In this guide I’ll tell you how to recover, change a tire and everything you should know about hi-lift jacks in off-roading.
What can I do with a hi-lift jack ? How to use it properly ? Are there different types of hi-lift jacks ? These may be the common questions roaring in your mind if you are reading this article right now.
But there are so many things you should know before using Hi-lift jacks apart from those things. If you do not use it properly it can cause you serious injuries like jaw or finger fractures or teeth missing!!
It’s somewhat weird. Right ?? But don’t panic. If you use this equipment in the correct way it will help you to overcome a lot of tough situations that occur in different off-road terrains.
I hope to take you through a detailed guide on Hi-lift jacks while clearing all of your doubts. Go ahead..
What is a Hi-lift jack ?
According to hi-lift.com,
The Hi-lift jack is a rugged, highly versatile jack that puts you in command of situations requiring lifting, pushing, pulling, winching, and clamping.
But due to the design of these jacks they are easy to carry and handle. Light in weight but they can hold up to 7000 lbs.(3175kg) according to the manufacturer.
What can you do with a Hi-lift jack ?
Basically lifting your vehicle to change a tire or recovering from a stuck situation, winching, pushing, pulling and clamping like a wide range of uses can get from a high lift jack. Sometimes we can use it as a traction aid or bridge to get our jeeps out from ruts. It’s somewhat tricky. But the material that made original Hi-lift jacks are durable. so if you use them correctly you can use them for a lifetime.
How does a Hi-Lift jack work ?
Like bottle jacks it’s not work from a fluid pressure. It works using a simple lever mechanism. You can understand the mechanism from the GIF below.
When the direction lever is positioned up and operates the handle, jack climbs up like climbing a ladder from pinning hole to hole.
How to use a Hi-lift jack properly ?
To use a hi-lift jack first you have to find out a suitable slot on your vehicle. Because these jacks lift your vehicle from the outer side. not from the under chassis of your vehicle like other jacks.
You can use front or rear bars or side bars. But unfortunately if you can’t find a suitable slot for lifting purposes in recovering don’t worry. Still you can lift your vehicle from a wheel with use of some accessory tools. We’ll talk about it later. Let’s say you’re going to lift your vehicle from the right side of the front bull bar. First apply your handbrake and/ choke your wheels as a safety precaution.
- First you can keep a piece of wooden board or a hi-lift jack base plate if the ground surface has soft sand or mud.
- Then place the jack on that board/plate and grasp from the top of the jack and click the direction lever to lower position. Now you can freely move the jack up and down.
- Then position the jack properly, moving the jack up or down.
- Then lock the direction lever clicking to upper position and operate the jack handle in its full motion.
- You need to bring the handle all the way up and all the way down to operate this jack. Listen to the click sound at the end of a stroke.
- While raising and lowering your vehicle ,always keep your face and as much of the body clear from the handle to prevent injuries caused by shooting the handle slipping the grasp.
- Lock the handle in upright position when the vehicle is lifted to the height you want.
- To lower the vehicle, click the direction lever to lower position and operate the jack handle.
- Keep in mind. Once you reach the lowest position of the jack handle, hold on tight.as the handle is trying to swing up rapidly.
- Continue in this manner until the weight is removed from the jack completely and it falls clearing the vehicle.
When you lift from the body of the vehicle, lifting wheels are drooping down from suspension. in off-roading jeeps most of the time they have lifted suspension systems. So you may have to lift your vehicle much higher to clear off the wheels from ground.
As a solution for this and as a solution for you if your vehicle doesn’t have a proper slot for lifting with these jacks, you can use wheel lift accessories with the hi-lift jack. They can be attached to the spoke of both steel and alloy wheels as shown in the image. It allows you to lift directly from the wheel for recovery purposes.
But you are unable to change your tire in this method. For that you should go with the previous steps or should lift your vehicle using a bottle jack or a screw jack.
Consider your safety as the first thing..
When the weight of the vehicle comes to the hi-lift jack you must work with it very carefully. Because at that time hi-lift jack has a huge amount of potential stored in it that can cause serious injuries to you, if you do not deal with it consciously.
- It’s safe to wear a pair of mechanical glows before doing this kind of job.
- As mentioned in step 6, keep clear your face and much of your body from the jack handle when operating it.
- When lowering the vehicle, hold the handle tight at the lower position as mentioned in step 9 and keep your face and body clear from the range of the handle.
- As a final warning, if you are not familiar with operating a hi-lift jack, do it at least once in a normal flat ground with your vehicle before operating it on off-roading terrain for the first time.
What should you do to hi-lift jack after finishing the job?
After getting your work done from the high lift jack you should check it well for any damage happening to it. If your hi-lift jack has gone through a hard day on the track make sure to give it basic maintenance.
- Apply degreaser around the mechanism of the jack.
- Allow it to penetrate old lubricants and dirt before rinsing it to clean.
- Then wash it with water.
- Apply fresh lubricant to the mechanism such as white lithium grease spray.
- Keep it in a safe and easily accessible place in your vehicle. Don’t keep it under your vehicle because in tough situations of off-roading, you may find it hard to access it.
These basic maintenance will save your hi-lift jack for a long time.
What are the different types of hi-lift jacks ?
Mainly there are 3 types of hi-lift jacks in the market according to the things used in manufacturing . Mainly there are All cast jack , Cast/steel jack and X-treme jack. You can compare their differences from the following table.
You can select a range of heights according to your vehicle’s height. 36 inches,42 inches,48 inches & 60 inches. 48 inches jack is available from all 3 types for standard height vehicles.
What extra equipment comes handy with hi-lift jacks ?
As you know right now , there is a lot of work you can get from your hi-lift jack if you use it correctly and wisely. I thought about letting you know a few extra pieces of equipment you will need as an off-roader to get maximum use from your hi-lift jack.
- Base plate / wooden board
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As I mentioned previously this will be useful if your ground is soft sandy or muddy and your jack tends to bog down through mud.
- Hi-lift jack Off Road Kit (ORK)
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This comes with all those handy accessories you will need in a tough situation. It includes a winch tensioner, a tree saver strap, a custom nose attachment, a pair of gloves, all the hardware that needs to fit them together and a bag to store all together.
- Reflective loop recovery strap.
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If you want you can add this kind of strap for more safety. These straps are made of polyester.so you don’t want to be concerned about situations caused by recoiling at high tensions. They rated up to 30,000 lbs. and were manufactured with luminous materials. So you don’t want to worry about recovering at low light conditions.
- Hi-Lift jack adjustable tube mount.
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You can use these mounts to keep your Hi-Lift jack securely mounting to a roll bar.
In off-roading this small thing is also very useful because you don’t want your jack to bounce all over your truck.
There are 2 size variations. You can select mounts that fit to 1-2 inches tubes or 2-3 inches tubes .
Now I think you get to know so many things about Hi-Lift jacks and I answered all the questions that you have about these equipment before reading this post.
Now you are armed with the knowledge when you hit your next off-roading trip.
Finally I’d like to hear your ideas about this article and as always I’d also like to hear your experiences on off-roading.
So leave a comment below. I appreciate it very much and If you think this will be useful for your other off-roading buddies, share this article with them hitting the share buttons.
Have fun and safe off-roading !!