High Lift Jacks v Airbag Jacks

Submitted: Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
ThreadID: 1165 Views:6918 Replies:6 FollowUps:2
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Hi everyone, really enjoy the forum, have learnt so much in recent months in preparation for our big trip. Need some advice on which jack is best for us - we are driving a Nissan Patrol TI 4.8 series. Going to Innamincka and surrounds and then again off road around Normanton and Burketown. We have had all sorts of advice as to the pros and cons of both types. Can someone give advice as to which to purchase, as we are totally confused about them and time is running out before we head off. We are also towing a 22ft Jayco caravan along the black roads which of course is not going off road!! Feel we have everything else as far as recovery gear, tyre pliers, mending kit, tubes etc. Can someone out there be a sport and help???? Many thanks in advance!! Jinki
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Reply By: jono - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
Jinki + Harry,
Both airbag (exhaust) jacks and the old high lift jacks have there place in a recovery kit. Which one you get is very dependant on what sort of country you will be traveling on. A high lift jack is totally useless on sand as it sinks in too much. Another problem is that high lift jacks can only be used on a flat area or they will fall over droping your expensive vehicle onto mother earth. Exhaust jacks are fantastic in mud or sand and are also very quick and dont need any physical energy. They do have there drawbacks though, although they are tough they can be punctured and they will rarely be suitable on rocky areas. I have used high lift jacks in the past without any problems however as most of the offroading i do is on sand, i went for an exhaust jack. An exhaust jack is no good on its own so you will also need a good quality bottle jack (the one included with the car is generally not suitable) from an offroad stockist.
AnswerID: 3658

Follow Up By: John R. - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
Hi-lifts are fine in sand/mud - provided you carry a base plate (wood or steel) to stop them sinking. Find someone with a hi-lift and see whether you can actually use it on your vehicle - some bumper/bull-bars won't let you. If settling on an exhaust jack, ensure you carry some old carpet or similar to protect the jack from stone, underbody, etc. Exhaust jack is also easier physically and can be used to lift trailers, caravans, etc. Either will do the job. Make a choice and learn how to use it before going away.
FollowupID: 1505

Reply By: All Terrain 4WD Adventures - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
Hi There,

Never, Never get under a vehicle with either of these two devices supporting the load. Always lift the vehicle and support via other means (like timber or spare tyre) before attempting to go underneath the car or van.

Take a timber base plate like someone else suggested and a good quality bottle jack.

Thats my two bobs worth.

AnswerID: 3665

Reply By: Mal Try - Monday, May 20, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, May 20, 2002 at 00:00
Jinki and Harry, I carry both with base plate and carpet as they have different applications. As John R said most modern 4WD's don't have suitable locations on their body to use a Hi-Lift jack. I overcame this by welding pieces of rectangular section to the sides of the towbar and bullbar. Looks a bit funny but works well. Plenty of people ask what are they for - thus another conversation started. The exhaust jack is also great if you end up with your vehicle leaning against a tree or bank etc. Mal Try.
AnswerID: 3680

Reply By: Guy - Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00
I have a Nissan GU 2.8 diesel and the AIR JACK is the best. forget about high lig=ft jack which are very heavy to carry and do a poor job.
Get plenty of carpet for your air jack. Airjack work also on rocky groung if you have eneough carpet. Air jack work also under uneven car structuress of the chassis.
Just pack a bit more carpet. When I am talking about carpet, I only need 3 pieces of carpet each 1 square meter.
AnswerID: 3732

Reply By: Rob - Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 00:00
I used an airbag with my 80 series. You need to find an area
underneath that will accept the top of the bag without puncturing
the bag OR bending bit on the car (like a sidestep). Personally
I would not buy another one and would go for a hi lift and
some purpose built jacking points.

Re: hi lift - if you can get an adaptor that fits around the
hub on your vehicle - this will allow you to jack the _wheel_
up and not the body (and then the wheel once suspension travel has
been taken up). This is much more efficient and maybe safer
as it is more difficult for the jack to fly off.


For sale - 1 ARB exhaust jack. 1 careful owner.
AnswerID: 3741

Reply By: Guy - Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 00:00
The AIR JACJ is a fantastic tool when you know how to use it and had a proper demo by a qualified demonstrator of air jacks.
Some comments in this posting shows that some people( I will not point the finger to any one in particular) do not understand how the air jack works, never read the instruction manual and had a demo by mickey mouse who guessed everything about air jacks. Ask a proper demo by a qualified air jack specialist.(not mickey mouse). Guy
AnswerID: 3749

Follow Up By: Jinki & Harry - Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks for all the comments and to Guy for your helpful comments on the Air Jack. Even more confued than ever, but after much discussion we have decided on the air jack with a good bottle jack which we already have. Also have plenty of carpet pieces. Trust this will be ok for this trip. May be next trip will be different and we may need the hi lift jack. Thanks again everyone for your helpful comments. Regards Jinki & Harry.
FollowupID: 1588

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