Home : Product Reviews : Tow Rig : Bestop’s Power Steps

Bestop’s Power Steps

There are some things in life you can live without – but really, why should you? You’ve worked hard-you deserve a break, something nice, an amenity or two.

We saw the Amp Research Power Steps by Bestop at the ’06 SEMA Off Road Show. When it comes to running boards, it takes a lot to impress us… We’ve seen steps, nerf bars, brackets, hoops, chains with rungs, rope ladder and just about everything else-most of which either destroy your ground clearance, or offer less function that form.

The Bestop Power Steps however, are pretty slick indeed. As you’ll see in the videos below, they not only disappear under the body of your truck, keeping all but an inch, at the most, of your ground clearance, but they extend and retract in just about 1 second flat. They steps also extend the full length of the truck’s cab doors, so there’s no stepping guess work or stumbling when you enter or exit your truck – sweet!

Here’s how they work – The Bestop Power Step running boards are triggered by an electronic signal from the vehicle’s factory door sensors, then extend and retract to a convenient stepping height in about one second. They are powered by a pair of heavy-duty, super-strong, weatherproof motors. The Power Step is lowered when any door is opened and Power Step retracts when any door is closed. They move to the optimal ergonomic height for proper entry and exit without sacrificing ground clearance, it provides a natural step similar to steps found in your home. All Power Step running board components are OEM quality or better and corrosion-resistant for long service life. The AMP RESEARCH Power Step by Bestop is designed to operate normally in all weather conditions (-40F to +200F) and is built to handle up to 600 lbs. per side.

Feature Overview:

  • The Power Step is activated by an electronic signal from the truck’s factory installed door sensors
  • Extends to a convenient stepping height in about a second
  • When doors close, Power Step running board retracts flush behind the rocker panels under the vehicle, without sacrificing ground clearance
  • 600 lbs. load capacity
  • Heavy-duty, weatherproof motor with anti-pinch technology
  • Real-world tested and rated for use in climate extremes ranging from -40ºF to +200ºF
  • The Power Step operates effortlessly in snow and ice conditions
  • OEM quality, corrosion resistant components designed for trouble-free operation
  • Three year warranty
  • Includes wiring, mounting hardware, and instructions
  • Installation

    Installing the Bestop Power Steps
    Time: 7.5 Hours
    Tools Needed: Drill, drill bits, wrenches, wratchet/sockets, wire strippers / crimpers, allen wrenches

    Take inventory of your Bestop Power Step kit and make sure everything is present

    Assemble the Power Step motor to the actuator arm (note, the actuator arm must be extended when you install the motor – we discovered this later)

    Remove and replace the e-brake guides with the ones supplied in the kit

    Using the supplied tempate guide, measure, mark and drill holes into the rocker panels

    Remove the kick plates so that your next drilling step won’t go too far. Be sure to move any wires out of the way too

    Measure, mark and drill holes into the truck cab’s floor board. We used the mounting wedge as a guide.

    Install the actuator arm’s mounting wedge with the supplied self-tapping bolts

    Install the motorized actuator arms (and the non-motorized units too)

    This is what the motorized actuator arm should look like when its fully installed

    Note the double-braced mount system that’s used. The Power Step’s actuator arms are solidly in place

    Loosley install the running boards onto the actuator arms

    Disconnect the battery and install the Power Step’s electronic control unit under the hood

    Plug the Power Step’s wire harness into the control module

    Attach the large red wire to a suitable hot power lead from your truck

    Route the Power Step’s wires to the appropriate places in the truck and ensure a good weather seal

    Install the power tap adapters where the instructions tell you to do so

    Securely route all tapped wires to prevent chafing or damage

    Remove both front door panels per instructions and route the Power Step wire(s) into the door panel

    The Power Step fully installed and retracted. Note that there is minimal ground clearance loss

    The Power Step fully installed and extended. The steps are strong enough to easily hold two large men.

    We won’t kid you, installation was a real bear. Bestop recommends that you have your Power Steps installed by an authorized dealer, but we wanted to see just how tough it could be to install a set of running boards – gluttons for punishment we are.

    Be prepared to set aside an entire day or more for this project. You will need to prepare for some heavy-duty electrical wiring tasks, as well as the complete removal of each door’s interior panels, kick panels and more. There’s nothing overly challenging about the installation as long as you have a decent set of tools, it’s just very time-consuming. So, if you’re up for the installation and can set aside a day or two or time, read on my friend and see what you’ll find yourself up to. If not, give Bestop a call and find a local, authorized installation dealer – besides, you’ve worked hard – you deserve a break


    Step 1: Assemble the Power Step motors and secure them to the actuating arms.

    Step 2: Remove the emergency brake cable guides along the passenger-side frame rail, and replace them with the ones supplied in the installation kit. We’re not sure why this needs to be done, since the steps don’t come close to touching the e-brake cable, but we won’t argue, and this step only took about 2 minutes anyhow. We did notice though, that the new guides pushed the e-brake cable in such a way that it caused light contact with the frame. We don’t think this will be an issue because the e-brake cable isn’t used much. If you live in San Francisco though, you may want to bend the cable guides slightly to keep the e-brake cable from touching the frame.

    Step 3: You’ll need to drill holes in the rocker panels of the truck in 4 spots for the lower hinge points of the motor and swing arms. The kit comes with a steel template that you will use. If you can use a marker and a tape measure, you won’t be able to screw this up unless you try.

    Step 4: Mark and drill another set of holes in the upper corner of the trucks under-body so that you can mount the upper hinge points of the motor and swing arms. Using the supplied hardware, bolt the steel mounting and reinforcement wedge into place.

    Step 5: Bolt the assembled motor swing arms into place but be sure to leave them loose as you’ll have to adjust everything a bit before final assembly. Repeat this process three more times for the other motored swing arm and the non-motored swing arms.

    Step 6: Position the step boards onto the swing arms and bolt into place using the supplied hardware. While you can take a quick breather to marvel at your fantastic handiwork, don’t get too excited as the hard work is about to begin.

    Step 7: Pop the hood and bolt the Power Step’s electrical unit into place. Each installation will be different, but for our application, we installed this under the rear-most, driver’s side fender brace.

    Step 8: Disconnect your battery(s) and plug the supplied wire harness into the Power Step’s electrical unit. Locate a suitable hot lead and join this to the large red wire.

    Step 9: Next, you’ll need to identify the wires (per the instructions) that will need to be routed to both of the step actuator motors, and ones that will be routed to the inside of your door panels. Using the supplied wire splices, tap the Bestop Power Step wires into the ones from your trucks harness as indicated in the instructions.

    Step 10: Remove the door panels and prepare for some serious wire fishing and dismantling. For our application we had to completely remove the door panels, speakers, plastic seal, and more. We then used the supplied wire-routing apparatus (a thick, strong straw) to fish the wires from under the kick panel, up and through the door-to-cab rubber tube, and into the door panel.

    Step 11: Tap into the identified wires from you truck’s door harness and ensure good connections. Take several minutes to make sure that your window’s up-and-down operation won’t cut or chafe the wires and secure everything with the supplied zip ties.

    Step 12: Give everything a good once-over to make sure that all bolts and screws are now tight and moving parts are aligned. Reassemble the door panels and kick plates.

    Step 13: Reconnect your trucks battery. Go ahead and close the doors and watch your Bestop Power Steps work flawlessly!

     Step 14: Wash your truck, head inside and take a shower, and get all gussied up. It’s now time to take your better half out on the town and watch the valet attendant look in awe at your new Power Steps. Besides, you’ve worked hard-you deserve a break, something nice, an amenity or two.


    The Bestop Power Steps exceeded our expectations. The provide easy ingress and egress for nearly any size truck and they extend and retract quickly and quietly. There is minimal ground-clearance loss and when they are retracted, they disappear underneath the truck completely. Installation was an all-day affair, so strongly consider having a qualified shop perform the installation.

    If you’re in the market for a set of retractable steps, look no further than Bestop – you won’t be sorry.

    Bestop Inc.
    2100 W. Midway Blvd.
    Broomfield, CO 80020
    Phone: (800) 845-3567
    Web: www.bestop.com

    About Rick Webster

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *