View Full Version : Trailer hitch hight of single axle Outback Trailer
Hi. I have a 2007 Moomba Outback, but right it is far away in storage.
I'm getting a new car (Honda Pilot) and will need to occasionally tow the boat.
How high does the hitch need to be for this trailer? I have the single axle trailer that came new with the boat.
I seem to recall that the bottom edge of the hitch on the trailer side was 19" above ground when the trailer is level. Can anyone confirm this?
Also, I hope the 2008 AWD Pilot will be able to handle this boat. I plan on trailering it 3 or 4 times/year.
I hope it'll be okay. The outback and trailer weigh 3600 lbs, so 4500 pounds should be enough. I only plan to trailer the boat a few times per year.
So far I've managed with a minivan with 3500 lbs capacity, but I'm sure I'll destroy the transmission if I keep using this car.
12-15-2007, 10:18 AM
I tow occaisionally with a Honda Ridgeline, which is quite similar to the Pilot. My towing capacity is 5000 lbs, and it pulls the Outback V with no issues.
The height of the factory hitch works really well, so you may want to ensure that the Pilot and Ridgeline are approximately the same height.
The other thing you can do is get a reciever that has some lift or drop to adjust the height where you want it.
12-15-2007, 11:10 AM
Laz - The center line of the receiver opening is 20 1/2 inches above the ground. With the slide in the receiver, distance from the ground to the top of the tow ball is 21 3/4 inches. My Suburban pulls an 07 Outback on a tandem axle trailer. Gives me plenty of pulling and braking power to travel safely. - Deerfield
Deerfield, thanks. That info will be quite useful.
Ed: We are planning on getting the Pilot for a number of reasons. My wife wants it for winter driving and carpooling. I want it to tow the boat.
However, we will likely only tow the boat 4 times per summer. Last summer we actually managed with a front wheel drive minivan with a 3500 lb towing capacity. But I'm pretty sure we would have trashed the transmission if we had kept using it.
Now, if the boat, trailer and equipment weigh 4000 lbs and the car specifications specifically say that it has a towing capacity for boats of 4500 lbs, why should I expect a problem? We're almost committed to this car and I'll have a hard time explaining why we need a more powerful one.
If the factory tow rating is at 4500 and the total weight is 4000 then you are OK to tow with it. It just "feels" better to tow with something that is rated at 7500lbs towing which is the baseline for most 1/2 ton trucks and SUV's.
A Suburban weights approx. 6000lbs while the Honda tops off at 4500lbs you can see which one while be pushed around by the boat! I have a Silverado and pulling the ski boat is a piece of cake but when I put the 6600lb Proline behind me I drive slower than Grandma! I really hate pulling that boat!!! Just take it easy!
12-16-2007, 03:40 AM
The Honda has the about the same torque and GVW as my 2002 Blazer and my Blazer pulls OK. You will need a transmission cooler (towing package) if you plan to use it much. My Blazer does not have the towing package and I use it to tow a couple miles away and a few 25 mile roundtripers but I also have the tranny fluid changed more often. On the Blazer and it is probably the same for the Honda, they recommend not towing in "D" that uses the overdrive and using the "3" setting.
12-16-2007, 08:13 AM
If you think that weight limits are over-rated, or think that figuring out what you can safely tow and stay within the weight limits is a waste of time, read this story. It may change your mind.
12-16-2007, 08:17 AM
There is alot of info on this subject on the internet. Read some and educate yersef.
I was towing my 6600lb Proline home one day with the Silverado I was in the left lane of a 4 lane because I knew I had to make a left turn soon. I heard sirens and looking into my passenger side rear view mirror I saw Fire Engines coming up the road. Not wanting to block them I decided to move over into the right lane. Well by the time I started to turn the fire engines had moved into the right lane too! I jerked the wheel back to the left and set up a swerving motion, from right to left the boat was pushing the truck around. Now I was scared as I could not stop it, luckily I got off the brakes and floored the throttle and it pulled it out of this inpending doom. Like I said before pulling the ski boat is no problem for a 1/2 ton truck but when are towing something that weights almost the same as the tow vehicle you don't have much margin for saftey! Again I hate towing that big boat and now barely exceed 45mph hour and never get close to anyone.
12-17-2007, 08:58 PM
Beside, tow vehicles w/ a low(er) tow rating typically do not even have the brakes to last when trying to stop a 4000# rig. Not to mention trans probs and such after they get a little age on them.
I'm sure it'll work for a while, tho.
Hope this helps
12-18-2007, 03:01 AM
FYI - The Honda Pilot / Acura MDX _ARE_ Minivans. They are built on the Honda Odyssy frame. Simply adding the body of an SUV, and larger tires, and a split differential does NOT make it an SUV capable of towing anything more. I truly think that there is a line that should not be crossed...
5000 lbs and 3000lbs. Any vehicle with lower than a 5000lb to capacity should really not tow anything larger than 3000lbs - this is the "light weight class" - so minivans towing twin jetskis = fine. sedans towing day sailboat = fine. mini-suv towing the 17" open fisherman = no problem. All pickups (even the tiny ones) are now rated above 5000lbs. All body on frame SUV's are rated above this point. I towed a 19" outboard bow rider with a TRANS AM for a few years. I had better horsepower than any pickup, better traction than most suvs, I had trans cooler, diff cooler, brake fluid coolers, and huge high-end brakes. And my tow capacity was higher (by 300lbs) than the actual rig.
I'd never do it again.
For all the reasons stated before me - be super aware of the fact that it is not all a numbers game. Many factors exist.
12-18-2007, 05:54 AM
smore interesting reading...............
You should be aware of four weight ratings when you tow: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR), Trailer Weight Allowance (TWA), and Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). None of them should be taken for granted.
Both your tow vehicle and trailer have a designated GVWR, which represents the total allowable weight it's designed to safely carry. If GVWR is exceeded on either the tow vehicle or trailer, your solution may be as simple as transferring part of the load between the two vehicles. The GAWR, on the other hand, is the maximum allowable weight on each axle (front and rear on a tow vehicle). In some cases it's possible to be within the GVWR but exceed the GAWR, i.e. perhaps a small truck with a fully loaded camper and a boat in tow. The TWA is the maximum weight the vehicle can safely pull. The TWA rating can vary, depending on whether your tow rig has manual or automatic transmission and if it has four-wheel drive. And then there's the GCWR, which represents the combined weight of a fully loaded tow vehicle (fuel, occupants, cargo — everything) and the total weight of what's in tow (trailer, boat, fuel, gear, etc.). GCWR is determined by engine, transmission and rear axle ratio.
12-18-2007, 06:04 AM
Vehicle in question.........
12-18-2007, 06:20 AM
In a nutshell.......
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating 5,952 lbs. GVWR
Front Gross Axle Weight Rating 2,865 lbs. front GAWR
Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating 3,155 lbs. rear GAWR
Payload 1,322 lbs. payload
Maximum GCWR 9,700 lbs. maximum GCWR
Now a little simple math...............
9700 (gcwr) - 5952 (gvwr) = 3748 (left fer yer trailer)
A gassed up OB's gonna weigh in @ about 2900# not counting weight of the trailer, which i figger about 900# conservatively, puts you at 3800#
Hope this helps
12-18-2007, 09:05 AM
I've got to agree with Ed on this one. I also think he was being very conservative on his weight ratings. The trailer is probably closer to 1000# if not a little more. All the little things we keep in our boats (anchors, full coolers, toys, etc.) add up. I'd say that you could easily add another 100-200# there. One other thing that isn't mentioned is that the passengers of the vehicle and any other items you keep in it also count against the GCWR. Add that in and I think you'll be right at or over the factory rated towing capacity for that vehicle.
All I can say is that while you may think this is the vehicle you want, it may not be the vehicle you need. Please take into consideration that it may not be only your family who is at risk but anybody else's who is sharing the road with you. Either buy a vehicle that's capable of safely pulling the boat or buy the Pilot and look for an older used truck or SUV just to pull the boat.
12-18-2007, 03:10 PM
From Honda's website.
* Towing requires installation of power steering fluid- and automatic tranmission fluid-cooler, both available exclusively from your Honda dealer.Premuim unleaded fuel is recommended when towing above 3500 lbs. Capacity of 4500 lbs. is for boat trailers and 3500 lbs. for all other trailers. Refer to the owner's manual for additional towing information.
Thanks for all the info.
In the end, I will have to drive very carefully! The Pilot is definitely a compromise for us. My wife will be driving it 98% of the time and I'll drive for towing the boat 3 or 4 times per year.
The pilot only became an option when I told her that if we keep using the Toyota Sienna, we will destroy the car or boat, or both.
It's a hard sell to buy a new car just to tow the boat a few times per year. But, since getting the outback, perspective has not been my strong point.
I've wanted a direct drive ski boat since I took my first lesson at McClintock's 20 years ago.
I know how you feel I cannot go out and buy a 1 ton chevy dually just to tow my big boat 5 to 6 times a year a few miles.
Good luck! and drive safely!
12-19-2007, 10:05 AM
Now that's not fair, Z. I was just pointing out the Pilot may be a shade under-rated for his application.
I had a Duelly pull me boat one time to the lake. Ol' boy said 'what boat!?!'
Technically speaking the Pilot can pull it as it is rated for over 4000lbs, 4400lbs I think. But I will agree with you there is No margin for safety left. I have no problem pulling the 2500lb MC but my 25ft Proline (with twin 150 Evinrudes and 140 gallons of gas) weights in at close to 7000lbs and with a Silverado rated at 7500lbs I am in the same boat (ok situation, the boat is behind me) as he is with the Pilot.
12-19-2007, 10:46 PM
Everyone is right. You all make good points. IMHO its a question of saftey.
Theres no question the Pilot can handle his boat. A VW Bug could haul it a few blocks without issue. If he is only pulling it a few times a year short distances (20 miles or less) its a good compromise for his needs. Buy the tow package on the Pilot, drive defensivly and stay way back from the guy in front of you and dont' drive like your pacing the Indy 500. You'll be fine.
On the other hand, if your taking off cross country with your family, luggage all your water toys and enough beer to float your boat in, your asking for trouble. You won't have enough truck for long trips.
I pull my Outback with my V8 Explorer or my Expedition. The Explorer is great but if I'm going any distance its Expedition all the way. The heavier truck is the way to tow. Much safer.
Thanks for all you help.
So now there is some confusion with the Honda dealer and the after market hitch company.
I've order the extra tow package from Honda ($1350), but the dealer can't seem to explain exactly what that includes.
My thought is that it would include everything except the ball socket which would depend on the height of the trailer.
THEN....I spoke to a hitch company. Now that want to sell me a hitch and a weight distributing thingy that will add another $1000. Occording the this company, the Pilot can tow 3500 lbs with out one and $5000 lbs with the weight distributor.
Is this BS? Or, does this just apply to camper type trailers that have much more weight forward on the hitch.
Run from that guy! A boat is properly balanced on a trailer so that the hitch weight should be less than or around 100lbs. I can easily pick up the front of my trailer with the boat on it. You just need to determine the height of the trailer to the vehicle and get an appropriate receiver. Those load distributors are not required! If the Honda comes with everything but the hitch then you are looking at 20 dollars at walmart for the hitch and the receiver.
The load distribution attachment seemed like BS.
Now, Honda is telling me that the tow package includes a four pronged connector. Then, I'm told that I can easily get a 4-5prong adapter for the trailer. Does that sound correct?
Is the fifth prong meant to disengage the brake when the car is in reverse?
Sadly, the back and forth between the hitch company and Honda is generally adding to the confusion. This forum is the lone hope for sanity!
12-20-2007, 06:08 PM
You are correct. If the input from the Pilot to the trailer does not include a feed from the pilot's brake lights to energize the solenoid when the pilot is put in reverse to back up it won'trelease the barkes on the trailer.
The class II/III is the one you are talking about, the class IV, theirs.
I don't have a hitch on mine, just a ball on the bumper. And no, the old lady doesn't ride on the bumper holding the trailer. Although she can be a 'ball' sometimes.
hope this helps
12-20-2007, 07:36 PM
On my Honda Ridgeline, I have a 4-flat connector and a 7-pin round connector. You can purchase an adapter for the 7-pin round --> 5-flat. Check to see if the Pilot tow package has both types of connectors. If so, you should be all set for wiring and brake lock-out.
12-20-2007, 08:19 PM
dtlaine is correct. If your vehicle has 4 pin connector for your trailer lights , your Moomba dealer can hook you up with the correct adapter to make your brakes function correctly.
I disagree a little about the tongue weight zegm. The general rule of thumb regarding trailers is that you want approx 10% of the total trailer weight on the tongue. This prevents the trailer from zigzagging back and forth behind your tow vehicle. IE: a 4000lb boat and trailer would have around 400lbs on the tongue. I've never put my Outback tongue on a scale but it takes two men and a boy to pick mine up.
Just my 2 cents worth
12-21-2007, 12:33 PM
Mastermind is right. There should definitely be more than 100#'s of tongue weight. Not enough weight on the tongue will cause the trailer to sway back and forth. With a vehicle that's pretty much being pushed to it's limits or a little beyond like the Pilot, that will make it feel like the boat is driving the vehicle.
As for the 5 wire, if they're going to charge you a bunch to set it up that way, don't bother. Just go buy 5 pin connector and wire the first four just like they are now. For the fifth wire, pull the tail light assembly out and splice a lenth of wire into the wire for the reverse light. Run it down through the body and connect it to the open pigtail on the connector.
12-21-2007, 06:30 PM
Laz - I'm with Mastermind. Probably have 300 pounds of weight on our trailer tongue. We pull an 07 Outback on a tandem axle trailer. - Deerfield
12-21-2007, 09:17 PM
tow package from honda includes all you need.receiver,draw bar,wire harness-will need to add the back up wire portion tho,trans cooler,power steering cooler. you do not need a weight distributing setup. go with the factory option at time of purchase and all is covered with the 3yr/36k mile warranty. now if you add the options after you buy the pilot they are only covered for 12 moths or 12k mile warranty. if you do not have the coolers and have any issue's with the steering or trans it may not be covered under warranty. all the factory stuff bolts,clips,wires in with no issue's. i work at a honda dealer service center and have seen people get the after market wireing done and have no problems for 2-3 years and then stuff is not working correctly-the leading cause was the wiring being spliced in and then it corrodes and shorts out a computer=very expensive,not covered under warranty. the pilot is not a heavy duty tow vehicle by any means but may be a good compermise for you. but,,, when the urge to upgrade the boat happens you will need to upgrade the tow vehicle too. that is reason enough to get a bigger suv alone as it will make it easier to get the bigger boat later.
joe teckie. funny about the TA as i used my camaro to tow my 17' outboard also---what where we thinking??
I'm gonna get the full honda tow package and only get what's missing from the hitch place. I'll get the pin adapter if needed.
And slightly off topic:
I'm not so sure I would want a bigger boat--at least for the time being. Now our focus is slalom and anything bigger would not help. We (parents, me, wife and kids) are just experimenting with wakeboarding.
So far, I'm afraid to use the ballast as I already get more air than I can handle with my wakeboard!! Occasionally I time everything perfectly while wakeboarding and hit the wake with just the right speed and push up. Then I can see the water many feet below and have no good landing strategy!! Fun, fun fun! My best tricks are usually unintentional.
The outback is such an incredible step up from our 17 year old 18' 175 hp I/O that I hope it will take us a very long time before we get foot-itis.
I don't have 100lbs of tongue weight on my 1975 MasterCraft that I have owned it 20 years and have never had a problem. I also image that 400lbs on the trailer hitch of the Honda sitting at least 2 to 3 feet behind the axle creates a moment arm of at least 800 to 1200 pounds lifting the front end up. I have owned dual axle car trailers and you cannot pick up the front of the trailer due to the fact there is no central pivot point. So that might be what you are describing with your boats. I also own a 25ft Proline that weights 6600lbs and I can (ok it is heavy) pick it up as my wife and I did once when the jack failed. There is no way we picked up 400lbs or if we follow your recommendations it should be 660lbs. 660lbs x 3 ft (from axle centerline to hitch on Silverado) = 1980lbs lifting the front end up! I could probably agree with you guys on a tongue weight being 200lbs being good but to put 350lbs (10% x 3500lb boat) on the rear bumper of a Honda Pilot and please call me when he is driving so I can stay at home that day!
12-22-2007, 03:15 PM
zegm, I hear what your saying. The 10% rule is a rule of thumb, not a dead set law of physics. Still, a decent SUV should be able to take 10% of its tow capacity weight without problems. In my case, my Explorer rated to tow 6500 lbs, can easily handle 650lbs on the hitch without effecting the handling or causing the rear to drag the ground. And a Suburban with a 10000 lb rating should be able to handle 1000 lbs.
My neighbor has a 1989 MasterCraft and your right, the tongue can be picked up easily. As a consequence, it jumps around and sways while your pulling it down the road. I know cause I've pulled it several times. No offense, Master Craft makes a great boat, but their trailers have never impressed me for towing. They are also a pain to load the boat on.
My Moomba trailers have both been single axle trailers made by Boatmate. Trust me, the 10% rule applies to Boatmate trailers.
Since Boatmate custom designs the trailer for each boat that Moomba makes, the boats load and unload easily. More importantly, they pull and track great. A well made, good pulling trailer will be a huge asset when pulling with a lighter vehicle like the pilot.
Just my 2 cents worth. Happy Holidays
Yes I do not "YET" own a Moomba with a boatmate trailer but will very soon as the Atlanta Boat show is coming. And I do not know what the tongue weight is on the boatmate trailers. But you must keep in mind that yes a Suburban or Silverado 1/2 ton can carry well 1/2 ton but this is to be centered over the rear axle. Not cantilevered out over on the hitch behing the axle. I also know that the Reese hitch reciever on my truck now says not to exceed 600lbs. When this load gets too great you start talking about a "fifth wheel hitch". I am not sure why but the MasterCraft we have tows great and I never know it is back there. I will agree with you though that it is difficult to get on the trailer. On a ball hitch you need some weight to ensure a good connection and not depend on the hitch latch to keep the trailer from popping the latch and coming off. So I believe this is why you want some tongue weight. However I do not understand how having a high weight on the hitch affect trailer dynamics as you state? I have worked in the Aviation Tractor Industry (Tug) and designed tractors for towing vast loads. The trailer draw bar pivots at the trailer and supplys no load to the tractor whatsoever however the hitch type is a clevis and pin or a pintal hitch that captures the ring on the drawbar. These little tractors can tow 30,000lbs of baggage and freight without any problem and no load on the hitch, however you must keep the pin height at or below the horizontal axle centerline or you will again start unloading the front end. I guess in the end we can agree that 200lbs or so is probably a good thing!
12-23-2007, 12:30 AM
I'm certainly no expert.........I'm just speaking from my personal experience zegm. You'll love the Boatmate trailer........its so easy to load. Just hit the trailer anywhere and the boat centers up and your on. A real marriage saver if your wife helps you load........... :D .
Again, you would know better than I but don't those little aviation tugs weigh 4000 or 5000 pounds? I remember reading something or seeing something on tv about them. I'm thinking maybe it was the tv show Dirty Jobs. I know the ones they use to pushoff commercial jets are VERY heavy.
The companys name is Tug and you can see them at any airport pushing baggage carts around. They have different weights depending on what the airline orders and we did this by changing the thickness of the rear bumper and the rear fenders. Usually the bumper was 3 inches thick! But they weight from 5k to 7500lbs!!! Have a Ford inline six and a 14 to 1 rear axle ratio!
I am very lucky that my wife who is the water skier drives the MC onto the trailer while I drive the truck. On the Proline since it has twin engines she doesn't like driving it so she drives the truck and backs the boat into the water and I drive the boat. Now there is a secret that I haven't told her yet. As you know backing up the inboard and trying to get it to go where you want it is almost a waste of time. But Backing the big boat with the twin outboards is awesome as you can turn it anywhere you want and can even parallel park the thing!!! Again I feel very lucky with her as most of the time I see the women just standing by watching as the husband does it all! Now if I could just beat her record of having caught the biggest fish on our boat a 4ft long Wahoo!!!!
12-23-2007, 07:52 AM
I can't explain the dynamics of why adding more tongue weight works to stop the trailer from swaying, but I can say from experience that it does. Obviously a single axle trailer will be much more sensitive to this than a tandem. I bought my first inboard boat when I was 23 and it had a trailer that you could adjust the front post forward or back, changing the position of the boat on the trailer. The first time my dad saw me tow it, he commented on how much it was swaying back and forth and told me it needed more tongue weight. He owns a construction company, so he's been around the block a few times when it comes to towing. We moved the boat forward on the trailer to load the tongue more and the problem disappeared.
12-23-2007, 02:27 PM
Thanks zegm......I'll check out the tug site.
I had a similar experience lowdrag. Unfortunately many trailers don't build in the adjustability of the front stand. Your just screwed. My neighbors MasterCraft trailer has no adjustment and it pulls like a burlap bag full of cement blocks. Its awful on a long trip and nothing short of dangerous and annoying on short runs.
It is nice to have a wife thats not afraid to jump in and help. Whats REALLY nice is having a trailer that makes it so easy. Nothing can kill a day on the lake like a yelling session at the ramp trying to unload. :)
Happy Holidays Guys!
I looked up Boatmate trailers and I was impressed. This old MC trailer we have is C channel and pretty simple as it has no brakes either ( never did) but it is a very light boat. I was surprised to see square tubing & disc brakes and happy about it! Those trailers are making my future order all the better!!! My big boat rides on a beautiful Aluminum trailer but they put drum brakes on it and they lasted less than a year before I had to install stainless discs. It really should be against the law to put drums on a saltwater boat trailer! They are more dangerous than if you just didn't have them. Like the MasterCraft I will never put the "future" Moomba into salt water. I am lucky that I live on a lake just a few miles from the Gulf so we enjoy both worlds. Today it was warm here and the bass boat guys were out in force!!! Not sure what they were doing though???? Here I am raking leaves and I hear big 2 strokes on the prowl! Maybe someone got an early present!!! :D
12-23-2007, 09:35 PM
Your a research guy zegm. I like that!
I like the LED lighting and swing away tongue feature too.
I have yet to be disappointed by my Moomba. Your in for a treat!!
We are counting the days until the Atlanta Boat show. A good engineer has big ears and big eyes and of course a good internet connection! :lol:
12-26-2007, 04:49 AM
On the older style trailers, you could actually move the axle forward or backward to adjust the tongue weight.
12-27-2007, 01:05 AM
If you think that weight limits are over-rated, or think that figuring out what you can safely tow and stay within the weight limits is a waste of time, read this story. It may change your mind.
Wheew.... bad story. If this doesn't make you think twice about towing over your limit, I don't know what will. The other thing to keep in mind is driver training. My wife usually tows our boat and I tow our camper (30' toyhauler roughly weighing in at 11K lbs). When she started towing, she really did not know how fast she could/should go and she had a couple of near misses driving. She is now a champ at it and much more careful than she used to be.
12-27-2007, 04:58 AM
Practice does make perfect, doesn't it?
01-04-2008, 09:57 PM
Wow, I'm just catching up on this one. THe boat mate trailer is awsum. Not that we have had an horror stories with our old boat but as has been said before a bad expereince can ruin a lot of good times. Were almost like Ed except my wife always gets the boat. If we are at another lake other than ours we pull up, free the boat up start the blower, throw in the kids and check the plug. I back her in, she drives off and we're out of your way in under 3 minutes. Loading is similar.
About pulling with the Honda, if that is what you have it's what you have but I've never been a fan of small SUV's trying to be trucks. My sister in law has a Pilot. I doesn't feel or drive like a truck at all. They bought an 21 ft IO this year and left the Pilot at home and bought a Expidition for pulling the boat. Very smart move.
We used to pull a 40ft Gooseneck race hauler all over the country, and of course in the winter because why else would you. Obviously anything directly over the rear axle is the way to go but a well balanced boat trailer is not that bad as long as it doesn't throw the front rear balance of the vehicle off. Also small V6's have come a long way, but I don't think that far, in the end they may have high HP but still lack real low end torgue.
Just to stir things up a little 8)
No you didn't stir it up much, I think you also understand about unloading the front axle too! And yeah if you going to have a boat buy a truck. My wife drives a Diesel Jetta and I drive a BMW 540i 6-speed rocket ship! But!!!!! There is a Chevy Silverado in the driveway and her job is to haul Kayaks, go to the landfill, bring plywood home from Lowes, tow a utility trailer and of course her most important job is to tow 2 boats, one big one and one medium one. When not required to do the dirty work she sits in the yard resting. By the way it is Kayak season here now (summer time is OK but you have to watch out for the Big Green Swimming Lizards! Saw 2 bald eagles and many other awesome birds last weekend on Lake Seminole!
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