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HillsForThrills

Hi-lift jacks... Y or N?

As the title says, what are your thoughts on Hi-lift jacks? Are they REALLY the must-have weapon of choice for 4WDers, or are they just extra weight and more of a fashion statement for a lot of people?

My personal thoughts are that they aren't actually as good/useful as we're led to believe by magazines, ads, shops etc.

My reasoning behind this is firstly, obviously, they jack up the chassis, not the diffs/axles... Now that's probably handy for a stock suspension vehicle that has minimal flex, but for my GQ with a 7" suspension lift and quite a lot of down travel, the jack would have to be nearly fully extended (even a 68") before the tyre would even look like coming off the ground... I use the factory Nissan bottle jack and a solid block of wood roughly 12"x8"x2" exclusively and haven't encountered a situation yet that the setup couldn't cope with. Yes, if you're chassis deep in mud, the bottle jack will not be very useful at all, but that brings me to my second reason...

Most 4WDs these days have winches... The days of needing to jack and pack are getting fewer and further between... Simply winch out of the boghole or off the rocks/logs and then do what needs to be done. Without a winch, then yes, a Hi-lift would be useful in some cases, even to the point of being used as a hand-winch. In all my years of 4WDing, I've used a Hi-lift once, and that was to get out of a bog. I was stuck at the bottom of a gully, front wheels on top, rear down the bottom. No winch, so I used the hi-lift to pick up the rear driver's corner and simply drove off the jack then, using the jack itself as a pivot.

One benefit of a Hi-lift is the ability to easily break a bead on a tyre. However, again, this is rarely performed as most people will simply put the spare on and have the busted one repaired at a shop. Remote travel of course may require tyre repair, but the Hi-lift is a lot of space and weight just to use as an easy bead-breaker... Lie the tyre on the ground and drive over the sidewall (if there's another vehicle available...), or place the tyre under the vehicle and put the trusty bottle jack on the bead and jack it off that way...

Hi-lifts are also very dangerous if used incorrectly and with inexperience.

But anyway, these are just my thoughts, what about others? Do you find them to be the "Duck's Nuts" for 4WD accessories, or just an outdated and overrated fashion item these days?
NAVMAN

Posted by: "HillsForThrills" at As the title says, what are your thoughts on Hi-lift jacks? Are they REALLY the must-have weapon of choice for 4WDers, or are they just extra weight and more of a fashion statement for a lot of people?

My personal thoughts are that they aren't actually as good/useful as we're led to believe by magazines, ads, shops etc.

My reasoning behind this is firstly, obviously, they jack up the chassis, not the diffs/axles... Now that's probably handy for a stock suspension vehicle that has minimal flex, but for my GQ with a 7" suspension lift and quite a lot of down travel, the jack would have to be nearly fully extended (even a 68") before the tyre would even look like coming off the ground... I use the factory Nissan bottle jack and a solid block of wood roughly 12"x8"x2" exclusively and haven't encountered a situation yet that the setup couldn't cope with. Yes, if you're chassis deep in mud, the bottle jack will not be very useful at all, but that brings me to my second reason...

Most 4WDs these days have winches... The days of needing to jack and pack are getting fewer and further between... Simply winch out of the boghole or off the rocks/logs and then do what needs to be done. Without a winch, then yes, a Hi-lift would be useful in some cases, even to the point of being used as a hand-winch. In all my years of 4WDing, I've used a Hi-lift once, and that was to get out of a bog. I was stuck at the bottom of a gully, front wheels on top, rear down the bottom. No winch, so I used the hi-lift to pick up the rear driver's corner and simply drove off the jack then, using the jack itself as a pivot.

One benefit of a Hi-lift is the ability to easily break a bead on a tyre. However, again, this is rarely performed as most people will simply put the spare on and have the busted one repaired at a shop. Remote travel of course may require tyre repair, but the Hi-lift is a lot of space and weight just to use as an easy bead-breaker... Lie the tyre on the ground and drive over the sidewall (if there's another vehicle available...), or place the tyre under the vehicle and put the trusty bottle jack on the bead and jack it off that way...

Hi-lifts are also very dangerous if used incorrectly and with inexperience.

But anyway, these are just my thoughts, what about others? Do you find them to be the "Duck's Nuts" for 4WD accessories, or just an outdated and overrated fashion item these days?.


This is actually a very good subject. I have one here i got for free as part of a 4wd action subscription and im racking my brain as to when i'd use it. The one and only scenario i can think of is to use it as a hand winch and pull the rear of the car around if i was slipping off a track or unable to trun around. But how rare would that be. Nearly everyone i travel with has a winch so it's no often i have the only winch either. I might eBay mine and make a few $$ out of it while is in great nick
y_b_normal

I agree with you Dan, I've seen guys roll tyres of the rim, proceed to jack the 4b up with the hi lift, it takes AGES. they nearly tip the thing on it's side cos it's got so much flex, just to get the wheel off. & I've thought a normal jack would have done it so much quicker.
yes a high lift is a poor mans winch, & granted they have a few uses besides that.
But I reckon if you used one your gq would lay on the doors & the wheels would still be on the ground Dan!!!
HillsForThrills OP

That's it mate, hey... As I said, stock suspension and very little travel is more for what they're suited... as ya say, mine would nearly lie down for a sleep before I got the wheels off ... And you also made another good point there, that they do take a lot longer to effect the jacking height than a standard bottle/hydraulic jack...

So it looks as though it's 3 against, 0 for, at the moment... Anyone else wanna contribute? Maybe someone out there has had nothing but good experiences with them and can come up with more practical uses than just poor man's winch and expensive bead-breaker (even though the trusty bottle jack can perform that function just as well...) ...
1mak

Yesterday, we wanted to adjust the handbrake cable thingy on the brake drums.

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HillsForThrills OP

Ha ha yep, well that certainly is an effective use... I'll give ya that one

Although, it does still come back to my point about stock/minimal lift suspension... I can just about sit under my truck without jacking anything at all...
y_b_normal

when you sit under the GQ there is certainly some jacking going on.......:-Q
1mak

We couldn't get the wheels off the ground to take them off and work on the handbrake adjuster pin. So, yeah, put it down again and ask a mate (ARGS) to lend us him trolley jack. So yeah, kinda proved your point here, Dan. Although I have 2 different stories to tell where a hi-lift jack came handy or would have saved us when we didn't have any.
NAVMAN

Well Torsten lets have it as it is relevant and I'm struggling as to why I should even keep mine.
HillsForThrills OP

It certainly does prove my point... And that's sitting on flat concrete, can you imagine out on rough, unstable ground, possibly on an angle and lifting the vehicle that high? I could see the jack toppling fairly easily...

^ yep, let's hear 'em!

Oh... Andy... andy, andy, andy... Why do they let you loose on society...?
Jaram

What about Exhaust Jacks......I had a guy in Christmas Island asking me about the safety of an exhaust jack in comparison to a high lift jack ....As far as i heard exhaust jacks were fine to use and high lift jacks seemed to have a bit of a reputation for falling over and being unstable......Would an exhaust jack be any more stable ???? Having never used one i wouldnt know and the guy that sells them thinks they are awesome ...Of course .... So is there any unbiased opinions on exhaust jacks about?

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