AMP Research Power Step Running Boards Review

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When someone with AMP Research contacted us a few months ago and offered up a free set of their power step running boards, we passed. We didn’t have a donor vehicle lined up, and we felt like this particular part might be a little extravagant for the average Tundra owner. Unfortunately, we missed out on a good opportunity. When we realized that these power step bars have a very utilitarian purpose – helping passengers step-in to a lifted truck while also maintaining ground clearance – we had to pay AMP for a set of their power step boards for review. We didn’t pay full price – AMP helped us out – but next time we get offered a free part for review, we’ll say “yes” without hesitation.

AMP Research has an interesting story. The company was founded by Horst Leitner, an accomplished motorcycle racer and the inventor of the Horst link suspension. The Horst link suspension revolutionized mountain biking, and gave Leitner the funds and credibility to start AMP Research. Today, AMP Research provides a variety of components to many auto manufacturers.

AMP power step running boards. All the parts.

On the left, the kit in the box. On the right, all the major pieces laid out.

The AMP Research power step running boards are just what we would expect from an Austrian engineer. The components are precisely machined, robust, elegant, and simple. The running boards in the kit are especially impressive – very lightweight, but also very strong. The top surface of the running boards is textured so your feet won’t accidentally slip when you get in and out, and AMP says their running boards can support as much as 600lbs (that’s on each side). Considering just how lightweight the running boards are, that’s an accomplishment.

The running boards. Wiring harness.

The super strong and lightweight running boards are impressive (left), and the wiring harness (right) is OEM quality.

The kit isn’t terribly complex – you get two boards, two motors, four hinges, a wiring harness, and some miscellaneous parts to put it all together. If we had to choose something to complain about, it would be the fact that the hinges are the same for both sides of the truck. It’s not a functional issue, but it seems sort of weird that the hinges and motors aren’t symmetrical. Because the hinges are the same, on one side of the truck the motor faces forward, on the other it faces backward. It’s probably not something you would notice unless you were installing the kit, so it’s definitely a minor point.

Installation is simple – until it’s time to wire everything. Bolting on the hinges and running boards will take you just a few minutes, but mounting the controller and snaking the wiring harness down each side of the motor will take you time. Having a helper will make your life a little easier, but part of the problem is that you have to crawl up on top of the engine to get everything placed (at least if your truck is lifted). Ryan (who was working on his own truck), ran the harness across the engine compartment and then secured it to the brake lines.

Hinge in the up position. Hinge in the down position.

The hinge mechanism is lightweight and precisely machined. Note the foam pads inside the hinge that act as sound and shock absorbers – they’re weather resistant and very tough.

Once you’ve got the wiring ran, you’ve still got to tap into the door position sensors. You’ll need to pull up the carpet, find the right grommets, run the wires into the cabin, pull up the door sills, and tap. Once you’ve got everything connected, you’ll witness the step boards operate. It’s not an exaggeration – you’ll say “cool” when you see the running boards lower and raise for the first time.

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AMP’s commitment to quality is excellent – we definitely give this kit our seal of approval. Installation isn’t too difficult – if you’ve ever installed a car stereo, you can handle this kit. Just don’t look at the parts and expect it to take 15 minutes. Plan for at least an hour – probably two. The warranty on the kit is 3 years, just like a new vehicle.

The power step running boards in the up position.

In the “up” position, the boards are difficult to see and protected from rocks and other obstacles. If you didn’t know they were their, you probably wouldn’t notice them.

At first glance, the price of the kit is high (about $1200). However, when you think about how nice all the parts are, what the kit does, and who this kit is really for, it doesn’t seem so bad. After all, the whole point of having this kit is to make climbing in and out of lifted trucks easier without compromising your vehicle’s ground clearance or clean looks. If you don’t care about either one of these things, and you’re not looking for a cool “gee-whiz” feature, than this kit isn’t for you. Otherwise, check it out. It’s pretty cool.

Check out AutoAnything.com for more information about the AMP Research Power Steps.

Filed Under: Toyota Tundra Accessories

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  1. patrick says:

    Are these steps exclusively for lifted trucks, or can they be used on a truck of stock ride height aswell?

  2. Patrick – These boards will work on any truck so long as a stock set of running boards will fit. AMP makes them for a bunch of trucks, Jeeps, most SUVs, etc. We’ve seen them mounted mostly on lifted trucks, which is why we made that conclusion.

  3. patrick says:

    Do you know if this product has a fail-safe against damaging itself if you were to lower it when there is an object obstructing its range of motion?

  4. Patrick – Yes, the motors feature “anti-pinch” technology, which means the motors reverse anytime they meet any significant resistance.

  5. ElectricStep.com says:

    Correction on the Anti-Pinch, the motor will stop, not reverse. This feature works during the Up or Down operation. AMP Research really pushes the word quality to the max.

  6. Oops – my mistake. Thanks for the correction.

  7. Mickey says:

    It seems to flex alot when Tanner was bouncing on it. Hope it holds for the 3 years. For $1200 it better do alot. According to my wife it better be able to cook….Who knows she’s a blond….

    • Albert says:

      Mickey idk how much Tanner weighs but you (or anyone else looking at this post since its been a few years) gotta think when jumping up and down, you’re multiplying your weight. And although 600 lbs isn’t much the flexing isn’t an issue. It’s probably just cause its a lighter material it doesn’t mean it’s less strong. Plus 600 lbs is with a margin of safety included I wouldn’t be surprised if it could hold 800 or more without an issue. I’m 300 lbs, when I get a set ill jump on em and tell y’all what happens lol

  8. Mickey – LOL. Yes, it better do a lot for that kind of money. It’s solid construction for sure, but it’s more of a “gee-whiz” part than a utility part. It looks cool as hell.

  9. Mickey says:

    Thanks for the info.

  10. Tony says:

    I just ordered a set of these for my new Tundra from # at #, along with the optional LED light kit. I can’t wait to get these things installed… my poor little 6 year old son has holy hell trying to get into and out of the truck right now. Watch this space for a follow-up with my thoughts on the install.

  11. Tony – Install is pretty easy. The only trick is that the motor mount and hinges are identical for both sides, meaning one will face backwards. It’s not a big deal, but you’ll spend some time making sure the running boards are even on both sides because you can’t use the mounts themselves as a reference point. Also, did Ray put you up to commenting here for a discount or something? Those guys are all over us but don’t want to pay for advertising. Shady.

  12. Blair Baker says:

    Im just wondering what size and back spacing the monster wheels on the tundra in the video are. I ahven’t been able to find any that look that good and would like about the same amount of backspacing as in the vid.

  13. Charles Weiss says:

    Does any of these work on a FJ cruiser? If anyone has any info please let me know. THANK YOU EVERYONE.

    • Davey de castro says:

      Powerstep fj ..i also have a lifted fj and in searching the net like crazy for a powerstep ..dit find anyting sire? Thank you

      • Jason (Admin) says:

        Davey – AMP is the only company I know of that offers power retracting boards. I can’t imagine they make them for the FJ. However, you could easily modify a Tundra kit to function on the FJ or any other truck for that matter…

  14. Blair – Those are recommended ProComp wheels for the ProComp 6″ lift – does that help?
    Charles – They can be adapted to work I’m sure, but I don’t believe that they’re available for the FJ.

  15. Goofballtech says:

    I think the backspacing is +12. I have Incubus alloys and a 6″ Procomp lift too and my truck sits about like that one. Seriouslt thinking about picking up a set of these.. i think they look very clean.

  16. Goofballtech says:

    Got my powersteps installed. Took 4.5 hours by myself. Thats from Openning boxes to everything picked up and includes the LED install and removing the running boards i already had on there. When they say they made these for the tundra they weren’t playing… wires were almost cut exactly to length.

  17. Goofballtech – Thanks for commenting man – good info.

  18. TXTee says:

    Bumping this thread – I want more info on experience with these after install. I’m thinking of getting them at the same time as a lift and also want to see the LED portion since I’m thinking of doing an underglow lightkit too.

  19. Ryan’s truck still has them and they’re still going strong as far as I know. What info were you looking for?

  20. Goofballtech/Tony says:

    Don’t know what made me click on this thread but mine are still working great. I can’t really say there is anything i don’t like about them. Just fun to wash both sides when you at the car wash. Have to open the door, then put your foot on the step and push down slightly. Then close the door so the step stays down and you can wash the tops of them with pressure. But….. overall thats a minor issue. Everything else is great and they make a good first impression for passengers.

  21. Goofballtech – Thanks for checking back in on this post – appreciate you sharing your experience. Good point about washing them – never would have thought of that!

  22. tricky ricky says:

    To give some feedback on the amp powersteps reliability over the long haul…I work with a construction contractor who put them on a “test” truck in his fleet of about 5 or 6 F-150’s, 250’s (sorry, I know this is a tundra site…I see a lot of Ford trucks in industrial and construction use).

    Anyway, I seen them on his one truck at a visit to me and thought they were cool. Two years later, I called him up inquiring about the amp research power steps and he says all of them on his vehicles are working fine…including the first set on his first “test” truck…about 6 years of use. Only “minor” item is that up here in chicago and lower michigan/wisconsin areas…he says if you get a lot of slush or water on them and it freezes…they have to kick them a bit to get the anti-pinching to not hinder movement…then spray them on these rare occassions with a little wd-40 or equivalent. He and his crews love them…and keep in mind these guys use these trucks non-stop every single day…nearly seven days a week and almost year round in tough industrial environments…lots of in and out of the trucks.

  23. Jason says:

    Tricky Ricky – First, no apologies re: reporting on a Ford. I like all trucks and welcome all comments.

    Second, thanks for the feedback. Based on your comments and others it sounds like these are great quality parts.

  24. Kris says:

    I do have to admit, I love my powersteps. When they work. I drive a lifted 05 excursion, and they were on the truck when I bought it last year. So, they can’t be that old. They work when they want to, both up and down. Which can be a huge problem for my 4’9″ girlfriend. Especially when they stay up and she steps out. I have done some troubleshooting on them, not everything in amp researchs’ guide yet. I’m hoping to get them working properly, because we do love them.

  25. Jason (Admin) says:

    Kris – That’s interesting…I’ve seen them have problems too, but usually because there is some sort of obstruction (like ice). Curious to hear what could be causing problems as I agree they’re pretty new.

  26. cory says:

    anyone have any experience with these on gravel roads and snowy conditions. i have been wanting to buy a set for a couple months now for my lifted tundra but i live way up north in canada and the cold weather and snow have been a concern of mine, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
    thanks

  27. Albert says:

    Does anyone know if these work with a body lift?

  28. Todd says:

    These came stock on my 2012 F150 (platinum). I had my concerns about them managing the tough Northern Alberta winter and abusive gravel roads in the Oil sands. Much to my delight they have been flawless in function. The ford comes with the option to switch them off and to keep them open. Great for washing. They retract as soon as the vehicle reaches 20kmph. They will be going on my next truck without hesitation. Likely the trd pro Tundra.

  29. John says:

    The problem I have seen with these steps are they have a plastic gear in the motor. My passenger side has already stripped the gear out and they are only one and half years old.

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