WOW- What a disappointment! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-05-2019, 05:59 PM   #1
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Name: Shangie
Trailer: Roadtrek
Washington
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WOW- What a disappointment!

We went to look at a 21' Bigfoot in The greater Seattle metro and wow what a mess it was although it is described as in good condition and the asking price if just under $16,000. I remember going through these owner opinions of their RV's when looking for a Volkswagen camper years ago. That search was a shocker and so is our search for a well maintained trailer. The one we looked at was owned by a really nice man but it was severely dirty, had suffered from a few prior leaks, the flooring was loosening up due to water and there was over an inch tall moss growing in the kitchen window along it's entire length and all the windows had been professionally re-sealed just a couple years ago. The stove top was shot, the monkey fur has black streaks throughout in the cabinets. The interior caulking was dirty and when he tried to open the window shade, the entire system that held it together on the bottom left side popped off- that is where the window leaked a couple years earlier. The 'decorative' band around the belly had shrunk back and it has not been polished or waxed in many years and all appliances where original which means probably needing replacement in the next two years or so.. I can't imagine how frustrated I would have been had I traveled more than a hundred miles to see it. Yet he had a few offers of $15,000 and did not take those. It fascinates me that anyone would pay that much for a trailer with so many issues but then again, we used to own an Airstream and most older ones have some pretty severe issues. I did get the impression these things are well built so that was great to learn because everything else out there that is not molded fiberglass appears to be without redemption. We are so done looking due to not wanting to shell out major bucks on a restoration- been there done that and have decided to love our already much loved Roadtrek even though it feels pretty small when the grandkids come in to visit. It was a quality made RV and we have had no issues with it at 86,000 miles and it is twenty five years old so I think that says a lot.
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Old 12-05-2019, 07:16 PM   #2
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Ewww!
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Old 12-05-2019, 07:47 PM   #3
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Name: Aaron
Trailer: 2000 Bigfoot 21RB, & 92 Vanagon Westy
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That's a bummer. Anything will fall apart if it is not maintained or taken care of. Just think how far it would have been gone if it was a normal trailer.
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Old 12-05-2019, 07:52 PM   #4
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There are suckers out there that will buy almost anything. Congratulations for NOT being one of them!

One thing I have come to appreciate is finding out how the seller has been storing his trailer when not in use. A trailer that has been stored indoors will often be in MUCH better shape.
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:23 AM   #5
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Don't Give Up!

It’s always good to “love the one you’re with.” By most accounts those older Roadtreks are well made units. I have a newer one, a family hand-me-down on the strong Chevy 3500 chassis, but coach build quality has sadly declined. We originally thought to sell, but in the end we’ve decided to love the one we’re with, rather than the larger trailer I had my sights on.

Sounds like yours has some good years left, but eventually that aging Dodge chassis will become a travel liability, so it wouldn’t hurt to keep looking. Bigfoots are quality trailers, and in time I’m sure you can find one that’s been taken care of. With older used RV’s it’s pretty much a given you’ll have to kiss a few frogs before you find a prince.

Meantime, here’s another way to make room for grandkids (or in our case, teens)...
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:16 PM   #6
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Name: Jann
Trailer: Casita
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shangie View Post
We went to look at a 21' Bigfoot in The greater Seattle metro and wow what a mess it was although it is described as in good condition and the asking price if just under $16,000. I remember going through these owner opinions of their RV's when looking for a Volkswagen camper years ago. That search was a shocker and so is our search for a well maintained trailer. The one we looked at was owned by a really nice man but it was severely dirty, had suffered from a few prior leaks, the flooring was loosening up due to water and there was over an inch tall moss growing in the kitchen window along it's entire length and all the windows had been professionally re-sealed just a couple years ago. The stove top was shot, the monkey fur has black streaks throughout in the cabinets. The interior caulking was dirty and when he tried to open the window shade, the entire system that held it together on the bottom left side popped off- that is where the window leaked a couple years earlier. The 'decorative' band around the belly had shrunk back and it has not been polished or waxed in many years and all appliances where original which means probably needing replacement in the next two years or so.. I can't imagine how frustrated I would have been had I traveled more than a hundred miles to see it. Yet he had a few offers of $15,000 and did not take those. It fascinates me that anyone would pay that much for a trailer with so many issues but then again, we used to own an Airstream and most older ones have some pretty severe issues. I did get the impression these things are well built so that was great to learn because everything else out there that is not molded fiberglass appears to be without redemption. We are so done looking due to not wanting to shell out major bucks on a restoration- been there done that and have decided to love our already much loved Roadtrek even though it feels pretty small when the grandkids come in to visit. It was a quality made RV and we have had no issues with it at 86,000 miles and it is twenty five years old so I think that says a lot.
Some people have no pride in the things they own. They think their junk is worth a fortune. If he had any $15,000 offers he should have taken them. He is not being truthful in anything it sounds like. If your 25 year old Roadtrek is in good shape and nice then you have pride in your vehicle. There are many good trailers out there and you can find one. That is one reason to buy from a dealer. They usually are good vehicles since the dealer wants to keep a good reputation.
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:35 PM   #7
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Don't give up

The first one I saw had no floor! The second didn't exist (scammer) had great stolen photos. But the third... wow, perfect, well maintained. All I had to do was clean the carpet, sponge out the fridge. And I drove several hundred miles to see it.

If the trailer you are interested in is far away, try contacting a dealer in the area or ask someone on this site to check it out for you. Will be worth the price.

I thought I would get a Road Trek too, but concerned about how low it is to the ground.
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:03 AM   #8
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Name: Shangie
Trailer: Roadtrek
Washington
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Thanks for all the responses

Our gut feeling was to walk away. I don't think the seller was dishonest. I think he used the heck out of it and has outgrown the trailer due to children growing to tall for the dinette bed. I also got the impression he was too swamped with life and being a very active parent to maintain one more thing. Because of that, trailers rot. I was told by many RV industry people that only five percent, at most, maintain their RVs. We won't buy from a dealer because in the greater Seattle metro we have yet to come across one who knows how to do a used RV inspection. I can do a better inspection than their own service department. We went to look at several high end, well built non molded fiberglass trailers about five year old at our most reputable dealers and every one had extensive damage from leaks which we pointed out, including mold and soft spots on a highly rated brand and those units are still up for sale. Several we could have put our hands through entire front ends due to window leaking dry rot issues. One had the siding pulling away from the RV and the dealership said they didn't catch it but still has not repaired it and has it up for sale. Same with all the others. we literally walked not a three year old trailer and the ceiling had detached from the frame and the salesperson said "that happens". And these were top of the line expensive RVs. All destroyed by lack of re-caulking every year whether stored under cover or not. Caulking dries and is twisted loose during transport and every owners manual I read stated it has to be checked every six months and recalled where needed or annually. People buy high end units and then think they are done. Not so and I did not know this until we ventured into trailer buying land this time due to my husband doing the maintenance and me the cleaning of ours. Well, until we find a nice one by owner, we will be happy with what we have. With regards to the Roadtrek, the Dodge Chasis we have is not the low rider that the Chevy is. we avoided that one due to clearance. I do not like the floorpan of the 21 Bigfoot with the bed n the corner but I do like the one with the settee across from the kitchen. So I posted a 'wanted to buy' ad and hopefully a nice one will come along. Thanks again.
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Old 12-07-2019, 09:05 AM   #9
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Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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I believe this is TRUE: I was told by many RV industry people that only five percent, at most, maintain their RVs."

This FG forum is full of people that maintain their RVs. We are part of the 5 percenters.
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:51 AM   #10
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We had two Road Treks, a '92 Dodge, and later, an '04 Chev. Loved them both while we had them. Sold the last one last years and this year bought our Boler (http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...ler-90495.html). Spent the summer updating it and now looking forward to this new chapter. The only thing that's constant is change...
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Old 12-07-2019, 11:09 AM   #11
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I wish you success in your search, Shangie. The front bed model seems to be less common than the rear corner bed. Since youíre looking for an older one, better to keep as many options on the table as you can.

Prices tend to be higher along the Pacific coast. You might find better deals if you extend your search into the mountain region, from ID and MT all the way down to AZ and NM. Or further if possible.

Thanks for the detailed follow-up. Just a friendly hint- a few paragraph divisions in a longer post make it easier to read.

Best wishes!
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Old 12-10-2019, 09:50 PM   #12
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Name: Shangie
Trailer: Roadtrek
Washington
Posts: 41
Thanks for the encouragement and advice. How can we edit a post?

Hello- After reading everything we could about Bigfoot on this forum and, after an intensive travel trailer search and personally seeing newer top rated ones suffering from extensive leaking, we will make it our mission to buy a used Bigfoot.

I get that we will more than likely have to travel to do that. Or just wait patiently until an older one comes up for sale in our area. I think we could make either the 19 or the 21 work as we have carpentry skills and can widen the gaucho bed situation so long as it is long enough for a 6'2" man.

How do we edit our posts? I must be overlooking a tool on the site to do that. Thanks for any help.
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Old 12-11-2019, 07:27 AM   #13
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WOW- What a disappointment!

You have a 12 hour window after you submit a post during which you will see an edit button* at the bottom of the post. After that itís closed for editing. If you have a really good reason to change something after that, you have to contact a moderator and they can re-open it.
*If youíre using the FiberglassRV app, tap on your post and an edit option will pop up.

Iím on another forum that gives only 30 minutes to edit. Tough on this compulsive editor!!
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Old 12-17-2019, 11:49 AM   #14
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Name: charles
Trailer: 21 Bigfoot
Oregon
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fiberglass bigfoot's or any fiberglass trailer are not the be all and end all of trailers but.....I have a 21 bigfoot and have gone from hard side apache's to casitas and now the bigfoot and would always look first at fiberglass. Like anything they will take maintain effort and you have to always follow someone else and their work. Don't jump at the first deal! That's hard to do since they come up for sale so infrequently and are usually a distance away. Mine is 20 years old and still looks great and systems perform great, but have been worked on. Stay with your bigfoot search or other fiberglass brands and keep looking in the 21 foot range. I went up from a older 16 casita and would not go back even though I had to buy a 8 cylinder truck to feel better about pulling it. Oh yeah get a weight distribution hitch.
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Old 01-22-2020, 04:18 PM   #15
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Name: Jeff
Trailer: Bigfoot 25B21RB
Washington
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Hey Shangie
I purchased a 21’ Bigfoot in November here in Snohomish County.. It’s the rear bedroom style you are avoiding but I am super happy with it and I don’t think it is the same one you described above!

Anyhow, found it on Facebook Buy/Sale/Trade.

Best of luck in your search!

Jeff
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Old 01-24-2020, 12:39 PM   #16
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Name: Shangie
Trailer: Roadtrek
Washington
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Congratulations Jeff

Am happy you found a Bigfoot you like - that is always nice and it is great that different floor models and sizes are made for appeal to a variety of needs.

We recently just purchased an extremely well maintained Northwoods Nash 22H, our dream trailer for now, and are extremely pleased with it. We couldn't get half the folks who advertise their Bigfoots in Canada to contact us back when we inquired about their Bigfoots despite numerous emails. And every one we looked at in our area needed thousands in repairs or was above our budget. It took a year of really active searching both brands to find our Unicorn since most of what we looked at in either brand was not well maintained- not the fault of the manufacturer.

The Nash gives us the floorspace and amenities we would have compromised for the lesser maintenance of the Bigfoot. We decided that since our needs change every five to 10 years due to life stages, owning a well constructed and well maintained trailer which we will maintain but that gives us the amenities we want is a better choice since we may change our minds when we can RV for months on end in retirement..

Our trailer has no slides but contains a full sized private bedroom with closet and other storage and no crawl over the other sleep situation, a couch that seats three comfortably and a dinette for four along with a very nice kitchen with oven and more storage than I need and I cook all meals when we camp. It has a full bath with stand up shower for 6' 2' husband which we have already used successfully. There is tons of useful storage, large holding tanks, excellent insulation and it is made of plywood construction versus the usual particle board found in most other RVs which can be important if a leak occurs. The plumbing is pex and it has a full sized RV fridge and outdoor shower. It also had new tires and a full storage cover. We had a $15,000 budget and purchased for $7800 Canadian. We easily imported because the manufacturer wrote a letter stating it met US DOT standards. What a nice company!

So overall, it was well worth it to wait until our Unicorn appeared. Bigfoots in our budget either did not have the floor plan we desired or if they did, were still costing $7,000- 10,000 and needed new tires, lots of work and were smaller overall, not allowing for the room we wanted for colder weather camping when grandkids and others might want to hang out a bit in the early or late hours

Our biggest fun investment has been our newer boat which is our first love for outdoor adventure. We felt that if we use our "new to us" trailer for five to ten years, it really does not owe us anything in terms of resale. Although we pay attention to 'Life is short- go for it' we still have to responsibly save for retirement. Our non molded fiberglass trailer, was in like new condition because it was only used twice a year for multi week family visits in a driveway because the sellers were just not into camping in the outdoors. It was always stored covered and professionally sealed where needed annually by the RV company that stored it. It just made sense to us to jump on this when it came up- we were the first to call on it.

I love the idea of a Bigfoot down the road but it will still be going up against a Nash or Arctic Fox once retirement comes.

Anyway, signing off this forum for now. Appreciated all the help we had when we were looking.
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Old 01-24-2020, 06:46 PM   #17
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Well, it sounds like you've found something in good condition with a floor plan and equipment that's going to work well for you.

Not sayin' I envy the larger dry bath. No, not a bit, no sirree.

Okay, maybe a little.

I hope you enjoy the new-to-you rig! :
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:35 PM   #18
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Name: Shangie
Trailer: Roadtrek
Washington
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Thank You Mike / Importing A Trailer.

Thanks Mike. I am going to address the importing issue because we had such an easy time and I learned a few of the rules when we had found a 19' Bigfoot in Canada we thought might be the one but ended up not being so because of extensive leaks and broken parts the owners showed us during a video conference because that were five hours north of us and it was a snowing and a blowing out. It was so nice of them to do that.

Essentially, if the trailer is twenty years old no one cares and you can read that on the US website concerning the rules for vintage RVs.. You have to have a bill of sale from the owner, temporary plates, the title and it's a good idea to check with your insurer and get a Canadian coverage slip from them or buy insurance to cover you while at the border, which you can do at a title company. we actually went with the sellers to a title agency together to get our temporary plates since the seller reserved theirs for their new RV with slides to accommodate their daughter and grandchildren on the annual driveway camping trips. The Canadians have their $%#& together when it comes to their border website and questions and answers about importing/exporting whereas we do not and so I had to email and call our border patrol to find out the skinny- what a process-yuck and I learned nothing so we just drove there and asked directly and got the information we needed from the horses mouth so to speak and the border patrol person was spot on with the information so once we had the RV at the crossing, border patrol rocked! They definitely had their $%&@ together and had us over the border in twenty minutes.. Very professional and knew exactly what to look for.

Since our trailer was less than 20 years old and was built to meet all Canadian Safety Standards, which are higher than ours, we needed the manufacturer to issue a letter stating the RV meet USA DOT standards which are called FMVSS or whatever the company called them. Northwood had no issue with this and had a letter to us in thirty minutes since the service manager had to sign off. I understand the company that took over Bigfoot understandably cannot do that - they simply do not want to be responsible for another owners builds and any legal consequences to them should there ever be an issue.

Mike, If you know where this post could benefit others, could you please copy and paste it there or tell me where and I will before I permanently remove myself from this forum. Thanks!
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:12 PM   #19
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Name: MJ
Trailer: Trillium
Washington
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Importing a TT- Canada to US

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shangie View Post
Thanks Mike. I am going to address the importing issue because we had such an easy time and I learned a few of the rules when we had found a 19' Bigfoot in Canada we thought might be the one but ended up not being so because of extensive leaks and broken parts the owners showed us during a video conference because that were five hours north of us and it was a snowing and a blowing out. It was so nice of them to do that.

Essentially, if the trailer is twenty years old no one cares and you can read that on the US website concerning the rules for vintage RVs.. You have to have a bill of sale from the owner, temporary plates, the title and it's a good idea to check with your insurer and get a Canadian coverage slip from them or buy insurance to cover you while at the border, which you can do at a title company. we actually went with the sellers to a title agency together to get our temporary plates since the seller reserved theirs for their new RV with slides to accommodate their daughter and grandchildren on the annual driveway camping trips. The Canadians have their $%#& together when it comes to their border website and questions and answers about importing/exporting whereas we do not and so I had to email and call our border patrol to find out the skinny- what a process-yuck and I learned nothing so we just drove there and asked directly and got the information we needed from the horses mouth so to speak and the border patrol person was spot on with the information so once we had the RV at the crossing, border patrol rocked! They definitely had their $%&@ together and had us over the border in twenty minutes.. Very professional and knew exactly what to look for.

Since our trailer was less than 20 years old and was built to meet all Canadian Safety Standards, which are higher than ours, we needed the manufacturer to issue a letter stating the RV meet USA DOT standards which are called FMVSS or whatever the company called them. Northwood had no issue with this and had a letter to us in thirty minutes since the service manager had to sign off. I understand the company that took over Bigfoot understandably cannot do that - they simply do not want to be responsible for another owners builds and any legal consequences to them should there ever be an issue.

Mike, If you know where this post could benefit others, could you please copy and paste it there or tell me where and I will before I permanently remove myself from this forum. Thanks!


Hello,

With regard to Shangie’s import experience, I experienced some similarities with getting concrete info. Also sharing on the chance it is helpful to someone else.

About 6 months ago, while researching what was needed to bring a Trillium back to western Washington, from BC, I scoured many sites for info. This included governmental, RV forums, and FB. Found lots of contradictions, and could tell the info was incomplete. Decided to go to the source, as you did, and ask at the actual border, “What do I need to get required paperwork at the border when importing a purchased TT into the US from Canada?”

Went to look at the trailer, which I decided against, and on the way back went into the US border offices to get the scoop. As you mentioned, the age of the trailer plays a part in the requirements, but the most elusive requirement for me was a permanently affixed serial number. Those familiar with Trilliums know the only serial#/vin is on a label glued somewhere inside. That would not be accepted, according to the Border Patrol agent. He was adamant about this requirement. He also shared that many have been turned away disappointed, as they will not be given the paperwork needed to transfer and register the trailer, boat, etc, in the US, because they were lacking this requirement. As outlined by Shangie, newer trailers have more extensive/different requirements.

It's likely some have gotten around this. One solution for older, un-numbered trailers, one can get a plate (amazon, ebay) stamped with the correct data and affix it, in a conforming manner, or stamp the correct serial directly on the frame. I wouldn’t mind this solution on an older trailer as it is something it needs anyway.

Thanks Shangie for chronicling your search and your sucessful outcome. Happy camping!

MJ
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Old 02-03-2020, 01:19 PM   #20
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Name: Shangie
Trailer: Roadtrek
Washington
Posts: 41
Importing A Trailer From Canada To USA

We found a lot of information throughout this and other sites that just did not conform to what US Customs truly wanted in January of 2020 when we imported our trailer. We recently imported a 2003 recreational trailer from Canada by providing customs with signed over title, receipt of purchase showing the sales transaction which we had notarized at the Canadian DMV (went with the sellers to do that) and a letter from the manufacturer stating the particular trailer with serial number such and such met USDOT safety standards. The only place on the RV the serial number was affixed was on a printed sheet glued to the interior bathroom closet wall. It was not imprinted into the RV anywhere on metal or the frame. It was only affixed to the interior closet wall. The border crossing at Lyndon, Washington matched the letter to the release of interest letter(sales letter showing serial number) the title and the paper glued to the interior bathroom closet wall which showed the serial number, date of manufacture, GVW, axle weight, etc. Each RV will have different places where the serial number is located. If there is no serial number, then they cannot determine if the title to the rv matches the RV.
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