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What is your Ford Ranger story...(For Ford)

XLTsplash

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2WD
I started fixing up and restoring Fords before I was old enough to drive. I had always owned Ford cars, mostly Mustangs. In 1988 I was with my Dad when he bought a new Ford Ranger to drive to work. The Ranger when well over 200,000 miles with no problems. When that truck was totaled in a accident my Dad ordered a new 2000 Ranger. Once again this Ranger was well over 100,000 miles without any Problems. This Ranger was also totaled in a accident. I found myself in need of a truck and came across a 1974 F100 4X4 short bed that I restored. It was a nice truck, It just seemed bigger than what I need and kept thinking of how much I loved my Dad's Rangers. I sold the F100 and had a hard to finding a Ranger. Every time I would find one that looked like a good deal it would be sold before I could get to it. I finally found bought a 1997 Ranger XLT step side, I love driving the truck and have enjoyed fixing it up. It's nice having a smaller truck that's easy to drive and park and can still haul things when needed.

 


koolhandlinc

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At 16yo I purchased a used Ford Courier. Rebuilt the engine and drove it for years. Loved that little truck. Then my first new purchase was a Ford Ranger. I took my little boat fishing. Camped in the Rockies. Great little pickup. I think it was a 1990. Now I have a 2006 ranger. Again a great little pickup. 120k miles now. I have hauled so much weight I make people with 3/4 ton trucks blush. I was so grossly over loaded and had a trailer. Dirt and sand for our garden. Had to drive 25 mph because of fear of damage! Pickup bed and trailer loaded. Been camping and fishing. My son (8yo) thinks its a muscle bound truck! its a 2.3l light duty! I picked these little trucks because I rarely haul and always need fuel economy. Best little trucks ever!
 

Rangerx2

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2012
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Ford
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3.7 V6
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Automatic
My credo
Always question authority
My life with Ford Rangers

My love for Rangers also started before I was even 12 years old. Back in the spring of 1988 my dad needed a small truck to use around the house, and something with a stick-shift to teach both of us kids to drive on. He insisted that we learn on a manual trans; saying that if we could drive a manual, we could drive anything. After a month or two of looking and driving several used compact trucks that were popular in the 80's, Dad settled on a Metallic Blue 1986 Ford Ranger Supercab that was very plain. It had the fuel injected 2.3 liter 4 cylinder engine and a 5-speed transmission and 2wd. It was optioned with an AM/FM radio and power steering and the aforementioned Supercab with the folding jumpseats. AC consisted of rolling the windows down! When I say it had a blue vinyl interior, it was all blue vinyl!:yahoo: And boy did it get hot in the VA summer heat!:shok:
But that little 4 cylinder took all the abuse we could dish out on it and did everything we ever asked of it. And we asked it to do things that no 4-cylinder Ranger had any business doing! But it did it and kept coming back for more. In 1992 I got my learner's permit and again that Ranger was there to take more abuse as another teenager learned how to drive on him. My sister burned up the clutch but I took out the right-front fender trying to negotiate an exit ramp.:dunno: Unfortunately that wouldn't be the only time I wrecked him. To say my driving days got off to a rough start would be an understatement! LOL Somewhere along the way I also got the notion that I could go four-wheeling with a 2wd truck :icon_confused:. That didn't work out well but we survived! I also got the notion that I could drive it like Dale Earnhardt. We survived that too, barely!
When I graduated from high school, my dad was running a body shop and his gift to me was to repaint the truck for me since by this time years of hard work and teenage pranks were taking their toll on the body. So we replaced the front bumper since it was banged up (my fault again), straightened that front fender, and swapped in a new Kenwood stereo system that I bought with all new speakers, including two in the blank spots in the rear seat area that higher-optioned trucks would have had from the factory. I was off to college in a few months with a more personalized truck:yahoo: By this time the Ranger had earned the name Grumpy because he was starting to get rather temperamental on me. But Dad had taught me a lot about how to keep it going and I always managed to nurse the Grump back to health. When I went to college, I was taking Dad's only truck, so in the fall of 1995 he treated himself to a brand new 1996 Ranger XLT standard cab 2wd, except this one had the 3.0 Vulcan V6 with the familiar 5-speed transmission. That truck eventually soldiered on for over 250k before being traded for a larger truck.
By 1997 my Grumpy wasn't doing so well and started running rough. And this time I couldn't seem to solve the problem. So I took it to a mechanic in the little town where I was going to school, and he gave me the bad news: a wiped lobe on the cam. Basically my little four banger was terminal. After discussing this with Dad, we decided to bring the truck home in a couple months for summer and we'd decide then what to do. So at the end of the the semester I loaded Grumpy down with all my stuff and made the 300+ mile drive home; driving slow and careful the whole trip.
Looking back, we wish we would have invested some more money into Grumpy for a rebuilt motor but we didn't. Instead the decision was made to sell him and buy something else. So we found a 1986 Chrysler LeBaron Turbo and I spent a few years in the MOPAR world. That turned to be a BIG mistake, and a very costly mistake as that 86 Chrysler was so bad that it was dangerous to drive! After it caught fire and burned up 6 months after buying it, I wound up in a used Dodge Dakota Sport and was living at home while going to school and working full-time. The Dakota was a hard worker but broke a lot too. When the Dakota was ready to be retired after being totaled in December 2001, I saw the light of the blue oval again and found a really nice, well-cared for 1995 Ranger XLT Supercab in burgundy red. Old Red as this one came to be called, was equipped with the 3.0 Vulcan V6, automatic, and 2wd. Old Red proved to be a very reliable, and very comfortable work horse. The 3.0 Vulcan motor gets some negative reviews on these threads because it's not the most powerful block in the world, and that may be true. But the pushrod, cast iron block of the 3.0 is simply dead reliable and will run forever with even minimal care. Old Red's willingness to work, but small size was eventually the reason I sold him.
By 2006 I decided that I needed an 8' F-150 and could afford a brand new truck. So I ordered a new F-150 XL standard cab/8' with the old 4.2 V6 and my 5-speed transmission.:D Since I had to get 2wd to get the 5-speed I ordered the 3.55 limited-slip diff. I got it in Metallic Blue, just like ol' Grumpy. That F-150 lasted me for over 10 years, saw me move to Pittsburgh to start my career, and saw me get married. I'm now on my second F-150 and starting to realize that I simply don't need the full-size truck anymore.
I am looking forward to getting a new Ranger, but not for another few years. I would like to get an XLT Supercab in either Lightning Blue or the Flame Red with the Chrome package and 4wd now. Though I may even get a 2wd with just a locking diff for the white stuff. It's still fun to get out and play on a trail once in a while, but I don't do it that much anymore. I guess I'm starting to get old and realize that stuff gets expensive!:D I would prefer that Ford expand the choice of engines to include something naturally aspirated. The last time I had anything with a turbo was a very bad experience and I just don't trust them.
I never have gotten over my love for early Rangers and would like to get another 86-88 Supercab 4x4 to restore/build with a 4.0 swap. For a driver my 95 XLT was one of the most comfortable trucks I ever owned. I miss both of my Rangers, but for different reasons as they each had their own unique attributes.
 

bobbywalter

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1988
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FORD mostly
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V8
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BIGGER
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Automatic
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4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
this thread is kewl.
 

sroed42654

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'98 Ranger

I first purchased a used '85 Ranger 4x4 V6 and owned a couple of others before getting my '98 3.0 4x4 (again, used with 50,000 mi). I drove it hunting a lot and a notable story was in regard to a hunting trip. We went to a hunting shack to which the road was basically an ATV trail. Hunters usually walked in with their gear in an ATV carrier due to two significant swamps across the route. The owners had tired, but never succeeded in getting their trucks through the swamps. This trip, My '98 Ranger was loaded down with building materials to repair the shack. Having been through the swamps on foot, I felt I could drive the materials all the way in. The other hunters all scoffed and got ready to tow me out, but it augered all the way through and returned without an issue. No one else would even try, given their past experiences. I pretty much did all of the repairs and maintenance on it throughout my ownership, so knew it inside and out. I sold that little green '98 a couple of years ago with 290,000+ miles on it. Sorry I did. I really liked that truck, and it had a lot of life left in it. I'm still in contact with the owner, and she is thinking of selling it. I might just buy it back ... The pic of the green Ranger is me and that truck, the red one is my youngest son's
 

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holyford86

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4WD
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7
Tire Size
33x12.50R15
I bought my first Ranger, a 1986 4x4 longbed, on December 23rd of 2003 for 150 bucks, it had 234,000 miles on it, no floors, and a piece of PVC pipe holding the radiator support together. I purchased it from the original owner and it was the first new truck he had ever bought, he is the father of a good friend of mine and I remember him picking him up from school in it on a regular basis. When I first bought it, it came with the 2.9, FM145, 1350 transfer case, Dana 28, 7.5 and 3.45 axle gears. I always had a knack for taking things apart and not putting them back together, so my family feared that it would be scattered all over the yard within weeks. I tuned it up, replaced the battery and patched up the rust the best that 17 year old me could do on a budget of almost nothing. About 6 months later I traded a non running dump truck I was given for a rust free cab, I swapped the cab over by myself, with a little bit of help from a few friends to lift the old cab off and put the new one on. I did ball joints, wheel bearings, brakes, and a couple other things over the next two years and it soldiered on as a yard truck during that time. Soon after graduating from high school and getting my first job, I put it on the road in August of 2006. I drove it, wheeled it, broke it, fixed it, and racked up a bunch of miles on the original 2.9. About a year after that, the original fm145 went bad and I swapped in an fm146 and drove it for another year until the original 2.9 was consuming more oil than gas, even though it never had a clatter unlike so many of them. At that point, a friend had purchased a 1991 ranger stx with a 2.9 and an m5od, it seemed to run well, so the engine and trans got swapped in, putting that engine in proved to be a waste of my time as it clattered and ate about as much oil as the old one did... Around that time I purchased and installed a skyjacker 6 inch lift and installed that, along with a 1995 Dana35, i purchased a 4.56 geared limited slip housing from a member on trs, and re-geared the 7.5 and installed a Detroit Locker. I drove that gutless wonder for about another year, with the 2.9 installed, crying about the abysmal 13mpg the tired old engine was getting. About April of 2011 the father of a good friend was retiring his 1993 explorer sport due to extensive rot, with only 95k on the 4.0 I purchased the engine from him, re-gasketed it from top to bottom, made a custom wiring harness on my living room floor and preformed a 4.0 swap in one day, with the help of friends, Mpg improved to almost 20 and it was so much more fun to drive. In under a year, the 7.5 decided that it had enough of my heavy foot, 33 inch tires, and more torque than it was designed to handle and chewed a bunch of ring gear teeth up, (this is one of only 3 times during my ownership that it left me stranded.) In went a 28 spline 8.8 with a Detroit Locker also installed, Then a set of 63 inch chevy leaves and a ruffstuff traction bar setup were installed. Other than some minor changes, it has soldiered on from that point, with few issues, (it melted a fusible link for the fuel pump circuit, and split a heater hose open). This truck was my only vehicle and daily driver until 2012, at which point I got a nearly free dodge neon to drive for the winter, then in 2015 I sold that and purchased a 1998 ranger with a 2.5, manual transmission, and every option except for air conditioning, it only had 48,000 miles on it at the time, and with some maintenance has proven to be an awesome truck which gets about 30mpg on the highway. The 1986 now has 385,000 miles on the frame and still sees about 8k miles a year, during the seasons without snow on the ground, i'll probably keep it until I'm dead, at this point, I have it filled with tools, an air compressor, and winch, it is my rolling shop. Inlearned so much from working on it that I was able to get a job as a fleet mechanic in 2009, I'm still doing the mechanic thing, to this day. I would never have been able to gain the knowledge I use every day if I had never purchased that truck. Working on it has helped me occupy my mind when I've had difficult times with my mental health, as of recently, there is so little that I have left that I could do to it that it makes me sad, I have improved and customized nearly everything about it, and many people have said that it is the embodiment of myself in truck form.
 

homey

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My Ford Story

I have owned 4 Rangers: '82, '97, '98, '06. The '97 was a red XLT 4x2 supercab that was originally built to go to Brazil but was sold in the US. It had the most comfortable bucket seats I have ever seen. The odometer had been swapped out at the factory, but the title still had to be marked as having an altered odometer. I didn't know that the title said this until I traded it for a '99 F150. I had bought it used and the dealer had not disclosed this information on the odometer statement. The dealer I traded it to, took it any way and dealt with the other dealer. The '82 was silver with red interior XLT 4x4 4.0L supercab. It had issues with pitting of the driver's side valve cover. I discovered that this is a common problem with 4.0L when I went to the local salvage yard and all of the 4.0L were missing the driver's side valve cover. I sold it to buy the '98. The '98 was a red 4x4 Offroad supercab. Just before I purchased it, it had been used by the local police department in a drug sting. My brother dubbed it the "Narcmobile". It was starting to experience the valve cover issue that the '82 had at 136,000. One night I was looking at the my favorite dealer's website and saw that they had an '06 with only 34,800 miles. Since this was November '11, I felt this was a great opportunity to have the newest Ranger I could afford before they stopped production. It currently has 42,700 miles. In '15 I installed an F-series factory "Blue Oval" backup camera. In '17 I had remote start and heated seats installed. Last fall I replaced the rusting steel factory running boards with new aluminum ones. It still turns heads where ever it goes. I have mixed emotions about selling it to buy a '19. I want a new one, but don't like the high payments
 
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bartelfitzneel

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my ranger

In 1999 I bought a new Ranger XLT 2wd, manual, 2.5l, long box, regular cab. I have used it to haul piles and piles of stuff. Firewood, scrap Iron, hay, polearms, and a ballista. It has been to New York and to Washington state, Texas, and every state in between. I have gotten stuck in both snow and in mud. I've used it to skid logs, tow horse trailers, and pull other vehicles out of mud and snow. It has 465,000 miles on it. I love the darn thing and will never get rid of it.
 

Stic-o

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I was on this forum, probably not to long after it started. Was also part of Rough Rangers if anyone remembers that. But here's my Ranger story...

The Beginning
When I was a kid I grew up in a Ford Family. Everything in our driveway was a Ford. I was part of the Ford family from the beginning, as my parents use to slalom race there '69 Mach 1. My mother was racing around the track, the day before I was born. In the Early years of my life, I rode around in mom's '70 Boss 302, or Dad's '69 F-250. The F-250 we used for Family Camping trips with a Truck camper on the back. Over the years as I grew older, we had a Cortina, Bronco's, and more F-series. When I starting learning to drive, it was on my dad's '71 Bronco. At this point I loved the sports cars and V8's but was more drawn to off-road and knew a V8 was probably, not the smartest idea for a new driver. So with a driver license in sight, I started to look for my first car.

The First Car...or should I say Truck.
As I worked on getting my license and rode my Mountain bike back and forth to my first job, I saved every dollar to go to my first car. One day I saw her at the edge of a dirt lot with a for sale sign in the window. An 1985 Ranger XL 4x2 in Oxford White. She was a decade old at this point, and needed a little love. It was a 2.3, 4-banger with a 5-speed manual. Had a hood bra (remember those?) a net for a tailgate, and somebody had swapped in cut pile carpet and bucket seats. But she was perfect. I paid $1,300 for her. My dad would let me move it in and out of the driveway, as I worked on it to fix everything that needed to be fixed in anticipation for my driver license. The day I got my license, I went and picked up a Pizza for the family to celebrate my new freedom. I drove it for a few years, and we nick named her "Little Beast", because she only had a glass pack for a exhaust. We would make Snow runs in the Winter, just to load up the bed full as we could get it, to bring it back down the mountain to dump it all on the lawn(it doesn't snow in LA). This is where my love the Ranger started.




With tragedy, comes a new begging.
Driving home one day coming through a intersection, another driver decide to make a left turn before I could finish going through the intersection. T-boning my Ranger in the bed of the truck and breaking the driver side leaf spring. I figured that was it, she was done for. Surprisingly they we're able to fix her, as the insurance company left it up to me, as it was with in $5 of totaling. I could not let her die. She was fixed, cleaned up, but was never quite the same, and with money from the accident it was time to move on. I sold her to a nice young girl and bought my next great endeavor. A 1996 Ranger XLT Super Cab 4x2 in Bright Sapphire Metallic. Also a 2.3 with a 5-Speed. This was my first car I financed. I had her for years, and still think of her as the best truck I ever owned. We took it everywhere. To the snow of course, car shows and even drove it all the way to Zion National Park with cruise control and sitting in Thanksgiving traffic for 10 hrs on the way home. I met my wife in this truck and went on first date, we'd go to the beach, and drive around Hollywood. I told her I loved her for the first time in this truck overlooking a beautiful sunset, even though I meant to say " I love this view". She still tease me about it to this day. Oh, what a great truck she was.




A departure from a good friend
Growing more mature, and getting married, we decided we needing something with 4 doors, and another Ranger was not going to work. I sold the Ranger to another young girl, who drove it for many, many years later. I use to see it driving around every once in awhile in the neighborhood I grew up in. We replaced them with a 1999 Ford Explorer XL 4x4. After this I got into Explorers a lot and own quite a few now, including a 2016 we bought brand new, and I still own the '99 Explorer. It was the first thing my wife and I bought together. I've also continued on the tradition of my parents as we've traveled to National parks with our kids in our F-250 with our Truck Camper. It funny how everything comes full circle.



Back to the roots.
I've never given up on the Ranger, it just didn't fit my lifestyle anymore. A few years ago I bought a 2015 Focus ST, what a blast! Then something amazing happend. Ford announced an old friend was coming back, with 4 doors this time. My next move was just instinct. In September I ordered a 2019 Ranger Crew Cab XLT FX4. I'm so excited and can't for it to get here. I feel like a kid again, in anticipation. I hope when my Daughter is old enough it will be the car she learns to drive on. Because we're a Ford family.




Thanks for letting me share my story.
 

LoveRanger

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I'm new to this forum, but man am I excited to be here. My journey starts with a red 1984 single cab, long bed, 2.3 4 speed 2WD. I hadn't had my license too long and I was interested in a small truck. Not gonna lie, I wanted a Toyota originally but after seeing the prices of those things for a decent one here in the salt belt, I decided to keep dreaming. I started to explore other options, and the next best thing I decided would be a Ranger.

to go back in time a little bit, I met a friend when I was 14 and he was 20, and he had a maroon '96 ext cab 3.0 5 speed. I spent a lot of time in that truck and made many memories. Even the day I went to buy my first stick shift car, he taught me a little in his Ranger before we left to go get my new car. You could say that truck was what sparked my interest for Rangers.

So back to the '84, I paid $400 for it but it didn't run very well and as soon as I tried to drive it it would die. Long story short I wasn't very mechanically inclined at that point in my life yet, so I wound up selling it off.

A few years later, I took a job doing landscaping and figured I'd better get another truck. a good friend of mine had recently purchased a white '93 single cab short bed 2.3 5 speed 2WD with a sweet red interior. This was an old man truck and in beautiful shape when he got it. I had borrowed it a few times and kind of fell in love with it. I searched Facebook marketplace and came across a black '96 XL single cab short bed 2.3 5 speed 2WD. It was priced way cheap so I jumped at the opportunity. No A/C or power steering, and it was honestly the most problematic vehicle I had ever owned but I enjoyed that because every time I started it up it was like an adventure. It was a Tennessee truck its whole life so it hardly had any rust, it just hadn't been cared for mechanically in recent years. I wound up replacing every accessory on the engine at some point or another while owning it, including tons of cosmetic stuff. It was the first vehicle I had owned that I seemed to really care for. I eventually bought a Toyota Camry from a friend just to have something different to drive, around that same time a coworker of mine had fallen on some hard times, and somewhat reluctantly, I sold him my Ranger because he needed a vehicle more than I needed two.

Soon after, I purchased my first financed car through the bank, a 2008 Subaru Impreza. Its been a super great and fun car, but a part of me always missed having a Ranger. As luck would have it, I was working in my buddy's shop one day and a friend of ours stopped by to hang out and mentioned that his dad was trying to sell his Ranger. I jumped at the chance and was soon the new owner of a 2000 white single cab long bed 2.5 5 speed 2WD. It's certainly not as nice as my black truck because it is really rusty and kind of beat up but its been way more reliable and I've owned it longer than I had the black one for. I still own it and drive it all the time. It's silly, I have this nice newer Subaru sitting here that I pay a lot of money for every month, but I still find myself driving this little Ranger all the time. It has never failed to impress me with what I've put it through. From towing a Honda Civic on a dolly 30 miles up and down hills, to running off an icy road at 55 mph and running it through a boulder in the process with it still being able to drive itself out of the ditch in the end, this is a damn fine piece of machinery.

I can't really say what keeps me coming back to the Rangers but I think at this point I'm pretty certain I'm gonna always keep one around. I just love them.
 

mikkelstuff

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2002
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Ford
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Automatic
My older brother and I bought this 4WD 2002 Ranger XLT 4-door extended cap pickup in 2005 for my Dad when his little Nissan crapped out. The truck had been owned by the state of Missouri and had 43,000 miles on it at the time of purchase.

I inherited the truck with 111,000 miles on it when Dad passed away at 95 in 2015. He was still driving this truck in 2014!

The first thing I had to do was sort out the high speed and low speed misses in the 3.0L which required a camshaft synchronizer and a coil pack. I also changed out the spark plugs and ignition wires while sorting out the misses.

Next I had the sagging seats and hanging headliner redone - a huge improvement.

My first upgrade was to replace the rear drum brakes with the Mustang GT disk package as outlined on the Ranger Station website.

Somewhere in there I changed out the automatic transmission fluid and transfer case lube.

Then I upgraded the front disc brakes with the larger diameter 2004 Ranger units which did require changing out the steering knuckles. I replaced the ball joints while I was at it.

Since then, I had my fine local mechanic fix up all the oil and coolant leaks in the 3.0L - valve covers, oil pan gasket, front timing case cover, and water pump. That job was just too much for my limited facilities since the transmission must be pulled to remove the oil pan.

I'm now into my 3rd power steering rack and pinion - a new unit this time. No more rebuilt junk.

My fine local mechanic always asks me if I want to invest in this truck and then smiles. This was my Dad's truck. Of course I'm going to keep it AND I'm rather fond of it anyway. I'm sure not spending what - $35,000 - on a new 4-cylinder Ranger!

My only wish is that danged Colorado would let me do a 5.0L V8 upgrade to this Ranger.
 

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