1. Wash Your Truck
Unless your truck is already spotless, give it a good wash, and I’m not talking about the garden hose special. Instead, break out the power washer or go to the car wash and get the mud off. Don’t forget the undercarriage! You’ll be sliding underneath to install, and you aren’t going to want to contend with mud, dirt, sand, rocks, etc., falling down in your eyes and ears. Do yourself a favor and clean it up good.
2. Find A Place To Install
Park your truck in an area where you have some clearance all the way around and ideally where you have a floor that is conducive to lay down and work on. My shop has a concrete floor, so I did my install there.
3. Open & Inventory
If curiosity hasn’t already gotten the best of you, open your box of Ranch Hand Running Steps and make sure everything is there. You should have two steps that are well packaged, a bag of hardware and a set of instructions in the hardware package.
The tools you need for this project are very minimal, in fact I only used one:
13mm Socket & 10 Inch Socket Wrench
Basset Hound (Not Required)
(This install was done on my 2017 F-150, so I’m only familiar with this set. With that said, tool sizes could vary based on different makes and models of trucks so adjust your tool sizes as necessary.)
5. Remove Factory Running Boards
Slide underneath your truck with your socket easily accessible. On my F-150 there were 6 nuts holding on the factory running boards on each side. Remove these nuts and then take the running board off. Repeat on the opposite side.
This is where a thorough wash is going to help, trust me! I washed my truck prior to installing but had been traveling muddy roads for days. A little mud and dirt was still caked up around this hardware, so I had to coerce it off with the handle of my socket wrench. It’s also worth noting that a creeper is nice for this project, allowing you to glide along the floor easily and more comfortably while removing hardware, but it’s certainly not necessary.
Wipe off any debris from the mounting area to ensure the mounting plate on your new Ranch Hand Running Steps will seat firmly against the frame and your nuts will lockdown tightly without any obstruction.
Next, lift the Running Step into place by aligning the bracket holes with the factory bolts on your truck. This is super simple because Ranch Hand is very precise in their machining, these holes line up perfectly. With the nuts included in the hardware set that came with your Running Steps, hand start each of the nuts.
NOTE: On the factory running boards I removed, there were only 2 mounting brackets and 6 nuts per side holding them on, as aforementioned. My Ranch Hand Running Steps I replaced them with have 3 mounting brackets and require 9 nuts per side. However, my 2017 F-150 had 3 preexisting mounting bolts placed on each side of my truck cab to accept the 2 extra mounting brackets.
I began hand tightening the included nuts in the Ranch Hand hardware set starting at the rear of my truck, working my way forward. Hand tighten all 9 nuts firmly per side then follow up and tighten them completely with your socket and socket wrench.
Repeat on opposite side.
That’s it, you’re done! Seriously, it’s that simple. Take a step back to admire how spiffy your truck looks now. In less than an hour, you can swap out your factory running boards and replace them with Ranch Hand Running Steps. WIN!
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Top Five Reasons To Get Ranch Hand Running Steps
You don’t need a reason to change out your factory running boards with Ranch Hand Running Steps, they are awesome and that should be enough! However, if you’re on the fence or looking for a little more information, here are five reasons why you should be looking at installing Ranch Hand Running Steps on your own vehicle.
- Tough & Built To Last:
Ranch Hand Running Steps are made out of 12-gauge steel and sport a black powder coat finish. The main bar that runs wheel to wheel is 3-inch steel tubing. Yes, all steel construction! Ranch Hand uses the same kind of high-quality materials that are used to make their signature front and back bumpers. This kind of high-quality construction sets Ranch Hand apart from others right out of the gate. While factory running boards are fine, the truth is that they aren’t all that tough. Depending on the material, factory running boards often crack and break leaving you with a compromised platform. These Ranch Hand Running Steps have strength and resilience built in. And because these Running Steps are mounted firmly to your truck, they are incredibly sturdy which translates to a solid and steady step every time you put your foot on them.
- Accessible & Functional:
When it comes to accommodating your passengers and making entry and exit easier, having a step is key. Aging drivers and passengers often need the help, stability and firm footing that a step provides. People who are smaller in stature, like my wife, often have to jump or use the door to swing in if there is no step available. And kids, well it’s even harder for them to get in on their own if they don’t have some kind of a boost. The Ranch Hand Running Steps come in a couple of different configurations, four and six steps giving you either two or three steps per side.
The size of the step itself is wider than my factory running boards were. My factory running boards had a depth of 4.5 inches, where as I now have 6 inches with these new Running Steps. The larger step is more accommodating and gives you a better foot hold. And although it is deeper than my previous step, it doesn’t protrude excessively from the body.
- Designed To Defy Mud:
I live miles down a dirt road so I’m no stranger to driving in the mud. With every truck I have ever owned, and I have had several over the last 10-12 years, one of the issues I run into every time is just how bad the running boards are about holding mud. The running board is generally one solid piece, so mud builds up on the top, or the tread, of the board. In addition, because factory running boards are mounted fairly tight to the body there isn’t a whole lot of vacant space between the step and the cab where the mud can fall through. This creates yet another place where mud builds up. By the time I go 5-10 miles in the mud, many times, my running boards are completely filled in with muck and act more like a shelf for sludge than a step. The result is doors that are tough to open and shut because there is often mud obstructing the bottom of the door. Plus, the functionality of your running board is now gone. If you step down your feet are covered in mud, and because of its wet and slimy nature your running board is now slick, too. If you’re like me, at some point you decide it’s a great idea to step or hop over the muddy running boards to get in and out of your vehicle. That’s a flawed plan captain! In this scenario it never fails that at some point your pant leg gets too close to the running board and you end up sliming the front or back of your jeans from the knee down. At that point, you should have just stepped in the mud. And finally, when you wash your truck and you think you have it squeaky clean, you realize that because the underside of the running board is open, the entire running board on both sides is caked full of mud. Annoying. Not only is all of this inconvenient, it’s also not safe. A slippery step is a dangerous one.
The Ranch Hand Running Steps address these issues with their design. First, let’s talk the step itself. Unlike a running board where the mud can buildup because they are solid, the steps on these Running Steps are designed with a unique punched plate pattern. This pattern actually matches the grille pattern of the truck brand you drive which is cool, but even better is the way that dirt, mud and debris can fall through those holes or punch outs to avoid that mud buildup as well as the slick and messy situations it creates. In addition, because of the way these Running Steps are mounted with the main tube sitting flusher with the door, they don’t create the shelf that my old running boards did which discourages mud buildup at the bottom of the door, against the cab. That means I don’t have to find a stick or whatever else is available and scrape the mud off the running board so that I can get the door shut! And because of the construction, there is no buildup under the Running Steps. Unlike the factory running boards, Ranch Hand Running Steps are constructed with three-inch tubing and because it is not open on the bottom there isn’t a place for mud to collect and hide. That makes washing your truck that much easier!
- Appearance & Design:
I know the golden rule is not to judge a book by its cover, but I’m not quite sure that holds true in the automotive world. In general, you want your vehicle to look good and there’s nothing wrong with that. People find all kinds of ways to jazz up their vehicle’s appearance. Do you remember that show that installed coffee makers, fish tanks, hot tubs and other ridiculous features in vehicles? I’m not advocating for weird and impractical upgrades like that. What I am saying is that dressing up the appearance of your truck with useful and good-looking accessories is a smart move.
When installed, the only part of these Running Steps that stick out and away from the body is the step itself. With a traditional running board, it spans the length of the cab and sticks out that entire length. When you stop to consider the amount of space you use to step up and in to your vehicle, it’s rather minimal meaning that the entire board is unnecessary. These Running Steps are designed to allow you plenty of foothold getting in and out of your vehicle but it’s not excessive. It’s a better use of space and less obtrusive than a factory running board.
Ranch Hand Running Steps are a simple and cost-effective way to give your vehicle a facelift. I liked the way my truck looked before, but now I can’t imagine going back to the factory running boards. These Running Steps are sleek and give my truck a polished look. And if you’re into Bumpers and Grille Guards too, it might be of interest to know that the Running Steps match those products. Outfit your truck with a Front Bumper, Back Bumper and Running Steps and they will all match, giving your truck a cohesive and kick butt look.
- Reputation & Reliability:
Purchasing quality parts for your vehicle is important so you should go with a reliable brand. Ranch Hand has built a reputation for creating and producing Grille Guards, Bumpers and Running Steps that are tough, long lasting and good looking, to boot! They have built a well-respected brand, one that people have come to rely on for quality truck accessories. If you want something that will be safe, solid and built to last then you should definitely check out Ranch Hand. Made by hard working folks right in here in the U.S.A., in the great state of Texas, it’s also gratifying to know that you’re supporting an American made product and company.
Drive Safe & Stay A Step Ahead
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Several months ago, I installed a Ranch Hand Grille Guard on my truck for front end protection. If you are curious about the installation process or why you’d want to put one on your own vehicle check out that article right here: Installing a Ranch Hand Grille Guard