The Hi-Lift jack is one of the most versatile tools you can carry while traveling off-road. The jack is ubiquitous with off-roading and can be used for lifting a vehicle to conduct repairs, lifting a tire for assisting in recoveries, used as a spreader, clamping, and also as a come-along-winch.
The tool needs to be maintained to keep it in working order and Hi-Lift sells a repair kit for this task. The kit contains 2 climbing pins, 2 climbing pin springs, 2 cross pins, 1 shear bolt and nut, and 1 tube of jack lubricant. Since my Hi-Lift was in need of attention, you get the benefit of a warm day after Thanksgiving and me needing to make repairs.
Very few tools are needed to complete the job. Two ½ inch wrenches, a hammer (ball peen hammer is preferred if your friend hasn’t borrowed it), and a punch. Safety glasses and gloves are recommended since you are hammering with a punch.
My jack, like others’, is stored on the exterior of my vehicle for the sake of storage space. Storing outside of the vehicle exposes the jack to dirt, grit, and water. Before beginning repairs you should clean the jack with brake cleaner or other aerosol cleaning sprays.
Place the reversing latch in the up position to put the climbing pins in position to remove the cross pins.
The cross pins must then be driven out. This is best accomplished with the hammer and punch. Drive the cross pins from the lifting nose to the handle.
The climbing pins can then be removed, as well as the climbing pin springs.
At this time make sure to clean the climbing pins’ holes and make sure any metal or paint have not obscured the holes. I also take time to remove any rust and re-apply paint to jack.
The new climbing pins, climbing pin springs, and cross pins can now be installed. First, insert the new climbing pin springs.
The climbing pin should now be installed with the longer portion toward the base of the jack. This allows the large runner/lift nose to go up the bar.
The cross pins are installed under the springs. The springs must be lifted up to allow the cross pins to pass through the climbing pins. This is accomplished by holding the spring with one hand and driving the pin with just the hammer until the cross pin is through enough to allow the spring to rest on the opposite side. Then, drive the cross pin the rest of the way with the punch. The cross pins sit on both sides of the small runner and large runner.
The shear bolt and nut are the last to change out. Remove the bolt and nut with the two ½ inch wrenches. Insert the new shear bolt and nut with the ½ inch wrenches.
The jack should then be lubricated. I prefer to use silicone spray. The Hi-lift manual suggests penetrating oil, silicone, or Teflon spray. The Pitman pin (located at bottom of the jack handle), climbing pin springs, climbing pins, and shear bolt should be lubricated before each use. The back and face of the bar is suggested to have a light oil applied as well.
Once the repair is complete the Hi-lift jack should be tested to make sure it operates as designed now that it has been put back together. Run the jack up 5-7 handle cycles. Once you have ensured the jack operates as it should you are done.
Make sure to inspect your jack regularly. Having a jack that is in good working order is a safer jack. In a future article we will discuss proper use.
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