Better jack for a long travel suspension an Overlanding vehicle?

Sid Post

Growing up on the farm, we used Hi-Lift jacks almost exclusively, for better or worse. Later in life, I started using bottle jacks. Now, I have a high lift long travel suspension Tacoma. Big stacks of wood blocks and a bottle jack doesn't seem safe or practical. Floor jacks would probably suffice at home but, simple aren't practical 'in the field'.

I was initially thinking a Hi-Lift XT-605 60" X-TREME Jack was the way to go but, it is big, heavy, and a bit awkward to use. Then I ran across the Powerbuilt 3 Ton, All-in-One Heavy Duty Vehicle Unijack with built-in jack stand.

Is the Powerbuilt All-in-One a good solution? What would the Hi-Lift jack do it would not? I will note for clarification that I also have a Warn winch so, pulling me out of a bad situation is not a need capability which is one of the more common alternate uses I see for Hi-Lift jacks. The Jack Stand arm also negates the need to carry around a pile of wooden blocks for a bottle jack and seems to collapse down into a relatively manageable small size.



Expedition Leader
There are two types of requirements for jacks in an off-road vehicle......Repair and Recovery......Under or Around if you want.

While there is a little bit of overlap between these needs, it's very difficult to get one jack that will do both things. My go to solution for years was the simple Toyota mechanical double extending bottle jack. For the (light) weight, I still think that is one of the best options on the market for working UNDER a vehicle, mostly in a repair setting (like changing a tire). Unlike a hydraulic bottle jack, they don't require another device like a jack stand to hold the vehicle up safely. ( Note: ANY jack is dangerous when working under a vehicle when it is not on flat ground ). These jacks also work in any position, even upside-down, being non-hydraulic. This gives you a LOT more flexibility with how the jack can be used in very compact spaces. I've always modified mine with a cut off spark-plug socket to make it have both a square and hex drive option vs the normal toyota 'hook'.

This brings us to a 'Recovery' style jack. This is something that can commonly be used 'around' the vehicle when it is stuck or broken. Historically, this was commonly what I call a 'Farm Jack' or Hi-Lift. Personally, after having too many close calls and friends hurt, I decided to start looking for other options. That led me to the development of what I call the 'Tauler Jack'.....


Basic specs. A 5-8k lb square weld on Trailer Jack modified with my kit to form a recovery jack that a 6-50" range with a 15" stroke in a compact 25" tall and 25lb package.


My favorite part of the design is the more compact package that doesn't have the long beam height of a traditional farm jack. This allows the Tauler Jack to fit in a lot more places. This allows it to start to fit 'under' some vehicles on the links and axle. The beam height also doesn't get in the way as much with the body when working from the rocker or with the optional 'Chain nose' when lifting a tire directly.

Next is working on pulling/clamping mods along with more modular accessories like the Chain Nose.

If you have any questions, please let me know.


Well-known member
We carry two bottle jacks - one smaller than the other. In tight spaces you can use the smaller one to create enough room for the bigger one. You can also lift both sides of the front/back or both ends of one side of the vehicle.

Second point, is to lift the axle or hub rather than trying to lift the body - with a long travel suspension you can run out of extension easily, whereas if you lift an unsprung element you're not having to extend the suspension before starting to lift the wheel(s). Obviously you need care to ensure that you have good stability.

I had a look at the Unijack and it does look good. A bit heavy, and we'd still carry two jacks, however a good option.

PS: my 1947 MG (and the other two) had built-in jacks - you simply closed the jacking valve, under the bonnet, choosing either front, back, or all four wheels, and then operated a lever to lift the vehicle - brilliant!


The Hi-Lift is just too flexible in my opinion to not carry, but it's not my first choice for lifting a vehicle. I like my Bushranger exhaust jack in most situations, and I'm thinking about picking up a Tauler jack as well.
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Expedition Leader
Can you link an example? I'm not familiar.

Something like this. There are a few different versions, but all pretty similar. Crank drive and double extending. The Ford SuperDuty had a similar unit also.


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I carry a M998 HMMWV scissor jack. Big base plate for soft ground, dead simple, tons of travel, lovely geared head mechanism. Only thing it needs is a saddle adapter for the round pin head (designed to mate to holes in the HMMWV frame). I made one from a leaf spring axle saddle plate ($10?) and some hardware I had lying around. Or you can buy them premade. It's not light though (23 lbs) and in my case at least was a little challenging to tie down safely under the rear seat.

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