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I have spent many hours trying to my best ability to compile a single post in regards to the whole "Wide vs. Skinny" tire debate.
I do wish I could have found more "PRO WIDE" post's, but they just were not in there. At least, none that I could find that had any sort of tangible information. I was REALLY hoping to find more "Pro Wide" reviews on the net. But they just don't seem to exist. What I DID learn is that the vast majority of us PI members that are running oversize tires are using "skinny" tires, and those who run the Wide tires love them! :lol:
Now, what DEFINES a tire as "Wide" or "Skinny"? I started out that question before I started this project, and I could find NO definite answer! All I have to go by is what other people are calling "Wide" and "Skinny".
And to further dilute the water, there is also that "COMPROMISE TIRE". Not a wide, but not a skinny either. The 32x11.50x15 most frequently comes to mind. So to come down to an actual term "Pizza Cutter", it has also got to be TALL as well as Skinny!
In reality, if SKINNY is all that made a tire a "Pizza Cutter", then I could literally mount up a set of 215/70/15 Firestone Destination LE tires that have a 6.4" tread width & call it a day. That would be dumb! So, I ask again, what then makes a tire a "Pizza Cutter"?
The baseline I could come up with is a tire that is at the least 31" tall (+/- 1/2"), with a maximum section width of 32% of its height.
So, based upon HOURS of research over multiple websites a true Pizza Cutter tire sizes would be:
31x9.92 or less, 32x10.24 or less, 33x10.56 or less, 34x10.88 or less
35x11.20 or less, and on & on. The formula is 0.32XTire OD.
NOTE: Do not confuse TREAD WIDTH with SECTION width.
I could fill in about 20 paragraphs worth of info on "This tire IS a......, and this tire is NOT a.....".
To see what tires meet the minimums, go to Tirerack.com and find the tire you are interested in and click on the "SPECS" tab and find your size. It will tell the actual tire OD, section width, recommended rim width, and tread width of that particular tire.
In conclusion, after many hours, many cups of coffee, and many trips to the loon, I can now confidently say:
The Winner is: BOTH! :roll:
Seriously. There is, nor ever will be that "Perfect Tire"
But here is all the info one could ever need on the tire debate. The final choice is YOURS, and there is NOT a "Wrong Choice" to be made! Run what you WANT to run, and BE HAPPY! :mrgreen:

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PRO SKINNY TIRE "PIZZA CUTTER" GROUP SAYS:
A POST FROM OUR FEARLESS LEADER, TAD:
by Tad Mon Jan 26, 2009:
I won't argue the wide vs. narrow tire selection (I prefer narrow myself) but it's the diameter that kills the power and makes braking more difficult. Remember physics class where they taught you about levers and that using longer lever would increase the force that you can exert? The same is true of tires (and brakes - more on that below). The further the contact area is from the center of the wheel, the more force the tire can exert on the center of the wheel, and conversely the more force it takes to overcome it (which requires more power and better brakes). It isn't the weight of the tire.
Same thing applies for brakes. The larger the brake (in terms of distance from the center of the wheel) the more force it can apply, all other things being equal. That's why big-brake kits are sold. It's also why people started going to larger wheels: to clear larger brakes.
So please do buy narrow tires over wide ones, but don't confuse the weight of the tire with the diameter in terms of what's killing your acceleration and braking performance.

by DRaider90 on 05/09/2008:
I guess some of it does have to do with what trails/kind of trails you run, and what you expect out of your truck. After wheeling my truck for a weekend with the loaner 33"s on the trails I usually go on, it was obvious the (1)" of clearance was what I needed. I had found my truck likes to scrape its skid plates on rocks even when taking the best line with the 31"s aired down. With the 33"s I only scraped bottom once, vs 5-8 times with the 31"s. I do plan on putting a 1-2" body lift on my truck also, but that is mainly to give the larger 33"s room to flex/stuff. Yes it will give my body some more clearance, but the main place I need clearance is my pumpkin/skid plates which only tires will give you.
That's my reasoning behind my move to 33"s. And I will say it is a nice little bonus on the visual side too. Gives the truck a much nice stance. And with running them on alloy rims, plus going for 10.5 vs 12.5 I am putting a lot less strain on my drive train than even someone running 32x11.5 on steel rims. I would bet the alloy rim 33x10.5 combo is lighter/less straining than a 31x10.5 on a steel rim."

by shooter on 08/27/2008:
"Haven't read the article yet. As I traveled quite a bit in my former life, the areas which were wet, muddy, and all - around jungle terrain were best traveled in vehicles with very narrow tires and rims. Decades ago, it was not uncommon to see old Model -A type vehicles running around in parts of Central and South America. Those babies would trudge right on through all the muck. I guess if you have enough power, you could get away with wide tires in the mud. Skinny tires are the way to go."
 
NOTE WHAT TIRES ARE ON THE CAMEL TROPHY TRUCK! PIZZA CUTTERS!


by coyote102076 on 10/28/2011: Edited 02/16/2012
I sweated over this for DAYS & DAYS before I bought my new set of 33x12.50's. I did a LOT of research, both on here and at therangerstation forum and also over at the Seriousexplorations forum. My gut told me to run a "Pizza Cutter", but I simply liked the LOOKS (and still do) of a w i d e tire. But I know the skinny's are the way to go for a DD.
SKINNY TIRE:
PRO'S:
Greater contact pressure, Better in hard packed shallow (less than 1 ft. deep) snow & slush.
( NOTHING but a dedicated winter tire compound with studs is really FAIR in true ICE!)
Lighter weight for same O.D. & Load range of a wide tire= better acceleration, braking & better fuel economy. (Debatable)
Less wear & tear on the suspension (if stock) and steering components.
Because they will usually "Tuck under" a fender, in SOME cases can fit a larger O.D. tire with less lift.
Cons:
TYPICALLY not as stable / as well handling on the street as a wide tire.
NOT GOOD for deep sand! More prone to cutting ruts in the yard or field where you may not want to see ruts.

WIDE TIRE:
PRO'S:
Better flotation over loose soil & sand.
Wider track width TYPICALLY yields better on road handling.
Generally better over really deep snow. (See "flotation" above)
CON'S:
Higher weight for same O.D.
Inferior to skinny tires when climbing loose rocky hills / trails.
Generally a little worse fuel mileage than a skinny tire of same O.D.

I am not going to say much on the performance in mud. Reason being is simple:
Yes, it is true a 33X12.50 would be better in deep mud, IF you had about 500 horsepower to spin the crap out of them!
But from my last 19 years of real world off road experience, on typical daily drivers, or low powered (under 300 HP) trail rigs, if you get stuck in mud, you would have been just as freakin stuck if you had 34x10.50's instead of the 33x12.50's, or vice-versa!
And ANY "Old Guy" that has actually BEEN on many trails / out in farm fields for long will (most likely) agree.

by West Coast Trooper Mon Jan 23, 2012:
I have never compared 10.5 and 12.5 but if you only think you need a wider tire for deep snow and you don't drive in it that often, then pick the 10.5. The skinny tire will be better on gas and easier on drive train parts and will still perform satisfactory in the deep snow.

by GoodyMOBB Mon Jan 23, 2012:
I've always handled better in snowy conditions with a skinnier tire. Id go 10.50. Wider just feels more like giant skis, don't dig as well in the slushy stuff and slide more on the ice. That's just me though

by DRaider90 Fri Sep 04, 2009:
Pizza Cutters: { PRO'S }
+ Narrow tread equals better traction for mud, rocks, and dirt (different story with Sand/Snow):
Not to mention narrow tires dig a lot better than wider tires also.
+ Narrow tires are lighter means less strain on the drive train, suspension, and other components.
+ Better MPG and less power loss than wider tires.
+ Can stay with stock width wheels saving money.
+ Don't have to worry about fender flares and other items (in some states if your tires stick out past the fenders you will get a ticket)
{ CONS }
- Don't get the protection from obstacles sticking out like you do from wide tires
- Loose the aggressive stance look
And I have run both wide (34x12.5) and narrow (34x9.5) and I can say the difference is night and day. Not to mention when you get into Swampers the narrower ones have little to no vibration, no death wobble, and are a bit quieter. I don't mind the noise of swampers but with the wider TSLs when they wear down you have to almost scream to have a conversation in your truck. The narrows are still loud but not like the wide ones. And with the Mitsu Carb'd 2.6 I4 I need all the power/mpg I can get, not to mention I don't need all the added strain/weight of wider tires on an essentially stock truck.
I had to adjust to the look of the 9.5s, because I did love the wide stance of the 12.5s. But I have come around and started to like the look. And I don't do a lot of driving in sand/snow so I don't need the flotation of a wider tire. If you have the engine to spin the tires, and the upgraded suspension and other parts then sure go for wider. But you still won't be gripping the rocks and digging in the mud like skinnies.
(Oh yeah, the 34x10.5 LTBs aren't skinny. They actually measure out to 11.2" wide. Almost an 11.5 which is a moderately wide tire.)
 
REALLY GOOD OFF SITE LINK:
http://www.expeditionswest.com/research ... _rev1.html
 
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PRO WIDE "FLOTATION" TIRE GROUP SAYS:

by Gary Mon Jan 30, 2012:
It doesn't have a longer footprint, but a bigger footprint. If you are quoting someone, it was probably a misstatement.
A wider tire of a given diameter will have more area contacting the road (or mud, snow etc) Airing down also increases the the area somewhat. A larger diameter will also have more contact area. So if deep snow driving is what you want to do, you want the tallest and widest tires you can fit (and of course have the power and gears to turn them) under your truck.

by bansheedude Tue Sep 01, 2009:
Just posted a thread about getting some baja claws on my trooper with some pics. Had 33 13.5 16 claws and decided to go with some 33 14.50 16 ssr swampers. Don't know why all you guys run those skinny swampers. I live in bend and get a lot of snow. This ssrs are supposed to be awesome in the snow so I went as wide as I could go and love them so far. Had them in rocks and very loose sand with no problem or sinking. Sweet tires.

REFER BACK TO THIS ARTICLE AND GO ABOUT 3/4 THE WAY DOWN TO THE BOTTOM TO THE "PRO'S OF WIDE TIRES" SECTION:
http://www.expeditionswest.com/research ... _rev1.html
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IN REGARDS TO WHAT TIRE IS BEST FOR SNOW, I THINK MY GOOD FRIEND "BIGSWEDE" SAYS IT BEST IN HIS POST A WHILE AGO.. AND WHEN SOMEONE WHO LIVES AND DRIVES IN THE MINNESOTA SNOW AS MUCH AS HE DOES, IF I WERE YOU I WOULD TAKE HIS ADVICE AS "WRITTEN IN STONE!" :wink:
by BigSwede Thu Dec 17, 2009:
Those of us who live in climes that have snow for extended periods know that there is no one-size fits all snow tire. Wet, heavy snow is a far different animal than dry fluffy snow. Depth matters too, there are times when a skinny tire is desirable to cut down to the pavement. There are other times when the pavement is covered in ice under the snow, and that cutting down to the pavement gets you precisely nowhere...that is when you may want a wide, aired-down flotation tire with multiple gripping surfaces to grab and hold as much dry crunchy snow as possible to get whatever traction you can. But there are a couple of generalizations you can make for snow tires:
- The more tread blocks, the better. Lots and lots of siping. This is why an AT is almost always a better snow tire than an MT. Tf you look at dedicated snow tires (such as Blizzak or the Nokian Hakkapeliitta) you will see literally thousands of tiny tread blocks, not big digging blocks like a mud tire.
- For ice traction, softer rubber is better. However, softer compounds, of course, will wear faster.
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THE BEST ARTICLE I COULD FIND ON "WIDE vs. SKINNY" IN REGARDS TO FUEL ECONOMY CAME FROM ONE OF OUR OWN MEMBERS:

by jcb18 Mon Jun 18, 2007:
Smaller contact patch comes from higher PSI and results in lower rolling resistance. However as far as rolling resistance is concerned, the actual width of the tire is of little relevance unless you are talking about really skinny or really wide tires. For most tires, the contact patch is determined mostly by the vehicle weight and the tire PSI.
The contact patch for properly inflated tires will only be as large as it needs to be, because the four tires support the full weight of the vehicle. Each tire bears a load that is dependent upon the distribution of the vehicle's weight. For each tire:
Weight supported in pounds = Tire PSI x area of contact patch in square inches

A little algebra gets us: Area of contact path = Weight supported / Tire PSI

So decreasing the vehicle weight or increasing PSI will both decrease the size of the contact patch, but you can't over inflate your tires, so their are limits to what PSI can do for you. This leaves us with decreasing the vehicle weight to lower rolling resistance and help your fuel economy, but we all knew that already.
You will observe fuel economy benefits from having skinnier tires from what 88supertrooper says, because they are lighter. They will have a smaller moment of inertia (Resistance to being rotated about their axis) in direct proportion to their lower weight. Resistance to rotation because of moment of inertia is a separate concept from rolling resistance, which is due to the interaction between the tire and the driving surface.
If you could get wider tires of the same weight as the skinny tires, they could be made equivalent in terms of fuel economy as long as you could safely adjust your tire PSI to produce the same size contact patch based on your vehicle's weight. The only difference now might be with air resistance hitting a tire with a wider cross-section. The type of tire matters too, since tires with more of their weight concentrated at the outer edges (M/T's) will have a higher moment of inertia than tires with less weight concentration at their outer edges, touring tires for example. Also, since rolling resistance comes from the interaction between the tire and the driving surface, the chemistry of each manufacturer's tread compound will matter, as will the surface upon which you are driving.

Summary, as everybody has said, there are trade offs everywhere. The most you can do for your fuel economy is park your zu and buy a bicycle. Short of that, your driving habits are going to have the greatest effect as long as you have reasonably sized, properly-inflated tires and a vehicle that is properly maintained otherwise. If you want to get fuel economy benefits from your tires focus on diameter, weight, and tread design (less aggressive is generally better for fuel economy). Width is not necessarily a factor with us because we drive bricks as it is, air resistance from wider tires is not going to change that much.
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A few links to other brands forums on the Wide vs. Skinny debate
http://forum.ih8mud.com/60-series-wagon ... tires.html
http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/w ... tires.html
http://www.cherokeeforum.com/f59/tall-s ... ate-86588/
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/wide- ... es-586155/
http://www.fullsizechevy.com/forum/gene ... ebate.html
http://www.toyota-4runner.org/polls/599 ... res-2.html
 

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If this helps your definition some. The tires sizes such as 31x10.50x15, 32x11.50x15, 33x12.50x15, 35x12.50x15 are what is known as "floatation" sizes. I would consider them as wide tires. As opossed to the now defunct q78x15 designation which has been replaced by the metric tire sizes. Such as 265/70r16. This is basically a 32x10.50x16. Hence a skinny tire. Common metric sizes tend to be narrower than similar floatation tires in a similar diameter.

The concept is simple. A skinny tire has more contact pressure on a slightly smaller foot print. They also don't push quite the same wall of snow in front of the tire as a wider tire. Because of this they will "Supposedly" cut down through mud and snow to find solid traction. That's great until you don't find solid traction and your up to the hubs in muck. Put me in the wider camp up to a point. In the above situation a wider tire has a bigger footprint with a better chance of finding something to grab a hold of. It also keep the truck from digging down so fast in situations where there is no bottom. I have on many occasiuons been able to get traction with wider tires in places where others with me on Pizza cutters could not. The reverse has also been true. I personally prefer the wider footprint a floatation tire has on the street. It helps to compensate for the lift of the truck. It is all so vehicle biased as well. Some vehicle just work better with one style of the other. I've found the heavier a truck is the more width you want. I've pulled out several Superduty's on skinny street tires stuck in soft back yards with my Powerwagon on 12.50 mt's. Never even spinning a tire. Didn't even leave tracks in the yard.
 

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And to think I thought some of my posts on skinny tires vs wide tires were indepth, you have taken it many leaps and bounds beyond. :D

In the end its all based on what your needs are for your vehicle. As long as when people make their decision they compare apples to apples they really shouldn't have any issues making a decision. You have to compare a wide M/T to a narrow M/T, and a wide A/T to a narrow A/T and so on and so on. You can't take a wide M/T and compare it to a narrow A/T in the mud and say hey the wide M/T was much better.

When ever I get some modifications done to support a larger tire size I am going to go from my 34x9.5s to Q78s (which are still around) that come out to about 35.5"x10.8". And I don't wheel in deep mud or snow and I can live with the quality of the ride (or lack of) with a narrower tire. But that is just me.

Hopefully people considering skinny vs wide use your post and combine that information with what they are looking for in a tire and come to a conclusion/tire that best suits their situation.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
DRaider90 said:
And to think I thought some of my posts on skinny tires vs wide tires were indepth, you have taken it many leaps and bounds beyond. :D
Thanks DRader90. i spent a HUGE ammount of time puting this together. And gleaned quite a bit of info by reading YOUR past post's. (Note a couple of your's were included in the main sticky :wink: )
I know opinions are like belly buttons.
I was not trying, or WANTING to try to make someone else's mind up in any way. All I wanted was to have a single post that pritty much said all that is worthwhile to be said on the topic.
Having that been said, we WELCOME any new / different input anyone else might have on this never ending subject! :lol:
It's like the whole "270 vs. 30'06 vs 308",,,,,or Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge, it's a matter of personal choice. But all will get the job done.
If there were to ever be ONE TIRE that could do it ALL, I'd be kinda sad! :lol:
For some odd reason, I accualy enjoy all the research & options out there! Wierd, I know.
I have just joined the "Pizza Cutter" group last week with the purchase of my 33x10.50x15 BFG ATKO's.
Kinda funny how you just so happened to mention "wide MT to a skinny AT", and yet, that is EXACTLY what I had done! :lol: But I will say this, so far from what mud, hill climbing and trail riding I have done in the past week, my initial impressions of the BFG AT's is really good. MUCH better in the mud than I was expecting! Granted, the old remingon Mud Brutes I had were FAR superior to them in the slick stuff, but, even with the AT's, I did not get stuck. And the new AT's are
oh SO SO SO VERY MUCH NICER on the road! :D
As an added bonus, I have picked up nearly a full 1 MPG to boot! (of course, I ALSO went from 26 lb 15x8 rims to 17 Lb. 15x7 snowflake rims too, on top of the new tires being some 10ish lbs per tire lighter.)
 

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I've spent some considerable time researching this as well, and my conclusion is that tall and skinny is the way to go, both with tires and with women. :lol:

Seriously though, I will be going with pizza cutters on my Troopers when the time comes. I also really prefer the expo look over the wide tire and offset mud bogger look, so it is a win win for me.

Bart
 

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Pizza cutters all the way! Higher lb p/sq inch, less resistance/friction, less weight.

Only downer is they don't floaty in soup, & have to be stiffer to avoid dancing around on road. But at normal speeds won't really matter.

~psguardian
 

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I know that for fuel economy, clearance, weight etc etc the skinny is probably the better choice...however I love the wide tire look. Practical? Less so than the skinny tires probably, but looks should count too! I wouldnt go over a 12.5 wide tire though and I am at 10.5 right now.
 

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Ian1006 said:
I know that for fuel economy, clearance, weight etc etc the skinny is probably the better choice...however I love the wide tire look. Practical? Less so than the skinny tires probably, but looks should count too! I wouldnt go over a 12.5 wide tire though and I am at 10.5 right now.
I went from 34x12.5s essentially to 34x9.5s and it took a while getting used to as far as "looks" are concerned. And what I learned was skinny tires give you a more utilitarian look. Like I said it takes some getting used to, but in the end I think pizza cutters do give your vehicle the appearance that its built to do one thing, wheel.
 

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Wow, thanks for pulling all this info together. I have 265/75/16, which are probably "wide"on the charts, but I would consider them 'in between'.

I really like the look of skinny and will consider that as my next option. I'm thinking 235/85/16. The only problem is, they are all load range E, so pretty stiff.

I have LR-E tires now, and at 50 lbs/in it's a little jarring on non-pavement. I think you could bounce a .22 slug off off of them with equal velocity on the ricochet.

Put me down as a vote for "skinny", based more on cosmetic appearance at this point.
 

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Seriously though, I will be going with pizza cutters on my Troopers when the time comes. I also really prefer the expo look over the wide tire and offset mud bogger look, so it is a win win for me.

Bart
Sad your 91 Troop is probably the coolest I've ever seen and it's mainly because I like it's stance. But don't let that hold you back lol. Oh that front bumper makes it really stand out to.
 

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rodeo9two said:
Seriously though, I will be going with pizza cutters on my Troopers when the time comes. I also really prefer the expo look over the wide tire and offset mud bogger look, so it is a win win for me.

Bart
Sad your 91 Troop is probably the coolest I've ever seen and it's mainly because I like it's stance. But don't let that hold you back lol. Oh that front bumper makes it really stand out to.
Thanks, and don't worry, she's still gonna look badass when I am done. :)

Bart
 

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Is there a resource that shows a comparison in cutoff view, of the differences caused by tire size, wheel size and load rating ?

ie, something that looks like this:
 

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I really like the 33x10.5" tires. Here are the biggest factors to me: 1. Tire Weight (less weight = better performance: braking, steering, acceleration, mpg). 2. Fitment (easier to fit a narrow tire vs wide). 3. Cost (narrow tires cost less)

For trail driving I think the narrow tires "hook up" better (from personal observation). Rock crawling, Sand, Mud : I'd say get a wider tire. Daily driving narrow has more advantages.

My gas mileage increased 1mpg going from a 32" (265/75/16) to 33x10.5x15 (both BFG KM2s). It comes down to the weight being 4lbs less per tire!

Check the actual "Tread Width" the tires sizes don't mean much as actual size varies greatly between manufacturers. Personally I don't like tires with their tread width under 7". 7-8" tread width works perfectly for what I like. Much of it is really preference and how you use the tire.
 

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so this would be a "Pizza Cutter"


ok so right now my 91 trooper has 31x10.50, does this make it into the "wide" category? or is it one of those "COMPROMISE TIRE" and/or "floatation" sizes?

for me have/run a skinny it would be based off your formula; 31x9.92 or less, 32x10.24 or less.... i wanted sorta the look from above picture with skinnys thanks for the write up. very interested and i also wondered about all this.
 

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I grew up reading and understanding tire sizes, height, width and tread as 31/10.5/15; I pretty much get an instant mental image of that tire.
Now with the metric sizes it is all gobbeldygook to me, and really doesn't compute in my aged brain.

Is there a chart, or printed comparison somewhere where I could look at the old and the new side by side (kind of); kind of like stating 31/10.5/15 and the metric equivalant right beside it or in another column right beside it?

I find it hard to equate changes like the above as any kind of improvement; to take something so simple to understand, and change it into metric that most Americans dont use on a daily basis really doesn't make sense to me.

Ken
 

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Thank you Trooper; that's exactly what I was looking for and more.
Ken
 
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