For any who will be offroading, you need to also consider;
1. Will I be able to access the jack if the truck is on its side or rolled over?
2. Will this mounting position be susceptible to damage while offroading.
Inside the bumper or tucked up in the wheel wel may not be great for some scenarios. No position is perfect for all occasions. Just try to think about how you will get to the jack in a bad situation and will it be damaged too much to use?
I have rolled many vehicles with and without cages. On top of being hands on with hundred's of recoveries over the years of being on the trail. I have never once considered or used a Hi-Lift/Farm Jack to recover the vehicle. Its quite literally the most dangerous tool at the operators disposal BUT I will never be stranded without one. Ever. I have a Warn M8000 winch on the rig including snatch blocks and recovery ropes for that reason. I quite often winch the vehicle to rocks and tree's to get it in the air for emergency service If I have a suspension Failure. To me its entirely safer.
On the second note. No. There is no possible damage to the Hi-Lift from being in its location. Including water/mud damage. It stays bagged and lubed. I DO NOT play in mud for any reason and winter driving in California is... well... pitiful in comparison to the east coast. I completely cycle my suspension every time medications are done when testing my new leaf spring ideas/builds with this truck. If I broke a axle shaft, bent the axle tube upward, and broke a leaf spring there MIGHT be a 1:100 shot I maybe touch the Hi-Lift arm with the tire. This set up has gone from Winch Hill 1 to Committee and Up to Winch Hill 3 on Fordyce Trail including multiple Rubicon Trips without ever being in contact or an issue.
As always, That's just MY situation. Every driver/builder should consider all options and come up with the best conclusion for location dependent on THERE build. Not mine.
Every high lift jack I've had is finicky as hell about lube, rust and dirt. And I actually use them often... inside the wheel well is quite literally the last place I would ever put a jack.
I agree with not mounting them inside. I try not to have loose things inside my wheeling rig... some of it is unavoidable though. Common sense goes a long ways, I know people who drive around all over with hammers, wrenches, etc on the dash, floor boards and stacked behind the seats. Just hasn't bit them yet I guess.
Regardless of how safe you think you are, it's kind of a dangerous hobby in general. But stuff happens... I know someone who was into the most extreme rock crawling for many years and he died in a car wreck in town when his brakes failed. We just do the best we can.
Your 100% right. This sport is extremely dangerous, and I hate comparing apples here But I have too lost close friends of mine being in this industry. One including me within the accident. Like I said though, not comparing. Just agreeing with your statement. A loss of life is always a eye opener in the auto world because we think its so far fetched until it happens so close to home.
But, the location of my Hi-Lift mount, In my area of Driving/Wheeling/Off-Roading, and the things I do with the truck I will never see half the issues most people have with Hi-Lifts due to Lubrication, Rust, or Dirt. Never have and honestly dont know why people have so many issues. I get quality lifts. And probably use them maybe 5-7 times a year. Its a truck tool, not a household tool for me. I have a Hi-Lift in my garage for that haha. Get yourself a cheap bag and lube it when you put it away. It'll be a gross bag when unloading and loading but its very well worth it.
This is a general statement for most but not directed at anyone! I don't even know what most of yall are using. But for the love of gawd, stop buying cheap Hi-Lifts at yard sales that have been in service for 40 years expecting them to be perfect
or buying cheap amazon/ebay/Harbor Freight lifts expecting multiple seasons from them. Unfortunately most of those are one time use HAHA! Buy once, cry once!