Friday, August 28, 2020

"Side Assist Steps" for the New Truck

 Even though it's not too bad climbing in and out of the truck, I'm thinking ahead to Winter when you may not have good footing. GM offered a cool looking set of steps for $800, plus installation, and I thought that was a bit too much.

After going through the forum, and doing some googling, I found a set of "iArmor" side steps for $300, with Free Shipping.

 Took about  five days to get here, and they arrived in excellent condition. I spent a few hours last night going through all the parts, and assembling the step to the support rails.


These are a nice design, made from square aluminum tubing, and the step sections appear to be die-cast aluminum, with a whole lotta bolts to secure them to the support rails.


Most of the welds look to be "acceptable" to me, as seen below, but one on the other rail assembly looked a little funky to me.

"OK" weld:

"Funky" weld:

Not as pretty as I'd like, and it sure ain't no "Stack of Dimes" weld!

These steps are "rated" to support 300lbs, and I think they'll be OK.

And we now have some fully-cured primer, ready to apply another layer of filler, followed by more sanding.

I'll get back on that tonight. I have to get some rattle can bedliner to spray the "pinch welds" with on the truck before I install the new steps. That will cover the RED paint on the under the rocker panel on the truck so it doesn't come blazing through the gaps and openings in the new steps, giving the truck a more "finished" appearance.


  1. I always worry that steps are made in China and that the powdercoat and welds may not be what hoped for.

    1. I would have preferred American made, but all the ones I could find were either two or three times as expensive, or looked too "Mad Max" for me, and/or didn't have the drop-down steps. I wanted aluminum as the steel ones add over 100lbs to the truck, and these weigh about one-third as much.

      The welds look "OK", but definitely not "Pretty". The penetration looks good, and they don't look overheated, so I'll live with them.

      And the included hardware leaves a bit to be desired. All the bolts, T-bolts, nuts, and washers were in a couple of plastic bags. As a result, some of the threads got dinged up, and the nuts didn't want to cleanly start. I could see where a person could easily cross-thread some of them if they used brute force to get them on.

      I fully expect the "power coating" to be trashed in a year or so. So I'll take them back off, and have the guy who did the bedliner spray them. I think he said they charged about $75 to clean and coat a set of nerf bars/steps/running boards if they're off the vehicle.

      I could do it now, but I'd have to see when he could get me scheduled in to do them. Seeing as we're about 7 weeks from first snow, I'd rather get them on the truck now. I'll use some anti-seize on the mounting hardware so the Chinesium steel alloy they made the bolts from don't permanently fuse together.

  2. You are smart thinking ahead to winter. Have you thought about grill guards? Deer country. Speaking of deer and other critters, some mental preparation is in order. More people are killed swerving to avoid hitting a deer than actually hitting one. Single vehicle roll over accidents are all too common.

    1. Still looking at grill guards/bull bars. Not a lot available yet for a 2020 Colorado that don't look all Mad Max....

  3. On your steps, when you assemble them, use Never seize on all threads and bolts.

    It gives you a fighting chance if you ever have to disassemble them for any reason a year or three from now.

    1. I'm using anti-seize on the hardware that holds them to the truck. I used green LocTite on the hardware securing the steps to the rails. Green LocTite is used on already assembled parts, after all the parts are aligned, and the fasteners torqued. You just apply a small amount to the assembled fasteners, and it wicks into the threads, locking the nut and bolt together. It's not super strong like the red, just enough to vibration-proof the hardware.

      While I want to be able to get the hardware used to mount them to the truck undone, I don't want the steps to come loose from the rails, hence the green LocTite.

  4. I'm thinking that when it's cold, and there is ice and snow around, you might call them................. Steppes.

    Green LocTite? My thread locking knowledge needs an update and I'm off to the LocTite website.

    The "stack of dimes" is what I want my welds to look like, but they have yet to achieve that goal.
    I will say that my best welding is done towards the end of a stretch of project welding.

    Maybe you can combine some electronic wizardly with hydraulics and make steps that would unstow, lift you and your passenger(s) to an easy boarding height, and then restow.
    Just because that would be complicated, not needed, and expensive does not mean you shouldn't do it!!!

  5. Most of the car companies offer a motorized "running board", but I don't think it lowers down for you to step on, and then lifts you up to get in the vehicle.

    Green LocTite is great stuff. Used it all the time on electrical connectors that vibrated loose. Just put a drop where there parts thread together, and they stay put. You can still get them loose easily, and without applying heat.

    While I know people that can weld that well, I'm not there, and lacking a welder to practice with, I probably never will be. My welds are strong, and would probably get me a "B" in shop class. One of our in-laws is a very good welder, with equipment, so if I need anything welded, I'll just call him.

    1. " a very good welder, with equipment, so if I need anything welded, I'll just call him."
      Always a wise choice.

    2. He's also a solid fabricator. He converted a "semi" tractor into a YUGE dump truck by taking off the fifth wheel, building up his own hydraulics, and mating a used dump box to it all.

      And it looks like it rolled out of the factory that way.

    3. My welding skills improved greatly upon completion of an Introduction to Welding night school course at a suburban tech high school.

    4. I did the same thing about 40 years ago. Technology's changed, though, and I never had much practice time with TIG/MIG.


Keep it civil, please....

Update On The Pioneer SX-780 and Speakers

 Sooooo....I dragged the two speakers I made some time ago out of the basement, and set them up with the SX-780. When I used these speakers ...