Baja Designs Kwik Jak
At just 4.5 pounds and 12.5 inches long, the Kwik Jak is definitely the easiest and smallest jack we have ever carried around. Although it may look like a common bottle jack, it is not. It is powered by standard 25g or 38g CO2 cartridges or can be connected to a Powertank CO2 bottle with the use of an adapter. When we first got our hands on the Kwik Jak, we have to admit we were a little skeptical. Would this tiny thing lift the front end of our big, heavy truck?
According to Baja Designs, the 38g cartridge will lift 2,400 pounds, same as a 20oz bottle. Placing the jack under the rear of our truck, we adjusted the reach to contact the height of our axle and screwed the CO2 in. Within a matter of seconds, 6 inches of stroke lifted the truck into the air and our tire was ready to be changed. Impressed, we tried it again with a new CO2 under the front of the vehicle. It did get the tire off the ground quickly, but the added weight of the FJ Cruiser frontend only allowed the tire to just leave the ground.
A few quick precautions when using CO2; always wear gloves as the cartridges get very cold as you remove them, and keep in mind how quickly you remove the cartridge from the jack so the vehicle doesn’t come crashing down. Using a tank (or bottle), you can control the speed both up and down. Although the small size is great for portability, the 4.5-inch base of the jack makes you feel like your truck is being suspended by a toothpick. Baja Designs has holes punched into both sides of the base so you can fashion a wider base of your own to the jack.
We did try to lift the front of a Ford Super Duty, which was unfortunately too much weight for the normal Kwik Jak. Baja Designs now offers an HD version of this jack, which has a lift capacity of 2,500 pounds, with 10 inches of stroke, and collapses to just seven inches tall. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get our hands on one to let you know how it worked.
Pros: light and small, fits perfectly into common racecar tube fire extinguisher mounts, lifts vehicle quickly, easy to use, will fit in most OE storage compartments (glove box, rear floor cargo hold).
Cons: not useful for HD trucks, requires a separate wider base if being used in sand or rough terrain for stability, must purchase CO2 cartridges or have a bottle handy, no CO2 means no jack (which leaves you stranded).
Who should buy: small and midsize truck owners, racecar owners, side-by-side owners.
Cost: $299.95 on Bajadesigns.com, four-pack CO2 $47.95 on Bajadesigns.com
For more information, visit: www.bajadesigns.com
F-O-A Race Jack
In the July 2010 issue of OFF-ROAD, we completed a review of the F-O-A Race Jack, in case you missed it. We’ve spent time with the jack we thought it would be best to include it in our lifting guide and let you know how it’s doing. The jack uses a screw-style lifting procedure that is actuated using a half-inch cordless impact driver, or ratchet if you’ve got the time. The half-inch end of your impact driver fits directly into the end of the jack, and no special socket is required. Slip the lift pin into the previously installed half-inch ID lift point and with a simple pull of the trigger, your truck is now lifting off the ground.
F-O-A supplies a complete mounting kit with the jack that is to be welded on, and enough tube for adding four lift points on your vehicle. We added points to both ends of our front axle, which allowed us to get the tire off the ground quickest and also kept the mounting point out of exterior view. Over a year later, the jack is still working as it did on day one. Removing the jack from its mount in the bed, placing it under the truck, and screwing it up with the impact driver takes all of about one minute.
At only 12 pounds, the jack is easy enough to carry around and as long as you have a place to weld the mount, can be put just about anywhere. The initial lift point is a low three inches and can lift your vehicle up to 18 inches.
Pros: Light, lifts the vehicle quickly, has been very reliable, little to no effort to use, lift points can be added anywhere you choose
Cons: Mount must be welded, would like to see a wider base option, most expensive type of jack we examined
Who should buy: Race truck owners, prerunners, chase trucks
Cost: $350.00 on www.f-o-a.com
For more information, visit: www.f-o-a.com