Step Right Up

A big box was dropped off today by the FedEx peeps:

…opening her up, here’s what’s inside:

After my second go-around with the OEM Nissan step rails, I decided to swap them out for a set of Rough Country Nerf Rails. I did not want to go full slider (again, I don’t need them right now) and I was looking for a style with a drop-down step (unlike the “full length step” design of the OEM Nissan rails). I polled some of the forum members on what they had, and when I saw the Rough Country rails on an actual Frontier, I made the decision. I was actually ready to buy over the last month but they were out of stock everywhere (even directly from Rough Country). Luckily there was a recent restock, and I had a friend’s shop bring in a set for me (with the friend discount, of course!). It was a really hot afternoon but I knew this was a fairly easy and quick swap, so I got to it.

Above: Unbolting the OEM Nissan step rails required a creeper and a 12mm socket.

Above: Here’s the OEM Nissan step rail (above) next to the Rough Country step rails (below). The Rough Country rails are rounder and feel stronger/stiffer than the OEM alloy rails.

Above: When you work on your truck by yourself, you find solutions. I used a small rolling stool to hold the Rough Country rails into position while I slid underneath to align the mounting brackets to the bolts on the body.

Above: Torque wrench because we do things the right way.

Above: Side view, before and after. Unlike the “pontoon” look of the OEM step rails, the Rough Country rails sit higher up and closer to the body. the Rough Country steps are positioned exactly in the correct spot for getting into the vehicle. The pattern on the Rough Country steps are very grippy, unlike the OEM step pads that sometimes get a little slippery (especially during rainy season).

Above: Alternate view, before and after. This angle shows just how much closer the Rough Country steps sit underneath the body.

All in all the step rail swap took about an hour at a leisurely work speed. The only issue I came across while installing was the left-rear bracket; it was slightly misaligned, but that was easily resolved with a few taps with a rubber mallet. The included hardware were flanged stainless steel locknuts, which I thought was a nice touch (the OEM hardware from Nissan are just flanged nuts).