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Old 02-12-2013, 02:32 PM
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Default Hi Lift Horror stories!

In case you didn't know it's Hi Lift month here at the Rising Sun... so let's hear your best horror story, or recollection of a jacking incident that didn't go so well.

I'll start: was living in Boulder, and my car was a 1980 extended length Ford Econoline van. I had a flat rear tire, and jacked up the back bumper using a Hi Lift to change it. Those lugs were on there really tight, but I had the parking brake set so I was able to really get into it without the wheels turning, and ultimately got them to bust free. A couple of you have already guessed where this is going...

For starters, I didn't have the front wheels chocked, and then genius here lifted the e-braked axle up off the ground. So that van was on the free spinning front wheels, and the jack. Then in busting that last lug free, my weight was enough to push the entire van forward, where I then was able to watch it slowly roll forward, as the jack tipped into the back of the van door, ever so gently lowering that exposed brake drum right onto the street. There was nothing I could do but just stand back and watch.

Thankfully, I didn't do any damage to the drum, and was able to get the thing jacked up again and the spare installed. And you couldn't tell the new dent on the door from some of the older ones. I did learn something about chocking up the front tires that day.

Ok, what you got?
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:25 PM
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I put my head in the "V" that is made between the handle and the jack when I lowered an FJ40. If you haven't had the pleasure of that experience, it smarts! What happens is the weight of the vehicle starts the jack handle swinging and each time the jack ratchets, the handle swings violently up and down. Luckily, I stopped it with my face after the third or forth hit. I think...
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:30 PM
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"Stopped it with my face..." LOL
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:34 PM
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A couple near-misses:

-I had the front of my FJ40 held up with a Hi-Lift jack. The little cotter pin that is supposed to hold the jack handle in its holder was broken and missing, so the handle could come out. As I lowered the FJ40, the handle started swinging violently like treeroot mentioned above and the handle flew out with enough force to knock me over or break my windshield. Luckily it did neither and instead hit my passenger side mirror and broke the glass. Lesson learned - hang on to that thing!

Come to think of it I still need to find a new cotter pin to put in there.

-Was installing 80 series front springs onto the rear of my buddy's 2nd gen 4runner for a little extra lift. Had to jack the rear end of the truck up really high to get the suspension to sag. Didn't like the looks of the setup and gave the truck a little test nudge. It tipped the jack over sideways while moving the back end of the runner over about 2-3 feet. Luckily no damage or harm done. Lesson learned - keep the lift as low as possible, and/or use extra stablizing bracing when needing to hold the position for a while!
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:08 PM
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I have a few "encounters" that I would like to remember so I don't repeat them but I also would rather not share....if you know what I mean.... I do have one instance I have witnessed that somehow I have not been able to do on my own. I was on a tougher trail (forget which one) and came up on a J**p ahead of me in a situation. It was a long travel suspension and they had a 60" Hi-Lift maxed all the way to the top and locked up because they managed to raise it to the point the pin clicked in but they could not raise it enough to lower it. The pressure on the assembly was huge thus preventing them from removing the end plate. Finally, the solution was to winch it sideways to make it fall off the jack (yes, front bumper was securely anchored to a tree in front of them.) It was a PITA situation and the guys doing it were clueless!
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:00 PM
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That's why I don't have a hi-lift anymore.....never impressed with how heavy they were, and dangerous all at the same time. I had some close calls, and watched a friend have one drop and wind up poking a hole through his body.

I've never seen this one in operation, but I like the sound of it. http://www.radflo.com/hydra_jac.htm
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:09 PM
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The Radflo jack is still 37" tall (too long to put anywhere in the truck really), has the same inherent safety flaws, and it only has a 2K# capacity... I'm acutely interested in alternatives, but I don't know that the Radflo is in the running...
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rutbeer View Post
...never impressed with how heavy they were, and dangerous all at the same time. I had some close calls, and watched a friend have one drop and wind up poking a hole through his body.
Mine spends most of its days leaning against the wall in the garage. Put one in the wrong hands, or inexperienced hands, and it's got liability written all over it. OTOH, in the right situation it can be the best tool available, and used properly a very safe one as well. But the reality is, a lot of people know how to buy hi lift jacks, some even win them in raffles, but not all people actually know how to operate one. And what's worse, some of those people also don't know how to maintain them, store them, or carry them on their vehicle. Then consider the situation where you need help, and it's "that guy" who's there to help you.. that's my extreme call to action, but do you think it could happen? "hang on man, I'll go grab my jack..." oh boy


I appreciate the unsolicited examples above, let's hear more of them. I would suspect for every story posted here there are 10 more from within our larger community equally scary. And yes there's a point to all this...
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:27 PM
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On Chinaman gulch, Loud got his Lexus stuck between a rock and a hard place. Tried to use a high-lift on the front bumper to do a little rock stacking under a tire. High-lift was too rusty to be useful. Had a crew of suzuki samurai's behind us. We were searching for wd40 or motor oil to use as lube. One of the samurai drivers walked up and poured some beer on the high-lift. Did the trick and we were able to extract the Lexus. Learned I wasn't as redneck as I thought I was.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:34 PM
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radflow. That looks even more dangerous due to it's short length. just sayin'
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