Five Minute Instant Expert
Brought to you by Drivetech 4x4, this article was published by Australian 4WD Action Magazine (Issue 238 - 2015). Words by Brendan Seymour, photography by Dave Wayland. To download the full article, CLICK HERE.
High Lift Jacks
They’re a tool every 4WDer should own, but do you really know how to use your high lift jack safely?
In this issue’s Instant Expert we run through some cracking tips for operating high lift jacks. As always, the best thing you can do before you head out on the tracks is to ensure you have top quality equipment you can rely on. We’ve got the Drivetech 4x4 48inch high lift jack cause we know it is built tough, and comes with some great accessories for the jack such as a stand base and wheel lift which are essential to any 4WDer’s kit.
First thing’s first – the basics on how to use a high lift jack. This mechanism allows you to slowly raise or lower a substantial amount of weight, depending on the position of this latch. Raise the latch til it locks to lift, drop the latch down to let you lower a weight down on the jaw of the jack. You need a solid metal surface like proper barwork to lift the vehicle – aluminium side-steps and plastic bumpers won’t cut it.
Let’s say you’re in a position where you’re high-centred on a rut. What’ll get you out is raising one wheel up so you can pack rocks and branches underneath it. Lift the latch until it clicks into place, make sure the jack has a firm even base, and then use the handle to lift the moving part of the jack up until
the jaw is sitting firmly under the barwork. Once it’s up as far as it will go, start levering the handle down towards you slowly until the latch slots into the next position. When that happens you’ll feel the pressure come off the handle. Return it to the fully upright position, and repeat until the vehicle’s raised only just as much as you need.
What comes up, must come down. To lower the vehicle when it’s up on the jack, flick the latch into the down position. The jack’s now ready to be lowered, so pull the handle down until the latching mechanism clicks into the next position, and then slowly let the handle come up. Be careful though – you’re lowering a lot of weight, so take it slow.
Vitally important is how you hold the jack. Always keep two firm hands on the handle, and never put a hand on the upright of the jack. If you slip off the handle halfway through raising the latch mechanism up one notch, the handle is going to return to an upright position at a rate of knots – and flatten your hand in the process. Slow and steady is absolutely always the go when it comes to high lift jacks!
Drivetech 4x4 sell these handy heavy-duty jack stand bases which are perfect in uneven terrain like this. The base substantially increases how stable the jack is by spreading the load across a wider area. It’s a top upgrade that really earns its keep in soft terrains like mud and sand, where you’d normally not be able to use a high lift jack at all.
HERE’S A BEAUT TRICK – If you’ve got long or taller than standard suspension and you need to raise up a wheel to pack rocks under it, first get under with a big ratchet strap and strap around the diff housing and the top of the shock tower. Be careful not to catch any brake lines in the process. Then, when you start raising the corner of the vehicle, the suspension won’t drop to its full extension before the wheel comes off the ground.
Not that keen on crawling under your 4WD in the mud to hook up a ratchet strap? These beaut little Drivetech 4x4 wheel lifts are designed to hook into the holes in a wheel. When you start raising the jack, the wheel tucks up into the guard. Often you’ll find that you can raise a wheel enough to get a big rock or a
stump under it, without un-balancing the 4WD at all – the perfect scenario. It’s rubber-coated so it won’t scratch nice alloy wheels, either.
There’s one thing that can kill a high lift jack, and that’s being left out in the elements. Rust and mud gets into the latching mechanism and over time makes it stiff in its operation. This heavyduty padded high-lift jack bag has been designed by Drivetech 4x4 to protect your high lift jack, and the bonus is that it means you can now store the jack in the rear of the vehicle without it damaging your interior trim.
The new Drivetech 4x4 range of accessories includes complete recovery kits, underbody armour and high-lift jacks and accessories. The 48inch high lift jack retails for $149, the stand base has an RRP of $49.95, the wheel lift sells for $34.95 and the heavy-duty storage bag is worth $19.95. For more info or to find your nearest retailer, visit the beaut new interactive Drivetech 4x4 website at www.drivetech4x4.com.au. and check out the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/drivetech4x4