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Thread: Hi-Lift Jack basic usage

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    Arrow Hi-Lift Jack basic usage

    This thread will just simply cover jacking up and "jacking" down.

    I wanted to do this simple instruction because I have seen it so many times.....
    People buy a new [to them] jack and might not read the manual and then never practice using it. So when it finally does come a time to use it, they don't know how. Has this ever happened to you?

    Don't worry, if you don't have one or would rather see it done first, come to the next 101 Class. I always allow plenty of practice time on this subject. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. However if people want or need 1-on-1 help with this, please feel free to PM me. We can figure out a time for you to bring your jack down and I can show you how to use it, if this here doesn't work for you.

    So the first thing that needs to be explained is safety. Please think "is this safe" before and while doing something as dangerous as lifting a several ton vehicle off the ground. You should always have a spotter and thus not be attempting this alone. The spotter can see things happening that you might not and if something does happen to you, they can help. You should never put your head above the handle. If something were to happen and that handle came up violently, well let's just not do that....okay?

    If you want to become familiar with the names of certain parts of the jack please refer to pages 5 & 6 of this pdf file: instructions

    Also, I don't don't want to get into maintenance at this time but if the jack is stored outside or is very dry upon use, a little light spray lube can make everything quickly operate smoother and thus better for the time being, if need be.

    1: Chock the opposite corner wheel if possible. If not, then one of the others that you are not lifting off the ground will suffice. Use your head here and "read" the terrain for the best one to use. If you feel that is not enough, chock another tire, or even the third, because you can't chock too much ;) You can use a rock or anything that will not roll or slide.
    CIMG0001.jpg

    2: Position the foot of jack under a solid jacking location. If you can, stand on the left side of the jack to access the reversing latch, which prevents you from putting your head above the handle. Now it sometimes helps if you then step on the base, while holding the bar with your left hand, and pulling up on the handle with your right hand until the large runner comes in contact with the jacking area. Note: whenever holding the bar do not put your thumb on the handle side of the bar, which is the natural tendency, just in case the handle comes up abruptly.
    CIMG0002.jpg

    3: With you right hand(because your left hand is still holding the jack bar), pull up on the revering latch. Something that is easy to remember is--lever up, to jack up and lever down, to "jack" down ;) If you do not have the strength to move the lever into its locked position, then feel free to kick it up until it stays there. Don't worry you won't hurt it and it might be some much needed stress relief :)
    CIMG0003.jpg

    4: Remember that when you are jacking one end of something up and the other end is still on the ground, that it will not lift straight up, but rather make an arcing motion or come up at an angle. So it helps if you plan for this in advance by moving in the base a little bit to compensate. The higher you go, the more the angle. So in picture #2 above, it is where most would think it should be, and the picture below shows a little compensation to help lessen the angle when jacked up off the ground and obviously where it is at the most dangerous position.
    CIMG0006.jpg

    5: Now you are set to jack. Once a slight amount of pressure is on the jack to keep if from sliding back down the bar, you can use both hands on the handle. Remember not to put your head above that handle. Push down until you see the climbing pin engage and/or hear the click of this happening. Then raise the handle until the same thing happens again. Repeat as necessary. Your spotter should be watching to make sure everything looks good(not shifting or slipping). If you are using the jack to get your vehicle off an obstacle, have your spotter tell you when you are off the object.
    The first picture shows when the jack was initially placed "straight" and the second picture shows the jack when it started at the "compensated" starting position. See the difference? The reason I do this is to prevent the jack from kicking out when it has the most leverage and weight on it.
    CIMG0004.jpgCIMG0007.jpg

    6: If you are changing a tire, just get enough height to do so--anything extra is not needed and allows more chance of something going wrong. Also put the tire that is being removed under the vehicle temporarily, just in case something does happen, while the replacement is being put on, but don't forget to remove it before you lower the vehicle back down to the ground.

    7: Once you are set to lower the vehicle back on the ground, check again to make sure. Lug nuts tight, people are a safe distance, nothing is left underneath, and you are thinking clearly? Now you are ready. With one hand holding the handle, move the reversing lever into the down position.
    CIMG0005.jpg

    8: And jack down the same way as you jacked up. And be aware the pressure on the handle will change in the opposite direction(up). Again, watch and listen for the pin engagement at the top and bottom of the strokes. Reminder: don't put your head above the handle. Sorry I have repeated that so many times, but I have seen what it can do(it's not pretty), and yet people still do it. I bet you will be caught doing it too--by you or someone else and hopefully not by the handle.

    Thank you for reading on how to jack safely. Now go practice, so when the time comes, you can be proficient and keep you head.
    Last edited by Rubicon; 03-15-2019 at 01:23 PM. Reason: updating link for the change in file location
    Traction, articulation, and gearing make a good off-road rig. Just a big lift, wide mud tires, and a winch simply do not.
    ~Shawn(the correct spelling ;)

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    Default Re: Hi-Lift Jack basic usage

    Thanks Shawn!

    Sent from my HTC6435LVW using Tapatalk 2

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    Shawn, I have really liked the "basic" threads you have been doing. They are pretty informative. Just gota hi-lift jack from Christmas and want to get out and practice using it before time comes I need to actually use it. Want to also learn how to use it as a winch. What are your thoughts on the lift-mate for use on tire?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yipjeep View Post
    Shawn, I have really liked the "basic" threads you have been doing. They are pretty informative. Just gota hi-lift jack from Christmas and want to get out and practice using it before time comes I need to actually use it. Want to also learn how to use it as a winch. What are your thoughts on the lift-mate for use on tire?
    I know this wasn't directed at me but I thought I would share my opinion anyway. I wouldn't spend money on a lift-mate or any device that makes it so that you can lift from the tire. One of the major uses of a Hi-Lift is to change a tire. A Lift Mate will not work in this situation. You need the tire to be free to remove it. You need to find another spot to jack from, typically rock sliders or bumpers. Long travel suspension can make this a bit difficult but there are some solutions for that as well that maybe Shawn can cover in an "Advanced Hi-Lift Usage" article . If you have sliders or jack points already then you should be able to use those any time you would have otherwise used the lift-mate.

    The Lift-Mate comes into play when you are stuck and would like to stack some items under the tires for traction. In this scenario it works well. It is stable and lifts easily, as long as it fits your wheels. In many cases though I have found the need to use the Hi-Lift to shift the vehicle or to "drive off the Hi-Lift". Typically, you can jack up the front or rear of the vehicle and push it off to one side once it is up on the Hi-Lift. You can also jack the vehicle up and drive out, leaving the Hi-Lift to fall. Neither of these options would be available when using a Lift-Mate.

    The thing that the Lift-Mate gets you is ease of use in a certain number of scenarios. If you have the money, space, and free payload capacity, then by all means bring it. It is safer and easier to use than some of the methods listed above. If your pockets aren't lined with money, I could think of better things to spend your dollar on, like a proper recovery strap, nice gloves, or a couple of gallons of gas and some practice on the trails.

    This is just my two cents. I am sure that there are plenty of different opinions on the subject.

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    Thanks for the reply. My message was more open to community than intended for Shawn directly. With lift-mate I was thinking more along the lines of using on the trails to lift Jeep up to get rocks/other material under tire to help get over obstacles stuck on. When I was doing some research on proper use of the jack I watched a couple videos by Hi-Lift on YouTube. In one of the videos they used the lift-mate, so was curious if others felt this was a necessary accessory to have with the Hi-Lift. Based on your response I take it that the jack alone is all that is really needed. Much appreciated!

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    Hi-Lift also wants to sell their products so they will promote them in their videos. I was considering a Lift-Mate but after I checked my wheels, I noticed that it might not work (safely) on them. I agree with Ryan on puting the $$ towards something else that you need for your rig.
    2000 Black 4Runner Sport, Rear DiffLock, 33" BFG KM2s, Ivan Stewart TRD Wheels Skidrow Armor, Engine/Trans/Transfer Case. Sliders by Stubbs Welding, Sonoran Steel 1.2 4" Lift Kit, CBI Rear Bumper&Swingout, Lil Skip's gas tank Skid,
    SchrockWorks Front Bumper and SmittyBilt X20 Comp 8k Winch.

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    I like Ryan's answer(probably better than mine :)
    Dave brought up a good point above too--make sure it will at least work for your vehicle.
    I do like them when practical, because they are not likely to slip off, like the steel runner against a steel slider(not much grip there), so they will be less of a danger with the Lift-Mate :)
    Traction, articulation, and gearing make a good off-road rig. Just a big lift, wide mud tires, and a winch simply do not.
    ~Shawn(the correct spelling ;)

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    Great point about not keeping your head within the swing of the handle. You can never say it too many times. I've never been clocked upside the head by it, but it has scared the crap out of me a couple times!

    @ Shawn and other experienced members - How do you feel about leaving the handle "down" while the vehicle is jacked up and you're doing whatever? Any time my jack has started violently bringing itself down, it's because the handle fell from being clipped in the "up" position. The momentum keeps the cycle going until the vehicle is back on the ground and there is no weight on the jack anymore. Now I typically leave the handle in the "down" position, but I can see how that could bring about safety issues of its own.
    Big Jeep - 1998 ZJ Grand Cherokee 5.2 V8, NP242 ESY transfer case swap, Dana 44A rear axle protected by Mountain Vista Fabrication skid plate, Spartan front locker, reinforced uni-body rails, custom boxed steel rock sliders doubling as air tanks, 5.5" Long Arm lift, 1½" DOM crossover steering with Heim joints, 33x10.5R15 BFG Mud Terrain tires, 12000lb Badlands winch.
    Little Jeep - 1997 ZJ Grand Cherokee, 4.0 I6. Completely stock.
    Kermit - 1970 Jeep J-2500 pickup

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    Don't bother getting a lift mate they do not work well on typical off road tires. I have one and the straps are not "long" enough so the highlift can't even get into the pocket of the lift mate which obviously makes it useless.

    If you really really want one though I will sell you mine :D
    03 TJ, 3" BDS lift, 1.25" JKS BL, 1" JKS MML, JKS control arms, JKS track bars, 35" Swampers LTB, SwayLock, BellyUp, D44 4.88 rear ARB locker, D30 Front, SYE and CV shaft, Currier HD steering, Ground pounder front and rear bumpers, A to Z full length Rock Sliders, Dr Custom Werx cageGPS

    Great American Jeep Rally

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    How would one jack a ZJ or WJ? (One without sliders, stock front bumper)
    I can maybe see using the insert hitch receptacle to get the rears up. Though that even sounds a bit sketchy especially on uneven ground.
    There isn't much up front, its all plastic.
    I've held off buying one of these because of wondering how useful it would be.
    "Right now I'm having short term memory loss and déjà vu at the same time - I think I've forgotten this before."

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoToR View Post
    How would one jack a ZJ or WJ? (One without sliders, stock front bumper)
    I can maybe see using the insert hitch receptacle to get the rears up. Though that even sounds a bit sketchy especially on uneven ground.
    There isn't much up front, its all plastic.
    I've held off buying one of these because of wondering how useful it would be.
    There isn't much there to jack from on a stock ZJ. The trailer hitch receiver is a suitable location but if you have ever tried it, you will see how sketchy it is. The vehicle wants to fall to one side, even on flat pavement. Very unstable. Your best bet is to either get suitable jack points or find another way to lift the vehicle. A bottle jack and some short 2x4s might be the way to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoToR View Post
    How would one jack a ZJ or WJ? (One without sliders, stock front bumper)
    I can maybe see using the insert hitch receptacle to get the rears up. Though that even sounds a bit sketchy especially on uneven ground.
    There isn't much up front, its all plastic.
    I've held off buying one of these because of wondering how useful it would be.
    Yeah it's definitely tough to find a spot to jack a ZJ. My ARB bumper would make a good place, but by the time the suspension has fully flexed and the tire comes off the ground, I'm on the top notch of the jack. For the rear, I've used the lip around the wheel well. Then again, I don't care about denting/creasing the body (which will happen if you go too far toward the middle of the wheel well). As Ryan said, the rear hitch is very unstable. Your best bet is honestly a bottle jack... which still won't work in every situation
    .
    Big Jeep - 1998 ZJ Grand Cherokee 5.2 V8, NP242 ESY transfer case swap, Dana 44A rear axle protected by Mountain Vista Fabrication skid plate, Spartan front locker, reinforced uni-body rails, custom boxed steel rock sliders doubling as air tanks, 5.5" Long Arm lift, 1½" DOM crossover steering with Heim joints, 33x10.5R15 BFG Mud Terrain tires, 12000lb Badlands winch.
    Little Jeep - 1997 ZJ Grand Cherokee, 4.0 I6. Completely stock.
    Kermit - 1970 Jeep J-2500 pickup

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    Matt, I know Hi-Lift says to leave it up. I leave mine, as in the pictures, because I have seen them "release" when up.

    Good point Josh ;)

    Ted, I would only use the hitch/jack like that in a flat, tar driveway, unless you have a receiver shackle, because using the d-ring, does make it safer. The Bumper Lift: LINK might help, but yes, steel bumpers and sliders will be better. Or this: X-Jack link I have used one many time and it always impressed me :) And it is especially handy in the deep snow ;)
    Traction, articulation, and gearing make a good off-road rig. Just a big lift, wide mud tires, and a winch simply do not.
    ~Shawn(the correct spelling ;)

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    Winner! Thats brilliant!
    "Right now I'm having short term memory loss and déjà vu at the same time - I think I've forgotten this before."

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    Lots of good info here.
    Paul (FSHJNKY)

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