DT Install: AMP Research Power Steps

November 2012 Feature

When we purchased a 2011 RAM 3500 Mega Cab SRW truck as a project truck to install and test aftermarket products, one of the first things we did was install a set of AMP Research Power Step running boards. The Power Steps are definitely a "best practice" when it comes to outfitting any pickup truck or SUV. We ran a set of these steps on our 2007 Project LBMC when it was new and they are still functioning perfectly today after 120,000 miles of use. AMP Research has this product down to a perfect science. When the truck doors are closed, they neatly tuck away under the truck's rocker panels where they won't get damaged or detract from the clean aesthetic lines of the truck. When you open any of the doors, the step on that side of the vehicle quickly folds down to provide a step that's positioned just at the right height between the truck and the ground. To make the deal even better, they're a cinch to install in your garage with the help of a buddy. Here's a recap of the install.

The Power Step kit comes with two steps, a quality wiring harness (including Posi-Tap connectors), an electronic brain unit, two armatures with motors, two support armatures, and all necessary hardware. They also have an available LED light kit to illuminate the steps when the doors are open.

Getting Started

First, we installed the hexagonal nut inserts that come with the kit in the hexagonal holes that come in the truck body from the factory. There are four nuts that get installed on each side of the truck. The nut-serts flatten out behind the sheet metal and pinch the nuts onto the body, providing an easy attachment for the armatures that will mount here.

Next we bolted the motor to the armature. The armatures get mounted to the frame with two bolts that thread into the hexagonal nut-serts that we installed in the body as well as this clamp that fits through an existing slot in the body, then rotates after it's behind the sheet metal and clamps the armature to the body.

We bolt the armature to the body on the back side of the rocker panel, which is easily accessible under the truck.

The Boards

Next, we slide the aluminum running boards onto the armature brackets and fasten them with allen head screws. The Power Step "brain" is attached to the wiring harness under the hood on the rear driver's side.

After attaching a ground wire to any suitable location, we attached the main power wire directly to the positive battery terminal. The wires that trigger the steps use Posi-Tap connectors to tap into four wires in the truck's wiring harness that signal which door has been opened or closed. This wiring is easy to get to because you simply unbolt the main fuse box under the hood to access it. The wires that need to be tapped into are the same color as the corresponding wires in the AMP Research wiring harness. The wiring harness that comes with the kit has corrugated plastic wire cover that runs the length of the wires to both sides of the truck.

In Summary

To summarize, there isn't a thing we'd change about this kit. It's very well-engineered, easy to install, and works like it came with the truck from the factory (in a good way). We've noticed that the steps aren't just convenient, they also decrease the wear on your seats and door jams because you won't need to step on the jam and slide across the seats like you normally do to enter and exit the truck. The cost of this kit is about $1,100. In our opinion, it's money well spent.

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