Why all the hi-lift hate? Is there an alternative?

taiden

Observer
So I recently started wheeling, and found myself a few times in hairy situations with no recovery options.

I learned about the cheap versatility a hi-lift offers when looking for down and dirty, low cost methods of recovery.

I went online to try to learn about it's uses, safety, downfalls, etc. A LOT of people on a LOT of forums trash talk the hi-lift left and right, while this gentleman (and some others to be sure) considers it an indispensable tool and outlines some serious utility for the hi-lift. http://www.expeditionportal.com/resources/88-training/577-overland-journal-jack-of-all-trades.html

Most of the issues people claim about the hi-lift seem to be mitigated with the use of a wheel lift, wide base, and proper use. If you purchase both items from hi-lift along with your jack, you're still under $200 for this recovery tool if you add in the requisite chain.

A lot of times the comparison between a front mounted winch and the hi-lift appears, which doesn't seem like much of a comparison when one is easily 5-10x the cost.

I'm about to pull the trigger on a well rounded hi-lift setup to mount under the back seat of my daily driven Cherokee. (Just so you know bling is not a factor ;))

So what am I missing?
 

pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
Hi-Lift is a great tool but is more dangerous than a lot of people realize. I think it is wise to caution recovery novices on using it.
 

southpier

Expedition Leader
old enough to remember using bumper jacks? put one on steroids; don't forget your mouthguard & helmet!
 

1911

Expedition Leader
It's a tool; like any other there are situations where it's good to have and use and others where it is not. It's real handy for lifting a truck off of a high-centered situation, so you can stack rocks under a wheel and drive off. Not the first choice for changing a flat tire or lifting the truck for repair access though; if you do, always use a jack stand also. Don't ever put any body parts in the same plane as the handle operation; stand off to the side when jacking with it.
 

craig333

Expedition Leader
Hmmmm, don't know that I've noticed the hate myself. Like any recovery option safety needs to be a priority when using one. I've personally used mine more than my winch.
 
About a month ago a buddy used his to get his Jeep out that he'd got stuck in the mud. I don't know the specifics of the accident and all I really know is that somehow the jack hit him in the face and put him in the emergency room. As I recall he had ten stitches in his tongue which is pretty significant and his face was messed up as well. Again I don't know specifics but he did send me some pictures of his face and tongue. Looked painful.
 

pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
About a month ago a buddy used his to get his Jeep out that he'd got stuck in the mud. I don't know the specifics of the accident and all I really know is that somehow the jack hit him in the face and put him in the emergency room. As I recall he had ten stitches in his tongue which is pretty significant and his face was messed up as well. Again I don't know specifics but he did send me some pictures of his face and tongue. Looked painful.
I'm sorry that happened to him. The hi-lift handle to the face is an unfortunately common injury.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
About a month ago a buddy used his to get his Jeep out that he'd got stuck in the mud. I don't know the specifics of the accident and all I really know is that somehow the jack hit him in the face and put him in the emergency room. As I recall he had ten stitches in his tongue which is pretty significant and his face was messed up as well. Again I don't know specifics but he did send me some pictures of his face and tongue. Looked painful.

operator error and/or poor maintenance.

Either he was not using it correctly and in a safe manner, or the pins failed to slide as intended to lower the vehicle once lifted.

Sorry it happened. It is a common injury.

Unfortunately even if somebody knows how to use the jack properly, most are strapped to the exterior of the vehicle, washing the grease out and packing the mechanisms with crud. If the pins are not sliding correctly, the chances of you getting injured are high.

I keep mine mounted on the back of my pickup year round. But I also hose it out very well every time the truck is washed and spray lube it every time it is washed. Also, once a year the jack is pulled off the truck, degreased, inspected, and regreased.

It is a pretty high maintenance item if you want it to work safely, and as intended.
 

BigDogKona

New member
Been off roading my whole life and have never needed one. Maxtrax and xjacks are better and safer products that are also low cost and portable. I have a winch, but as stated earlier that's a different tool with a single purpose.
 

jluck

Adventurer
So I recently started wheeling, and found myself a few times in hairy situations with no recovery options.

I learned about the cheap versatility a hi-lift offers when looking for down and dirty, low cost methods of recovery.

I went online to try to learn about it's uses, safety, downfalls, etc. A LOT of people on a LOT of forums trash talk the hi-lift left and right, while this gentleman (and some others to be sure) considers it an indispensable tool and outlines some serious utility for the hi-lift. http://www.expeditionportal.com/resources/88-training/577-overland-journal-jack-of-all-trades.html

Most of the issues people claim about the hi-lift seem to be mitigated with the use of a wheel lift, wide base, and proper use. If you purchase both items from hi-lift along with your jack, you're still under $200 for this recovery tool if you add in the requisite chain.

A lot of times the comparison between a front mounted winch and the hi-lift appears, which doesn't seem like much of a comparison when one is easily 5-10x the cost.

I'm about to pull the trigger on a well rounded hi-lift setup to mount under the back seat of my daily driven Cherokee. (Just so you know bling is not a factor ;))

So what am I missing?
My two cents...
1. A high lift is only as good as the person using it. (The 2% rule...Be 2% smarter than said item and you should be fine) 2. You may want to obtain more/other "recovery options". If you are in mud a lot then a winch is paramount. Don't expect a tall jack with a small base on soft sub straight hooked under a slick bumper not to blow your teeth out eventually. put a dollar value on your own life, If a winch is less than that amount......I think you get where I'm heading.
 

David Harris

Expedition Leader
Like any tool, proper training is required. A lot of people just buy it and think they can just go use it without thinking. It's like saying don't use a firearm because you might accidentally shoot yourself. I have personally seen it used to good effect in several recovery situations, from being high centered to use as a winch, even in combination with an electric winch to get out of a tricky spot. People think you can't use them without having proper bumpers or sliders, but that's not true. Just get one of the wheel-mates and you can jack the vehicle off the wheels, which in my book is better in certain situations because you don't have to jack the vehicle as high to do the job. Just make sure that your wheels have good slots spaced appropriately for the hooks on the wheel mate to hold securely.

David
 

taiden

Observer
I don't personally do a lot of mud, it's mostly fire roads and sand pits. I wheel for the sake of exploring, not for the sake of mudding or rock crawling.

I would like to have a winch in the future, but I think that the hi-lift jack with some basic accessories will provide me with what I need to recover when out without another vehicle.

I figure a recovery strap and another vehicle will be better for the money anyway if mud were involved. I wouldn't attempt mud on my own, I don't think.
 
Yep a good snatch strap and a friendly passerby is your best bet. Other than that a good bottle jack or your factory jack with a good base. I use three pieces of 1/2 plywood glued together. You can cut them to fit under your seat or some void in your truck. Comes in handy for a flat in the sand too.
 

TimS

Adventurer
I think that most accidents from the hi lift comes from people rushing to get the job done instead of taking a breath and thinking about it first. I don't use the jack every day of my life. Its rare to use it for me and I am not versed in its use as some here are. When I do use it I have to step back and think about it before I begin. Practicing in the yard or lawn is a plus even if its just lifting your truck up a couple of times. The last time I used it was a few months ago in Jackman (You may know where that is taiden)helping put up 12x12 beams. I used as a clamp to hold it well it was secured. Even then, not being used as a recovery tool, I still had to think first and realize where I was in respect to the handle. The beams were heavy and the hi lift bailed us out of a problem.
 
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