Installing AMP Research PowerStep XLs Onto a Chevy 3500 HD
A Step Up
Putting your truck to just right height is key to achieving the right look or gaining the max ground clearance for your truck’s lift and a larger wheel and tire combo. However, being able to climb in and out of your high-altitude truck is equally important. And when trying to accommodate kids, spouses, and vertically challenged friends, a good set of side steps is the way to go. There are a great many variations in the side step market, but arguably, the cleanest-looking ones are electrically powered and tuck up neatly under the cab, maintaining the stock look.
AMP Research (in Tustin, California) has become synonymous with retractable steps. The company produces thick and beefy steps that stand up to the elements. These steps are all-weather ready, lightweight, and backed by the company’s five-year, 60K-mile warranty. For this install, local radio personality Lightning from KROQ Los Angeles was generous enough to let us tag along while his project truck was having a set of AMP PowerStep XL steps installed. These steps are designed to drop down 3 inches lower than the regular PowerSteps and are perfect for lifted trucks like our ’07. The XL steps tuck up into a set of rocker rails that mount to the underside of our dualie, where the steps can hide away and provide a smooth, uncluttered look along the lower edge of the rocker panels.
This truck was going through a massive set of upgrades when we caught up with our buddy Lightning during the installation over at the AMP facility in Southern California. Follow along as we give this ’07 Chevy 3500HD 4x4 an easier point of entry into the cab.
The kit arrived with everything we would need to install these AMP Research PowerStep XL steps. The many brackets, the rocker rails, and the linkage arms are powdercoated black to give a sleek look on the road. The steps themselves are powdercoated, too, but also were given an added layer of friction material.
The rocker rails were fitted with the brackets from the kit using the carriage bolts and flange nuts to mount. The nuts and bolts were left a little loose so they could be adjusted and tightened later.
We test fit the rail before starting to mount it, making sure our brackets would line up correctly.
With the brackets in their correct position, we slotted the U-nuts in the rear and set the rear bracket on them. We attached the front and then the rear brackets with the provided bolts, and snugged them down slightly to be adjusted and tightened later.
We threaded the supplied bolts into the front and rear linkage arms into position, and again, snugged down the bolts to be adjusted and tightened at the end. Shown here is the rear drive linkage with its bracket for the motor, which is not installed yet.
With the arms in place, we picked up the step and slid the T-nuts into place on the front and rear arms, tightening them down.
With all of our step components still loosely bolted, we made our final adjustments and make sure everything was centered and seated properly. Next, we tightened all of it down using the recommended torque settings for each. It helps to have someone else around during this often-tedious process.
We laid out the wire harness and gave it a good once over. AMP puts a lot of thought into their products; the wiring is cut to fit and all the important connectors are in the right place.
Starting with the control box as a reference point, we positioned it next to the battery and secured it to the battery tie down post using a zip tie.
We routed the long end of the wire loom up along the cowling towards the driver’s side using zip ties to secure it, routed the short end towards the passenger side, and tucked both looms behind the inner fenders.
The looms needed to be routed up under the cab with the slack zip-tied to the frame, and we left it loose to be tightened after we were sure of is final positioning.
With the looms where they needed to be, we mounted up the drive motors on both of the rear arms and snugged them down good and tight. There was no need for additional adjustment, so they were tightened down.
With the motors all snug, we simply clipped in the electrical connectors and zip tied the excess wire down.
The lights are small, but powerful, LEDs with a short length of wire that we connected to the main harness on either side at the front and rear linkage brackets. There are two lights per side.
With all the under wiring done, we routed the harness through to the cab by pulling up the sill panel and connecting the plug-and-play module to the harness using a posi-twist connector. We plugged in the PowerStep connection module to the OBDII port under the dash and our whole system had power.
The lights received a bracket that was attached to the underside of the rocker rail and used double-sided foam tape to mount both the light and small bracket just beyond the outer edge of the rails, which keep the steps lit when open but don’t allow them to be smashed when the lights are closed.
With everything connected and bolted down for good, the installation was complete! This is how it looks with the doors closed. The step is cleanly tucked away up into the rocker rail.
And this is how it looks when the step is in use. They drop down nice and low for easy entry into the cab, and have bright LEDs to make everything easy to see. Head over to the AMP Research website to see if they make PowerSteps for your truck.
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Amp ResearchTustin, CA 92780