Series 2000 Fiberglass Running Boards
Installation For the 5.7 HEMI RAM 1500
By Mark Simonds (MrHemi)
Virginia Beach, Virginia
I’ll be the first to admit it… I’m vertically challenged. Standing at a ground-hugging 5’ 8 7/16”, it has been somewhat of an issue getting in and out of my Dodge Hemi Ram 1500. Hop in and slide out type of thing… day in and day out. I’ve read several truck reviews on the Dodge Ram, and one of the few “dislikes” was the fact there weren’t factory running boards on the vehicle (such as the Ford Explorer, for example).
So it was time to do something about it… I installed a pair of running boards.
I searched the Internet for all the different types, styles, prices, etc., and finally decided on (what I believe) to be the best out there… the Series 2000 Fiberglass running boards by Running Boards and Nerf Bars World, Inc. I was impressed with the pictures on their site, the quality of their customer support, and their knowledge of my specific vehicle.
About two weeks after I ordered the running boards online, they arrived at my door via UPS. A couple of days later I was ready for the install. I first put the truck’s front wheels up on a set of ramps in the driveway, and proceeded to place the running board along the lower portion of the side, just beneath the door opening. The installation started with perhaps the hardest part of the entire installation process… finding some way of placing the 13-pound running board on the lower panel of the truck while you mark drilling holes. After several attempts to somehow clamp the piece to the truck, I finally used blocks of wood that I stacked on top of each other until the desired high was achieved. If you can tell by now I didn’t have a friend at the time to help hold the piece. But you can do this by yourself! Improvise… adapt… overcome.
Another challenge with this installation was the lack of quality instructions… the one piece of paper that came with the running boards looked like it had been through the Xerox about 60 times. The instructions were vague to say the least, and even though the boards were for my regular cab short bed, the instructions were for a 2002 quad cab.
The boards have four holes in which to mark the bottom panel for drilling. Use a scratch awl to mark the spot for drilling (make sure you use a new metal drill bit!). After the holes are drilled, loosely attach the four lag screws (all hardware required is included). Then using the two support “L” brackets, line up the brackets to be bolted to the inner wall of the truck. A magnet is very handy to locate the steel plates imbedded in the fiberglass for attaching the bottom of the “L” brackets. Once the two “L” brackets are attached, the final step is the brace, which attaches one of the “L” brackets and then to the bed brace. All brackets are formed and/or bent to match the contours of the truck, so it limits the guesswork of the proper locations. Once the running board is level and straight, tighten all bolts. Although it is not mentioned in the instructions, I added a dab of clear silicone to every bolt to limit the chance of rust.
The final part of the installation was the placement of the running board extenders, which gives the running boards a more finished look, and run from wheel well to wheel well. The extenders, which can also be purchased as bed steps (your choice) require only two lag screws – no braces or brackets. The trick to these extenders is to ensure they line up with the running boards before attaching. The easiest way to do this is to clamp the extenders with a couple of spring clamps, then use a straight edge or ruler to make sure everything is lined up properly. Then mark the two holes while still clamped, and you’re good to go!
In summary, I would recommend these running boards to any and all Dodge Ram owners… they make the Ram look better than it already is. The paint is high quality and matches perfectly to the factory paint. And with a two-wheel drive truck (as mine is), the truck has a lower to the ground look than before. And getting in and out is a breeze now! No more hopping up to the seat looking like a little kid getting into Dad’s car…
PROS: Great look, painted to match truck, tough, fairly inexpensive compared to stainless Nerf bars.
CONS: Lousy instructions.
Purchase date: October 2003
Install date: November 2003
Install time: 4.0 hours
Tools required: Standard socket/wrench set, electric drill and metal bits, truck ramps, magnet, clear silicone.
Difficulty level (1-5): 2.5
Horsepower/Torque gains (rear wheel): N/A
Purchase link: www.runningboardworld.com/index
Purchase price: $425.00 (with free shipping and painted to match your truck!!)
Purchase vendor: Running Boards and Nerf Bars World, Inc., Grand Forks, ND 1-866-738-0803.
Application: 2002/2003 Dodge Ram 1500/2500/3500 Reg Cab and Quad Cab. All colors available.