Adding side steps to your Ford F150 can make getting in and out of the truck much easier. Side steps give you a sturdy stepping platform and allow you to enter your truck cab without having to hike your leg up high to reach the regular running board. Installing side steps on a Ford F150 is a straightforward process that you can tackle yourself in your garage with some basic tools and mechanical know-how.
What You’ll Need
Before starting the installation, make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials:
- Side steps kit specific for your Ford F150 model year
- Wrench set
- Socket set
- Drill with various drill bits
- Marking tools like pencil or tape
- Protective equipment like gloves and eyewear
You’ll also want to park your truck on a flat surface like your garage floor and engage the parking brake before getting started. Disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery is also recommended to avoid any electrical issues during installation.
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Positioning the Side Steps
Once you have gathered all the tools and prepped your truck, it’s time to position the new side steps. Here are the key steps:
- Carefully place the side steps along the rocker panel on each side of the truck.
- Make sure the steps are centered and aligned evenly on both sides.
- Position the steps at the desired height and distance from the ground based on your preferences.
- Have a helper hold the steps in place while you mark the holes.
It’s crucial to take measurements and get the alignment right before marking and drilling any holes. Rushing this step can lead to poorly positioned steps.
Marking and Drilling Holes
Now that the side steps are placed exactly where you want them, mark their mounting points on the rocker panel. You can use a marker, pencil, tape, or anything that will leave a visible mark. These marks will act as a guide when drilling the holes.
Refer to the instructions provided with your side steps kit to find out the specific drilling details like hole size, depth, and drilling pattern. Make sure to wear protective eyewear before drilling.
Go slow and steady when drilling the holes to avoid any mistakes. It may also help to start with a smaller pilot hole before gradually increasing the size to the final diameter. Removing any burrs or sharp edges around the freshly drilled holes using a file is also a good idea.
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Certain side step kits come with detachable brackets that bolt onto the rocker panel before the steps can be attached. If your kit has brackets, hold them up to the marked locations and drill holes for securing the brackets themselves.
Again, follow the guide that comes with the side steps for proper bracket orientation and hole sizes. Use the provided hardware like bolts and washers to securely fasten the brackets along the rocker panel according to the manufacturer’s torque specifications.
Attaching the Side Steps
Now comes the exciting part – attaching the side steps themselves!
If your kit came with brackets, simply bolt the steps onto the brackets using the supplied screws, nuts, and washers. Tighten everything down snugly, but be careful not over-tighten.
For side steps without brackets, lift the steps up to align with the drilled holes in the rocker panel. Insert the provided bolts through the steps into the rocker panel holes. Use washers and tighten down the nuts until the steps are firmly secured.
No matter the style, take the time to properly attach the steps and confirm they can hold weight without moving. The last thing you want is the steps coming loose down the road.
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Testing and Adjusting
Before calling the installation complete, test out the newly mounted side steps:
- Give them some gentle pressure and shaking to verify secure attachment.
- Step on them to ensure they can easily hold your weight.
- Check that the steps are level from front to back and not tilted.
- Make any adjustments to alignment or tightness as needed.
Taking a test drive around the block is also wise to check for any rattling or vibration issues.
Repeat on Both Sides
Now that one side is fully installed, follow all the steps again to mount the other side steps on the opposite rocker panel.
Taking the extra time to properly install both side steps makes the end result look clean and professional. It also ensures the functional benefits of having sturdy and long-lasting side steps.
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Brand and Model Specific Tips
While these general guidelines work for most side step installations, the exact process can vary based on the specific product you purchased.
Always refer to the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your side steps kit for tailored mounting details. There may be additional steps required or a different order of operations.
Watching video tutorials made specifically for installing side steps on your Ford F150 year and model can also provide helpful visual demonstrations. Taking the time to do the job right will pay off with side steps that function great for years to come.
Helpful Installation Tips
Here are some extra pointers to keep in mind for a smooth and successful side step installation:
- Use thread locker fluid to prevent bolts from loosening over time.
- Cutting away sections of the factory splash guard may be necessary to fit the side steps.
- Start with hand tightening bolts then use wrenches for the final torque sequence.
- Have a helper provide an extra set of hands when positioning and holding the steps.
- Insert washers between step brackets and the truck body to prevent corrosion.
Taking simple precautions like disconnecting the battery, wearing gloves, and properly supporting the steps will prevent injuries or damage as you work. If at any point the instructions seem unclear or you’re unsure of the next step, don’t hesitate to reach out to the manufacturer’s customer support team for guidance.
With the right tools and some mechanical aptitude, you can install new side steps yourself and save on labor costs in the process. Just focus on each step methodically for professional looking results. Then you can hop into your Ford F150 with ease and enjoy the convenience of upgraded side steps for years to come!
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Installing side steps on a Ford F150 can upgrade both the look and function of your truck. By carefully positioning the steps, marking holes, installing brackets, drilling, and securely attaching the hardware you can avoid mistakes and end up with a quality set of side steps. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely. Take your time, use the proper tools, and don’t skip any steps. With some patience and DIY spirit, you’ll soon be stepping up into your truck with ease thanks to practical and stylish new side steps suited for your Ford.