More Full Size Blazer Episodes

Xtreme 4x4 Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

Bilstein
Bilstein Rock Crawler 9100 Series Shocks.Custom order shock, specify valving and travel when ordering
Bushwacker
Fender Flares, Pocket Style, Front, Rear, Black, Dura-Flex Thermoplastic, Chevy, GMC, SUV, Pickup, Set of 4
Dupli-Color
Dupli-Color Bed Armor Truck Bed Coating. Aerosol, 16 oz., Each
Edelbrock
Top End Engine Kit, Power Package, Intake, Heads, Cam, Timing Chain, Head Bolts, Chevy, Small Block, Kit
Mallory Performance
Ignition Box, Off Road-EZ, Digital, Capacitive Discharge, Points, OEM, Aftermarket Electronic, Includes Coil
Mickey Thompson
Tire, Baja Radial MTZ, LT 37.00 x 12.50R17, Radial, D Load Range, P Speed Rated, Blackwall, Each
Spectre Performance
Modular air intake components. Universal
Warn Industries
Winch, Electric, 12 V, 16,500 lb., Roller Fairlead, 90 ft. Line, 12 ft. Wired Remote, EacH
Fab Fours
Designed to be the ultimate in functionally-stylish front end protection, the Fab Fours front winch bumper is engineered to accept the WARN 16.5 winch.Combination of 1/4" and 3/16"" construction. 2 Stage Black Powder Coat or Bare Steel."
LMC Truck
Cowl Induction Hood-Single 2"
Rusty's Off Road
Control Arms - Front Upper Mount Kit

Episode Transcript

(ANNOUNCER)>> FROM BASIC TRANSPORTATION TO PURE EXHILARATION, OUR DUAL PURPOSE BLAZER IS COMPLETE. WE PUT OUR RIDE UNDER THE KNIFE, CUTTING OUT THE WEAK PIECES AND GIVING IT MORE POWER. TODAY ON XTREME 4X4, WE HIT THE ROAD AND THE ROCKS, THE DUSTY TRAIL, AND THE MUD.

(IAN)>> OH YEAH, I'M GONNA DO THAT AGAIN!

(IAN)>> THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THE FULL SIZE BLAZER HAS BEEN AN ICON IN THE WORLD OF FULL SIZE OFF ROAD RIGS FOR YEARS. I MEAN WHEN THEY FIRST CAME OUT IN THE MID '60'S ALL THE WAY UP TO THE MID '80'S, THEY HAD WHAT YOU NEEDED TO WHEEL A FULL SIZE RIG. THEY WERE BIGGER THAN A JEEP AND A BRONCO, AND HAD VEIGHT POWER UNDERNEATH THE HOOD STRAIGHT FROM THE FACTORY, AND HAD IT WHERE IT COUNTS UNDERNEATH WITH ALL THE GOOD STUFF YOU NEEDED TO GO WHEELING. NOW WHEN GM REINTRODUCED THE PICK UP TRUCK IN THE LATE '80'S, A LOT OF PEOPLE WONDERED WHAT THEY HAD PLANNED FOR THE BLAZER, AND IT TOOK A FEW YEARS BEFORE GM PULLED THE PIN AND REDESIGNED IT TO MATCH THE TRUCK. NOW I REMEMBER WHEN THAT HAPPENED. I WAS WORKING AT A GM DEALERSHIP AS A TRANSMISSION GUY WHEN THIS TRUCK FIRST ROLLED ONTO THE SHOWROOM FLOOR. AND HONESTLY, I WAS EXCITED BECAUSE THE LOOKS OF THE TRUCK, WELL THEY'RE JUST AWESOME. IT'S GOT ALL NEW BODY LINES AND REALLY APPEALED TO A LOT OF PEOPLE. BUT ONCE I HAD ONE IN THE SHOP AND HAD IT UP ON THE LIFT, I GOTTA SAY, I WAS A LITTLE DISAPPOINTED. I MEAN IT HAD IFS SUSPENSION UP FRONT. IT WAS LOWER THAN THE CLASSIC CK BLAZER. IT WAS WIDER, JUST DIDN'T HAVE IT WHERE IT COUNTED IF YOU WANTED TO TAKE THE TRUCK WHEELING. IT'S TRIP DOWN THE ROAD TO BECOMING A SOCCER MOM RIG WAS PRETTY MUCH SET IN STONE. BUT THAT'S THE COOL THING ABOUT WHAT IT IS THAT WE DO. IF WE DON'T LIKE A TRUCK THAT A MANUFACTURER MAKES, WE'VE GOT TOOLS MAN. WE CAN CHANGE IT. NOW THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE DID WHEN WE ROLLED THIS FULL SIZE BLAZER INTO THE XTREME SHOP. THE FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS WAS OBVIOUSLY TO DITCH THE IFS. I'M SURE SOME OF YOU GUYS ARE WONDERING, WHY DO WE GO THROUGH ALL THE TROUBLE OF CUTTING OUT ALL THE SUSPENSION AND THEN REPLACING IT WITH WHAT IS BASICALLY OLD TECHNOLOGY, USUALLY A SOLID AXLE ON A COUPLE OF LEAF SPRINGS. WELL IT HAS TO DO WITH THE WEAR LIMITS OF SOME OF THE COMPONENTS. SEE IFS HAS A LOT OF MOVING PARTS. IT'S GOT BALL JOINTS THAT NOT ONLY TWIST AND TURN AS THE WHEELS TURN, THEY ACTUALLY PIVOT AS IT TRAVELS UP AND DOWN. THE SAME WITH THE CV JOINTS, THERE'S A LOT OF DIFFERENT ANGLES IN PLAY HERE. IT'S GOT BUSHINGS IN BOTH THE LOWER AND UPPER CONTROL ARMS THAT ABSORB A LOT OF THE ROAD SHOCK. NOW THAT'S ALL FINE AND DANDY WHEN YOU'RE ROLLING AROUND ON A SET OF STOCK SIZE WHEELS AND TIRES. LIFT THE TRUCK UP, PUT A LIFT KIT ON IT AND SOME OVER SIZED WHEELS AND TIRES, YOU'VE GOT THESE HEAVY DUTY DROP DOWN BRACKETS. THEY'RE CHANGING ALL THE LOAD ON THOSE PARTS AND THEY'LL WEAR OUT MORE FREQUENTLY. NOW THE PROBLEM WITH THAT IS YOU'RE JUST GONNA HAVE TO THROW SOME PARTS AT YOUR RIG EVERY NOW AND AGAIN. BUT YOU START WHEELING IT HARDCORE, YOU'RE GONNA BREAK STUFF LEFT, RIGHT, AND CENTER. NOW DON'T GET ME WRONG, IFS SUSPENSION, IT'S GREAT FOR THE STREET. LIFT YOUR TRUCK UP, PUT SOME BIGGER WHEELS AND TIRES ON IT, IT'S GONNA RIDE GREAT AND LOOK GOOD DOWN AT THE MALL. BUT YOU WANT TO DO SOME SERIOUS WHEELING, ALL THIS STUFF HAS GOTTA GO.

AFTER SOME TIME WITH THE TORCH AND A LITTLE BIT OF GRINDING, WE HAD A BARE FRAME RAIL TO WORK WITH. WE GRABBED A DANA 60 FRONT AXLE OUT OF A FULL SIZE FORD PICK UP TRUCK AND BOLTED ON A SET OF LEAF SPRINGS TO DO A SOLID AXLE SWAP. THERE'S A LOT OF LIFTED STREET TRUCKS OUT THERE ROLLING AROUND WITH QUESTIONABLE STEERING, AND ALL YOU GOTTA DO TO FIX IT IS PICK UP A SET OF HIGH STEER ARMS. AND THEN WE THREW IN A 14 BOLT AXLE UNDERNEATH THE REAR AND A SET OF 37 INCH TALL TIRES. AND LOW AND BEHOLD, THE SOUL OF THE CLASSIC KFIVE BLAZER ROLLED AGAIN UNDER THE SKIN OF A BRAND NEW STYLE TRUCK. WE BASICALLY HAD A HARDCORE LIFTED STREET TRUCK.

(ANNOUNCER)>> COMING UP, CUSTOM BODY PROTECTION AND SUSPENSION FOR OUR CHEVY CRAWLER!

(IAN)>> SO WITH A REAL AXLE UNDERNEATH THE FRONT OF OUR BLAZER, IT WAS BACK TO BEING A TRUCK. BUT RIGHT NOW IT WAS JUST A LIFTED STREET TRUCK, WHICH IS COOL. DON'T GET ME WRONG, THERE'S TONS OF THEM DRIVING AROUND. THAT'S NOT WHAT WE WANT. WE DIDN'T WANT A LIFTED STREET TRUCK, WE WANTED AN XTREME 4X4. SOMETHING YOU COULD DRIVE EVERYDAY AND STILL HIT SOME SERIOUS TRAILS. SO WE HAD TO BRING THE TRUCK BACK INTO THE SHOP, THROW IT UNDERNEATH THE KNIFE ONE MORE TIME. THIS TIME WITH THE IDEA OF CONVERTING IT FROM A LIFTED STREET TRUCK TO A HARDCORE OFF ROADER. IF YOU'RE RUNNING A FULL SIZE RIG ON THE TRAIL, YOU DEFINITELY NEED A LARGE WINCH, AND IN OUR CASE WE OPTED FOR 16,500 POUND PULL WARN WINCH, AND SLID IT INSIDE A FAB FOURS FRONT BUMPER.

NOW NOBODY MAKES AN AFTERMARKET REPLACEMENT BUMPER FOR THE BACK OF OUR BLAZER. SO WE GRABBED SOME INCH AND THREE QUARTER DOM AND SOME THREESIXTEENTHS INCH PLATE AND BUILT OUR OWN. ADDED SOME TABS TO MAKE IT REMOVABLE, FULLY WELDED IT, AND GAVE IT A GOOD COATING OF DUPLICOLOR BED LINER. WITH A BUMPER ON THE FRONT AND BACK, THE NEXT AREA YOU NEED TO PROTECT ON A LIFTED STREET TRUCK BEFORE YOU TAKE IT OFF ROAD IS GONNA BE THE ROCKER PANELS. NOW THEY SEE A LOT OF ABUSE WHEN WHEELING BECAUSE EVERYTHING THAT YOU FALL OFF OF THE FRONT TIRE AFTER YOU DRIVE OVER IT ROLLS UP AND HITS RIGHT ON THE BOTTOM OF THE DOOR AND THE BOTTOM OF THE ROCKER. NOW THERE'S TWO PROBLEMS WITH THAT. NUMBER ONE BODY DAMAGE WRECKS THE TRUCK. NUMBER TWO, IT CAN ACTUALLY GET WEDGED INTO THE SHEET METAL MAKING IT HARD TO CONTINUE DOWN THE TRAIL. SO A GOOD ROCK SLIDER WILL HELP YOU KEEP DRIVING THE TRUCK. NOW THIS IS NOT A ROCK SLIDER. THIS IS BASICALLY A STEP. IT HELPS YOU GET IN AND OUT OF A LIFTED TRUCK. IT'S MADE OUT OF THIN WALL TUBING AND DOESN'T TRAVEL THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE ROCKER. SO WE'RE GONNA REPLACE THIS WITH A TRUE ROCK SLIDER. NOW SINCE WE HAVE A VERY ANGULAR BUMPER MADE OUT PLATE STEEL UP FRONT AND A TUBE BUMPER DESIGN IN THE BACK, WE'RE GONNA TIE THOSE TWO DESIGNS TOGETHER RIGHT HERE WITH A CUSTOM ROCK SLIDER. STARTING WITH A PIECE OF HEAVY WALLED TWO BY FOUR RECTANGULAR TUBING, I ROLLED PIECE OF INCH AND THREE QUARTER DOM AND WELDED THEM TOGETHER.

THEN WE TURNED OUR ATTENTION TO THE SUSPENSION. WHAT WE HAD WAS GREAT FOR A LIFTED STREET TRUCK BUT DEFINITELY NOT FOR SOMETHING THAT WAS GONNA SEE SOME SERIOUS TRAILS. NOW DON'T GET ME WRONG, YOU CAN DO SOME PRETTY SERIOUS WHEELING WITH LEAF SPRINGS UNDERNEATH THE FRONT OF YOUR TRUCK, BUT YOU'LL NEVER GET THE SAME AMOUNT OF WHEEL TRAVEL OR CONTROL THAT YOU WILL IF YOU CONVERT IT OVER TO A LINK TYPE SUSPENSION SYSTEM RIDING ON A SET OF COIL OVER SHOCKS. SO THAT IS WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO ON THE FRONT OF OUR BLAZER. NOW WE GOT EVERYTHING WE NEED TO BUILD OUR SUSPENSION FROM RUSTY'S OFF ROAD, AND IT'S THEIR NEW BUILDER SERIES DESIGN OF BRACKETS AND TABS. THEY ARE 100 PERCENT LASER CUT AND CNC FORMED TO FIT THE CONTOURS OF THE AXLE. THE HEIM JOINTS THEMSELVES COME WITH EVERYTHING YOU NEED INCLUDING THE JAM NUT AND THE TUBING ADAPTER. THEY'RE FULLY REBUILDABLE AND HEAT TREATED FOR STRENGTH. NOW WE'RE GONNA BE BUILDING WHAT'S CALLED A RADIUS ARM TYPE SUSPENSION SYSTEM. THAT MEANS IT WILL BE ANCHORED AT TWO POINTS ON THE FRAME AND TRAVEL DOWN AND SPLIT HALF WAY TO CREATE TWO ARMS TO LOCATE THE FRONT AXLE. YOU'VE SEEN US INSTALL THIS TYPE OF SUSPENSION ON JEEPS BEFORE. THE NICE THING IS YOU GET A LOT OF WHEEL TRAVEL, BUT YOU NEED TO REMEMBER TO INSTALL A POLY BUSHING ON ONE END OF THE MAIN ARM. THERE'S GONNA BE A LITTLE BIT OF BINDING IN THERE, AND THE POLY JOINT WILL GIVE YOU THE FLEX THAT YOU NEED WHEN YOU'RE AT MAX ARTICULATION. THE NICE THING IS BY INSTALLING THE POLY JOINT, IT'LL ALSO CLEAN UP THE ROAD MANNERS WHEN YOU'RE DRIVING ON THE HIGHWAY. SO A CUSTOM SET OF RADIUS ARMS WERE BUILT ALONG WITH A PAN HARD BAR AND SOME 17 INCH TRAVEL BILSTEIN ROCK CRAWLER SHOCKS. NOW THIS REAR SUSPENSION IS A LEAF SPRING SETUP. WE COULD HAVE SIMPLY INSTALLED A SET OF SMOOTH BODIED COIL OVER SHOCKS, BUT JUST FOR A FEW EXTRA BUCKS WE GOT THESE SHOCKS CUT FOR COIL SPRINGS. THAT WAY IF WE EVER UPGRADE THE REAR SUSPENSION OF THIS TRUCK TO SOMETHING LIKE A TRIANGULATE FOUR LINK, ALL WE'LL HAVE TO DO IS ADD A DUAL RAID KIT AND SOME SPRINGS.

THEN WE TURNED OUR ATTENTION TO WHAT WAS INSIDE OUR AXLES. A SET OF MECHANICAL LOCKERS BOTH FRONT AND REAR, AND CHROMOLY AXLE SHAFTS MEANT THAT OUR RUNNING GEAR WAS STRONG ENOUGH TO HANDLE SOME HARDCORE OFF ROAD. WE ALSO WANTED THIS TRUCK TO HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF STYLE. SO WE BOLTED ON A COWL INDUCTION HOOD FROM LMC TRUCK AND A SET OF BUSHWHACKER POCKET STYLE FENDER FLARES. INSIDE WE SLIPPED IN SOME SUSPENSION SEATS AND BUILT A CUSTOM ROLL CAGE.

(IAN)>> WE'RE BACK ON XTREME, AND OUR FULL SIZE BLAZER PROJECT IS OUT OF THE SHOP AND ONTO THE ROAD FOR ITS MAIDEN VOYAGE. NOW WHEN WE FIRST PULLED THIS RIG INTO XTREME, IT WAS DEFINITELY UNDER POWERED. OVER 200,000 MILES ON THE CLOCK MEANT THE SMALL BLOCK UNDER THE HOOD WAS WELL WORN OUT. WE SOLVED THAT BY SWAPPING IN A BRAND NEW SHORT BLOCK, TOPPED IT OFF WITH AN EDELBROCK TOP END PACKAGE. AND TO FINISH UP UNDERNEATH OUR HOOD, WE BUILT A CUSTOM COLD AIR INTAKE OUT OF SOME SPECTRE PIECES AND UPGRADED THE IGNITION WITH A MALLORY OFF ROAD IGNITION BOX. COMBINE THAT WITH A FRESH TRANSMISSION REBUILD AND AN UPGRADED TRANSFER CASE, AND WHEN YOU NEED IT, THIS TRUCK CAN HAUL THE MAIL. THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THE LOOKS OF THIS TRUCK HAVE CHANGED A LOT. I MEAN EVERYTHING FROM THE FRONT BUMPER TO THE ROCK SLIDERS, THEN A HUGE COWL INDUCTION HOOD AND THE POCKET STYLE FENDER FLARES, AND THE BLACKED OUT WHEELS. THIS RIG RIGHT NOW IS MEAN LOOKING WHEN IT DRIVES DOWN THE ROAD. I KNOW CHUCK NORRIS DRIVES A RAM CHARGER, BUT THIS TRUCK IS TOUGH ENOUGH THAT IF HE SAW IT, HE'D PROBABLY TRADE US STRAIGHT UP. NOW WITH THE NEW POWER UNDERNEATH THE HOOD, THE NICE THING IS THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT CLIMBING HILLS ANYMORE. WE DROP ON THE INTERSTATE WITH THIS RIG NOW, ALL YOU GOTTA DO IS LET IT EAT. OH YEAH, HEY, SOMEONE PASSED ME! OUT DRIVING A LIFTED HARDCORE OFF ROAD RIG ON THE ROAD, AH, SOMETIMES IT CAN BE A LITTLE SKETCHY. BUT THANKS TO A REASONABLE SIZE TIRE CHOICE, 37 INCHES, AND LOTS OF POWER UNDERNEATH THE HOOD, THE TRUCK HANDLED GREAT. BUT THIS IS XTREME 4X4, AND THIS TRUCK WAS NOT MEANT TO SPEND THIS MUCH TIME ON THE PAVEMENT. IT WAS MEANT TO OPERATE IN THE DIRT. AS SOON AS THE BLAZER DROPPED ON TO ITS FIRST TRAIL, WE KNEW RIGHT AWAY THAT WE'D MADE THE RIGHT DECISIONS ON THIS RIG FROM FRONT TO BACK. THE MICKEY THOMPSON BAJA MTZ TIRES WORKED GREAT IN THE DIRT. AND EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE ONLY 37 INCHES TALL, PLACING THEM CORRECTLY ON THE ROCKS MEANT WE COULD GET THE ENTIRE RIG UP AND OVER MOST OBSTACLES. OH, ROCK SLIDER TEST! THEY SEEM TO WORK! THE RADIUS ARM SUSPENSION FLEXED GREAT, ALLOWING US TO KEEP BOTH FRONT TIRES WELL PLANTED ON THE TRAIL WHILE WHEELING. AND EVEN THOUGH YOU MIGHT THINK THAT A SET OF LEAF SPRINGS IN THE BACK WOULD LIMIT THE ARTICULATION OF THE REAR AXLE, BECAUSE OF THE OFF ROAD DESIGN SHACKLE FLIP KIT, WE WERE ABLE TO FLEX THE REAR AXLE MORE THAN WE EVEN NEEDED. OH, OH, BOUNCY, BOUNCY!

PROBABLY THE MOST USED PART ON THIS TRUCK IS OUR CUSTOM ROCKER SLIDERS. NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY WHEN YOU'RE WHEELING, EVENTUALLY YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO DRAG SOMETHING ACROSS A ROCK. HAVING ALL THAT EXTRA POWER UNDER THE HOOD CAN REALLY PAY OFF, ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE JUST HUNG UP IN A LITTLE SPOT AND YOU'VE GOTTA GIVE THAT TENNESSEE BUMP. WHOO! NOW IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW MANY MODIFICATIONS YOU THROW AT A RIG, EVENTUALLY YOU'RE GONNA FIND THE LIMIT WHEN YOU'RE OUT ON THE TRAILS. NOW YOU CAN BEAT ON IT ALL DAY LONG, OR YOU CAN MAN UP AND JUST PULL WINCH CABLE.

(ANNOUNCER)>> UP NEXT, PLENTY OF WHEELING AND NO MORE WINCHING!

(IAN)>> SO AFTER THREE MONTHS IN THE SHOP, WHAT'S IT LIKE FINALLY GETTING THIS TRUCK OUT IN THE OPEN AIR? HONESTLY IT IS GREAT! I'VE ALWAYS LOVED THESE NEW BODY STYLE BLAZERS, AND NOW THAT IT'S ACTUALLY A HARDCORE TRUCK UNDERNEATH, IT MAKES IT EVEN BETTER.

YES SIR, WHOO! UPGRADING TO A 17 INCH SHOCK UP FRONT MEANT THAT WE HAD A LOT OF WHEEL TRAVEL. THE BILSTEIN'S 9,100 HANDLED ALL THE CRAWLING WE COULD THROW AT THEM WITH EASE. AND THE BEST PART IS, THANKS TO THEIR RACING HERITAGE, WHEN YOU WANT TO GO OUT AND REALLY HAUL IT DOWN A DIRT ROAD, YOU KNOW THAT THIS SHOCK CAN EASILY TAKE IT. PROBABLY ONE OF THE COOLEST THINGS ABOUT THE FULL SIZE BLAZER IS IT'S BEEN USED PRETTY MUCH EVERYWHERE OFF ROAD, FROM ROCK CRAWLING TO DESERT RACING. SO WHEN YOU DROP OUT OF A TRAIL IN A RIG LIKE THIS, YOU CAN LET IT EAT. THE RADIUS ARM SUSPENSION SYSTEM IS VERY POPULAR IN HIGH SPEED OFF ROAD DRIVING. SO WHEN YOU DROP THIS RIG ONTO A DIRT ROAD AND REALLY UNLEASH THE POWER UNDERNEATH THE HOOD, THE WHOLE FRONT END CAN SOAK UP SOME SERIOUS BUMPS. A TRUCK LIKE A FULL SIZE BLAZER IS A GREAT DUAL PURPOSE RIG. IT'S GOT LOTS OF SPACE INSIDE FOR YOU, YOUR FRIENDS, AND ANYTHING YOU WANT TO TAKE WITH YOU. AND THANKS TO THE FACT THAT WE LEFT LEAF SPRINGS IN THE BACK, YOU CAN STILL TOW A REASONABLE SIZE TRAILER, MAKING THIS RIG THE ULTIMATE DUAL PURPOSE.

BIG TRUCK ON A LITTLE TRAIL! NICE, GOLLY THAT'S A BIG TRUCK! THE THOUGHT OF DROPPING A FULL SIZE RIG ONTO A TENNESSEE TRAIL IS HONESTLY NOT ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO. YOU WILL ALWAYS END UP WITH BODY DAMAGE TRYING TO FIT IT INTO TIGHT SPACES. OH, OH, THAT HURT! AND THE BACK OF THIS TRUCK, WELL IT'S MOSTLY GLASS. BUT WITH A LITTLE CAREFUL MANEUVERING AND PICKING THE RIGHT TRAIL, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY WHEN TO CALL IT QUITS, I WAS VERY IMPRESSED WITH HOW WELL THIS MONSTER OF A RIG ON SUCH A SMALL TIRE HANDLED A GOOD DAY OF WHEELING. BUT ONE OF THE BEST THINGS ABOUT THIS BLAZER IN GENERAL IS YOU CAN WHEEL IT ALL DAY, HAVE LOTS OF FUN ON THE TRAILS AND BURNING DOWN SOME DIRT ROADS, AND THEN WHEN IT'S ALL SAID AND DONE, UNTWIST THE HUB, DROP IT BACK IN TWO WHEEL DRIVE HIGH, AND DRIVE IT HOME. FOR DETAILS ON ANY OF THE PRODUCTS SEEN IN TODAY'S EPISODE, HEAD ON OVER TO POWERBLOCK TV DOT COM.
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