Black running boards

anomaly

New member
We love our '07 Sprinter Passenger Wagon, but that 1st step into the vehicle has been such a hassle that we took to keeping a small stool in the van to help us get in.

We kept our eyes open for running boards with installation kit, but were sad to see only the kit through SprinterAccessories available. The key problem was that my wife didn't like the look of the hard edges and the shiny aluminum.

Some time ago I was shopping on JCWhitney.com and was thrilled to see that they had black running boards, and mounting brackets for the Sprinter Wagon. I was excited to place the order. Not long after, I was VERY sad to see that they had shipped the "Toyota Tacoma" brackets to me. I called them and they said: "Oops. Our website was wrong."

I thought - well - I could send them back..... But then never got around to it. Fast forward 2 years!

I finally decided that I
a) was tired of not having running boards, and
b) wanted to have that space in my garage free again.​

So, I began to look for a fabricator who could make brackets for me. I identified several welding shops in the area. I spent a morning driving the Sprinter and the running boards to each and asked for a quote for fabrication.
  • One place said they were afraid to take on the project because they were unsure how long it would take and how much it might cost.
  • The next place acted like I was insulting them to ask them to do the job - they were upset and complained the whole time they were looking the van over.
  • Found one who didn't even give an estimate - said "sure. We'll do it" He seemed sketchy.
  • Finally found a welding shop specializing in railing manufacture. The proprietor was nice and gave me a $200-$300 estimate.

I scheduled a day to leave the van at the welding shop and dropped it off. I thought to talk to him about how I wanted the running boards placed "front to back" on the van, but didn't think at all about how high off the ground I wanted them. (Wish I had thought about that. Thankfully the installer did a nice job without my guidance.)

The project turned out to be harder than the proprietor thought it would be. I think he eventually cut me a break on the $65/hour labor rate because he ended up charging $300 for the brackets and installation. HE even spray painted the brackets to prevent rust.

I went to PepBoys and picked up some spray on undercoating. Yesterday afternoon I sprayed it on. (See photos)

Some lessons:
  1. Put down drop cloths when painting (the undercoating drips)
  2. Wear gloves while spraying
  3. Spray from each side and underneath
  4. watch out for overspray - needed to use rubbing compound to clean up the mess

Next step is installation of the step pads
(mark and drill through the running boards, pound in the "rivets")

We'll use 3 on the passenger side and one on the Driver's side



Final step will be touchup of the heads of the "rivets" with some matte black paint
 

Attachments

anomaly

New member
Some shots of the underside - of course - the photos revealed some spots I missed. I went back and touched them up... :)

Total cost: $359 + $300 for the fabricator. Sprinter Accessories wanted $550 plus shipping and no installation. So far I'm pretty happy about it.
 

Attachments

mckids

New member
Hey, those look great!:thumbup: Really appreciate the pics from underneath. I was told that units with rear air have coolant lines that bar the mounting of passenger side rails...looks like you had plenty of room. I too carry a little stool for my disabled mom. If I have to keep mine, I'll keep trying to find auto/electric steps that will fit and don't cost $2000.
DeeMc
 

Chandlerazman

New member
Nice looking install. I love your van color. There was a discussion about optional colors and someone posted that all vans start out as white and then get painted over at the factory to the customers color. Others chimed in that it was not the case and that the vans with optional colors only had that color applied. In your underside photos it is clearly revealed that the van started off as a white version at the factory and repainted. I could be wrong in assuming that you bought the van in blue and not had it painted. Either way, your van looks awesome!
 

Sprinterplumber

New member
yeah i think that's the case with mine too... Steel Blue but paint doesn't look like it's the van's original color.
 

SYCO GT

New member
Very nice! Adds a sporty and rugged look. Enjoy! Thanks for the pics and info. I'm looking into some options now.
 

SYCO GT

New member
I just installed mine yesterday, bought them from running board warehouse. Black aluminum.
 

Okie Rick

New member
I just installed mine yesterday, bought them from running board warehouse. Black aluminum.

SYCO,

Have you posted any photos of the black running boards from runningboardwarehouse.com? I had the aluminum ones installed on my '06. The truck customization shop that put them on quoted me $30 to install them but charged $60 to put them on saying they were more difficult than they had imagined.
If you have any photos would you post them?

Rick
-
 

SYCO GT

New member
SYCO,

Have you posted any photos of the black running boards from runningboardwarehouse.com? I had the aluminum ones installed on my '06. The truck customization shop that put them on quoted me $30 to install them but charged $60 to put them on saying they were more difficult than they had imagined.
If you have any photos would you post them?

Rick
-
You definitely got a good deal on the install. I would have gladly paid $60 to have someone else put them on. You have to assemble each bracket yourself, did you see how many pieces of hardware there is. Even if you paid $90 - $100 to have them installed, it would probably be fair. I saw the estimate on their website said 1-2 hours. Yeah, if someone did it regularly, you could probably get it done in 2 hours. But, even if I had to do it again, I'd pay $60 - $100 to have someone do it.

Of course, when you do it yourself, you know it's done to your liking. The instructions could definitely have been better, but were acceptable.

I haven't taken pics yet. Soon.
 

SYCO GT

New member
A quick photo from my camera phone pre-install that shows some of the hardware and brackets. It all works very well, and is solid and sturdy install. Good quality hardware. But it's like an erector set when you open the parts - you have to assemble each bracket into what is shown from the parts, and brackets vary depending on intended location of mounting.

Board itself seems nicely finished, and I personally am quite pleased with the black, although silver would be nice too.

 

Okie Rick

New member
SYCO,

Did you order this online or contact them before placing your order? Reason I ask is the boards I got from www.runningboardwarehouse.com were advertised for '04-'06 models. Those are sharp looking - are they the black boards advertised with the aluminum boards or the Aero-Tec Premier Running Boards? Also did you give up your front MB mud flap?

Yep, I did see all the different flat and angle metal pieces of hanger brackets. That's what had me looking for an installer. Mine would have layed around here forever before one of four grown-up type men living on this 43 acre family owned piece of land would have tackled the chore. It's a sad situation here getting some help, I've started to hire a "handy man" for jobbs I need done.

Rick
 

SYCO GT

New member
Mine are for 2007+ Sprinter, they are the +$30 option for black aluminum running boards.

As you can hopefully see in the photos, the front mud flap remains.

There is a bit of (uncoated) silver showing on the edge of the end caps, but I will finish that up later.

 

SYCO GT

New member
Nicer on white than I imagined.

Thanks-
Rick
Thanks Rick. I'm really happy with them. I didn't want to get any type of running board at first, since I wasn't really into the look, and I was afraid I might lose ground clearance.

But they have been a treat to use. Makes it a lot easier on everyone. I figured that black would be least noticeable. But they add a nice touch.

I'm definitely glad I got them. Seat swivels next!
 

Mrdi

Active member
Sysco
Did you lose ground clearance?
How much?
 

SYCO GT

New member
Sysco
Did you lose ground clearance?
How much?
Still have about 8 - 9 inches clearance from the ground to the running boards
 

HappyFamilyVan

Captain Ahab
Can you send shots from underneath? Did you use existing holes or did you need to drill?
 

SYCO GT

New member
Did you use existing holes or did you need to drill?
You need to drill into the pinch welds on both sides of the Sprinter. I drilled pilot holes, then the actual holes. Very straightforward.

For the rest of the mounting, you use the supplied self tapping screws. I used a cordless impact wrench for that portion.
 

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