Jack -- powered by car exhaust?

Has anyone used one of these “car jacks” powered by the car exhaust. Basically it appears to be a giant air bag that you place under the side of the car to “jack it off the ground” to change tires, etc.

Since I often am on marginal dirt roads where standard jacks sink into the dirt or fall over under load, I was thinking this might be a solution.

Northern tools has one in their current catalog, don’t know if the brand or price is any good, but it gives you an idea of what I am talking about:


It should work OK, but the trick will be getting a good seal around the exhaust pipe. Many of todays cars have duel exhausts with a cross-over pipe up-stream. So you will have to plug that other pipe to build any pressure…

Should something puncture the bladder, your car will come down quickly…

Yeah, I am a bit worried about the “coming down fast” part. But, I have experienced that while changing a tire with a standard jack in the dirt. LOL>

I’ve done a bunch of “googling” on this, an it seems that this is not a new thing, and that several places make them. But, from what I gather, most of the other brands specifically warn NOT to change tires when this is in place…but his brand actually says changing tires IS one of the things to do with it.

Buyer beware, I guess. But I really would like a good solution to changing tires in the dirt without carrying a big, thick piece of plywood in the trunk of every rig…

One of the possible short comings is the lack of gas tight integrity of the exhaust system. Unless the vehicle is fairly new or you regularily check the exhaust system for leaks, the engine might not be able to build enough pressure to raise the vehicle.

Google “air lifting bags”. They’re safe, virtually puncture proof (you can get them with kevlar skins) lifting bags used by rescue crews that you could power with a 12VDC compressor. You can get them in different sizes and load ratings. They slide under the vehicle flat and lift away.

I’d be concerned with an exhaust powered jack that on a modern vehicle it might trip the CEL light.

Another old timers’ trick: Place the jack that you’re using on a fairly flat spot. Measure the width, outside wheel of the jack to outside wheel. Add 4". Now measure the length of the jack, most outside surface to most outside surface. Add 4". Get your hands on a piece of 3/4" CDX (X denotes ‘exterior’) plywood. The size will be determined by the dimensions that you wrote down. Cut that piece of plywood to the dimensions. You now have a portable, fairly stable surface to put under all 4 wheels of your jack. That’s for smaller, portable hydraulic jacks. Note that LDF, MDF or HDF (low density, medium density or high density) fiberboard won’t work. It crumbles pretty easily under the stress of a concentrated load of 1,000+ pounds. For a scissors-type jack, or an older-style bumper jack, cut your plywood the size of the base plus 8". If you’re using a shop-type larger jack, cut yourself two pieces of 2" X 12" (actually 1-1/2" X 11-1/4") framing stock. Cut these two pieces, one for front wheels, one for rear wheels of the jack the outside width of the wheels plus 4". My pieces of 2" X 12" have wheel stop blocks on their surfaces. Those are simply 1" X 2" pieces of pine or hem-fir stock,(actually 3/4" X 1-1/2") commonly called “strapping” depending on where in the Country you are. They are glued and screwed into the 2 X 12s. The parallel distance between the two pieces for each of the front and rear wheels is determined by setting the wheels up against the first glued and screwed piece of strapping then setting the second piece of strapping up against the rear of the jack’s wheels. Pencil-mark the rear of the strapping, remove the jack, and glue and screw your second piece of strapping along the pencil mark. Remember what side of the strapping you used for the pencil mark! I did the front wheels first, and then the rear wheels next, but that’s a matter of personal preference. Now the jack won’t slide off of the 2 X 12 because the jack’s wheels are ‘chocked’. Your jack, no matter what type, now will no longer sink into dirt as you’re raising the vehicle. As always, use extreme caution working under or around a jacked vehicle. If you jack the vehicle up and use jack stands for final suppoet, you can make jack stand anti-sink pads as described above out of 3/4" plywood. In my over 50 years of screwing around with various types of jacks and jack stands, I have not encountered so much as a close call. DO NOT let anyone else set your jack or jack stands for you. Do it yourself to ensure that you feel completely comfortable with your jacked-up system.

From a safety point of view … should we be jacking up a car with the engine running??

Sure. Why not? You have the brake set, wheels chocked, and transmission in neutral. Just make sure there are no kids or dogs romping about in the car.

There are different types of low pressure, high volume, air pumps. Some are foot pumps, some are hand pumps, some are electric (12 volts). These wouldn’t depend on the integrity of the exhaust plumbing. Whichever way you choose, be sure to do a few in-your-driveway practices. Then, you’ll know that your system should be working whenever you may need it.

I’ve used the plywood method when pulling an engine from a wrecked car that was sitting on grass. Two scrap pieces of exterior grade plywood under the wheels of the hoist prevented the wheels from sinking in, and they were long enough to pull the hoist back to clear the engine from the car.

You must be making too much money Steve. Considering todays (and tomorrows) gas prices.

from another point of view:

although i have heard of these, i would wonder what you would do if (for some unknown reason) it deflated once you got the tire off. and you could NOT get it to reinflate. how would you get the real jack under the side of the car to relift the car to get the tire on and get going again?

I wouldn’t pay $110.00 for an air jack when I can get any car jack I care to . . most still in their original bag from the manufacturer . . . from an auto recycling yard for about $2. I wander the scrap yards at times and look for jacks and tool kits from different cars . . . one that comes to mind was an old Yugo . . . with a GREAT tool kit and jack set-up . . . I snagged for $5. And the wooden platform is almost a no-brainer for me . . . a cheap piece of flat iron or steel which exceeds the base of the jack is all you need, another buck or two and you’re safe. I’d worry about that rapid deflation stuff . . . could wreck you whole day. I’ll betcha an off-road outfitter could fix you up with a better jacking system than the air bag thing for marginal roads or soft soil applications. Be safe! Rocketman

My biggest problem with this is what do you do with it when you are done? Can you actually get all of the exhaust out of the bladder or are you going to be smelling exhaust fumes when you put it back in your trunk? It probably would not have enough to be dangerous but it might me enough to be unpleasant.

To be brief, use a big piece of plywood under your jackstand, chock the wheels and apply the emergency brake.

click on the link,within the OP,and read it then you will have the answer.

the jack is perfect for what you need it for,I would recommend getting the air compressor adapter kit.plywood nahhh! what you need it for is perfect.for you’re specific needs.I read the link and it will work,I know from useing them they do work.so you decide,

good luck