Installing Lund Oval Step Bars, a How-To and Review
by Rob Cowen
First impression: Received the Lund Oval Step Bars via UPS, and upon opening the box, I can say they took great care to package them for the inevitable treatment by shipping people that don’t care.
After getting the bars out of the package, these things look great, and not being on the vehicle look HUGE. They are also heavy for being an alum frame, which I am thinking is a good thing.
To give Lund customer service some very well deserved credit, before I even caught it, I got an email from them telling me that the hardware package was missing for my step bars. They said the package would be sent out immediately, and true to their word, I received it via UPS 2 days later. I can tell you that had I caught it first I wouldn’t have been happy, but STILL would have appreciated the speed in which they dealt with a problem.
PREPARING THE TRUCK:
Fist thing I had to do was get the old bars off. The reason for replacing with these Lund bars is obvious, I live in the rust belt and the factory stuff had disintegrated. Before even starting I sprayed all the bolts I could see with some PB Blaster. Even with that a couple of the blind nuts that the factory uses broke, and I ended up cutting 3 bolts off with a cutoff wheel. So even if it’s not on the list of necessary tools, I would make sure you have a method of doing that before starting.
I also took the opportunity to clean up the area where the brackets bolt the body. This is an issue living where they use salt, but those guys in the south probably won’t have to worry about it.
Lund says these are no drill brackets, and true to their word, they bolt right in place of the factory ford running board brackets easy as pie. Hardest part was deciding which 3 of the factories 4 mounting locations to use. I do wish they had used 4 brackets like the factory did.
After deciding where I wanted the brackets, it was time to install the supplied blind bolts into the factory holes on the top. 2 for each bracket, except the front ones, which Ford only provided 1 top bolt hole for. I suppose you could drill a second hole if you felt the need, but I did not. It then was a simple matter to loosely bolt the brackets in place. I decided to leave them loose even though the directions just say bolt them on. So I could adjust as necessary until they were all straight.
Next was a matter of sliding the provided square headed bolts into the boards alum underside to approximately the locations that line up with the brackets. And then set them onto the truck, making sure all the bolts were into the slots provided in the bottom side of the brackets.
Next was going back and putting a washer and nut on each of the bolts and then adjusting the board for location both front to back and in or out. After locating it where it looked best, using a ½" socket it was time to tighten all the board to bracket mounting bolts.
Now, something the directions do NOT mention needing is a tape measure. I checked the height to cab and found the back sat approx 1/8″ higher then the front, so with the brackets still loose this was easy to adjust for. Then using the same ½” socket, it was easy enough to tighten all the bracket to body bolts.
Installation time on the drivers side was 55 minutes, most of which was deciding locations etc. Total time to do the passenger side? 20 minutes. Including removing the old boards, I had under 2 hours, and that was taking my time.
CONCLUSIONS AND OPINIONS
Pros: Very easy and simple installation. Good directions. If a person stayed right after it I believe you could install these bars in well under an hour, which makes them an easy Saturday afternoon upgrade.
Polymer cover and alum framing makes them very rust resistant for those in the rust belt ( I live in the Midwest, so this is important).
Fit and finish looks great. Almost too good for my truck.
Heavy brackets (at least as heavy as the factory brackets) makes them sturdy to step up on when climbing in and out of the truck.
Lund’s customer service was terrific. Before I had even noticed that they forgot to include the hardware kit, I got an email telling me it was missing and would be sent out immediately. I received the kit 2 days later, no questions asked.
Cons: I have to admit the cons are pretty nit picky but I have got to be honest. First, please note these are listed as STEP bars, NOT nerf bars. What is a pro in some instances is a weakness if you use your truck in rough off-road conditions like rock climbing. These bars are alum with a polymer cover which rocks would destroy in short order. Not a con if your truck is used for towing etc mostly.
The design of the bottom frame where the bolts go to bolt the bars onto the brackets will be a catch for salt in the winter and will possibly cause a rusting issue between the bracket and the bars.
Other personal notes: I felt for aesthetic purposes, to MY taste, they were a little long. They ended up being about 6″ longer then the cab. Doesn’t look bad at all but just note that they extend to under the bed.
I also wish they had sent 4 brackets like the factory used. This would have made it easier and stronger. No matter how I looked at installing the 3 it leaves a wide area unsupported in my opinion. They still will hold me bouncing on them fine, just looks funny to me.
Conclusion: Over all, very well designed and built bars. I personally would rate them a 9 out of 10. For me the only downfalls are the ability to catch and hold salt against the few metal parts, which in Midwest winters WILL cause rust. But for looks, fit and finish, I think they were well worth the money and a great upgrade. I would recommend them to anybody but the most severe offloading type of person.
For more information, go to LundInternational.com/.
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