Damn Exhaust Jacks

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 10:55
ThreadID: 30441 Views:2544 Replies:14 FollowUps:4
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Only answer this is if you have actually USED one of these damn things.
How can you make them jack vertically?
Every time I use mine, it jacks in any of the 359 deg alternatives rather than
straight up. As the exhaust fumes enter the bag, the damn thing will lean/expand
to the left or the right, or sideways, or any other direction - but NOT vertically.
Yes, I try and level the ground under the base.
Yes, I try and make the bag stay upright as the gases fill it.
(Not easy when under a van or 4wd).
But EVERY TIME, without fail, it will push on an angle, rather than vertically.
There seems to be a basic design flaw - a round bag/tube, with no ribs or other
means to encourage it to expand vertically.
Having paid good money form the 'tool', it is discouraging to see the van or 4wd
get pushed sideways (or forwards or backwards) rather than raised.
Getting covered in black exhaust soot is just an added bonus.
I need some wise advice on this one, before I take to it with sissors and send it
to the recycle bin!!!
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Reply By: Member - Phil [Sunshine Coast] - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 11:11

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 11:11
Sorry Keith, never even seen one working, BUT , I do have a mental picture of you sitting on the ground covered in exhaust soot with a pair of scissors dealing to it!! made my day, lol ..SORRY . Phil
AnswerID: 153091

Reply By: johannagoanna - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 11:12

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 11:12
I have only used one on an advance 4wd course we did, but have used it there! Have you tried pumping it up just until it starts to expand, but hasn't started to touch the car too much or take any weigh, that is not too much, and then rearrange the bag, so that pit folds in the middle! I know it doesn't make sense really, but if the bag only has a little air in it, it is possible to rearrange the bag so that it is similar to a squashed alum. can. You might find that works better for you. This is the very reason that they are not really well liked pieces of equipment! - jo
AnswerID: 153092

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 11:51

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 11:51
Have had people away with us and have seen them used only ever once with success.

All the best
AnswerID: 153098

Follow Up By: Rob from Cairns Offroad Training & Tours - Monday, Feb 06, 2006 at 21:00

Monday, Feb 06, 2006 at 21:00
Another gimmicky wank accessory I reckon. Cant beat a good hydraulic jack and solid backing plate. Let the fun begin. Cheers Rob
FollowupID: 407376

Reply By: theshadows - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 12:04

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 12:04
Sounds like you are using it all wrong and the car is not boged.
I had the same problem with mine doing trial runs and it failed every time.
The problem is that you should never inflate is more than half full..

So try anther dry run with the tires flat and put the bag under the suspension. It will work fine.

AnswerID: 153104

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 13:10

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 13:10
Same as highlifts - far more stable and easy to use when you are actually bogged
FollowupID: 407004

Reply By: Tim HJ61 (WA) - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 12:19

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 12:19

I owned and used one of these many years ago on my EH Holden - yes it was many years ago.

Yes they are a bit scary when the vehicle is lifted off the ground and moves around, but one way to lessen the problem you're describing is to only do side lifts, rather than rear lifts. I was going to suggest locking the steering column so the front wheels don't turn, but ummm, the vehicle has to be running doesn't it!

I guess it depends what you bought it for. If you wanted a replacement normal jack, perhaps it's not suited. If you want something to lift you out of a hole when your bogged, then the movement it gives you is just what you want - IMHO.

If you want to get rid of the black soot, try running biodeisel or a 25% blend of vege oil.

BTW, I ended up holing my exhaust bag on something sharp under the car. The patch worked for a while but I ended up selling it for $2 in a garage sale I think. It relied on the exhaust being in good condition, and this was impossible on an EH Holden travelling the same roads we now 'need' 4WD for. On the plus side, they are relatively light weight to store and will do 'A' job for you in mud and soft sand that nothing much else will. Just depends on whether 'A' job is good enough for 'THE' task you have.

AnswerID: 153108

Follow Up By: theshadows - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 12:27

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 12:27
I think your right keith the whole idea of them was to be used in soft terrain when your bogged to your axles. you just unflate them just enought to pok some stone or wood under the tires and deflate the bag to have anther go. they never where designed to lift a car up on the hard to change a tyre.

It like hi-lifts. jack the car up as high as you can then push the car sidways out of the rut your in . They are ment to be unstable.

FollowupID: 406998

Reply By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 12:35

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 12:35
I think theshadows might be right. I have one (which I've never used), but have helped in their use on other vehicles bogged in soft sand. I only expect to use it if bogged in sand with no other vehicle around to snatch me out.

Normally if bogged in sand, you need to dig out under the vehicle to get the bag in place. Adjusting the bag when it is inflated just enough to be touching the underside of the vehicle is required.

Also, it is a two person job. One to be adjusting the bag and watching it for safety; the other to be holding the hose over the exhaust. Only way I know to get around this is to use a bag that can be connected to your compressor (as mine is). Use the exhaust to get the bag started, then convert to compressor. This also lets you inflate the bag slower and under more control.

If you are trying to jack up a car that is not bogged (ie normal hight off the ground) I can imagine the problem. The bag must need to be just about fully inflated to do the job. Would be pretty unstable.
AnswerID: 153110

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 13:11

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 13:11
I know the problem, however I did actually use my exaust jack many times as a normal jack on hard ground (as the standard jack had failed in one of my previous 4bies and I was a slack ass and never replaced it). I jacked mine on concrete and gravel without too many dramas for the sole purpose of changing flat tyres (yes I know it's not recomended). The trick is as these guys say to get it pumped up, then re-arrange and continue to pump. I don't think mine ever inflated straight, it was always on the bleep , but it was always fairy stable once up because of the fact that it was kind of leaning on it'self made the surface area on the ground and vehicle larger, hence more stability. But as said previously in this thread, that's not really what the guys were thinking when the designed them, it was more a mud and sand recovery tool type item not a replacment jack. If you are trying to jack the body you will need WAY to much height for any kind of safe jack and it would be bloody difficult to get it up enough to lift the wheels of the car, especially if you have long travel suspension fitted. The best idea is to grab your good quality thick rubber floor mats out, fold them over and whack them on top of the bag to prevent holes, then jack under the axel or wishbone, you'll find you'll have a wheel of the ground in seconds and it will be very stable, because you will hardly have to inflate the jack at all.
FollowupID: 407005

Reply By: Philip A - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 13:13

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 13:13
I have used mine several times to lift cars from bogs and sand.
1 they are better on sand as they do not slide . Ie the friction of the ground on the bag is important.
2 I have found that they can be a real bugger if the car is sitting on the chassis in mud and you cannot get them squarly under, but nothing else would work in that situation either. Spent an amusing day in "vomit" country up past Mudgee once where there was a 100CM crust then 2 meters of porridge/vomit.
One of the guys went off the track and sunk to half way up the doors. His 12,000 winch just pulled him along like the Queen Mary. We put the airbag under the front and lifted as he winched until the airbag rolled , then repeated until he was able to surface.
3 latest use was on the back of a GU when he lost a back tyre on the Mt Walker climb with the flat in a washout. You couldn't get the jack under but the air bag under the back lifted it and stabilised it enough to get the jack under the axle, after digging out a little platform. Still dicey on a 1in 3. I think it is an invaluable piece of equipment forits weight and the space it takes up, but everything has its limitations. I have always found that you need TWO different extraction tools when you are REALLY stuck and the airbag has been great, but don't believe everything they tell you.
I also got frustrated once when I got a brake warning light while at Tom Groggin. The jack gave up, then i tried the airbag and a tiny hole in the exhaust meant the airbag would not lift the car. I couldn't check the pads so no Davies Plain track.
Moral of the story is to check the equipment regularly.
Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 153120

Reply By: cokeaddict - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 13:48

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 13:48
Ive used mine a few times. At first I played with it at home just to understand how to use it. Then one day while playing at Menai I was stuck big time, lucky for me it was still in the car so i had to use it to get me out of trouble. It worked fine. Basically used it to lift one wheel off ground at 1 time to place rocks under each wheel to allow me to get out. Took me a while to inflate / deflate it for each wheel but it was a life saver that day.

Also used it on sand a few times in my early 4wd days, same thing then....it lifted vertical each time.
Only things i dont like about it is once you use it (especially in mud) its is a bugger to clean before it goes back in the car. But other than that.....its a damn good tool when you need it.

Is it possible that yours may have a defect ? Just cant understand why its doing that.
AnswerID: 153124

Reply By: signman - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 14:32

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 14:32
Have used exhaust jack (were know as Bull Bags) many times in offroad motorsport & rallying. Excellent performance in sand, mud & snow. Just make sure no sharp objects sticking thru.
AnswerID: 153137

Reply By: Kiwi Kia - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 14:32

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 14:32
I have found that the brand makes a big difference. I originally had an air bag that was very unstable - like being on a wobbly jelly. The air bag was tall and narrow and was so unstable it was dangerous so I got rid of it. Latter, I came across a different brand that was wider at the base and was far more stable. I am quite happy with the wide base version for lifting the vehicle up to the point where you can fill in wheel ruts, put regular jack in place or just roll off a hang-up etc.
AnswerID: 153138

Reply By: desert - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 16:47

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 16:47
Yes, a pain in the butt! One of those urban myths that are spread about. In mud, they are next to useless and will slip out from under before the vehicle gets anywhere near off the ground. Low friction between the bottom of the bag and the ground is the cause. Just where you need them! Then, they'll shift sideways and puncture on a sharp metal edge somewhere that you hadn't seen beofre. Might work in sand, IF you can keep the bloody pipe on!
AnswerID: 153162

Reply By: Andrew (Whyalla SA) - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 18:18

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 18:18
Have used these heaps of times both at training and for real (on sand)

1 Unpack the Jack (obviously)
2 Fully inflate the bag next to the vehicle
3 Release the valve and deflatethe bag so that it concertinas (like a piano accordian) with the top and bottom surfaces parallel
4 Now place under vehicle and inflate.

It will go up straight 99% of time if you do this. It takes the "packing creases" out of the bag. Brands do make a difference too, get a large diameter one.
AnswerID: 153170

Reply By: Keith_A (Qld) - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 19:17

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 19:17
Thanks to all you travellers for those wise words.
Have used it in sand on a Pajero - went sideways - damn thing (Exhaust jack and Pajero).
Tried it on the Camper when it needed a lift.
Wanted to raise the wheel on the down side to level it.
Damn near tilted the camper into the river.
Similar result with camper out West in mud. Side ways.
Sitting beside a camper as it moving sideways toward you is not a pleasent feeling!!!
OK - I'll delay the use of sissors until I try it 'concertina' style.
Thanks again (I hope)................
AnswerID: 153177

Reply By: Rob Ackland - Thursday, Feb 09, 2006 at 17:44

Thursday, Feb 09, 2006 at 17:44
There are a few tricks to using exhaust jacks. Firstly and before using it pump it up and leave it in the sun to remove the creases that arise from being packed away. This actually creates a "memory" in the plastic which causes some of the problems. When inflating the thing take your time and it is best to have a person on the exhaust and another watching the rise of the bag to prevent it toppling what it is lifting and inflate slowly. This process allows the repositioning of the bag as once partially inflated and hitting the body of the vehicle it has every chance of folding unless you keep it straight.

When you pack them away place the top and bottom on top of each other to again try and stop the "memory" coming back into the bag itself. I've done dozens of demo's at the local 4WD show as part of the driver training unit and never had a problem even using a brand new bag as I had to last year. All we did was blow it up and let it straighten in the sun and then followed our standard operating procedures. That aside I still prefer a shovel and tow rope and some common sense as the most important pieces of recovery equipment

AnswerID: 154115

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