Pinnacle Auto Appraisers' Blog

Keeping the auto appraising industry up to date with important auto industry and appraiser information.

Toyota #1 in Sales and Honda Breaks Personal Sales Record

According to a statement made by Toyota City, Japan-based carmaker, in 2012 Toyota Motor Corp. regained the total sales lead from General Motors Co., rising 23 percent to a record 9.75 million units sold, where GM had 9.29 million units sold. Makers of the Camry are projecting sales in 2013 to hit 9.91 million in [...]
Original author: Megan Stewart
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320 Hits

Tips for Using Trim Tabs

As a young outboard technician, I worked with an old salt who swore that “a good hull design doesn’t need trim tabs.” It was the only time he steered me wrong. Adding trim tabs can make a good hull perform even better, giving the skipper more control as well as the ability to create dramatic changes to ride attitude. Here are some trim tab tips you can use.

1. Squat Not

Five Tips for Using Trim Tabs
Photo by: Boating Magazine Editor

Five Tips for Using Trim Tabs

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726 Hits

Bright and classy: How to upgrade your headlights, bulbs

Maximizing your custom rig’s forward lighting capability with retro-style headlights fitted with high-output bulbs can be something of a win-win. The brighter beams enhance safety, allowing you more time to react to what’s ahead, while the retro-style crystal headlights enhance the truck’s look.

Parts needed:
• 80/100W Xenon White 9004 bulbs
• United Pacific 7-inch round crystal headlights
• 4 State Trucks’ high-beam relay kit
• 12-gauge wire and connectors

A popular choice is to replace a rig’s H6014/H6024 halogen headlights with United Pacific’s 7-inch round crystal headlights. The process calls for swapping out the 55/60W halogen bulbs with Xenon White 80/100W bulbs. The extra wattage provides additional road lighting distance and brightness.

Giving your rig the retro-style headlight look with high-performance light output is an easy install, costs less than $150 and applies to both old and new trucks using single 7-inch headlights.

Remove the stock headlight housing. Remove the H4 bulb from each United Pacific crystal headlight and replace it with the high-output 80/100W Xenon bulb. Don’t touch bulb glass with fingers, as oil/dirt can shatter a bulb when it gets hot.

Locate the high-beam wire coming out of the firewall. Every factory wire is either tagged or stamped with its own number, so calling a dealership might be a quick way to find it.

Mount the headlight relay where it’s high and dry.

Follow the wiring diagram supplied with the relay kit. Relay pole 86 is ground; 87 is power from relay to high-beam on headlights; 85 connects high-beam switch to relay; and 30 connects to battery (or nearest 12-volt direct power point) using an inline 30A fuse.

Install new headlights in housings, and test high/low-beam system. Adjust headlights as necessary.

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1302 Hits

Name That Shifter, No. 113

Name That Shifter

Shifter No. 113It’s Monday, and that means it’s time to present this week’s shifter. You’ll have until mid-day Wednesday to identify the make and model of the vehicle whence this shifter came. The first person to respond correctly in the Backfires section below will win a Save the Manuals button and sticker.* Good luck!

(* Offer open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.)

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475 Hits

Review: Fanny Wang WangBuds

Walk on the wild side with these weird double-dynamic-driver creations.

Even though I campaigned against California’s Proposition 8, I have to confess that I can’t quite get the whole product positioning and marketing of the Fanny Wang brand. The WangBud increases my confusion, although it intrigues me at the same time.

For its first in-ear headphone, Fanny Wang didn’t just get some generic IEM and slap its logo on. It created a product unlike any other I’ve encountered: a headphone using dual dynamic drivers, with earpieces the size of the old iPod earbuds and oblong silicon tips like those supplied with most Bluetooth headsets.

The dual-driver arrangement puts a 6mm “tweeter” in front of a 10mm “woofer.” It’s like tacking a woofer onto the back of a regular earbud. The idea is to give you deeper and clearer bass, and also giving you less distortion in the highs because the “tweeter” is relieved of strenuous bass reproduction duties.

WangBuds come in black, red, or white for $79.95. All include a three-button, iPhone/iPad-compatible mic/remote, four sets of silicon tips, and a little fabric carrying bag.

Tipped off

Eager to hear what a dual-dynamic-driver earphone sounds like, I ripped open the WangBuds box. But my elation quickly turned to despair when I saw the oblong silicon tips. These types of tips don’t seal your ear the way that the cylindrical silicon tips provided with IEMs do. Without a seal, you lose the bass—along with any chance of getting a realistic tonal balance.

Bluetooth headset manufacturers use these tips specifically because they don’t seal the ear. They allow some environmental noise in, which is probably a good thing when you’re driving, and because most people use BT headsets just for phone conversations, the lack of bass doesn’t matter.

Fanny Wang used them because it was the only thing that would work with their dual-driver design. However, Red Giant’s dual-dynamic-driver A03 Ossicle does accept standard tips, so it can be done

I tried all of the different tips supplied, and all I could get was a midrange-heavy balance with no bass and crude highs, a sound I remember none-too-fondly from the 1990s earbud era, before in-ear monitors became ubiquitous. Yet pushing the WangBuds firmly into my ears showed there was a lot more good stuff going on. The bass sounded surprisingly even and well-defined. The mids and highs weren’t what I’d call smooth, but they weren’t bad for $79, either. But of course, one can’t be expected to hold your earbuds in place all the time.

Learning that frequent S+V headphone tester Lauren Dragan is an enthusiastic user of the Jawbone Era BT headset, which uses the same type of silicon tips supplied with the WangBuds, I asked her to give the WangBuds a spin in the hope that her experience with these types of tips might allow her to get a better result. Nope. “The mids are way too hot,” she said. “I tried really hard to get them to fit right, even pushed them into my ears, and couldn’t get them to sound good.”

I then sent a set to S+V’s Michael Berk, who had the same results Lauren and I did. But then we finally found someone for whom the WangBuds worked: Mike’s wife Adina, who has never been able to tolerate the invasive feel of an in-ear monitor’s silicon tips in her ear canal. She found the WangBuds' “woofer” gave her a welcome dose of extra bass compared to the old-skool earbuds she usually wears.


To measure the WangBuds, I used a G.R.A.S. 43AG ear/cheek simulator, a Clio FW audio analyzer, a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, and the Musical Fidelity V-Can headphone amplifier. Measurements were calibrated for ear entrance point (EEP), i.e., the entrance to the ear canal, which is approximately where the WangBuds drivers will sit. With IEMs, I use only the G.R.A.S. RA0045 coupler, not the full ear/cheek simulator, but the WangBuds wouldn’t fit into the coupler. I experimented with the position of the earpieces by moving them around on the ear/cheek simulator, tried using the simulator’s clamping mechanism, and as you’ll see, even tried pushing the earpieces into the simulator with my finger. Let it suffice to say that the WangBuds present significant challenges for measurement, so please take these results as ballpark, not absolute, figures.

The only way I could get something that looked like a normal headphone frequency response was by pushing the WangBud into the sim with my finger. The result was a hugely bass-heavy balance, with slight peaks at 2 and 8 kHz. I’ve added a graph here that compares the FR result with my finger and with the sim’s clamping mechanism (which provides a substantial amount of pressure). As you can see, with just the clamp, the response peaks at 630 Hz and below that, it plummets. This corresponds well with what our testers heard. Adding 70 ohms output impedance to the V-Can’s 5-ohm output impedance to simulate the effects of using a typical low-quality headphone amp tilted the balance even more to the bass, bumping the bottom end up by +1.5 to +2 dB, and reducing treble by -2 to -4 dB.

Except for a weird peak at 3.7 kHz (which showed up in repeated measurements), total harmonic distortion (THD) at 100 dBA is practically non-existent at all frequencies. Using the sim’s clamp mechanism, I got about -10 dB of isolation from 1.3 to 4 kHz, but effectively none at other frequencies.

Measured impedance drops from a high of 33 ohms in the bass to a low of 6.5 ohms at 15 kHz, which is weird for a headphone but understandable given the unusual driver arrangement. Average sensitivity with a 1 mW signal at 16 ohms rated impedance is 102.2 dB from 300 Hz to 6 kHz, with the earbud pushed in with my finger.

Bottom line

We’re intrigued by the acoustical design of the WangBuds, but saddened by the fact that it uses these awful, sucky, useless oblong silicon tips that prevent the WangBuds from delivering what the measurements prove they’re capable of. We’d love to hear the same design refitted to use standard silicon tips.

Photo by: Brent Butterworth


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1470 Hits

Free Review:

If you are looking to increase your insurance coverage on your vehicle, the insurance company may require you to obtain a certified auto appraisal.   If you have a custom car, truck or motorcycle, the insurance company won't pay you more than book value. Get a stated value appraisal to cover money spent customizing your vehicle.  Have a collector or exotic vehicle?  Book value does not justify the vehicle value  In case you are in an accident, have a certified auto appraisal done.  Contact us today for a Free Evaluation!

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Pinnacle Auto Appraisers Will Professionally Evaluate Your Vehicle!


Pinnacle Auto Appraisers prides itself on quickly handling large amounts of vehicles. We routinely handle fleets for: vans, trucking, limousine, shuttle, buses, SUV, corporate, taxi, dealership, clubs, rental, and delivery companies. We handle large national chains, small family businesses, and car club appraisal(s).

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Pinnacle Auto Appraisers Offers Quality Fleet Appraisals!


If you were involved in an accident and the insurance company deemed your vehicle a total loss, we can help.  If you don't agree with the insurance company's offer, you have the right to hire an independent certified appraiser to determine the actual cash value of your vehicle.  Our certified appraiser will go to the vehicle location, conduct the inspection and complete a certified total loss appraisal on your vehicle.  Total loss claims do require a negotiation phase which we will take care of for you at no additional charge!

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Let Pinnacle Auto Appraisers Help After A Crash!


Our Appraisers are repair shop and car club fanatics! We enjoy when local and national clubs invite us out to their local gatherings. We offer an appraisal discount that lasted all month. We love everything that has an engine and drives on the road. We do our best to help everyone in need of an appraisal!

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Pinnacle Auto Appraisers - We Value Car Clubs and Repair Shops!