop in the area and they can't help or direct me to anyone who can.

Dear Randy,

A well thrown brick can work wonders on opening that window.

2005 M. of Calgary, Alberta, Canada writes regarding jack kit for 1974 Security truck camper

I am having a difficult time locating 4 kits for my truck camper jacks. I have a 1974 Security 12' camper and the jacks on it display the following data. NAMECO, Hydra-lift Camper Jack, Model # HS C&741.

Dear "M",

You've got to be kidding. You have a 1974 truck camper that you're toting around and looking for jacks for it? Wow. That thing is over 30 years old. The best thing to do now is match them up the best you can. Cinder blocks would probably make a good match up.

2005 Ric of Utah writes regarding charging dual batteries

I have two Interstate deep cell batteries on my Coleman popup. How do I charge these as a unit?

Dear Ric,

Oh, this is an easy question for me to answer. Buy and use two battery chargers at the same time.

2005 Chuck of Palm Beach, Florida writes regarding replacing air conditioner in 1973 Winnebago

I own a '73 Winnie with the original 2.5KW Onan, and an original Intertherm 10,000 BTU air conditioner. I would like to replace the AC with one of the new "high efficiency" types.

I have been warned by one dealer that, even though the new one's run current is 2 amps less than my present one, that my little generator won't handle the start surge current of these. Duo Therm's run current is 10 amps, while Coleman's is 10.5 amps. The run current on my old unit is 12.5 amps, and it starts that fine.

Would you have any idea which of the new ones has the least start current?

Dear Chuck,

Another rocket science question. No wonder Palm Beach County had hanging chads on their election ballots.


2005 Michael of Fairbanks, Alaska writes regarding choosing a state to register fifth wheel in

My parents have recently purchased a 5th wheel and are looking to register it but they don't know what state to register it in. They are going to live in their trailer full time, so they don't have an address other than the MH, yet all the States that they have ties to require a permanent address. Any thoughts?

Dear Michael,

My first thought is I didn't know Alaska was still a state. I thought we gave Alaska to Canada with NAFTA, oh, but wait a minute, our current government took it back so they could experimentally drill for oil in a national wildlife preserve; so IF they find any reserves in twenty plus years after another pipeline is installed it might end up trickling down to the lower 49 states so we can sell it to Japan.

Since Alaska is still considered a state, perhaps your parents might want to register the fifth wheel in another country. If they can wait until next winter they can drive over the Bering Strait and register it in Russia.

2005 Chrissy of Orlando, Florida writes regarding not knowing anything about the motorhome she just purchased

I just purchased a large Class A and do not know a thing about it. I am losing power and I can't get certain items like the TV's, generator, and levelers to work I'm not doing something right and it's frustrating. I can't figure it out. I don't know where I'm losing the charge.

Dear Chrissy,

Just think of your new motorhome purchase as being a "man". (You don't know a man either until you're married and get him home with you for a few days). First thing to do is check the battery to see why it won't stay "up". It might just need some motorhome Viagra. Once you get a handle on your new motorhome you can christen it, "Bob".

2005 Steve of Santa Cruz, California writes regarding leaking propane valve in 1978 Pace Arrow

I have a 1978 Pace Arrow, 24 feet long. It has a chassis mounted LPG tank which is full of propane. When I open the main valve even the tiniest bit, propane leaks out around the valve knob. Opening it further, or opening it all the way, produces even more propane leakage.

I have spoken with two local propane companies. They tell me they will not look at or touch the valve or the tank until the tank is empty. How can I safely empty my tank, or is there someone who can help me?

Dear Steve,

Why do I get the idea that my answer is already in your question?

2005 Bobbye of Lafayette, Louisiana writes regarding wheels locking up on towed vehicle while under tow

We drive a motorhome towing a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Several times the wheels have locked after getting started. What can /should we do to eliminate this problem?

Dear Bobbye,

Stop towing the Jeep, or simply stop the motorhome long enough to remove the alligator you ran over from jamming the wheels up.

2005 Nick of Indianola, Iowa writes regarding windshield popping out of newly purchased motorhome

I just purchased a 1996 Holiday Rambler Endeavor. Drove it home from Ohio and the lower corner of the drivers side windshield had popped out of the rubber molding. Is this something that can happen from a bad installation, (glass replaced last year)or is this something worse that I need to address with a pro. (structure?)

Dear Nick,

It is very common for motorhome owners to complain about windshields popping out. It is usually from hitting a bug. In the more expensive motorhomes it usually takes a large butterfly to pop one out. But, in your case, since you are from Iowa, perhaps an ear of corn fell out of a truck and hit your windshield. Just use some duct tape to hold it in place. You can paint the duct tape to match the color of your motorhome.


2005 Jeff of Richmond, Virginia writes regarding fixing three inch gash on Coleman roof

My Coleman pop-up has a three inch gash on top of the roof. Could you recommend anything to fix it?

Dear Jeff,

Duct tape. Growing up I learned fast from my dad that duct tape was the answer to everything.

Now I have a question. Where's the bear?

2005 Thomas of Duluth, Minnesota writes regarding how to haul generator for use with truck camper

I have a Starcraft model 1150 truck camper on a F350 Ford 2000 pickup! The camper extends 60" (five feet) beyond the back of the truck.

I had a hitch extension welded to hook up a boat on the back of the camper. It also bolts to the bumper of the camper! The problem is that it is very difficult to line up when you load the camper! Would this hitch extension be strong enough to use a tow dolly? Any ideas?

Also, I have a problem since there is no place to store a generator in the camper! Any ideas?

Dear Thomas,

Sounds like it's time to trade the mule in for a camel. You must be quite a sight rolling down the highway with the butt of your camper hanging out five feet and dragging a boat behind it.

Just remove one of the boat seats and throw the generator into the boat. Better yet, send a snapshot of your set up to MTV. You might get lucky, they might decide to pimp your ride.

2005 Lonnie of Earth writes regarding removing mildew from canvas

I wanted to know what to use to get mildew off the canvas of my pop-up camper?

Dear Lonnie,

If duct tape is the answer for patching and fixing things, then moonshine is the answer for cleaning and polishing. Try cleaning the canvas with some 'shine; if that doesn't work drink the remainder and tell yourself the canvas is clean enough.

2005 Jeb of Arkansas writes regarding replacement power converter for Coleman

We have a 1974 Coleman Yorktown pop up trailer, we used it this summer in June and when we brought it home to clean and re-stock it for the next trip the power converter started smoking, we disconnected the power to the trailer. We have been looking for another power converter for this older model trailer and have not had any success. The converter was made by Progressive Dynamics in Michigan; they are sending us part to repair this one, but if this does not work could we bypass the converter and connect the 110v line in the trailer to the large cord that plugs into the outlet, or do you have any suggestions on where to get another converter? We plan on selling this trailer this year and find another one.

Dear Jeb,

There is an old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." The 2005 version (the saying has been updated), is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it; but if it is broke, sell it on E-bay."

2005 Linda of Missouri writes regarding TrailManor hardsided popup

I'm thinking about buying a TrailManor hardside pop-up. I've seen them on the road and wonder how well they hold up?

Dear Linda,

They hold up real good on the road, it's the camping part that gets you every time.

Sales Related

2005 Russ of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania writes regarding what type of vehicle to purchase for $350,000

I have full timed for 2 years in a 34' Winnebago, in 1996, it had a 454 engine in it - we loved it. I am getting ready to purchase another motorhome and have more money to spend now, about 350K. There are so many vehicles out there for that price range.

If you were buying a rig of this price range and you were going to full time in it, what specific makes and manufacturers would you look at?

Dear Russ,

Manufacturer: Lambourghini; Make: Diablo.

2005 Mary of Albuquerque, New Mexico writes regarding diesel class C's

Are there Class C's which have diesel engines? I'm thinking about buying a used Class C to share with family. One member wants to be able to tow his off-road Toyota pickup, and thinks a diesel would be stronger and more reliable.

Dear Mary,

Yes, there are diesel class C's, but if you ask the family member to pay the difference between the diesel and gas RV unit he might keep his off road Toyota pickup "off-the-road".

2005 Michelle of Wood Dale, Illinois writes regarding travel trailer purchase for family of five to live in

We are currently shopping for a travel trailer and are very overwhelmed with the choices. Our plans are to sell our house and live at a state park in the trailer until we find a new house. We are a family of 5. Which brand of travel trailer, in your opinion, is the best to buy?

Dear Michelle,

In my opinion the best brand to buy would be the one you could all fit into comfortably, if there is such a creature. Since you're going to be squatting in a state park, might I suggest a "logger's tent". Much more floor space for a lot less money. Would certainly look better than a pack of raccoons living in a shoe.

2005 Joe of Eugene, Oregon writes regarding purchase of mini-motor home

Tired of pulling a trailer and want to purchase a mini motor home. Specifically a toyota or nissan ,also told chevys10 maybe, 18-24 feet. 6 cyl, over cab sleeper, dual back tires,generator Do you know anything about the mechanical issues with these models and which ones may be better, and any predominate problems they may have. I was told they have back axel problems which one to stay clear of. years 1985-1993

Dear Joe,

I don't know anything about the mechanical issues but I will tell you that you won this year's April Fool's Day Sloppy Letter Award! Your first sentence was perfect, but it went downhill from there. Did you know that "axel" is a proper noun? Axel is a man's given name. Axle is the correct spelling.

Axle is the most commonly mispelled word in letters we receive, with "break" (should be brake) running a close second.

2005 Claudia of Bend, Oregon writes regarding best RV choice for single, middle aged female traveling alone

What is the best RV choice (size, brand, etc.) for my situation? Middle age female traveling alone. Young daughter to join me part of time. Need to use motorhome to travel around country to promote my product to stores and tradeshows. Need computer/internet contact.

Class A diesel or gas? Is there a better type or model for resale? I want to be comfortable. Should I buy new? or slightly used? I need a plan.

Dear Claudia,

Forget the RV purchase and spend your money on a boob job and a Lambourghini Diablo. Leave the daughter at home and start your travels. Wearing a low cut tight knit sweater or black leather you can choose to marry any man (even the already married ones), at any traffic light you stop at. You won't be traveling alone for long.

Tow Vehicles/Toads

2005 Laurie of Walnut Creek, California writes regarding towing 42' fifth wheel with Ford F-250

I have an F250 V 10 Superduty short bed. Can it tow a 42 Foot 5th wheel?

Dear Laurie,

RV Advice's reply to your letter sounded so much like something I would say on April Fool's Day I just left it alone.

Pete's reply was: "Not unless the fifth wheel is made out of cardboard to get the weight low enough for your 3/4 ton truck".

2005 Jim of Moreno Valley, California writes regarding triple towing in California

I am asking about towing car and trailer at the same time in California. I have a Dodge Dakota and an enclosed 16' trailer in which I want to tow behind my diesel pusher motor home. The hitch and tow bar are rated at 10,000 lbs. well about the combined weight of the truck and trailer. Also the truck has a Brake Buddy braking system.

In short what is California considering this situation?

Dear Jim,

In short, I would think California considers it idiotic.

2005 Jim of Frederick, Maryland writes regarding towing trailer with motorhome at 80 mph

I tow a trailer with a 2002 Bounder W22, and I have two issues I would like to improve.

Going up hills the coach slows down.

Secondly, the top speed is supposed to be 80 mph, but the speed limiter kicks in at 76 mph, and by the time the it kicks back off (around 74 mph) I have lost my momentum. I don't drive that fast all the time but like to get a run at the hills. Can I disable or modify the speed limiter? How well do the PCM modifications (i.e. chips or reprogrammed PCM's) advertised to increase power and torque work?

The Banks system is too expensive for me at this time.

Dear Jim,

First, let me give you my cell phone number so you can call me the next time you hit Interstate 95. I want to know so I can take a secondary highway to get out of your way. I don't want anyone making a run at 80 mph at a hill towing anything trying to go around me.

Secondly, if you weren't spending all your money on the extra fuel consumption for charging up those hills at 80 mph you would already own a Banks system.

2005 Pat of Las Cruces, New Mexico writes regarding towing diesel beetle

I am purchasing a Holiday Rambler/Neptune 36. I have a 2002 VW Beetle Diesel TDI. Can I tow it with tow bar. If not, can I use a dolly?

Dear Pat,

Wow, a diesel VW Beetle! I get 45 mpg with my Geo Metro 5-speed convertible, heck, you should get, what, around 70 mpg with the diesel?!

I don't know if you can tow it with a tow bar or a dolly, but since it's a Beetle, you should just be able to pick it up and carry it on the roof.

2005 John of Fairmont, Minnesota writes regarding towing 22' travel trailer with diesel half ton

I recently bought a 22' travel trailer. Is my Chevy 6.5 turbo diesel heavy half ton enough pick up to pull it?

Dear John,

Well, let me guess since you didn't say how much your travel trailer weighs. about yes? There's a 50% probability that I'm right. If I'm wrong, well too bad.

P.S. I would have said, "NO", but seems like Capital One already has the copyright for the use of that word.

Ed of Gloucester, New Jersey writes regarding towing travel trailer

I own a 31 ft. travel trailer. What's the smallest vehicle I can tow it safely with?

Dear Ed,

My standard shift Geo Metro convertible has no problems towing our 32' travel trailer using a Hensley Hitch, custom made iPd sway bars, Firestone Ride Rite air bags, custom made Gear Vendor and the use of Bilstein shocks. (see photo below):

Travel Trailers

2005 Sam of Gresham, Oregon writes regarding adding second battery

I hooked up a second battery to my travel trailer this past summer, the battery salesman told me to hook them up with the positive and negative wires on one battery and jump directly to the next battery. Is this the correct way to hook up a 2 battery system?

Dear Sam,

The battery salesman is pulling your leg. You normally don't "jump" until the direct current courses through your body, not the battery.

2005 Rodger of Hurley, New Mexico writes regarding truck dieseling when charging trailer batteries

When charging my trailer batteries with my truck, after about 20 minutes at an idle, the truck motor starts shutting off and on, and starts dieseling. It seems like the trailer is pulling so much current, that there is not enough left to run the ignition system in the truck. It has never done this before.

I put new batteries in the trailer, and replaced the regulator and alternator in the truck, with no change to my problem. The truck never does this when towing the trailer, or when not hooked to the trailer, and the truck will idle by itself all day long.

Also, sometimes when turning on a 12V accessory in the trailer, the whole 12V system shuts down for a minute, and then everything comes right back on. When plugged to 110V, this never happens, and I know the two problems are caused by the same source.

Could the convertor have a bad diode or something, that is breaking down, and sucking the 12V current to ground? Other than these two problems, I can be out in the hills with it, and keep the batteries charged and use the 12V system for weeks at a time.

Dear Rodger,

Have you checked the truck's tire pressure? I would start there and then perhaps work myself up to checking the windshield washer fluid reservoir to make sure it was full.

2005 Robert of Mio, Michigan writes regarding holding tank capacities on 1987 Nomad Weekender

I have recently purchased a 1987 Nomad Weekender and no manuals came with it. I am looking specifically for info on holding tanks capacities. Haven't had any luck on Skylines website. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dear Robert,

I would say a "weekends" worth of holding tank capacity.

2005 James of Earth writes regarding adding automatic leveling jacks to Keystone Outback

We just purchased a 2005 Keystone Outback Sydney 30' travel trailer and want to know if it is possible to have "leveling jacks" (as opposed to "stabilizing jacks") installed, possibly auto-leveling.

Dear James,

Anything is possible, whether it is a probable solution is another question. Take for example our current president. It's possible he is our president, but more probable he's our "commando and thief".

Happy April Fool's Day to Every Body! Remember don't let this day go by without pulling a prank on someone! Don't forget to visit our RV JOKES page!

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