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Discussion Starter #1
I imagine there has been a lot of discussion on this topic. I welcome opinions or better yet, being pointed to existing threads.

I do spend a bit of time in Moab (and slowly going on increasingly difficult trails). Many people have discouraged me from considering one, but I see them mounted on lots of vehicles.
 

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It all depends.
They are heavy & unwieldy, and if you don't use them correctly they can be dangerous, but they are invaluable for self recovery in sand, and fixing popoffs if you have the liftmate an offroad base accessories. An alternative is the airbag type jacks or a trolley jack mounted on a plank. They all have pros & cons.
For changing tires, unless you have hilift lift points on your sliders and bumpers, don't bother -- use something else.

I have one, I have a black belt in hilift usage, I use it regularly, I like what it can do, but I hate the size & weight of it.
 

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As has been mentioned already, they can be useful, but they can be dangerous and costly too. If you get one then learn to use it. People have smashed fingers and hands from them "kicking" back. One incident was posted here years ago which I can't find now showed a guys thumb split open and about twice the size as it should have been when it was smashed between the handle and the body of the jack. They can also slip and smash doors or other parts of your vehicle too. People on here in some of the threads have mounted them on their roof racks, some along the bottom of the front of the back seat, and some on rear bumpers or swing outs that were set up to hold one, some also have them mounted on the bar on their ARB front bumper or it can be mounted on the bar of a similar style too.

Plenty of accessories out there for them to use depending on the job being done. Base plates for mud/sand, hooks to lift a wheel, adapters to let it be used on sliders, etc. Make sure you have it setup so that it doesn't slide such as when on a rock base or say pavement. Put something like a rubber mat so that it can grip and not slide out. Maintenance is something that is overlooked too. Being mounted out in the weather can mean that water, sand, dust etc. can get on it and gum it up and if steel or part steel cause rust so keeping it clean and lubed so that it works and lasts is something that's needed. There are covers for them or sacks too, but even then you need to check them as the jack can rust if any moisture gets inside the bag. The last thing you need to have a situation where you need the jack and it won't work because it's rusted and gummed up. Just some things to think about.

I've used them with my Dad many years ago and with friends too. Dad moved mobile homes as a second job and we would use them to slide the tongue of the home sideways to gain access or get it into place when parking it if the truck wouldn't fit. We used it on our backhoe too. My friend used it on his property to stretch fence, move sheds, etc. A great tool when used and respected.

I rushed out and bought one back in about 1990-95 sometime as I was starting to take my new pickup off road and, well everyone had one. I've still got that jack and it looks just like it did the day I received it from UPS. That's because it's sat in the corner of my living room ever since then. I've never used it once. I haven't needed it in all the trips on back roads or to Moab that I've done over the years. I've been strapped out of stuff and my stock jack with a couple of foot long 2x6's has worked good enough to change tires with. It's probably going to be worth a fortune sometime as an antique and worth even more since it's in perfect condition. My relatives might make out pretty good on that.



Here's a few threads on the Hi Lift. There are probably more under different terms such as mounting or something too.

Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum - Search Results for hi lift jacks usage fj cruiser
 

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I would say, if you have sliders, a high lift is very useful. Without sliders, and the adaptor to lift from them, it won't get much use on the trail. I've changed many tires lifting from the sliders and pulled out stumps and moved a shed. They are powerful, if crude, tools. Without good points to lift the vehicle from, they are less useful on the trail than you think.


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Usedbutnotabused pretty much nails it in my opinion. We used them on the ranch/farm to handle tractors when I was kid, so I was aware of what to look out for and worked heavy lift rigging for years to make a living. Without sliders, they are less useful for sure. another issue already mentioned that I want to second, they are god-awful heavy and awkwardly balanced and you need to find a place for the. I started out with putting it on the roof rack but find I like it better where I keep it now. I add it on when I head to the bush, then take it off when I come back home. Ditto on the maintenance required (grease the lift gear and up/down control) periodically. Definitely try it out some at home before you need to use it out in the wild, but be aware that it is going to be a different animal in the mud/dirt/rock than it is in your driveway.
 

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On the danger part - Mine has bitten my fingers, and once my hand slipped off the handle and it whacked my jaw, which could have ended badly.
Treat it as if it's trying to kill/maim you, and you'll be fine. If kids even think about touching it, make them lift it above their heads 10 times and run 100 metres with it. They'll never touch it again. That was the kind of aversion therapy my grandfather gave me when I picked up one of his rifles - 10 rounds out of a Lee-Enfield .303 as a 7 year old was not enjoyable (apart from that gorgeous bolt... but I only appreciated that once I was older and had the chance to shoot other rifles).
 

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I remember looking at one many, many years ago. I thought it was a good lift in principle but when I realized how heavy, unbalanced and dangerous they could be I decided against one, The guy at the 4x4 shop kept trying to sell me one with his last pitch being "you can use it to put in fence posts"..... Sorry, I'm not fencing property, just off-roading, I'll pass.
 

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I am a huge fan of my hydra-jack. Super simple to operate, stows easily (though you may want to get the long version if you're running big tires and lift.) Is it worth the money? For me, yes because I am interested in lightweight and compact recovery solutions and I've had some bad experiences with a Hi-Lift jack but I won't fault the jack so much as my poor recovery planning.

However, my view is that it's better to be well trained with a problematic tool than it is to have the best tool and lack of experience. I'm still learning. . .
 

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I am a huge fan of my hydra-jack. Super simple to operate, stows easily (though you may want to get the long version if you're running big tires and lift.) Is it worth the money? For me, yes because I am interested in lightweight and compact recovery solutions and I've had some bad experiences with a Hi-Lift jack but I won't fault the jack so much as my poor recovery planning.

However, my view is that it's better to be well trained with a problematic tool than it is to have the best tool and lack of experience. I'm still learning. . .
I was going to link the hydra-jack as I think they are kinda cool. The way it adjusts seems kinda chintzy though. Has it given you any problems?
 

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I am a huge fan of my hydra-jack. Super simple to operate, stows easily (though you may want to get the long version if you're running big tires and lift.) Is it worth the money? For me, yes because I am interested in lightweight and compact recovery solutions and I've had some bad experiences with a Hi-Lift jack but I won't fault the jack so much as my poor recovery planning.

However, my view is that it's better to be well trained with a problematic tool than it is to have the best tool and lack of experience. I'm still learning. . .
That is jack pron... It ain't cheap though!
 

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I have a hi-lift that I take (when I remember) off road. (I'd say it's proven most useful for jacking up loaded u-hauls while moving between apartments.)

I think the hi-lift is in some ways least useful as a jack. There are much safer and controlled options in many scenarios. As a recovery device and hand powered come-along it's much more useful imo.

One other thing we often forget mounting these: in a wreck or roll over situation the hi-lift quickly becomes a 45ish pound steel missile. Without solid mounting points and hardware, especially in the cab, the hi-lift is extremely dangerous even sitting with the rest of your gear. Mounted on the bumper or roof rack off road and crawling is one thing. The forces in a 70mph highway crash could sheer those mounts (or what they're mounted to) and send the jack through the window of whatever you hit/hit you, or if its inside the FJ into you and your passengers.

I think they are great tools, but they demand a level of respect in both use and storage that a winch or bottle jack don't.

As others have said: if you get it, then practice with it where nothing can go wrong. Also, prepare to spend about $100 in accessories to make it useful to you for vehicle applications.
 

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Mounted on the bumper or roof rack off road and crawling is one thing. The forces in a 70mph highway crash could sheer those mounts (or what they're mounted to) and send the jack through the window of whatever you hit/hit you, or if its inside the FJ into you and your passengers.
Yeah, I've never been a fan of mounting it on the front bumper for that reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
As has been mentioned already, they can be useful, but they can be dangerous and costly too. If you get one then learn to use it. People have smashed fingers and hands from them "kicking" back. One incident was posted here years ago which I can't find now showed a guys thumb split open and about twice the size as it should have been when it was smashed between the handle and the body of the jack. They can also slip and smash doors or other parts of your vehicle too. People on here in some of the threads have mounted them on their roof racks, some along the bottom of the front of the back seat, and some on rear bumpers or swing outs that were set up to hold one, some also have them mounted on the bar on their ARB front bumper or it can be mounted on the bar of a similar style too.

Plenty of accessories out there for them to use depending on the job being done. Base plates for mud/sand, hooks to lift a wheel, adapters to let it be used on sliders, etc. Make sure you have it setup so that it doesn't slide such as when on a rock base or say pavement. Put something like a rubber mat so that it can grip and not slide out. Maintenance is something that is overlooked too. Being mounted out in the weather can mean that water, sand, dust etc. can get on it and gum it up and if steel or part steel cause rust so keeping it clean and lubed so that it works and lasts is something that's needed. There are covers for them or sacks too, but even then you need to check them as the jack can rust if any moisture gets inside the bag. The last thing you need to have a situation where you need the jack and it won't work because it's rusted and gummed up. Just some things to think about.

I've used them with my Dad many years ago and with friends too. Dad moved mobile homes as a second job and we would use them to slide the tongue of the home sideways to gain access or get it into place when parking it if the truck wouldn't fit. We used it on our backhoe too. My friend used it on his property to stretch fence, move sheds, etc. A great tool when used and respected.

I rushed out and bought one back in about 1990-95 sometime as I was starting to take my new pickup off road and, well everyone had one. I've still got that jack and it looks just like it did the day I received it from UPS. That's because it's sat in the corner of my living room ever since then. I've never used it once. I haven't needed it in all the trips on back roads or to Moab that I've done over the years. I've been strapped out of stuff and my stock jack with a couple of foot long 2x6's has worked good enough to change tires with. It's probably going to be worth a fortune sometime as an antique and worth even more since it's in perfect condition. My relatives might make out pretty good on that.



Here's a few threads on the Hi Lift. There are probably more under different terms such as mounting or something too.

Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum - Search Results for hi lift jacks usage fj cruiser


Thanks for the detailed info!


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Discussion Starter #20
I would say, if you have sliders, a high lift is very useful. Without sliders, and the adaptor to lift from them, it won't get much use on the trail. I've changed many tires lifting from the sliders and pulled out stumps and moved a shed. They are powerful, if crude, tools. Without good points to lift the vehicle from, they are less useful on the trail than you think.


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I have sliders and arb bumpers. I don't know the ideal jack placements.


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