Bushranger X-Jack

cshontz

Supporting Sponsor
For a short time this past summer, I had the chance to play around with a Bushranger X-Jack, an inflatable vehicle jack distributed in the states by ARB. My observations are detailed below.

http://www.bushranger.com.au/xjack.html

Essentially, the X-Jack is an inflatable column that utilizes your vehicle's exhaust, or an external air compressor, to raise a part of a vehicle for light service (such as a tire change) or recovery.

In its deflated form, the X-Jack is about the same diameter as a small-to-medium sized light truck tire, and only a small fraction of the width, making it relatively easy to stow. In its inflated form, the column stands around 30 inches tall when not under load. The construction is a durable rubber compound with plastic valves, connectors, and a reinforced exhaust hose. At the end the exhaust hose is a thick exhaust cone that is used to mate with the tail pipe. The jack includes a protective mat to place between the vehicle and the X-Jack for addition puncture resistance. Finally, the bottom surface of the X-Jack is comprised of numerous plastic spikes for traction.

With the help of a few friends, we tested the X-Jack under my Jeep Cherokee on a flat grass surface. Operation of the X-Jack is nearly effortless, but there are two details that needed our attention: 1) We needed to mind the placement of the jack so that it did not come in contact with sharp edges or the vehicle's hot exhaust, and 2) someone needed to hold the cone up to the tailpipe as the jack inflated.



In the case of my Cherokee, the tail pipe was formed slightly at the tip, so it was a little bit difficult to get the cone to sit flush against it. On another vehicle with a circular tail pipe opening, it may be possible to jam the cone on there and walk away. Otherwise, between jack placement, and exhaust inflation, operating the X-Jack was a two person task.

The Cherokee was equipped with an Old Man Emu suspension, and 235/75R15 tires causing it to sit roughly two inches over stock. When the X-Jack was fully inflated under the rocker of the vehicle, and closer to the rear axle, it managed to lift the rear tire only a few inches off the ground. Fortunately, the versatility of the X-Jack should allow one to overcome most limitations caused by having ample ground clearance, but I see it as a minor limitation nevertheless.

We made a couple of attempts to raise the vehicle from its lowest point under the axle, but abandoned the effort when we couldn't find a safe position for the bag. Since it wasn't mine, I didn't want to risk us damaging the jack by attempting something that we shouldn't. :)

Using the exhaust, the X-Jack inflated within a five minute time span. This already reasonably short amount of time can be hastened by using a supplemental air compressor in a secondary valve. An air compressor can also be used as a stand-alone alternative to inflate the jack.



One concern I had was whether or not the rubber exhaust cone could withstand the heat of the tail pipe without melting or deforming. After the inflation was complete, the thick rubber (or possibly polyurethane?) cone maintained its shape and showed a great degree of resistance to the heat. I would suspect that after repeated use on the same tail pipe, that the cone would eventually form to that tail pipe somewhat, but this was not evident after only a few uses.

Also, after we had the X-Jack inflated under the Cherokee and had the rear tire a couple of inches off the ground, we let the vehicle sit like this for a few hours to see if the jack would gradually deflate. It did seem to be deflating very slowly, because after three hours, the tire was just starting to kiss the ground. I felt that the jack's ability to hold air for that duration was more than acceptable performance.

The jack was very rapidly deflated with a release of a valve, and while the top of the protective mat and the jack itself was slightly indented by the body pinch seam under the Cherokee, it withstood that prolonged stress without any sign of weakening, abrasion, or puncture.

Overall, the X-Jack seemed to be of reasonably good quality, innovative, and well-engineered. I think it would be at home in a variety of situations where the terrain is soft, and not very technical - sand stands out in my mind, but it certainly would not be limited to sand.

The X-Jack is not a replacement for a fixed-position jack such as a Hi-Lift, but assuming it is sufficiently durable, the Bushranger X-Jack looks like it would make a valuable addition to one's vehicle recovery gear. In one word ... handy.

The ARB Bushranger X-Jack retails for around $250 as of 11/05 based on some quick Googling. I wouldn't mind having one for the back of my Cherokee some day.
 
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Scott Brady

Founder
Chris, fantastic review :bowdown:

I appreciate you taking the time to go into such detail.

I was able to see the jack in person at the ARB display at SEMA. I was very impressed.

If I had a trip planned through Africa it would be a serious consideration.

 

BajaTaco

Swashbuckler
NICE! Thanks for posting the review! :beer: I have been wanting to play with one of those, so this helps satisfy my curiosities.
 

cshontz

Supporting Sponsor
expeditionswest said:
I appreciate you taking the time to go into such detail.
Thanks - its no problem! I greatly enjoy writing about OHV products and experiences. One day, I hope to establish my own web presence for such write-ups (that I would gladly share here), but I don't have enough to write about at the moment. :)
 
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awalter

Expedition Portal Team, Overland Certified OC0003
This concept has been available to our industry (Rigging & Millwright) for years.
They are sold under the name of Mat-Jack & come in various capacities & lift heights, normally compressor operated.
 

pangaea

Adventurer
Chris,

Thanks for the well done review. One other thing that I noticed in Scotts picture is that it appears to come with a handy canvas bag.
 

Life_in_4Lo

Explorer
we played with one at Pismo. It was pretty cool. Put it under the axle so you don't have to go higher allowing for axle flex and worked fine

Again, the 80's curved and oddly cut end didn't allow for proper inflation so we pulled another truck up next to it and it had a clean cut tailpipe that sealed perfectly

I am planning on buying one b/c hi-lifts scare me and having this as an alternative for some situations seems very good. Unfortunately the price seems crazy high for a plastic bag...

 

Westy

Adventurer
those jacks are definitely cool and an innovative idea for sure.

i think if i saw someone using one of those to do a repair or tire change i couldnt help but to laugh though...just the sight of one of those big orange bags holding up a vehicle...

good write up.
 

Ron B

Explorer
Pretty cool. I've been looking for something like this for awhile. I think the website said that the wt capacity of the one reviewed above is 8000 lbs so I think one for my truck would look like this:
 

Attachments

MountainBiker

Adventurer
Thanks for the review cshontz! The X-Jack has always intrigued me, and would be quite useful on a small uni-body vehicle like my Subaru, since there isn't always a good place on the body to use a standard jack.



awalter said:
This concept has been available to our industry (Rigging & Millwright) for years.
They are sold under the name of Mat-Jack & come in various capacities & lift heights, normally compressor operated.
This comment intrigued me, so I contacted them. They want over $800 for the QuickLift Bag L110, which is similar to the X-Jack! The X-Jack isn't looking so expensive anymore!
 
Got mine the other day, took a close look.

The top does have some sort of support platform built in, and there's the rubber mat between the jack and the vehicle, but if I were lifting from an axle, a pinch weld, or a skid plate with raised bolts (all of which could be the case with my truck), I'd be sore tempted to throw a (sanded) piece of plywood on top of the rubber mat...it'd be even better coated in bedliner for a bit of traction, and could store next to the Xjack...it'd only add about a 1/2" to the thickness of the package, which isn't much to begin with.

it might be just fine without it, but I'd rather be safely lifting 3T than potentially losing the bag on the nth use due to abrasion and wear over time.

Paid about two bones even for the kit.

-Sean
 

pwc

Explorer
Devin, that's spooky, I was just thinking of these jacks today and started searching here.

And thanks for the writeup, Chris. Have you had more use with it on the trail? Or has anyone else?
And can you speed up the inflation with uppin the rpms?
Lastly, how fast can you fill it with a compressor?
 

FlyingWen

Explorer
The X Jack is the perfect alternative when on an uneven surface.

No need to worry about that Hi-Lift slipping and knocking you upside the head. The X Jack is solid, but if your vehicle is lifted, you may not get it high enough off the ground to do a tire change.
 

cruiseroutfit

Supporting Sponsor: Cruiser Outfitters
FlyingWen said:
...No need to worry about that Hi-Lift slipping and knocking you upside the head. The X Jack is solid, but if your vehicle is lifted, you may not get it high enough off the ground to do a tire change.
Unless you are running 44+ inch tires, there is no reason a standard exhaust jack (ie Bushranger or Titan) won't work. Placement under the axle is not only ideal for tire changes, its actually preferred IMO, much safer and alot less lift needed. I've used mine on rigs running 37's and 8" of lift with zero tire change issues. Now if you were trying to reseat a coil and needed to lift at the frame and unload the suspension completely, time for the high-lift :D
 
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