FORGET reinventing the wheel, ARB has decided to reinvent the high-lift jack, with the release of its long-travel hydraulic jack. Simply called Jack, it retains all the functionality of a mechanical jack while significantly lifting safety levels and load capacity (Jack is rated to 2000kg). It also adds overload protection (through implementation of a blow-off valve), features an additional safety stop on the lowering lever (when compared to a bottle/trolley jack), and offers the ability to quickly lower the jack in situations where the vehicle being recovered may move.

Jack also has a wider lifting range when compared to a 48-inch mechanical high-lift: 160mm to 1230mm versus 115mm to 946mm. The unit weighs 10.5kg, is constructed from 6061 aluminium for strength, has a cast alloy base (also shaped to help break a tyre bead if necessary) and is hard-anodised for durability and protection against corrosion. For additional protection and ease of storage, ARB includes a heavy-duty carry bag.

Jack can be used in tight spaces thanks to its 890mm compressed height, which is considerably lower than equivalent mechanical high-lift jacks. Smart thinking is behind the rotatable base (or foot, as ARB dubs it), as it ensures as much load weight as possible is transferred directly to the ground (and base), making for a safer and more effective recovery.

A big selling point of Jack is how straightforward it is to use. You don’t need to go through a full stroke of the lever and it can be engaged in any position which, as anyone who has completed a tricky recovery can tell you, is bloody handy for fine control of the jacking and recovery process.

The two-stage lowering lever also aids recoveries and the aftermath by ensuring the jack doesn’t ‘drop down’ suddenly, with the first two-thirds of lowering completed at a lower speed than the last third. This minimises the chance of the vehicle moving unexpectedly if the jack is dropped away too quickly. The strong cast handle and its four-bar slide linkage combine very effectively to lessen the effort required (read: your arm/shoulder strength) when under load and lifting a 4x4.

Speaking of strength, ARB is claiming Jack’s teardrop body shape increases overall strength of the unit, while the inbuilt body bumper ensures you aren’t going to lose any paint if/when Jack bangs or slides up against your vehicle. Even things like the handle-retaining clip are well thought-out – there’s nothing worse than a handle banging about in the back of your rig, not to mention the potential for the thing to break and then you’re left with, potentially, no recovery capabilities.

The ARB Jack isn’t cheap at $995.00 (RRP Australian East Coast Metro pricing). But having said that, with the additional safety features, robust build quality, top-notch engineering, higher load capacity and overall ease of use, Jack still makes for a great investment. Look for an extensive product review in a future issue.