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Old 06-04-2008, 12:00 PM   #1
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Flat Tires, Air Jacks, Etc

I've been through the archive of both SMB forums and just haven't found any answers to my satisfaction so I thought I would poll the group to see if there has been any recent developments.

Since right now I am only carying the flimsy stock ford twist jack with me, I know that I'm running on borrowed time before I get a flat that I can't handle.

I've read about the multiple jacks people carry (one to get the axle high enough to get another jack under it with enough stroke) and Hi-Lifts (not a fan) and a variety of other interesting ideas.

I'm trying to minimize the amount of weight and stuff that needs to be carried to accomplish a tire change with minimal muss and fuss.

Has anyone found the silver bullet to this challenge? One jack that can do it all, exhaust jack (ARB or Titan), etc?

I know its going to happen to me sooner or later and I'd rather not turn it into a four-letter fiasco.
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Old 06-04-2008, 12:06 PM   #2
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Being a new SMB owner, this was one of the questions I had on my checklist to ask during our orientation..... BUT, before I could ask Kevin at SMB TX gave me what I wanted to hear.

We have hydraulic bottle jack to lift the axle. Given the height of our van, they also included a nice custom-made black-painted block of wood that matches the extra lift of the van. This block then allows the jack to lift the required amount to change tires.

Simple and elegant solution.

.
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Old 06-04-2008, 12:37 PM   #3
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Greg,
Thanks a lot for the reply.

The things that trouble me about this scenario are:
1. If the tire is totally flat, the bottle jack (minus the block) will fit under the axle and lift the flat tire but likely runs out of stroke to lift the axle high enough to fit the new (inflated) tire. Obviously, one potential solution to this is to deflate the spare and air up once on the vehicle (I've got a power tank for that) So, in order to do the deal, you need one jack to get it "up" and then slide another jack (with block) to lift high enough to change the tire.

2. Most bottle jacks (Sears, Harbor Freight, AutoZone, etc) have a VERY whimpy top that doesn't instill a lot of confidence that it won't slide off if on even a moderate incline or uneven ground. Again, I could fit a piece of welded steel over the top of the "head" of the jack that forms better to the shape of the axle and secure with a thru-bolt or something. But that doesn't get me out of the #1 issue above.

3. In even that most moderate rocky, uneven, muddy, etc. terrain this method runs out of viability pretty quickly.

There has to be a combination of jack stands (light but bulky), bottle jacks (small but heavy), and/or exhaust jacks that make changing a tire a pretty do-able situtation in any/all conditions.
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Old 06-04-2008, 12:47 PM   #4
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I bought a 2 stage bottle jack that works well. I also carry a standard bottle jack as an extra/backup and a jack stand plus a 1 inch thick 5"x12" aluminum bar as a jack base for sand/mud areas. SMB sells the jacks. There about 5" in diameter and about a foot tall. They extend quite a bit more than your regular bottle jack.
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Old 06-04-2008, 01:34 PM   #5
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I carry a Hi-Lift which is mounted on the front bumper and therefore doesn't take any additional inside space. I also have a Hi-Lift Mate (and an Off-Road Base) and a 12T or so bottle jack and some 2x4 blocking. In situation #1, I figure I can air up the totally flat tire first and then use the bottle jack. If the flat tire is completely blown, I can use the Hi-Lift and Hi-Lift Mate to lift the tire and axle far enough to push the bottle jack in place (I would never get under the van when using a Hi-Lift although when using the Hi-Lift Mate, the situation would be better than using it to lift on a bumper.)

Regarding concern #2, you correct about the top of most bottle jacks. Making a "head" with a cup shape on the top would work. But what I did before recycling the Ford jack was to cut off the top of that jack. The bottom part of this piece fits perfectly over the top of the bottle jack and the top part fits under the axle...
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Old 06-04-2008, 01:50 PM   #6
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Jack, I read that you had done that but my Ford jack has no such thing. There's no little "cup" or anything. Its just as bad as a bottle jack from anywhere else it seems.
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Old 06-04-2008, 03:10 PM   #7
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I bought a telescoping jack from SMBW. Its 8.25" high (the same height as the Ford Stock screw jack) and 19" when fully extended. The top is 1-1/4" in diameter and has a diamond plate type top. The label says Westward 5-ton telescoping hydraulic bottle jack. made in China. (Don't lick the paint.) My invoice says $125 (ouch!)



I just found out that the top piece has threads that extend the jack another 3" in height. So make that 22" high when fully extended. The base is 5" x 6".
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Old 06-04-2008, 03:41 PM   #8
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Charlie. Thanks for the detailed response. (I'm laying off the paint for a while)

Looks like a standard 2-stage jack. Have you had an occasion to use it? The head of that jack looks TINY. I looked under my rig and there isn't a flat spot to be found anywhere to put that jack head (diamond plate or not) against.

I think I'm going to end up with having a friend make a top for it. <Master Welder>

Thanks for the details.
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Old 06-04-2008, 03:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanlaws
Jack, I read that you had done that but my Ford jack has no such thing. There's no little "cup" or anything. Its just as bad as a bottle jack from anywhere else it seems.
The must have changed things although that seems very strange. Here is the top piece from my old Ford jack:



...and here is the bottom:



The "cup" on the bottom fits over the top of my Craftsman 12T jack (which, Charlie, which was also made in China).

BTW, if you do decide to recycle your original Ford screw jack and have your spare tire mounted under the van, don't throw away the collapsible crank which comes with the jack. Don't ask why I mention that...<g>
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Old 06-04-2008, 07:32 PM   #10
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Ouch Jack. That sounds like the voice of experience talking...

I've got a rear-mounted tire so I'd love to throw that stupid crank away.

I'll take another look at the Ford jack to see if I missed it. The picture implies that you just muscled the top off the Ford jack (which I'm certain I can do with joy- also probably made in China)

Hopefully that's all it will take. 2-stage bottle jack and the Ford cup.

Thanks again.
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