Hi-Lift Jack

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ShawnR

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I'm finally adding a Hi-Lift to my kit. Those of you who have experience with a Hi-Lift, could you please provide some "do's" and "dont's"? Is the add on jack base necessary? Should I really try winching with it, if needed?
 
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Lifestyle Overland

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I've used Hi-Lift jacks for years on the farm. They are a handy device, but can be very dangerous in the wrong situations or configurations.

The short advice would be to always jack from a stable base. The add-on bases aren't always needed if you're like me and based in desert environment where the ground is mostly firm. Still its not a bad item to have in case things get muddy or sandy so you're not digging around for a suitable base material.

Also, keep your hand clear from the pinch point has you're jacking the vehicle up. Your dominate hand should be on the lever, and the off-hand used to stabilize the vertical bar as you perform the lift.
Same principle applies if you're using it as a winch in the horizontal position. The tendency is to put both hands on the jack handle to help with leverage, but you run a greater risk of twisting or leaning the device out of it's optimal plane and dropping the vehicle if the shoe was to come out of position.

Keep a rebuild kit in your rig (they're inexpensive) in case you shear a pin. If this happens while the jack is under load, you will not be able to lower it down by the mechanism and will be forced to knock it free from the vehicle (not fun).

Keep it clean. There are several options for covers out there. The hi-lift brand didn't last very long in the UV rays here in NM but might be a good option elsewhere. There are also several companies that make heavier covers.

A tarp is a must for any overland kit and should be used under the jack when doing a horizontal winch recovery to keep debris from jamming the works when it's resting on the ground.

That's all I can think of for now. Come to Overland Expo West or East this year and take the course... it's very informative! And don't end up like my grandad... his old "railroad jack" as he called it nearly killed him when he was jacking up our tractor. A combination of dirty mechanisms and over capacity whacked his jaw with the lever when it snapped and launched him backwards, landing shoulders first in the dirt. Luckily he only lost a few teeth and swallowed his chew of Red Man in the process!
 
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maktruk

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Before you buy a hi-lift, research it. Many YouTube videos are available.

I cannot stress this enough: Hi-Lift (also known as a farm jack) are dangerous pieces of equipment even in the most experienced hands! They can and will break limbs.
 

ShawnR

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Thanks for the replies so far. Are there alternative options? I've been researching, and it appears that Hi-Lift is the most popular option for trail repair and recovery. I'm also considering the wheel adapter with the strap and two hooks. Found the Utube vids also. Good info for usage and safety.
 

maktruk

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That's the other thing about hi-lifts. If you don't have dedicated recovery points you have to jump thru hoops to use them....

I will attest to their use as a manual winch. Works great, albeit slower than electrical. You only get about 3' before you have to reset your setup
 
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Lipek

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My Three most used Hi-lift attachments are wheel adapter, tube adapter and stable base. Like everyone else said before it is a dangerous piece of equipment so give it respect and learn how to use it But Don't be afraid of it.
 
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vicali

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Cleaned up my trusty Jack-all that was passed to me from my Dad back when I got my first 4x4;
I remember his words everytime I get it out; "Stay clear, this jack doesn't care about you."



It lives in the back under the canopy out of the way. There aren't many points on our current truck to use it as a lift, but I've got chains and gear to use it for recovery if I needed to.
 
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Overland-Indiana

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Iv'e got the Hi-Lift recovery gear in their bag and I have the bigger sized base...now I need to add the jack to complete the kit. lol I took them in on trade from a buddy who sold his Jeep and left the jack on the hood.
 
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gandrimp

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Years ago there was a brand called handiman, may still be ( I didn't check ). We all call them handiman killer jacks.

Make sure and keep a firm grip on the handle, they have the ability to lower themselves.

I have a handiman that has been faithful for over 30 years, it will be a farm tool now. I just purchased a hi-lift extreme to go overlanding.
 
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ShawnR

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My Three most used Hi-lift attachments are wheel adapter, tube adapter and stable base. Like everyone else said before it is a dangerous piece of equipment so give it respect and learn how to use it But Don't be afraid of it.
What is a tube adapter?
 
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ShawnR

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Cleaned up my trusty Jack-all that was passed to me from my Dad back when I got my first 4x4;
I remember his words everytime I get it out; "Stay clear, this jack doesn't care about you."



It lives in the back under the canopy out of the way. There aren't many points on our current truck to use it as a lift, but I've got chains and gear to use it for recovery if I needed to.
I've also been looking at farm jacks at Farm and Fleet. Are they all pretty much the same thing?
 

TreXTerra

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I know I'm a little late to the party.

Hi-Lift jacks are great tools, but everyone who said they are dangerous is 100% correct. These things were invented something like 100 years ago and are pretty much unchanged.

I'm glad to see Ronny's video was posted, it is probably the best video I've seen on Hi-Lift jack use. I strongly recommend using a wheel adapter if you do have to recover. It means the chassis doesn't have to lift as high and the vehicle is more stable.

I've gotten a couple of cool accessories that make using the jack much safer and easier in some situations.

A sand base
A wheel attachment
Handle keeper
Jack Mate
 
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