Tube Steps

Replacing the factory running boards on Project SportRunner should have been a no brainer.  Unfortunately it was more difficult than I anticipated as very few companies make tube steps for this model anymore.  Westin was one option I considered, but I wanted the tubes to tuck up close to the rocker panel and I felt the Westins might hang down too far.  I never could find a picture of them installed on a 4Runner to see how they looked.  I ended up finding some I liked made by a company called Manik.  They offered chrome, stainless, and black.  I gave them a call intending to place an order for a set of stainless as they'd last forever and not rust.  I struck out again as Manik no longer made these tube steps.  I even checked into the OEM tube steps that were an option on 2002 4Runners and they too are no longer available.  Back to the drawing board.

After more searching, I finally came across a pair of tube steps that were identical to the Manik bars all the way down to the step pads.  They were labeled by a company named Mussa and sold by MotorImpact.  They appear to be a Korean company so I was a little leery, but the price was excellent so I took a gamble.  I intended to have the bars powder coated for durability, so the paint finish wasn't a huge deal and it's a good thing because the bars arrived a little scuffed on one end.  The box they were shipped in was that very cheap cardboard, but what do you expect for $120.00 a set.  One of the end caps was cracked, so I called MotorImpact and the guy quickly shipped me out a new set of end caps and step pads so now I have spares.  Customer service was actually VERY good.

For this modification you'll need:

Mussa Tube Steps (or any other brand you like)
An assortment of 1/2" drive sockets and socket wrench

I had a highly recommended local shop powder coat the tubes and associated brackets to insure durability.  The shop is called PowderXpress and they did an AWESOME job for a reasonable price.  They took notes as I told them what I wanted, were careful to tape up holes, and laid down a very nice even coat of the powder.  I had them do the tubes in textured titanium metallic to compliment the truck and provide some skid resistance, and flat black on all the brackets and bolts.  This finish is bullet proof.  They accept mail in work as well if you're not local, so give them a call to get an estimate if you have some parts you need coated.

To further avoid any rust issues down the road, I sealed the end caps with silicone prior to popping them back on the ends of the tubes.

Installation is very easy, just get a helper to hold the bars up for you while you bolt them to the frame.  No drilling is required, as these use all factory hole locations.  After installation I jumped up and down on them to make sure they were firmly in place and they didn't budge.  If you do order a set, I'd suggest getting some extra end caps and step pads as they're plastic material and will eventually wear out.  At the time of this writing I've had these for a year and they still look brand new, but better to be safe.