ARB JACK vs. Hi-Lift Jack

shade

Well-known member
I have a similar slider adapter for my Hi-Lift, along with some other attachments to improve its utility and safety.

I'm glad that ARB developed an alternative jack, but I don't see it replacing my Hi-Lift. I'm more likely to change to a bottle jack and extensions. Safe Jack seems to be the main supplier of that kind of system, but I can see room for another company if they could equal or improve on the SJ offerings. ARB could be that competitor, and might do quite well. Better that than their current jack.
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
I have a similar slider adapter for my Hi-Lift, along with some other attachments to improve its utility and safety.

I'm glad that ARB developed an alternative jack, but I don't see it replacing my Hi-Lift. I'm more likely to change to a bottle jack and extensions. Safe Jack seems to be the main supplier of that kind of system, but I can see room for another company if they could equal or improve on the SJ offerings. ARB could be that competitor, and might do quite well. Better that than their current jack.
Yeah I agree, the current ARB is no where near close to a Hi-Lift and they could come up with a better product, For one I'd ditch using Alloy as the main body and the Alloy Nose is too short and too soft, Some of the Rocks out where these things get used can gouge steel so Light weight Alloy doesn't stand a chance, I am all for them making an alternative to a Hi-Lift but I won't except being told that a one trick pony is better than A multipurpose Tool like a Hi-Lift,

There are a couple of things I would improve upon with the current Hi-Lift so none of these Jacks are perfect, The X-Treme model is a Beast but even that needs a minor change, And the Top Clamp is a Monster of a thing and looks like it could handle 20 Ton, In fact it almost looks too big for the Jack but I am glad they made it that way because I am sure it will out live the Jack by a mile.
 

shade

Well-known member
If ARB developed a perimeter jack system based on a mechanical lifting device (screw jack, perhaps), and used a polymer base that doubled as a pair of traction mats, I think they may have a hit. Make the mats interlock in-line like Maxtrax, and offset 90° in an + for maximum stability and support on loose surfaces, with a pocket in the traction mat for the jack's base. They could also add stabilizing cables to tie the upper section of the jack to the mats.

Make something like that, and suddenly a higher cost is more palatable when the price of a pair Maxtrax is considered. That type of jack would also be able to replicate other features of the Hi-Lift, and could possibly be made lighter and more compact. A screw jack would certainly be safer to operate.
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
Yeah that could work, Although I have the 48" model the reason I went bought the 60" version was because When I was out Cutting Timber I had to reverse back down a track and my Truck and Trailer slid sideways and got seriously Cross Axled where my Rocker/Sil panels ended up at chest height and I had opposite wheels at leased 2ft off the ground, So It was bought as a matter of need not want.

Although these big Jacks are heavy and cumbersome they have been copies by at leased a dozen companies so they must have some thing in their favour,
 

shade

Well-known member
Yeah that could work, Although I have the 48" model the reason I went bought the 60" version was because When I was out Cutting Timber I had to reverse back down a track and my Truck and Trailer slid sideways and got seriously Cross Axled where my Rocker/Sil panels ended up at chest height and I had opposite wheels at leased 2ft off the ground, So It was bought as a matter of need not want.

Although these big Jacks are heavy and cumbersome they have been copies by at leased a dozen companies so they must have some thing in their favour,
Improving on the basic farm jack design isn't easy. It's a durable, versatile tool. Other than minor refinements, I doubt its changed much since 1905.
 

Metcalf

Expedition Leader
I have owned some really old Hi-Lifts and I have been using them for more that a couple of Decades Too,

If any Hi-Lift has bent then that is down to judgement in setting it up or misuse and like all things if parts fail then It is a Cheap Fix and the parts are available at any 4x4 parts store so again Failure is down to the Owner not the Jack,

And as for your friend getting injured then Again that is not the Jacks fault, That is Operator Error, Owning and Using a Hi-Lift is very much like Driving your Truck and in fact using any Jack is Like Driving your Truck, Because you need to pay Attention the Whole time you are using it . Not just for a couple of pumps of the handle, And While someone is Operating one then Those around Him should Shut Up and be Quiet and let him focus on the task at Hand, There'll be plenty of time for talking after the Job Is Done.

The Rules are Simple with a Hi-Lift, Keep your head hands and Body Parts Clear of the Jack Handle, and Always Fix the Handle in the Upright Position, Hi-Lifts Don't Just Fail EVER and the Only time they will is if the Jack Is Poorly Maintained to the point of where the Climbing Pins are Sticking, and If that is the Case that is Due to the Owner Also, because a person would not allow their engine to get full of Mud or run out of Oil and a Hi-Lift is No different, It Clear States this In the Hi-Lift Manual and they Have released enough Video's on the Subject as well as Video's on Jack Safety.

There are No grey Areas here, Hi-Lift as a Company Warn the Owners of Every New Jack they Sell About Bad Maintenance, A Quick clean down and a Squirt of WD-40 is all it takes, to stop Rust and STICKING Climbing Pins yet people Ignore these simple Guidelines, My Jack That I bought back in 2001/02 Still looks like the day is was made and it is 18 years old,

Sorry but if anyone owns any type of machinery be it Manual or Motor Driven then they have a Duty of Care to keep it in full Safety Working Order.

All these Tails of Woe, Just
Oh gees. Mechanical stuff fails....that is the nature of mechanical things. I must actually use my equipment a little harder than some I guess. I don't have a build in load-o-meter to tell me exactly when the point of failure is for a Hi-lift. They get used....they can fail, it is as simple as that. Keeping them perfectly clean doesn't happen in the real world when using them in bad conditions.

The majority of damage to hi-lift jacks and FROM hi-lift jacks I have been part of over the years is from load shifting. When you are lifting the vehicle an extra few FEET in the air than you need to sometimes ( by the very function of perimeter jacking ) stuff happens. You can try and keep things as stable as you can. You can stack cribbing (because everyone carries enough of that) to help stabilize things. You can check every box in the world.....eventually stuff happens. That is just the nature of vehicle recovery. Not putting yourself in those positions is the best worst plan.

That is where using a hi-lift jack ( or other perimeter/farm jacks ), especially for complex vehicle recovery, falls apart.

Everyone loves to preach about how the hi-lift is alternative for all these uses like winching, but just look at the crappy dangerous winch system you are creating. The operator has to be right in the danger zone the entire time, this is winching 101 stuff but everyone just gives a hi-lift a pass? It's flat out dangerous, it always has been, it always will be.

I've been doing this a pretty long time. I've used a hi-lift extensively. I have moved on.

One area the ARB actually improves on the Hi-lift. It removes the danger of the handle energy storage between pin-locks
Anyone that has ever really used a hi-lift in a bad situation knows that moving the jack handle between clicks can bring the click if you don't have the perfect position available.
It is one thing to stand in a field doing a demo on flat ground.....it is another to be on the side of a mountain in the ice or snow.
Note: I would love to see them modify the hydraulics to allow use in any position

It also makes the jack system safer when letting it down. That is a downside to the hi-lift system. No pin-position handle force issues.

I still don't like either one.
 

Metcalf

Expedition Leader
Good Idea, I see that on most of ARB's Bull Bars Winch Bars they have "T" Slots cut in to them so you can Lock in the Nose of the Hi-Lift So no adapter is needed and there is Zero chance of Slippage,
One company out of maybe a hundred? Now you need a $1000 bumper that weighs a hundred pounds to support your $100 jack? Sounds awesome.

Perimeter jacking just isn't my thing, I know that....more power to you and good luck if it is.
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
One company out of maybe a hundred? Now you need a $1000 bumper that weighs a hundred pounds to support your $100 jack? Sounds awesome.

Perimeter jacking just isn't my thing, I know that....more power to you and good luck if it is.
That's a Cop Out, because you are going to fit the Vehicle with a $1000 Dollar Bumper in Order to Mount your $1800 Winch, But It just so happens that those Bumpers Incorporate secure Hi-Lift Jack Points,

On the other hand there are times when a Hi-Lift or ARB or bottle jack won't do the Job either when a Exhaust Jack would be the better option, I Have all 3 in an attempt to cover all bases but there will be times when none of them will do the Job.

Bottom line is a Hi-Lift will do 99% of the time, It is in no way advertised as a miracle worker or the Ultimate in Off Road equipment, But at a pinch it will Solve most problems and Back Two Decades ago when Warn and Superwinch had the monopoly in Off Road Recovery The Hi-Lift was the perfect option for those with limited funds, Those Times have Changed and Warn and Superwich no longer have the market sown up, Due to Companies like Champion/Warrior but the Hi-Lift's roll has still not changed and the Brand still offers Good value for Money.
 

Metcalf

Expedition Leader
That's a Cop Out, because you are going to fit the Vehicle with a $1000 Dollar Bumper in Order to Mount your $1800 Winch, But It just so happens that those Bumpers Incorporate secure Hi-Lift Jack Points,

On the other hand there are times when a Hi-Lift or ARB or bottle jack won't do the Job either when a Exhaust Jack would be the better option, I Have all 3 in an attempt to cover all bases but there will be times when none of them will do the Job.

Bottom line is a Hi-Lift will do 99% of the time, It is in no way advertised as a miracle worker or the Ultimate in Off Road equipment, But at a pinch it will Solve most problems and Back Two Decades ago when Warn and Superwinch had the monopoly in Off Road Recovery The Hi-Lift was the perfect option for those with limited funds, Those Times have Changed and Warn and Superwich no longer have the market sown up, Due to Companies like Champion/Warrior but the Hi-Lift's roll has still not changed and the Brand still offers Good value for Money.
I could probably get out of a pickle with my pocket knife given enough time, but I still don't see the value in carting around a 4 foot long jack that weighs 40lbs.
I bought my latest winch for $400 used (and the previous one for $175) and built my bumpers from scratch so.....

I have come to realize that you can't take it all with you. You can hedge your bets one way or another, but I HATE overloaded vehicles full of stuff that rarely gets used. All that extra weight directly negatively affects the overall vehicle performance and how many parts end up failing. It is a dangerous self-serving cycle. I keep continuously looking, and weighing, the gear I choose to carry. It is important to re-evaluate as technology changes. As you mention, winches have become WAY more available than they ever have been. It surprises me every time I see a vehicle off-road without one these days.

As I have mentioned in the past, I have been able to get out of more pickles in the past few years with a little 5lb toyota bottle jack than I have a hi-lift. Both of the jack options where available from other vehicles in those situations. In fact, a hi-lift flat out wouldn't work for the latest one. To be honest. I think the requirements for recovery gear has changed in the last few decades. With the addition of larger tires and more suspension travel, I think it has pushed out the practicality of perimeter jacking almost to extinction. This goes hand in hand with very few vehicles having suitable jacking points for using a bumper style jack in the first place.
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
Oh gees. Mechanical stuff fails....that is the nature of mechanical things. I must actually use my equipment a little harder than some I guess. I don't have a build in load-o-meter to tell me exactly when the point of failure is for a Hi-lift. They get used....they can fail, it is as simple as that. Keeping them perfectly clean doesn't happen in the real world when using them in bad conditions.

The majority of damage to hi-lift jacks and FROM hi-lift jacks I have been part of over the years is from load shifting. When you are lifting the vehicle an extra few FEET in the air than you need to sometimes ( by the very function of perimeter jacking ) stuff happens. You can try and keep things as stable as you can. You can stack cribbing (because everyone carries enough of that) to help stabilize things. You can check every box in the world.....eventually stuff happens. That is just the nature of vehicle recovery. Not putting yourself in those positions is the best worst plan.

That is where using a hi-lift jack ( or other perimeter/farm jacks ), especially for complex vehicle recovery, falls apart.

Everyone loves to preach about how the hi-lift is alternative for all these uses like winching, but just look at the crappy dangerous winch system you are creating. The operator has to be right in the danger zone the entire time, this is winching 101 stuff but everyone just gives a hi-lift a pass? It's flat out dangerous, it always has been, it always will be.


I've been doing this a pretty long time. I've used a hi-lift extensively. I have moved on. That's Nice that you can afford to.

One area the ARB actually improves on the Hi-lift. It removes the danger of the handle energy storage between pin-locks
Anyone that has ever really used a hi-lift in a bad situation knows that moving the jack handle between clicks can bring the click if you don't have the perfect position available. .

It is one thing to stand in a field doing a demo on flat ground.....it is another to be on the side of a mountain in the ice or snow.
Note: I would love to see them modify the hydraulics to allow use in any position,


It also makes the jack system safer when letting it down. That is a downside to the hi-lift system. No pin-position handle force issues.


I still don't like either one.
You Can Not Blame the Jack At All, because the Human is the One who is meant to have the Brains and If they do not assess the situation correctly and it all goes wrong then you can't Blame the Jack, And If you do then that means you have been Out smarted by something with ZERO IQ and more accident can be expected.

AND No the operator does not have to stand in the danger zone, They can stand in front of it or beside it or in it and you are wrong the Hi-Lift is a Good Alternative, you seen to forget that a lot of folks are on very Low Incomes So a Winch is totally out of the question so they have 2 options, 1) leave the Truck Stuck where it is, Or 2) buy a Hi-lift and with a fair bit of effort retrieve their stuck Vehicle.

It's nice that you can afford to move on, Not everyone has that choice,

Again that boils down to taking Care and focussing on the task at hand.

I have used mine in all those environments and more, The thing to do is partially Raise the Vehicle and evaluate the situation from a safety point of view and if you have any concerns then lower the Jack and reposition the Jack and keep doing that until you are happy with the results, It's So Easy to blame the Jacks But when used correctly a Hi-Lift is 99.99% perfect, Add the Human element and that's when things go wrong and the Blame belongs to the Human element Not the Jack, After all the Human is the one who is meant to have the Brain out of the two,

Again this boils down to maintenance Because as One Pin moves Up or Down the Other Pin remains in it's locked/support position until the other Pin is Engaged and then the Second Pin releases as it moves up or down and they repeat this cycle from one end of the Bar to the other.

I am pretty sure that if any of us had a choice we would choose not be swinging on a jack handle for a couple of hours, But if the only choice walk home or use the Hi-Lift then I know which one people will choose.

Guns Kill far more people than Hi-Lift Jacks do, WAIT UP, Just think about that for a Second, Because it is 100% WRONG, because there is not a Gun in History that intentionally Killed anyone and again if it has killed Anyone then it only happened because it had a Human Operator in charge of it as with all machinery.
 
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Metcalf

Expedition Leader
You Can Not Blame the Jack At All, because the Human is the One who is meant to have the Brains and If they do not assess the situation correctly and it all goes wrong then you can't Blame the Jack, And If you do then that means you have been Out smarted by something with ZERO IQ and more accident can be expected.

AND No the operator does not have to stand in the danger zone, They can stand in front of it or beside it or in it and you are wrong the Hi-Lift is a Good Alternative, you seen to forget that a lot of folks are on very Low Incomes So a Winch is totally out of the question so they have 2 options, 1) leave the Truck Stuck where it is, Or 2) buy a Hi-lift and with a fair bit of effort retrieve their stuck Vehicle.

It's nice that you can afford to move on, Not everyone has that choice,

Again that boils down to taking Care and focussing on the task at hand.

I have used mine in all those environments and more, The thing to do is partially Raise the Vehicle and evaluate the situation from a safety point of view and if you have any concerns then lower the Jack and reposition the Jack and keep doing that until you are happy with the results, It's So Easy to blame the Jacks But when used correctly a Hi-Lift is 99.99% perfect, Add the Human element and that's when things go wrong and the Blame belongs to the Human element Not the Jack, After all the Human is the one who is meant to have the Brain out of the two,

Again this boils down to maintenance Because as One Pin moves Up or Down the Other Pin remains in it's locked/support position until the other Pin is Engaged and then the Second Pin releases as it moves up or down and they repeat this cycle from one end of the Bar to the other.

I am pretty sure that if any of us had a choice we would choose not be swinging on a jack handle for a couple of hours, But if the only choice walk home or use the Hi-Lift then I know which one people will choose.

Guns Kill far more people than Hi-Lift Jacks do, WAIT UP, Just think about that for a Second, Because it is 100% WRONG, because there is not a Gun in History that intentionally Killed anyone and again if it has killed Anyone then it only happened because it had a Human Operator in charge of it as with all machinery.
I can, and do, blame the design of the Hi-lift jack. It does have shortcomings. If you haven't had to work around those shortcomings, you haven't really had to really work one. Pulling out a fence post just isn't the same thing.

#1 flaw in the Hi-lift design has ALWAYS been that it transfers force back through the lever. You can see it in the video from the OP very clearly. If you do not, or can not, retain constant tension on the jack handle at certain points in the pin-mechanism stroke, bad things can happen. In the worst case, if you slip off the handle, which can and does happen often with in cold, wet, and muddy recovery environments....the jack mechanism can basically start to throw itself between positions causing the jack to drop rapidly while the handle swings at frighting speeds. The same goes for using it as a winch or brake....and I have done all these things many times. NOBODY loves how a Hi-lift jack functions, they just tolerate it.

Here is a nice video for those following along of that issue.


Most recovery situations don't give you endless options on where to stand or position yourself. If your vehicle gets stuck on flat level ground that might be the case, but real world tells me the exact opposite. You are going to need to use that jack in the WORST possible situation possible, not the best.

Firearms have had mechanical failures and have killed people. We try and mitigate the damage from those failures as much as we can through new designs. The same goes for the Hi-lift jack. It is subject to failure just like anything. It has known danger points.......than is why they tell you not to stand here or there when operating it. If it was actually a completely safe device you wouldn't have to worry where you stand while worrying about what the load is doing while trying to hold yourself up on the side of the mountain. Vehicle recovery is about accepting some level of inherent risk. Not using a perimeter style jack, be it a hi-lift or the new ARB unit, is a pretty good place to start in my book.
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
I could probably get out of a pickle with my pocket knife given enough time, but I still don't see the value in carting around a 4 foot long jack that weighs 40lbs.
I bought my latest winch for $400 used (and the previous one for $175) and built my bumpers from scratch so.....

I have come to realize that you can't take it all with you. You can hedge your bets one way or another, but I HATE overloaded vehicles full of stuff that rarely gets used. All that extra weight directly negatively affects the overall vehicle performance and how many parts end up failing. It is a dangerous self-serving cycle. I keep continuously looking, and weighing, the gear I choose to carry. It is important to re-evaluate as technology changes. As you mention, winches have become WAY more available than they ever have been. It surprises me every time I see a vehicle off-road without one these days.

As I have mentioned in the past, I have been able to get out of more pickles in the past few years with a little 5lb toyota bottle jack than I have a hi-lift. Both of the jack options where available from other vehicles in those situations. In fact, a hi-lift flat out wouldn't work for the latest one. To be honest. I think the requirements for recovery gear has changed in the last few decades. With the addition of larger tires and more suspension travel, I think it has pushed out the practicality of perimeter jacking almost to extinction. This goes hand in hand with very few vehicles having suitable jacking points for using a bumper style jack in the first place.
Yeah I agree, My Truck/SUV can Haul about 700kgs which is 1543.24 Lbs Including Me and just out of interest I weighed my All Cast Hi-Lift HL-485 and it weighs 12.6kgs/27.77 Lbs and the 60" X-Treme XT-605 weighs 15.0kgs/33.06 Lbs using my Digital Bathroom Scales, But those are just Numbers but in reality they do weigh a fair bit regardless of my physical strength Add to that all the Chains and Snatch Blocks and D shackles etc soon gets up to and over the 200 Lb mark,

To reduce the Load I bought an Exhaust Jack which is not the best thing on a standard Diesel and upon the first time I used it all it did was show up a leak in my Exhaust, If I can get away with either the 42 or 36" Hi-Lift at leased I can get the weight down around the 20 Lb Mark, which is better than a poke in the eye.
 

Metcalf

Expedition Leader
Yeah I agree, My Truck/SUV can Haul about 700kgs which is 1543.24 Lbs Including Me and just out of interest I weighed my All Cast Hi-Lift HL-485 and it weighs 12.6kgs/27.77 Lbs and the 60" X-Treme XT-605 weighs 15.0kgs/33.06 Lbs using my Digital Bathroom Scales, But those are just Numbers but in reality they do weigh a fair bit regardless of my physical strength Add to that all the Chains and Snatch Blocks and D shackles etc soon gets up to and over the 200 Lb mark,

To reduce the Load I bought an Exhaust Jack which is not the best thing on a standard Diesel and upon the first time I used it all it did was show up a leak in my Exhaust, If I can get away with either the 42 or 36" Hi-Lift at leased I can get the weight down around the 20 Lb Mark, which is better than a poke in the eye.
I'm honestly surprised by those numbers, that is lighter than they feel for sure, but I am going to stick with my 5lb Toyota Jack. Best 5lbs of pushing and lifting you can get in my opinion. Heck, having more than one would still be lighter than a single hi-lift and allow you to stabilize and lift more complex loads. I have a few ideas for trailer type jacks that I want to try also.

I think it is important to keep trying new things, that is the one thing I can appreciate about the ARB unit. At least they are trying.
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
I can, and do, blame the design of the Hi-lift jack. It does have shortcomings. If you haven't had to work around those shortcomings, you haven't really had to really work one. Pulling out a fence post just isn't the same thing.

#1 flaw in the Hi-lift design has ALWAYS been that it transfers force back through the lever. You can see it in the video from the OP very clearly. If you do not, or can not, retain constant tension on the jack handle at certain points in the pin-mechanism stroke, bad things can happen. In the worst case, if you slip off the handle, which can and does happen often with in cold, wet, and muddy recovery environments....the jack mechanism can basically start to throw itself between positions causing the jack to drop rapidly while the handle swings at frighting speeds. The same goes for using it as a winch or brake....and I have done all these things many times. NOBODY loves how a Hi-lift jack functions, they just tolerate it.

Here is a nice video for those following along of that issue.


Most recovery situations don't give you endless options on where to stand or position yourself. If your vehicle gets stuck on flat level ground that might be the case, but real world tells me the exact opposite. You are going to need to use that jack in the WORST possible situation possible, not the best.

Firearms have had mechanical failures and have killed people. We try and mitigate the damage from those failures as much as we can through new designs. The same goes for the Hi-lift jack. It is subject to failure just like anything. It has known danger points.......than is why they tell you not to stand here or there when operating it. If it was actually a completely safe device you wouldn't have to worry where you stand while worrying about what the load is doing while trying to hold yourself up on the side of the mountain. Vehicle recovery is about accepting some level of inherent risk. Not using a perimeter style jack, be it a hi-lift or the new ARB unit, is a pretty good place to start in my book.
ARB should of made it out of Steel and not Alloy, and the Lifting Nose is way too small and it needs a hook on the end of it, But Most of all it needs to have 2 way Valving so it can be used at any angle, They got the basic Idea from a 44 gallon Drum Hand Pump because the top half looks exactly the same right down to the hand lever.

Look I love ARB Gear, I own at leased 2 of everything Of the ARB products I have bought, From fridges to Compressors and then some, But this Jack is totally useless, because all it can do is go up and down and that's It, but to charge $864 USD or $1299.48c AUD for such a limited product is Just Nuts,

I paid $81.07c USD or $ 121.94c AUD for my 60" Hi-Lift X-Treme and the Hi-Lift costs 1/10 of what that for an untested single use One Trick Pony that Costs 10.65 times more than what I paid for the Hi-Lift X-Treme.

Anyone who buys the ARB Jack is a Sucker and really needs professional Help.
 
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