Fords chrome running boards are the next to go.
We love the ride height of our Ford Super Duty F350. It’s great not worrying about every bump or dip when we take it off-road. Of course, we always have our 12v air compressor on us for airing up and down. But climbing up into this truck every day isn’t easy. We knew we couldn’t just eliminate the running boards on our custom build.
If we removed the chrome running boards on our black out project, we figured within about a week, one of us would have a broken ankle. And in a year, we’d have to finance some knee replacements. So we started looking into other running board options.
Considering the Running Board Options
There are a lot of choices out there. Rectangular styles like the factory running boards. Nerf bars. Hoop steps. Grip steps. All in different flavors. Angled. Curved. Straight. But we found what we were looking for: Electric Running Boards!
It just made sense. This truck is loaded with features. Everything in the cab is powered. Why not the running boards too? And we loved the look when they tuck up under the cab. They would work well for our minimalist, black out look. And they’d give us a little more ground clearance too. Win-win!
Making a Choice on Electric Running Boards
We investigated the options and decided on the AMP Research PowerStep (P/N 75134-01A). These electric running boards get great reviews. And they’re tough! They’re proven to stand up to snow, ice, dust, mud, dirt, whatever.
The running boards are anodized and coated to resist corrosion. They come with high strength, die-cast aluminum alloy linkage arms. The steps are aircraft-quality aluminum with a textured powder coat finish for grip and durability. They’re rated up to 600 pounds load capacity. Solid.
That’s all backed up with a heavy-duty electric motor that looks like it’ll last as long as this Ford Super Duty F350 is on the road. They come with a 5-year warranty so it’s clear that the company stands behind this product. Oh, and they’re MADE IN THE USA!
Installing the AMP Research 75134-01A PowerStep Electric Running Boards
Mechanically, the installation is pretty easy. You remove the bolts from your old running boards. You bolt the motor linkage and two idler linkages to your truck. And then you attach the running board. AMP provides pretty decent instructions if you want to tackle this project yourself. To save some agony get an extra set of hands when mounting the rails.
The electrical side of the job wasn’t as straightforward. You might even say a little complicated. But if you have some technical skills, you shouldn’t have a problem if you read what we’re about to share.
The wiring harness you need to find on the 2016 F350 is located behind the passenger side, sidewall kick panel. Remove the sill plate and kick panel. There’s a huge harness that brings all the wiring forward and branches into three large bundles. You’re looking for the door ajar wires. They are in the bundle to the left as pictured here. That bundle connects to a switch box.
We ran into a little trouble here. You have to locate and tap into the four “door ajar” switches. In the wiring instructions from AMP you have to find one wire in the wiring harness and the directions say it’s WHITE. But it’s actually a PALE YELLOW in my truck. So, there was some confusion with that. Once you figure out which YELLOW wire is the front passenger side door ajar wire, the rest will go fine. Take a look at what we’re talking about here.
AMP sells a Plug N' Play Pass Thru Harness kit (P/N 76404-01A). It’s going to cost you an extra $100. And it involves just a little messing around with your OBD II Port. But if your electrical skills are lacking, it might be best to go the kit route. Or find someone with the know-how to wire them up.
PowerStep Drive Assembly & LED install
The Drive Assembly mounts forward and the idlers go aft. They mount using existing holes in the rocker panel. The parking cable bracket gets relocated with a bracket provided in the kit. All of this goes pretty fast. Loose fit the assembly's. STOP HERE and Complete the Wiring. or you have to work around and under the steps.
The two drive motor's electric connections are self explanatory. The kit provides 4 led light strips, two for each side and the installation could be slightly challenging. First you drill a 9/32" hole in the flat vertical flange under the rocker panel. (*Red Arrow) Then you insert a rubber grommet and thread the wires through. It's a tight fit I used some dish soap to help them along. Before affixing the led lights ("B" lamps), 3M™ recommends cleaning the surface with a 50:50 mixture of isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and water. Clean up the conduit and secure your wires.
Now get someone to help install the running boards. They are light but awkward. Make sure everything is operating smoothly without binding before torquing it all down.
Board Fasteners 10 ft-lbs. Drive assembly 16 ft-lbs.
Overriding Deployment of the Running Boards
Opening the door deploys the electric running boards and closing the door retracts them. Most of the time, that’s what you want. But we soon discovered that there were times we wanted to deploy the running boards (washing the truck). And there were times we didn’t want them deployed (over rocks off-road or near a high curb in town).
To have more control over the deployment of the steps, you need to install an override switch. AMP Research sells one for under $50 (P/N 79106-01A). It wires up to their controller. This is great because after 30 minutes the running boards go back to normal operation.
Please read the directions provided by AMC. They are quite good.
Loving our Ford Super Duty F350 Electric Running Boards from AMP Research
Overall, we’re really happy with our new running boards. They’re a quality product at a good value. And ditching all that chrome really added to our black out style. We think they look awesome!
In our next post, we tackle the lighting on our Ford Super Duty F350. Its headlights, taillights, mirror lights, cargo light all gotta go! Partly because the Arizona sun has tortured this truck! But mostly because we crave the custom, black out look!