Nothing can compare to the look on someones face the first time they watch a giant orange marshmallow lift a corner of your rig off the ground. Ok it isn’t really a marshmallow, and regardless of how it looks the ARB Bushranger X-Jack will get the job done quickly, safely, and in a variety of terrains.
Sooner or later even the disabled will have to change a tire, lift a wheel out of a hole or get out of mud, sand or snow. The X-Jack is very stable, providing a wide base and requiring little effort since it is driven by the exhaust or as I prefer an air compressor. It will lift the vehicle from almost any placement under the rig and works on many different surfaces.
Packed away in it’s carrying case the X-Jack might seem bulky at first glance but it packs fairly flat, is bendable, and isn’t very heavy at all yet it will lift 8800lbs a full 30 inches. I have seen people strap it to a spare tire on a rear door.
Here in Arizona we have all the hazards that make this big orange marshmallow handy, from sand to snow to mud to rocks. And it was this dry wash trail with its rock ledges where we decided to pretend that not only did we drop a tire into a hole but a sharp rock cut the sidewall. This meant we would need to completely lift the tire clear of the rocks in order to change it out. We did pull out the traditional 4wd jack but couldn’t find a level spot on the ground that matched up to a jacking point and with the vehicle off camber we would be pressing the jack into the drivers door. A bottle jack might have worked but then you have more placement and reach issues.
The bag includes the X-Jack, tubing with an extension to reach around to the exhaust pipe (which I tie in a knot), a tire style valve (which I use with my Extreme Outback Compressor), heavy duty vinyl to protect against sharp edges under the rig, gloves, a patch kit, and instructions.
I don’t think it has anything to do with being disabled but I much prefer to use the air compressor to lift the vehicle versus the exhaust pipe. And this is where the clip on air chuck from Extreme Outback is really valuable along with an extension I put between the inflation lever and the chuck. It keeps me safely out from under the rig and afterwards gives me a way to remove the air jack. I find that many times I am lifting from the front or sides where it would be difficult to monitor while gripping the exhaust pipe. Some folks have had luck pressing on the cone to the tailpipe and having it stay, I just am not one of those people.
The one thing related to my disability is the use of my cane to position the X-Jack under the rig, remember you want to avoid injury from being under a rig that could fall or shift. And if you think that just because I am an amputee I would shove my fake leg under there, just forget about it, these things cost way too much money for those silly games.
One thing to remember is that you have time, so don’t rush, it is better to be slow and safe than fast and smashed. If the X-jack isn’t well positioned, if the vehicle is sliding or tilting, or if you aren’t getting the lift you need, simply let some air out, reposition and try again. Even in a downpour, mud bog or snow storm if you can’t take the time to do things right then wait or call for help.
One of the features that really stuck me in this test was the way the X-jack molded to the various rocks underneath. It will look like a oddly shaped giant orange marshmallow but things usually straighten out as it lifts. Again it is all about being careful and watching how things are playing out. If you need to deflate slowly then use the air chuck. For a real heart stopper you can disconnect the exhaust hose which will result in a loud whoosh of air and a rapid descent of the rig.
As you can see in this picture there was no problem lifting the tire clear of any rocks. This is the point when we were testing that a video camera would have been great. Everyone could have seen how stable the rig is by the fact that you can rock it a bit on the X-jack and all is well. Not something you would do on purpose unless going for a very advanced recovery that was well thought out. But just in case someone closes a door, leans against the rig or drops the spare off the back you will not be worried about a flying farm jack.
I can’t stress enough the importance of staying calm, thinking through your plan, and being safe when attempting any type of repair or recovery. If you are disabled then accept the fact that things will usually take longer, be tougher, and cause more physical abuse of your body. If you are able-bodied then please don’t join our ranks by dropping your rig on a leg, arm or other part of you. Take charge of your emotions and stress level, draw things out in the dirt, imagine what could go wrong, and then do everything right to stay safe and secure.
So, my final thoughts on the ARB Bushranger X-jack are as follows. I have owned this for almost 2 years and have used it for recoveries, rotating tires in my driveway, and lots of demo’s. I wouldn’t use it or talk about it if I wasn’t willing to bet my rig on it’s ability to do the job well over and over again. It is tough, well made, includes everything you need other than an air source and something to push it under the rig with. Lastly, let me say if you get the X-jack, play with it at home in your driveway or other secure area. Learn how to use your tools before you need them. And then send us or ARB some pictures of your next recovery and the story of how you survived.