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How to Install Running Boards - Step-by-Step Guide

Side steps are also commonly called sidebars or nerf bars. They basically serve the same purposes of safety and aesthetics as running boards. However, they are somewhat different in design.

Side steps are mainly designed to mount with a certain amount of space between the step and the body of the vehicle, unlike running boards that are usually typically attached to the rocker panel. Again the side steps do not have a stepping surface that flourishes all along like the running boards. Rather, they have individual step pads that are directly placed before each door of the vehicle.

Side steps are best for large or high lift vehicles such as pickup trucks and SUVs. Just like in every other case, it's best to have a professional install your car's accessories, but it's still very possible to do it yourself. Below are steps on how to install Toyota Tundra side steps and Jeep Gladiator side step.

How to Install Jeep Power Step Running Boards

The automated Power step Running Boards can be suitably mounted on Jeep Gladiator JT 2020-20121.

  1. Firstly, Locate mounting points on the rocker panel.
  2. Using supplied button head screws and washers assemble linkage to pinch weld. Before tightening your Jeep power running boards, slide the light mounting bracket in the forward mounting hole. Next, use a supplied hex bolt with a conical washer through the bottom threaded insert in the body. Torque fasteners to 16 ft-lbs (22N-m). Repeat linkage installation for the passenger side.

Note: When installing the light bracket, the nut plate insert with the raised portion faces the bolt.

  1. Front-drive linkage: Drive linkage with motor mount facing towards the front of the vehicle. Using supplied button head screws and washers assemble linkage to pinch weld. Before tightening, slide the light mounting bracket in the rearward mounting hole. Next, use a supplied hex bolt with a conical washer and shim through the bottom threaded insert in the body. Torque fasteners to 16 ft-lbs (22N-m). Repeat linkage installation on the passenger side.
  2. Mount step extrusion to linkage assemblies. Line up T-nuts in step assembly with slots in lower mounts of linkage assemblies. Fasten your jeep power running boards loosely to allow for adjustments. Line up step extrusion with rear fender well. Tighten and torque 4 socket cap screws with 3/16” Allen wrench. Torque to 10 ft-lbs. (13.5N-m)
  3. Slide motor assembly onto the driveshaft and mounting bosses of driving linkage assembly. Use supplied M8 bolts. Torque to 8 ft-lbs (11N-m).

Note: When installing the second motor onto the linkage, the armature on the motor can be turned with a flat screwdriver to allow the motor to align correctly.

  1. Remove fuses from the Powerstep wire harness. Prepare large tie-wraps for mounting Powerstep controllers. Loosely loop tie-wraps around a large bundle of wires behind the battery in the engine compartment. Insert controller into tie-wrap loops and cinch down securely. The tie-wraps should cinch down into channels on the controller surface. Connect power leads from the controller, red to the positive battery terminal, and black to the vehicle body ground.
  2. Route the two-wire harness legs down over the wheel wells toward motor linkages, long legs across to the driver side. Secure harness with tie wraps.
  3. Splice Powerstep trigger wires into the Door Ajar wires with the provided Posi-TapTM splicers. The Powerstep trigger wires color coordinate with the factory Door Ajar wires. Follow the steps below to correctly splice wires.
  4. Remove sill plate cover. Remove grommet underfloor.
  5. Route trigger wires and power wire through the grommet.
  6. Mount door trigger module to wire harness in the kick panel area. Using a 10mm socket remove the ground lug and connect the ground to the body. Using supplied butt connectors connect red wire on the harness to red wire (Pin1) on the module. Next, connect purple with black stripe wire on the harness to purple with a black stripe from the module (pin 6). Lastly, connect purple from the harness to purple on the module (Pin 7). See next step for trigger wire assembly.
  7. Locate the white connector panel against the passenger side kick panel area. Locate three connectors and connect Powerstep trigger wires. Match pin locations called out in the previous step.

Note: Plug reassembly is critical. The Lever Arm of the plug must be rotated completely locked in the open position to engage properly!

  1. On the driver’s side, run the wire harness through the vehicle floor to the front drive linkage. Connect harness to motor and secure harness with tie wraps. Route remainder of wire harness towards rear linkage assembly for LED lights. Repeat steps on the passenger side.
  2. Affix LED lamp to the LED bracket that was installed in steps 2 and 3.
  3. Using supplied butt connectors, connect the lamp wires. Connect the red to red, and the black to black. Once crimped, use a heat gun to shrink the tube. Close and wrap conduit with electrical tape. Secure all loose wires with cable ties. Pull lamp wires upward to avoid any wire snagging.
  4. Reinstall fuses from Powerstep wire harness.
  5. Check that all doors activate the jeep power step running boards, and the LED Lights work when doors open and close. Reinstall any remaining trim panels.

How to Install Tundra Side Step

Westin Pro Traxx Oval Tube Step Bars fit well on Toyota Tundra, particularly the 2021 Toyota Tundra. To install, follow the steps below:

  1. Locate the threaded holes on the rocker panel.
  2. Loosely attach the driver's side mounting bracket to the front threaded holes using the M8 bolts provided in the pack. Repeat this step for the passenger's side front mounting bracket.
  3. Loosely attach the rear mounting bracket. Repeat the same on the passenger's rear side.
  4. Place Tundra side steps on the mounting brackets.
  5. Loosely attach the brackets to the side steps using M10 button head bolts. Then, adjust the Tundra side steps as it suits you.
  6. After the adjustments, go ahead and tighten the M8 and M10 bolts using the appropriate wrench and sockets.
  7. Tighten all the M8 bolts to 15 to 20-foot pounds; and all the M10 fasteners to 30 to 35-foot pounds. That’s it! You have successfully installed your Toyota Tundra side steps.

How to Side Steps for Jeep Gladiator