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Posted: June 07, 2013

Installing AMP’s Powerstep™ On Full-Size SUVs

How-To Install Power Retractable Steps To Customers With Full-Size SUVs

By Dan Sanchez

Your customers who have difficulty getting in and out of their full-size, sport utility vehicles are easy to spot. Many of them have luxury models or simply well-kept full-size vehicles that are used for daily transportation, but obviously have noticeable difficulty when getting in and out of it. Although some may see adding a powered retractable running board, like AMP Research’s PowerStep™, as a luxury item, the fact is, struggling to get in and out of an SUV can take its toll when done on a routine basis. Aside from having a retractable running board that hides under the vehicle’s rocker panel and has a 600 lb. capacity, the addition of a PowerStep™  has proven to be beneficial in helping the vehicle’s resale value as well as adding to its overall appearance.

While a retractable running board like the PowerStep™  has a control module, LED lights and motorized actuators, installing one isn’t difficult. AMP invited us to look over the installation of the PowerStep™ onto a four-door GMC Denali. Aside from some wiring and access to the vehicle’s driver’s side kick panel and door panel, the overall installation took about three-hours. When complete, AMP added a new optional stainless trim piece to the running board that further enhanced this vehicle’s overall appearance.


AMP Research
15651 Mosher Ave.
Tustin, CA 92780
(800) 309-6823


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The AMP PowerStep™, comes with wiring, die-cast aluminum linkage components, and a motorized actuator.







The actual PowerStep™ running board is made from high-strength, extruded aluminum and has a 600 lb. capacity.









A control module activates the actuators to deploy and retract the PowerStep™. The long tube supplied in the kit helps feed the wiring through to the inside of the vehicle.






The first step in installing the AMP PowerStep™ is to remove the end caps that are held in place with a hex head bolt.









The motorized actuators and aluminum linkage are assembled together.








Depending on the vehicle, the linkage is attached to existing factory holes in the rocker panels.









Here you can see how the linkage bolts to the pinch-weld seam and rocker panel with the hardware provided in the kit.











The PowerStep™ is placed onto the linkage and is secured with hex-head bolts.






For this application, the SUV will receive the optional stainless steel trim that can be slid or snapped into place on the front of the PowerStep™ running board.








The wiring for the control module is fed into the engine compartment. The module can be tie-wrapped anywhere so that it is away from exhaust heat.







Following the instructions, basic wiring connections are made to the vehicle’s battery.







In the GMC installation, the wiring is routed through a small hole drilled into the floor pan, to access the OEM wiring for the vehicle’s door.









Depending on the application, one connection is made to wiring under the factory sill plate. The instructions will tell you what color wire to T-into, depending on the year, make and model of the vehicle.







The connection to the door on this application, is routed from the door sensor, through the rubber door harness and out through the kick panel.








Once the power connections are made, the harness is plugged into the actuators.









The LED lights for the running boards are held in position with an adhesive tape.







When the door of the Denali is opened, the AMP PowerStep™ deploys to provide a solid platform that makes it easier to enter or exit the vehicle.








When the doors are closed, the PowerStep™ retracts and the only thing that is visible is the distinctive stainless steel strip that matches the rest of the vehicle.

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