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Old 24 Apr 2001
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Air Jacks

Any opinions on the usefulness or otherwise of Air Jacks? Also which brand and any UK suppliers?

To start the ball rolling... on the positive side I hear they are great when you do get stuck in the sand where perhaps other jacks would be less stable.

I also hear, some recommend them for righting a vehicle which has rolled but since I understand they have to be inflated from your exhaust I am doubtful as to whether your engine would run long enough to pump the jack up.

On the negative side I've heard that when deflating them the valve which releases air sometimes gets trapped by the folding fabric when deflating, necessitating you to get under the vehicle in some cases to sort it out. I would have thought that this could be avoided with care and attention though.


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Old 24 Apr 2001
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I've used a 4t heavy duty jack once (can't remember the make) and consider it a useful addition to a hi-lift. You have to be careful about the part of the vehicle you place it under and avoid sharp stones underneath, but it is quick to deploy and works exactly as it says on the label. Once out of the bag, the vehilce is up in less than 30 sec. Pretty powerful, too, no need to unload the LR. The downside is the cloud of black soot that can make you look like a chimney sweeper if you keep your limbs to close to the release valve.

Roman (UK)
Roman (UK)
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Old 24 Apr 2001
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Air jacks can be very useful indeed when a vehicle is stuck in soft sand or you need to change a tyre. We've used them on a several occasions.

If you get a puncture in soft sand, you need to spread the load of the vehicle in order for any jack to work. An air jack does this very well indeed. It's the same principle as deflating your tyres to drive on sand.

We once had a vehicle stuck in the bottom of a bowl in the Empty Quarter and wedged up against the side of the bowl at the same time. By using an air jack, we were able to manoeuvre the vehicle sideways into a position where it could move again using an air jack. When deflated, they don't take up much room so I would say yes they are worth having.

Jon Harbour

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Jon Harbour

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Old 27 Apr 2001
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I sold my heavy and unstable hi-lift which always made me nervous and now use the OME bottle jack withn a block for changing wheels or an airbag when I cant use a bottle or am very deeply stuck - neither has happened yet. I've only tried the airbag in the back garden where it lifts the car up amazingly quickly - once you get the hang of the nozzle on the exhaust. (I've had the faceful of soot experience...).
Specifically for the desert I think it's ideal for the reasons mentioned - the only problem is spreading the load without bending things underneath (I use a sandplate but its not ideal) and you can only lift the left side or right side stably - not front or back (falls over). I don't miss the hi-lift.

Chris S
This is NOT a handbook
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Old 28 Apr 2001
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Yeah thanks Chris!

No wonder you had a broad smile when you sold me the high-lift! After using it no less than nine times in Morocco, I'm glad I cancelled my gym membership before we went travelling.

I'm not sorry though, because the high-lift lifts the 2-ton Cruiser within seconds, and then normal axle stands keep the vehicle up and make it stable. It's also stored out the way on the back of the roofrack (and it looks more expedition like!)

High-lifts for men, air-bags for mice.
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