The next chapter of our adventure to customize Mike Sutton’s ’18 Dodge Ram 3500 Mega Cab is a precursor for another modification. In this case, we’re taking baby steps on upgrades that will be necessary down the road. But in actuality, they’re not baby steps at all. The AMP Research PowerStep is a great addition to any pickup at stock height that didn’t come with a step, and it’s a great replacement for the unsightly, boring factory versions many trucks are equipped with. They are even more useful if you’re planning to lift your truck, but we will get back to you later on that one.
Making the choice to install a PowerStep can be motivated simply by the inconvenience of entering or exiting a vehicle without it. The electric-powered running boards make it much more convenient to get in and out of your truck with the opening of your door. As soon as you pull the door handle, the step drops into its full, extended position and is ready for up to 600 pounds of weight handling. When the door is closed again, it tucks back up nicely under the vehicle, which cleans up the overall look.
The AMP Research PowerStep has an industry-leading 5-year/60,000-mile warranty and is made in the U.S.A. Some of the features that make this running board different from others include a low-profile, integrated LED light system, maintenance-free self-lubricating bushings for all-weather performance, precision stainless-steel pivot pins for rock-solid stability, as well as weatherproof OEM-quality electric motors, drive system, and wiring harness. Follow along with the install and check out the website in the source box to pick up a set for your truck.
| Our kit for this installation includes the running board assemblies, two motorized linkages for driver/passenger sides, idler linkages for each side, a wiring harness, STA controller, OBD II plug, four LED lamps, and all the miscellaneous hardware needed.
| The factory step install location is where we started, by putting the reinforcement bracket into the upper opening until the lower hexagon-shaped holes lined up behind their counterparts in the truck body.
| A rivet nut and rivet nut tool included with the kit were placed into the holes and tightened using a 19mm wrench and 13mm socket. We made sure to tighten until the rivet nut was fully collapsed and ready for the next step.
| We continued to hold the 19mm wrench in place and backed the rivet nut tool out using the ratchet with the socket in reverse.
| The rivet nuts should look nearly flush-mounted with a small lip when installed correctly in the hexagon-shaped holes.
| Next, we placed the 13mm hex bolts into the collapsed rivet nuts, leaving plenty of threads available to slip on the linkages.
| While holding up the lower end of the linkages, we tightened each 13mm hex bolt to secure the linkages to the body.
| Using a T27 Torx Driver, we tightened the button-head screws into the factory holes on the outer pinch molding.
| Now the running board was ready to be fit vertically over the linkage pair on each side and then laid horizontally into position.
| You can clearly see the amount of drop-down the PowerStep provides.
| Finally, we tightened each socket cap screw to secure the step in place.
| We popped the hood for the next few steps. The AMP Research wiring harness was connected to the STA controller, making sure the nine-pin harness was in the correct position.
| The wiring harness was uncoiled and extended in preparation to run each connector in different directions depending on what it needs to do.
| To keep from shorting out the harness during installation, we pulled the blade-type fuse from the fuse holder and set it aside.
| Then we ran the power wires for the controller and positive battery terminal along with the black wire for the vehicle body ground.
| Wires for linkages were run down and to each side along the frame and then plug into the motors. Use tie wraps to keep wiring in place where needed.
| Next, we drilled a small pilot hole through the pinch weld and worked our way up to a 9/32-inch drill bit to fit the grommet.
| We applied a small amount of paint to protect from rust before squeezing the grommet into place.
| Now we could run the LED lamps into the locations mentioned in the instructions based on our truck’s body style.
| The positive and negative wires were crimped to the LED, and we used a heat gun for the ends to seal them for weatherproofing.
| We affixed the LED lights into position on the clean, flat surface of the body with the provided double-sided tape.
| The triggering wires were run through an existing boot on the driver side by making a small slit and pushing them into the cab. They were connected with locking connectors while keeping the wires tucked up and away from any interference with the accelerator, brake, or e-brake pedals.
| Our wires were plugged into the OBD II port, and we used the supplied tie wraps to keep the wires in place.
| Finally, we reinstalled the fuse after tucking then tying down the STA controller to the main vehicle harness behind the battery box.
| We checked that all systems were in working order and that the steps extend and retract when each door is opened then closed. We also stepped on the running boards in multiple areas while they were deployed to make sure they were solidly mounted and double-checked the LEDs on both sides.
| Our new AMP Research PowerStep running boards are a great addition to the Ram and will do exactly what they’re meant to. They’ll be in position when you need them and tucked away when you don’t!