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HIGH Jack - What Off Road/Farm Jack?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by 3M-TA3, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey Site Supporter++

    I've been looking at off road/farm jacks and I see all kinds of prices and brands. Since you might know this style of jack by a different name it's what is strapped to the jeep below:

    I'm curious about the following:
    • What brands are good to go and if there are any to avoid? With a floor jack I use jack stands, so failure in a garage is an inconvenience. Failure miles from civilization could cause serious injury or at best a long, long walk.
    • What length is the most useful? This is for my pickup truck so no real length limitations?
    • What are the desirable features/options/mods (if any)?
    • What are the mounting options?
    • Anything else worth knowing?
  2. Merkun

    Merkun furious dreamer

    Try an SM search on "high lift jack." In wayback times our off road contingent made some recommendations.
  3. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    I got one of the Hi-jack brand jacks...the 48 inch model. I was detered from an off brand model after seeing it fail on a level concrete floor. I got mine originally for my Samurai, so the 60" model was a no-go.

    The mounting brackets always seemed overpriced for what is involved...a couple of pieces of threaded rod, some nuts and washers does well...but I guess not as pretty ;)

    An accessory I would recommend is a base plate of some sort. The foot will sink into soft soil and could tilt, resulting in injury, damage or even death.

    Maintenance is important...the plungers can stick, resulting in inconsistant operation.

    ...now to look for the old posts :)
    GrayGhost, oldman11, damoc and 4 others like this.
  4. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Wallaby Jack :D

    Yep, mine is a HiLift and has given years of good service !!
  5. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    HiLift is the brand name for the Offroad specific brand, best there is! Doubles as a winch, and can be rigged for lifting!
    Makes a good fence poll remover too!

    Don't fall for the advertising of other brands, HiLift is THE ONLY ONE!
    oldman11, Dunerunner, Merkun and 3 others like this.
  6. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Harbor Freight makes one that looks like a jack and can be made to work. Best ones I have found were made in USA back in 50's or earlier. They are "toe" jacks, so you can wrap a chain around a post and pull it, use a beam and a piece of chain and lift a sagging building, catch under your snow plow blade and lift it to move truck when plow pump fails, tighten fence wire, use beam and chain to spread door entrance so door can be adjusted to close, level greenhouses, use with chain to guide tree when falling them, lift log to get chain under to pull with tractor, lift tractor to remove wheel, etc. Yes I like them. Do not ever get under any equipment without a solid jack stand and if in soft dirt, a square piece of 3/4 in plywood under the jack stand. In my life time I have had two good friends killed by truck, tractor, falling on them. Most people get away with it, but it is he** to be the example of the one who didn't.
    If you do buy a new one, be sure that the part that changes it from raising to lowering is free, tight, moves easily, and locks firmly into the detent. That is the weakest point in the modern China stuff. At best it is hard to change, at worst it could kill you if it pops out of place.
    Gator 45/70, deMolay, Ura-Ki and 3 others like this.
  7. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter+++

    Have had one of the Hi Lifts for 20 year and it still works.. I keep a can of spray oil in the truck just to spary it down. Makes it function smoother.. Also various lengths of 2x6 and 4x6 in the truck for those times when the ground swallows a tire and needs something firm under and to roll on.. Handle makes a good cheater on those stubborn lug nuts..
  8. oldawg

    oldawg Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Hilift is the best of the best for a post jack. A case of you get what you pay for but still a bargain for a quality tool.
  9. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    Every ranch truck I know of has one in the back along with some blocks and what not. I can't tell you the brand of ours as it's been so many years back that I bought them. Honestly never paid attention to it, just bought them at the ranch supply store like every other rancher. Ours are the 48"ers. I've pulled fence, straightened bent parts, used it as a mini lift, pulled T posts, and even got a couple of trucks unstuck with them over the years. Like others have said, keep a can of something around to lube the pins, esp if like ours they are stored outside on or in the back of a truck.
  10. Zimmy

    Zimmy Wait, I'm not ready! Site Supporter++

    Hi-Lift Jack's are my favorite. Keep WD-40 around for when the lugs start sticking. You don't want to be sticking your fingers in there carelessly.

    Oh, be careful not to knock yourself out with a jack handle to the jaw either.

    Also be mindful that the mechanism can drop like a rocket with the handle up and no load. Keep toes clear of the stand.
  11. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    I have two of these and bought my first Hi-Lift jack 40 years ago. As stated Hi-Lift is the only brand to consider, its the original and most of the others are Chinese copies.

    I have used these a fair number of times, not so much to unstuck the 4WD truck but much more for misc lifting and pulling around the shop and farm. Probably the most I used it is to spread things apart or squeeze them togeather. Taking the top eye and turn it to be 90 deg to the rail it makes a nice system. The jack also works, though not real well, as a come-along hooking chains to the eye bolted to the top of the rail and to the hole in the lifting tongue.

    While they may look cool strapped to the hood or racks on an off-roading truck, it would not be my first choice of gear to unstuck a vehicle. When stuck in mud, etc. the ground is not stable, it is slick and the vehicle needs to be raised a lot to get boards, stones, etc. under the wheels. The base on these jacks are small and when raising the vehicle 2-3 feet, things are extremely unstable. Plan on the truck slipping off the jack. Happened to me multiple times.

    While you can rig them to be a come-along for a poor man’s winch to try and extract a vehicle, its not easy and by the time you pull out slack in chains and cables you only have a foot or two of pull before the jack has maxed out and you must re-rig.

    If the Hi-Lift is all you can afford or fit, it’s understandable. If you like the look and style with it clamped to the vehicle exterior, that’s cool, go for it but note the lift pins and springs will rust so keep those greased and spares in tool box.

    I think for equipping a truck for self extraction when stuck there are better options. If you need a piece of equipment to help push and pull to fix things, get heavy things out of the way or into position, etc., these jacks are quite versatile and great to have. That is why I have two of them.

    For getting a vehicle unstuck here are other options to consider:

    1. An electric winch. Harbor Freight has several (5000, 9000 and 12,000 pounders) for under $150 to $300 bucks with coupon. If an installation is a concern, get the 5k or 9k unit (lighter weight), replace the steel cable with synthetic cable/rope to further reduce weight and bolt it to HF’s towing receiver hitch plate, its like $30-35 with a coupon. Then get a long pair of jumper cables that will reach the truck battery and cut clamps off one end and connect to winch. You store the whole thing inside a bag or in the truck out of the weather so it may actually work when you need it. I have done this with the HF 5k winch and have a pulley to double the pulling power. It works well and I can move the winch between vehicles, trailer, shop, etc. and even chain it to things as needed. Whole set cost me under $250 watching for sales and using coupons. I now just need a receiver hitch for the front of my truck but I note most of the time if stuck, I want to back out and not go further forward so it hasn’t been a priority.

    Not HF in this pic but you get the idea:

    2. Cable come-along. You can get a 4-5 ton unit for 1/3-1/2 the money and it stores in half the space. If you run a single cable you get half the pull which is still equal to the 2 ton Hi-Lift and generally have 9-10 feet of pull range which, after slack is out, yields 5-8 feet (3-4 times the jack) before having to re-rig. If really stuck, the pulley block doubles the pull to the full 4 ton and you have a working pull distance similar to the jack but double the pull.


    3. To lift a vehicle to jam stuff under the wheels, maybe consider the exhaust powered lift bags. These are like smaller versions of what fire departments use and you connect the inflation hose to your exhaust and run the engine. These bags can lift several thousand pounds and spread the load over soft ground, sand, etc. and work rather well. Very easy to use and safer than a jack in most of these nasty situations where you need to raise the vehicle to extract it.


    Hope that helps.

    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  12. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey Site Supporter++

    Thanks, AT - lots of great stuff there!
    oldman11 and Ura-Ki like this.
  13. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Hi-Lift is what I had strapped to the front of my Defender 90. Never had to use it, but it sure looked good... :D
    oldman11 and Ura-Ki like this.
  14. Zimmy

    Zimmy Wait, I'm not ready! Site Supporter++

    Some of the best success I've had getting a truck unstuck with a HiLift is lifting the center rear of the truck as high as it would go and then push the truck over until it falls off the jack. This will get you out of the ruts. Probably not great for the farm trucks but it works on a help-ain't-coming-and-its-still-raining bad day.

    oldman11, 3M-TA3 and Ura-Ki like this.
  15. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    {head slap}
    oldman11, Tully Mars and Ura-Ki like this.
  16. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Winches and come alongs are much better for pulling, wouldn't have truck without one and chains, but they only pull, Hi lift lifts and pushes, I couldn't get along with out any of them. The greatest thing since sliced bread is the new remote control winches. I never knew how handy it would be to hold cable in position, pull out cable, etc without having to stand at the winch. Some of worlds greatest tools are the simple ones, few years back got a log chain with a slip on one end and a hook on other with a 3foot rod to fish it under a log. Thought the rod would get in the way and almost didn't buy it. Now I would have hard time living with out it. Use it and 3 point hitch as poor mans skidder and love it. Easier to pull and doesn't tear up woods when butt is off ground, and much easier to cut and split when logs are in the yard.
  17. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    Couldn't tell ya how many times a HiLift has saved my bacon! Like Zimmy pointed out, it's a good way to get out of ruts enough! I high centered my CJ-2A once, winch cable bottomed out, and not enough reach with the two snatch straps to reach a good anchor, so out comes the Hilift, jacked it up by the hitch and gave it a good shove forward, easy peasy! Another time, Far worser and very dangerous, Got the Tucker stuck in a ditch next to the road, it's sitting almost on it's side, roof rack is the only thing keeping it from going all the way over. Winch can only pull front or back, if I try a side pull, the angle will tip me all the way over before it comes level with the ground, so I put on my big boy pants, waded in hip deep slushy water and un shipped the hilift ( was strapped to that side wouldn't ya know it) and proceeded to tip the Tucker back up far enough for a good pull from the winch!
    oldman11, duane, Zimmy and 1 other person like this.
  18. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    I bought the Tractor Supply model , don't remember the name brand , but it is stronger that the Harbor Freight model . I watched a video were a guy did a comparison on the 2 and the handle on the HF model broke . Cheaper steel I guess .
    oldman11 and duane like this.
  19. damoc

    damoc Monkey+++

    Never met a high lift jack that was 100% reliable they are handy but never never ever trust them with your life.
    SB21, oldman11, 3M-TA3 and 1 other person like this.
  20. Merkun

    Merkun furious dreamer

    (y) Like ANY other tool, there are ways to use them and also MIS use them Know how, or don't.
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