Bottle Jacks - Mitigating the danger element!!
Posted by Richard Bogert on
Review by Jeremy Curtis of Ohio, 4-27-2017
I’m curious to see how you all are using your bottle jack on the trails or in your driveway. I only use my bottle jack on the trails but am looking to see if anyone is doing anything unique with storage and safe usage with their jacks on the trail.
I have always been a little nervous whenever I use my bottle jack. Common thoughts that run through my mind are: 1) Is the ground too soggy or unstable? 2) Will the jack slip off the mounting point or tip over? 3) Was my jeep going to come down on top of me as soon as I got the flat tire removed? 4) Was the jack going to reach my lifting point or would I have to stack it on rocks or blocks, further increasing the “slip or tip over factor”?
I’ve seen my fair share of jack fails…stock scissor jack fails, hi-lift fails, and bottle jack fails. In my opinion, some of these fails are operator error but many are due to lack of stability at the base of these jacks and also on the lifting points. The base of these jacks are so small and unstable that putting a tire back on is enough movement to cause the jack to fail.
I had been searching the internet for something that could be added to my bottle jack, to reduce the risk factor mentioned above. I was done relying on something that had the diameter of a 50 cent piece on one end and the area of my wallet as the base on the other end, to keep my 4000lb+ jeep in the air while I was removing a wheel. After a number of hours of online searching, I found the coolest product ever…a jack cradle that slides right on top of the bottle jack with a surface area to cradle the axle or frame rail (think of an attachment that slightly resembles the letter U.)
Jackpot! I just hit the motherload with this find. I couldn’t believe it. Finally, someone had spent time engineering and developing a product that just took my bottle jack off the “Widow Maker” list. J
SafeJacks.com was the company web site I landed on. I saw that they had a variety of attachments for different sizes of bottle jacks and for a variety of needs. Not only did they have this cradle attachment but they also had ram extensions and a base plate. The extensions are used to reach those higher lifting points. The base plate is used to improve the jack stability and spread the load being lifted.
After a quick call with a member of the Safe Jack team, I had the products I needed to enhance my bottle jack. When I first received them, I tried them out in my driveway. I used my 12 ton Harbor Freight bottle jack and was happy to see that the attachments fit perfectly. The base plate connection to the jack was fast and I easily lifted the jeep, with the cradle attachment. I gave it a good rocking for 15 seconds. I couldn’t shake the jeep off the bottle jack. #impressive
A few days later, I hit the unpaved roads and used the jack in a super soggy field where it had rained for the past couple of days. Instantly I saw an additional benefit to the base plate. Not only does it make the jack stable but it spread the load that was being lifted and didn’t push the jack down into the soggy ground. It just started raising the jeep in the air. Again, I shook the jeep vigorously and could not tip the jack over or shake the jeep off the cradle. At 6’8” and 275 lbs, I have good shaking power. I really tried to rock that sucker off the jack. I was not successful.
The base plate measures 18” long by 8” wide. For storage, my bottle jack bag sits right on top of it and it doesn’t take up too much space in my cargo area. The cradle and extension attachments all fit inside the same bag with the jack.
The quality of their products is superb…A+. Their staff was super friendly and very helpful. The products are compact and fit into the jack bag, allowing me to maximize space. I no longer have the anxiety I once did about the jeep sliding off the jack while changing my tires on the trails or helping someone else who is changing theirs. This by far is the safest way, that I have seen, to use a bottle jack. I’m looking forward to seeing what you all do to improve the safety of your bottle jack. I highly recommend that you check out safejacks.com and see all the things they offer for bottle jacks and hi-lift jacks. I’m confident you’ll be just as impressed as I was.