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Old 08-09-2017, 04:34 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2016
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Problem mounting running boards


I recently removed the fiberglass running board/fender flare combo from my sportsmobile. A leftover of its days as a 2WD 90s style, grandpa-like rv camper van. Still 2WD but much more offroad capable these days.

Upon removing the old running boards, it became apparent that the running boards covered up some of the unsightly things hanging out from under the van like the grey water tank drain, rear AC evaporator fan, etc. Plus they were great for washing the vehicle and tying things down without getting on the roof.

I bough a pair of Icon Automotive 100" OEM style running boards. (
Anybody used these before?

I tried mounting them but quickly realized it would be impossible as the propane tank, rear a/c accumulator, grey water tank, etc were all in the way of the mounting brackets.

What running boards, nerf bars, etc does sportsmobile use? How are they mounting running boards with all the RV stuff under the van. The previous running boards, which I can only assume came from sportsmobile, were mounted using extremely jenky angle iron brackets. Clearly looked homemade but I assume the guy ordered the van with the running boards.

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Old 08-09-2017, 06:23 AM   #2
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I couldn't tell you what SMB typically uses since it is probably whatever the customer wants, but many here including me on a former van prefer the Aluminess nerf bars. They look great and if I remember right the mounting won't get in the way of your stuff underneath. It's pretty easy to be sure, though. Take some pics under the van and get them to Aluminess and they will tell you whether not their product will work for you. They aren't cheap at $695 but won't rust away and are a great product.

Ford Van Nerf Bars 1992-2007 | Aluminess

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Old 08-09-2017, 09:42 AM   #3
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I just installed Ionics on my 2013. There are 4 brackets per side. I am thinking that the side with the issues would be the drivers side correct?? If you can get 2 of the 4 to hit the crossmembers (front and one more)on the drivers side where they bolt to, you could probably pull off a good installation. The other 2, I would look and see if you can cut them right after the hanger strap hole and see if the hanger can still be mounted by screwing into the body above the pinch weld. Really you only put weight on the door area on the driver. You could also drill into the aluminum part of the step through the pinch weld and screw into that as well. My pinch weld had some holes in it from the factory.

Just a thought. I like my Ionics as the family can get in and out a whole lot easier and there's no sharp edges or gaps for my kids to get hung up on.
Tim - 2013 EB V10 Agile 4x4 SMB PH Ginger Army All Terrain Mobile HQ
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Old 08-09-2017, 11:29 AM   #4
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I've got a similar/related question RE: difficulty mounting running boards on these vans too ---

First thing I did when I bought my '95 RB was to remove the "grampa running boards" as well. (On mine they were the extruded-aluminum ones with the dead-vertical aluminum "spats" on each end that screwed up into the edge of the fender lips.)

Had no problem with things until putting in the lift kit, blah blah blah, same thing ---now it's pretty evident that having a step of some kind would be useful for ingress/egress now that the van is 6" higher from the ground.

Anyway.....when I was down at WeldTec having new rear leaf springs installed, another gentleman was having his van worked on and had just removed the Ford OEM black running boards from his rig. He offered them to me and I said heck yes! (I actually like the look of 'em, especially when paired with the black Bushwhacker fender flares).

Realized later that I've got a combination of problems to deal with if I'm going to mount them.

The first is the same issue you've got, MRR918 --- multiple SMB-installed elements hanging into the spaces that the running-board structure needs to go.

The second issue is a van-age-related problem: My van being a '95, it predates the years that these Factory Ford OEM running boards had even been my van doesn't have the already-in-place threaded bosses underneath to attach these running boards. It looks like I'll have to drill through the frame in multiple areas and somehow secure threaded bosses on my own (these running boards bolt into areas of the frame that can't be accessed from the backside, so simply drilling a hole through and using a nut/bolt can't be done.)

In short, it looks doable.... (given enough time and perhaps the right tools that can install/secure threaded bosses into sheetmetal) --- but between that, and relocating a number of the SMB stuff underneath, it looks like a significant undertaking (time-wise.)

Hey Flux --- I really do like the looks of those Ionic running boards! Do those utilize the same Factory-Ford mounting points as the OEM running boards, do you know?

Curious where the Aluminess ones secure themselves to as well. 86Scotty, I know your previous van, Rusty, was a '95 --- did you find that your van being an older one presented any unique issues when mounting those nerf bars?
Mike T
'95 Ford E250 RB30 PH
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:30 AM   #5
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Figured I'd update (and add pictures to this thread) since it's gone cold.

(and also because.... )

(Hoping these aid in furthering the discussion/aiding in helping others visualize and solve their running-board mounting difficulties as well.)

These are the OEM factory passenger-side running boards --

and "shorty" driver-side running board:

MRR918 was mentioning having challenges mounting his running boards because of the grey water tank --- me too: (this is the passenger side)

...but in my case, also because (since my van is too old (1995) to have them), the lack of factory-provided, already-in-place threaded bosses in numerous locations underneath the body. (Later-model vans seems to have these already.)

Here's the area that the driver-side board wants to mate up to / secure itself to. (In the photo I'm indicating the area where a pair of major bolts of some sort needs to be securing themselves through the running board bracket and then into the sheetmetal structure.)

And here's the section of bracket that would be mounting itself to both the pinch flange and also to the beveled area of the body structure that I'm pointing to in the previous photo:

It appears pretty straightforward that the pinch flange is pretty easily drilled through to mount one portion of the bracket for these running boards, but what's not obvious is what is the best way to secure the running board brackets through the areas of the frame that are "sealed off" box sections of the body structure, and that you can't get behind to secure a nut/bolt.

A simple sheet-metal screw just doesn't seem like it would be adequate.
Is there some sort of threaded boss that can be pop-riveted fairly easily into a hole that you drill yourself?

(By the way --- sorry if any of this seems like a thread hijack!!!
Sincerely trying to keep this conversation in play, help others with their installation hiccups too. It seems like this is a common pair of issues that SMB owners will come across if they go to mount their own set of running boards. MRR918, how are you progressing?

Still curious how the Aluminess and Ionic boards arrange their mounting brackets, vs. these factory OEM Ford boards.

Mike T
'95 Ford E250 RB30 PH
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