At the end of my rope of steering issues.***FIXED!****

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The actual arm? Wow! I know you have the steel steering box, but the pitman arm isn't part of that TSB.
Yes, the actual arm. If you take a pry bar you can get between the arm and the frame rain and pry down on the arm where the joint is for the drag link. The arm flexes pretty severe.When I first did it I would have sworn the sector shaft nut was loose. I honestly thought I found the problem.....then I realized it was tight and the arm was just flexing that much.





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The ones I used on the trucks were stout, shoot you could have used them as a trailer hitch. Makes you wonder who is making them these days.
 

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Yes, the actual arm. If you take a pry bar you can get between the arm and the frame rain and pry down on the arm where the joint is for the drag link. The arm flexes pretty severe.When I first did it I would have sworn the sector shaft nut was loose. I honestly thought I found the problem.....then I realized it was tight and the arm was just flexing that much.
Well, crap! Is there even an aftermarket for that? PSC is looking pretty good right about now, lol!
 

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Yes, the actual arm. If you take a pry bar you can get between the arm and the frame rain and pry down on the arm where the joint is for the drag link. The arm flexes pretty severe.When I first did it I would have sworn the sector shaft nut was loose. I honestly thought I found the problem.....then I realized it was tight and the arm was just flexing that much.


Your initial impression of a loose sector shaft nut could still be correct...It is possible that when your TSB was done, the sector shaft nut was not properly tightened-due to any number of reasons. However with red locktite on the nut, it would sure seem tight! It might be worthwhile to remove the nut, drop the pitman arm and inspect for any burrs on the shaft or arm that might keep it from fully seating, clean all threads and then reinstall. Just a thought for what its worth...
 
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Your initial impression of a loose sector shaft nut could still be correct...It is possible that when your TSB was done, the sector shaft nut was not properly tightened-due to any number of reasons. However with red locktite on the nut, it would sure seem tight! It might be worthwhile to remove the nut, drop the pitman arm and inspect for any burrs on the shaft or arm that might keep it from fully seating, clean all threads and then reinstall. Just a thought for what its worth...
Did it, I took the factory nut off and put the synergy nut back on after the TSB myself. BUT i just added it to my list of things to check when I get back out to the shop. The 10 minutes it will take won’t kill me.
 

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I found this on the Thurenfabrication.com website. It’s about DW and Rams, but it has some great info, and mentions BFG’s also.
DEATH WOBBLE IN DEPTH
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In depth Death Wobble tech





Death Wobble. An explanation.

Death Wobble is violent uncontrolled oscillation of the front wheels. It is mostly induced by opposing caster forces, skid-bouncing the tires, quickly side to side. It can be very tricky to fix if you are not very familiar with what is actually causing it. There are different levels of intensity, ranging from 2 seconds of violent shaking, to non-stop, uncontrolled, whole vehicle vibration, that won't stop until the vehicle stops. Either way, it is called "DEATH wobble" for a reason. You'll know it's Death Wobble if you experience it. If your truck is vibrating a little all the time, being slightly annoying, this is NOT Death Wobble. When Death Wobble happens, your heart rate elevates, you are afraid, and it is very intense. I have experienced Death Wobble in many vehicles, from a brand new Dodge Ram, to a 1964 Lincoln Continental. It's normal reason for happening, on most vehicles, is when suspension and steering parts are very worn out. On these Dodge Rams, even when the truck is almost brand new, poorly designed parts are also big players. Don't fall prey to bad internet intel. We'll do our best to steer you straight here, in regard to the Dodge Rams, and what is going on with Death Wobble(DW from here on out).



Most common causes of Death Wobble, on the Dodge Ram platform, in order of importance.

#1
TRACKBAR ISSUES
Problems with the trackbar is the most common reason DW happens on these trucks. As small as 1/16" of side-to-side deflection, can play a part in DW. Rubber/soft bushings, and exaggerated bends in the trackbar design, are the 2 biggest reasons we feel upgrading the trackbar on 2003-2013 Rams, is basically mandatory. Installing 2 piece soft Polyurethane bushings in the stock trackbar is no help, and can almost end up performing worse, after the first week of driving. Even if the bushing ends of the factory trackbar WERE made solid, that still does not address the flexy OEM bar shape, which ends up acting like a big spring. The OEM trackbar as a whole, is just a bad design.
To clarify the track bar's importance, if you remove the trackbar, you can't even get out of your driveway. Back to the spring analogy.... This is where the design of the trackbar, as a whole, plays a huge part. Here is why.... The trackbar is THE ONLY support for the steering. As you steer left, you compress the trackbar. Steer right, stretch the trackbar. If the trackbar is allowed to compress and extend, the truck can basically steer itself when you encounter forces at the wheel, which can turn into DW oscillations. This is why death-gripping your steering wheel when you get DW, almost makes it worse, as you are HELPING the truck have a mind of it's own. This is why we say the trackbar design, as a whole, must be as solid and rigid as possible. This makes the truck stay on track, and inputs you make through the steering wheel, will actually get to the wheels!
Here is the more in depth explanation of what is actually happening, in regards to the trackbar playing a part of DW, when DW happens in it's most common form.
  1. You hit a sharp bump on one side of the truck, or even more common an angled bridge crossing or something, where one tire hits the bump RIGHT before the opposite side of the truck does.
  2. This sharp bump(or two) flexes the trackbar, and as the trackbar releases the bound up force, it kicks back and the tires simulate a turning force. This starts the oscillation, as the quick turn force kick makes tire quickly skid sideways(yes white tire smoke is normal when DW happens) , then it bounces back the other way. The weight of the truck is now basically bouncing on the caster forces, left-right-left-right....... This is also why TOO much caster can make the DW worse, as the caster force/bounce can over ride the steering damper easier.

2013+ Ram "radius arm platform" track bar notes.
Dodge improved the trackbar quite a bit, on this new platform, but it's still not perfect. The bends have been relaxed so the bar is less "springy", and the rubber bushings have been improved by having less deflection. Still, with std rubber torsion bushings, it's only a matter of time before they do go soft or fail. I estimate that approximately around 20,000 miles, you will want to plan on upgrading the front trackbar, especially if having increased suspension travel and a bit of lift.


#2
STEERING DAMPER SHOCK
I used to believe a long time ago, that you did not NEED a steering damper, on any vehicle really. I felt all it really did was help to keep the steering wheel from being jerked out of your hands, and that was it's main purpose. I changed my thinking, when I started specializing in these very heavy Diesel trucks over a decade ago. Here is why you NEED a steering damper, and why you need a really good, proven one.
It's really simple. Lets go back to the reason for most DW above... Caster forces bouncing side to side. If you kill these caster bouncing forces, you kill DW. A good steering damper can kill the opposing caster forces, before they really begin to amplify, and get overpowering. The key is killing the forces early.
Steering damper location
I feel the steering damper MUST be on the axle direct mounted to the tie rod. If you've added an upper damper also, try to make the better quality damper on the axle. I would never suggest running ONLY an upper damper at the gearbox/drag link, without a lower damper on the axle. Reason being, this lets flex and slop in the trackbar still cause issue. A steering damper at the drag link only, is no different than say gripping the steering wheel harder, which does zero for irregular handling issues and DW.
Steering damper design, and understanding it.
There are a lot of trusted brands out there producing steering dampers, but they are often very lacking, in actual effectiveness.
  • On the bad list is..... The std Bilstein 5100, cheap Rancho/Skyjacker/etc single and dual damper kits, lower end aluminum Fox unit, and any even high end brand(King/Fox/etc) non-IFP(emulsion) shocks.
  • On the good list....... The Fox 2.0 steel IFP, and Bilstein 7100 IFP, both with the external schrader valve to adjust pressure, are great. Also, surprisingly the OEM Mopar damper from about 2008 up are good too, usually.
This OEM damper being actually good, makes it a common unknowing mistake to try and upgrade the steering damper, so you throw on a Bilstein 5100 thinking you are, but you are generally making the integrity of the front end/handling worse.
  • IFP stands for, "Internal Floating Piston" - This piston separates the damping oil and the air, making it so the oil can provide proper damping qualities. This IFP is creating a separate air reservoir, which is MANDATORY on a steering damper. With a steering damper being laid on it's side, if an emulsion style(air and oil mixed) shock is used, the damping piston will be sitting in a big pocket of air. I'm really not sure why some companies sell emulsion shocks as steering dampers, but they do. Just be smart about it, and aware.
  • IFP and the Nitrogen pressure used - With adjustable pressure IFP dampers, you must use 100psi MINIMUM, for the damper to function properly. This is really important. With less than 100psi pressure, the steering forces can over-ride the Nitrogen pressure, and make the damper cavitate almost helping the truck go into DW. If you are running less than 100psi in your high end IFP steering damper, it is basically doing nothing for you.
  • Bushing ends vs. solid/bearing/uniball ends.... In regards to steering dampers, the best units will always use a design, with an actual solid bearing on the end. The steering damper needs to be able to counter steering force instantly, and bushing ends give just a little bit of deflection.


#3
TIRES
Tires can play a massive roll in DW. I really don't have a true answer for why, only educated guesses. I tried to ignore this as a possible player at first, but tires have been THE problem so many times, I could not ignore it any more. Basically these heavy Dodge Ram's just don't like some tires. Most notable in the BAD category, are BFG A/T tires. While these tires get GREAT tread life, and look great, these heavy trucks often just want to spit them out. I have tried EVERYTHING with some trucks having BFG's, and the truck always feels like it's going to go into DW any second. Then last straw you throw on good Toyo Tires or something, and the truck handles better than ever and the DW is LONG GONE. If I had to choose a tire brand to run, Toyo is hands down #1, and I would say Nitto #2. Unfortunately I have to say stay away front BFG tires on these trucks. The 37" BFG tires have worked well for many though. Just a tough call.
My guess as to why some tires don't work well, is that the tire construction and profile can cause an extra strong bounce force. My thinking is that the stored force when you hit a bump, with some tires like BFG's, can recoil and over-ride the front end/steering damper/ etc. Again, just my guess, as it seems to always be more "square" profile tires, which in regard to design could kick harder, as the more straight sidewall would snap back with more force to the ground.


#4
ALIGNMENT, NORMAL COMPONENT WEAR, AND THE OTHER LITTLE THINGS
Believe it or not, things like the front end alignment, tie rod ends being a little loose, gearbox a little sloppy, and ball joints with a little vertical play, really don't play that big of a part in DW. Let me clarify....... That's not to say that with EVERYTHING in the front end worn out, and a terrible alignment, that fixing everything won't fix the DW. But, if most front end parts are considered in-spec, and maybe one tie rod end a little extra worn, replacing that one tie rod end alone won't kill the DW. The handling may feel better, and maybe even stop DW for a week or so, but it's still hovering right below the surface. Collectively many small issues CAN add up to the cause of DW, but simply adjusting the alignment, one loose ball joint, or one loose tie rod end alone, is not the cause. Trackbar, steering damper, and good proven tires are where to focus first.
 
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I found this on the Thurenfabrication.com website. It’s about DW and Rams, but it has some great info, and mentions BFG’s also.
DEATH WOBBLE IN DEPTH
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In depth Death Wobble tech





Death Wobble. An explanation.

Death Wobble is violent uncontrolled oscillation of the front wheels. It is mostly induced by opposing caster forces, skid-bouncing the tires, quickly side to side. It can be very tricky to fix if you are not very familiar with what is actually causing it. There are different levels of intensity, ranging from 2 seconds of violent shaking, to non-stop, uncontrolled, whole vehicle vibration, that won't stop until the vehicle stops. Either way, it is called "DEATH wobble" for a reason. You'll know it's Death Wobble if you experience it. If your truck is vibrating a little all the time, being slightly annoying, this is NOT Death Wobble. When Death Wobble happens, your heart rate elevates, you are afraid, and it is very intense. I have experienced Death Wobble in many vehicles, from a brand new Dodge Ram, to a 1964 Lincoln Continental. It's normal reason for happening, on most vehicles, is when suspension and steering parts are very worn out. On these Dodge Rams, even when the truck is almost brand new, poorly designed parts are also big players. Don't fall prey to bad internet intel. We'll do our best to steer you straight here, in regard to the Dodge Rams, and what is going on with Death Wobble(DW from here on out).



Most common causes of Death Wobble, on the Dodge Ram platform, in order of importance.

#1
TRACKBAR ISSUES
Problems with the trackbar is the most common reason DW happens on these trucks. As small as 1/16" of side-to-side deflection, can play a part in DW. Rubber/soft bushings, and exaggerated bends in the trackbar design, are the 2 biggest reasons we feel upgrading the trackbar on 2003-2013 Rams, is basically mandatory. Installing 2 piece soft Polyurethane bushings in the stock trackbar is no help, and can almost end up performing worse, after the first week of driving. Even if the bushing ends of the factory trackbar WERE made solid, that still does not address the flexy OEM bar shape, which ends up acting like a big spring. The OEM trackbar as a whole, is just a bad design.
To clarify the track bar's importance, if you remove the trackbar, you can't even get out of your driveway. Back to the spring analogy.... This is where the design of the trackbar, as a whole, plays a huge part. Here is why.... The trackbar is THE ONLY support for the steering. As you steer left, you compress the trackbar. Steer right, stretch the trackbar. If the trackbar is allowed to compress and extend, the truck can basically steer itself when you encounter forces at the wheel, which can turn into DW oscillations. This is why death-gripping your steering wheel when you get DW, almost makes it worse, as you are HELPING the truck have a mind of it's own. This is why we say the trackbar design, as a whole, must be as solid and rigid as possible. This makes the truck stay on track, and inputs you make through the steering wheel, will actually get to the wheels!
Here is the more in depth explanation of what is actually happening, in regards to the trackbar playing a part of DW, when DW happens in it's most common form.
  1. You hit a sharp bump on one side of the truck, or even more common an angled bridge crossing or something, where one tire hits the bump RIGHT before the opposite side of the truck does.
  2. This sharp bump(or two) flexes the trackbar, and as the trackbar releases the bound up force, it kicks back and the tires simulate a turning force. This starts the oscillation, as the quick turn force kick makes tire quickly skid sideways(yes white tire smoke is normal when DW happens) , then it bounces back the other way. The weight of the truck is now basically bouncing on the caster forces, left-right-left-right....... This is also why TOO much caster can make the DW worse, as the caster force/bounce can over ride the steering damper easier.

2013+ Ram "radius arm platform" track bar notes.
Dodge improved the trackbar quite a bit, on this new platform, but it's still not perfect. The bends have been relaxed so the bar is less "springy", and the rubber bushings have been improved by having less deflection. Still, with std rubber torsion bushings, it's only a matter of time before they do go soft or fail. I estimate that approximately around 20,000 miles, you will want to plan on upgrading the front trackbar, especially if having increased suspension travel and a bit of lift.


#2
STEERING DAMPER SHOCK
I used to believe a long time ago, that you did not NEED a steering damper, on any vehicle really. I felt all it really did was help to keep the steering wheel from being jerked out of your hands, and that was it's main purpose. I changed my thinking, when I started specializing in these very heavy Diesel trucks over a decade ago. Here is why you NEED a steering damper, and why you need a really good, proven one.
It's really simple. Lets go back to the reason for most DW above... Caster forces bouncing side to side. If you kill these caster bouncing forces, you kill DW. A good steering damper can kill the opposing caster forces, before they really begin to amplify, and get overpowering. The key is killing the forces early.
Steering damper location
I feel the steering damper MUST be on the axle direct mounted to the tie rod. If you've added an upper damper also, try to make the better quality damper on the axle. I would never suggest running ONLY an upper damper at the gearbox/drag link, without a lower damper on the axle. Reason being, this lets flex and slop in the trackbar still cause issue. A steering damper at the drag link only, is no different than say gripping the steering wheel harder, which does zero for irregular handling issues and DW.
Steering damper design, and understanding it.
There are a lot of trusted brands out there producing steering dampers, but they are often very lacking, in actual effectiveness.
  • On the bad list is..... The std Bilstein 5100, cheap Rancho/Skyjacker/etc single and dual damper kits, lower end aluminum Fox unit, and any even high end brand(King/Fox/etc) non-IFP(emulsion) shocks.
  • On the good list....... The Fox 2.0 steel IFP, and Bilstein 7100 IFP, both with the external schrader valve to adjust pressure, are great. Also, surprisingly the OEM Mopar damper from about 2008 up are good too, usually.
This OEM damper being actually good, makes it a common unknowing mistake to try and upgrade the steering damper, so you throw on a Bilstein 5100 thinking you are, but you are generally making the integrity of the front end/handling worse.
  • IFP stands for, "Internal Floating Piston" - This piston separates the damping oil and the air, making it so the oil can provide proper damping qualities. This IFP is creating a separate air reservoir, which is MANDATORY on a steering damper. With a steering damper being laid on it's side, if an emulsion style(air and oil mixed) shock is used, the damping piston will be sitting in a big pocket of air. I'm really not sure why some companies sell emulsion shocks as steering dampers, but they do. Just be smart about it, and aware.
  • IFP and the Nitrogen pressure used - With adjustable pressure IFP dampers, you must use 100psi MINIMUM, for the damper to function properly. This is really important. With less than 100psi pressure, the steering forces can over-ride the Nitrogen pressure, and make the damper cavitate almost helping the truck go into DW. If you are running less than 100psi in your high end IFP steering damper, it is basically doing nothing for you.
  • Bushing ends vs. solid/bearing/uniball ends.... In regards to steering dampers, the best units will always use a design, with an actual solid bearing on the end. The steering damper needs to be able to counter steering force instantly, and bushing ends give just a little bit of deflection.


#3
TIRES
Tires can play a massive roll in DW. I really don't have a true answer for why, only educated guesses. I tried to ignore this as a possible player at first, but tires have been THE problem so many times, I could not ignore it any more. Basically these heavy Dodge Ram's just don't like some tires. Most notable in the BAD category, are BFG A/T tires. While these tires get GREAT tread life, and look great, these heavy trucks often just want to spit them out. I have tried EVERYTHING with some trucks having BFG's, and the truck always feels like it's going to go into DW any second. Then last straw you throw on good Toyo Tires or something, and the truck handles better than ever and the DW is LONG GONE. If I had to choose a tire brand to run, Toyo is hands down #1, and I would say Nitto #2. Unfortunately I have to say stay away front BFG tires on these trucks. The 37" BFG tires have worked well for many though. Just a tough call.
My guess as to why some tires don't work well, is that the tire construction and profile can cause an extra strong bounce force. My thinking is that the stored force when you hit a bump, with some tires like BFG's, can recoil and over-ride the front end/steering damper/ etc. Again, just my guess, as it seems to always be more "square" profile tires, which in regard to design could kick harder, as the more straight sidewall would snap back with more force to the ground.


#4
ALIGNMENT, NORMAL COMPONENT WEAR, AND THE OTHER LITTLE THINGS
Believe it or not, things like the front end alignment, tie rod ends being a little loose, gearbox a little sloppy, and ball joints with a little vertical play, really don't play that big of a part in DW. Let me clarify....... That's not to say that with EVERYTHING in the front end worn out, and a terrible alignment, that fixing everything won't fix the DW. But, if most front end parts are considered in-spec, and maybe one tie rod end a little extra worn, replacing that one tie rod end alone won't kill the DW. The handling may feel better, and maybe even stop DW for a week or so, but it's still hovering right below the surface. Collectively many small issues CAN add up to the cause of DW, but simply adjusting the alignment, one loose ball joint, or one loose tie rod end alone, is not the cause. Trackbar, steering damper, and good proven tires are where to focus first.
Funny how they list KO2’s as the worst possible tire......
 

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I drove mine all over the place yesterday. Hadn't driven it much since the new LCAs and trackbar. Interstate, back roads, bumps, humps it's better than stock. I'm satisfied and these falcon wildpeaks ride almost as good as my Michelins on my Ram. I'm done with the suspension unless I have too mess with it.
 
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Funny how they list KO2’s as the worst possible tire......
Most of the snow is melting off out here, I can actually see grass again in some places of my yard! Supposed to be almost 50 all week so I’m hoping I might get out in the shop in the next few weeks and start working through my list. I’m really looking forward to swapping tires and wheels and see what happens. I got a funny feeling that might be my issues.
 

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My shimmy persisted from Km3 on AEV to Ridge Grappler on Mopar Performance. But agree, when the km3 got out of balance (regularly) they would set off issues.
Looking forward to your updates.
Had steel steering box put on today and drove over my favorite shimmy bump on the way home and it didn’t let me down.
Debating my next steps.
 
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My shimmy persisted from Km3 on AEV to Ridge Grappler on Mopar Performance. But agree, when the km3 got out of balance (regularly) they would set off issues.
Looking forward to your updates.
Had steel steering box put on today and drove over my favorite shimmy bump on the way home and it didn’t let me down.
Debating my next steps.
How do you like the new box? Mine wasn’t all that impressive after the update. I had a chance to play around with a steel box today off a JL that totaled. I was shocked to see how much backlash was in it from the factory. It’s definitely set to the high side of the tolerance. I adjusted the over center slightly and it tightened it up quite a bit. Maybe less than 1/4 turn on the set screw. I’m wondering if FCA is still a little gun shy from the aluminum boxes locking up in the cold and are setting these on the loose side still. I have a sneaking suspicion this box might end up in an orange rubicon at some point. 😎
 

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My steel box didn’t do any significant change to my jeep either. I did adjust the backlash about 1/8 turn and it feels pretty good now.
 

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How do you like the new box? Mine wasn’t all that impressive after the update. I had a chance to play around with a steel box today off a JL that totaled. I was shocked to see how much backlash was in it from the factory. It’s definitely set to the high side of the tolerance. I adjusted the over center slightly and it tightened it up quite a bit. Maybe less than 1/4 turn on the set screw. I’m wondering if FCA is still a little gun shy from the aluminum boxes locking up in the cold and are setting these on the loose side still. I have a sneaking suspicion this box might end up in an orange rubicon at some point. 😎
Hard to say so far as the drive home was mostly highway and we had high winds yesterday. my impression from going over my favorite shimmy bump on the way home did seem to feel slightly different but still there. I need to get back out with it today and see what I think. Winds appear to be pretty calm.
Currently thinking about the new Steer Smarts track bar/sector shaft brace and or replacing my Teraflex 9550 steering stabilizer (should be more than enough) with a Fox TS 2.0. Still thinking about the Teraflex axle side track bar bracket that raises the tb up some and supposed to improve bump steer... Teraflex has been in this game a long time and if they came up with that, it might be worth giving it a go to see how it changes things.
The other reason I'm thinking about the track bar brackets on both sides is they provide new round holes for tightening up the track bar. I don't think I've got any wallowing but if I do those brackets should address that as well as provide better bolts.
 

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Vehicle(s)
2020 Sting-Gray JLUR
On top of the steering box there’s a lock nut with a Allen screw in the middle. It has Loctite on it from the factory. You have to put some heat to it break the lock nut loose and then screw in the Alan 1/8 turn at a time till you get to where you need. If you screw in the Allen screw too far it will mess up the steering centering feel. And it could cause your steering to lock up. Disclaimer, I am just a random guy on the Internet, This is not legal advice. Do at your own risk. You could screw things up if you don’t know what you’re doing, Heck you could even screw things up if you do know what you were doing.
 

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Clayton Offroad
 



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