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Open Roads Forum  >  Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)

 > Glow Step Revolution Installation Tips & Issues

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profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 11/23/15 01:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you are reading this, you already know about the Glow Step Revolution (“GSR”) steps by Torklift. (I posted a review of the steps, both pro and con, over on the Travel Trailer forum – I am going to try to cross-link the two discussions, but I am not sure that is possible.) Here is the link:

Pros and Cons of the Glow Step

I am hoping that this discussion of the installation process will help you decide whether to order the steps and also will help you decide whether to do the installation yourself. I did it myself, with no help. And knowing what I now know, I would have done it the same way – no need for a professional, depending on your abilities. The job is not technically tricky at all, but there are some parts of it that are a little strenuous and that require some precision.

First, a quick note about me and my mediocre skills – this is important if you are trying to figure out whether you are up to the task of installation. I am a moderately fit semi-senior (63 years old), with moderate handy-man (handy person??) skills. I have wrenches and a hand-held power drill and a good selection of drill bits, which are necessary for this project. If you are not comfortable doing a lot of squatting and bending, this job may not be for you. If you have never drilled through sheet metal before, this may not be a good project to learn on. But if you know how to drill through metal, you are good to go. (Wear safety goggles because of the metal shards – please don’t ask me how I know this.)

Let’s get started. Removing your old steps is easy – just unbolt them from your mounting brackets. But watch out – they could fall, which could be painful (for you, if not for the steps). So I rigged up a plywood platform under the steps, supported by two ordinary tire jacks. Once I unbolted the steps, I lowered the jacks, and the whole assembly came down easily.

When you unpack the GSR and start disassembling it for installation (per the instructions that come with the GSR), pay careful attention to how the bolts are configured. I went so far as to take photos of the bolts and the whole GSR before and after disassembly, so that I could look at the pictures in case I forgot how to re-assemble things. (Please don’t ask me how I learned this trick.) As it turned out, I did not need the photos, but better safe than sorry.

I then cut a piece of scrap plywood to fit under the GSR, so that I could use my tire jacks to lift the GSR into place. In this shot, you can see that I used spring clamps to hold the plywood in place:

[image]

I then lifted the GSR into place with the jacks:

[image]

Sounds simple, right? It wasn’t, because the heads of the rear pivot bolts project out from the side of the GSR frame:

[image]

The problem is that although the whole frame fit perfectly into the space between the mounting brackets on my trailer (kudos to the folks at Torklift who built the frame perfectly to fit my brackets, per my measurements!), the frame would not slip into place until I had removed the rear pivot bolts, drilled out a hole through the mounting brackets in exactly the right place, and then jacked the frame up into place and re-installed the rear pivot bolts. (I will describe below how to do that job.)

The installation instructions that come with the GSR acknowledge that this task has to be undertaken: “Side brackets vary by manufacturer, and may need to be trimmed to clear the hardware protruding through the sides of the GSR frame.”

I did not want to “trim” the mounting brackets by cutting a big slot in them so that the bolt heads could slide upward during the installation – that would have weakened the brackets. Plus, since the brackets on my trailer are welded on, there was no way to remove them and use my drill press to drill the bolt holes. So I had to do it with my hand-held drill, under the trailer – not so easy.

The first task is to situate the rear pivot bar so that you can accurately mark the holes to be drilled. As you can see in the picture above (the one with the spring clamps), I tied a piece of cord around the rear pivot bar to hold the bar in place, so that I could mark the holes for the rear pivot bolts. (In hindsight, I should have used two ropes – left and right. Using one rope in the middle meant that the bar could get a little out of alignment, which I discovered later.) The goal is to align the hole in the rear pivot assembly with the bolt hole in the exterior frame, so that you can mark the hole to be drilled in the bracket. (This all sounds much more complicated than it is – once you have the GSR sitting in front of you, the task is self-evident.)

I then used the jacks to lift the frame up between the brackets and situated it in exactly the place I wanted it. The pressure of the jacks on the plywood held it in place. With a spring-loaded center punch, I then marked the two holes for the pivot bolts (one on each side) and also the four holes for the mounting bolts (two on each side), up at the top of the frame. You could use a grease pencil to mark the holes, or whatever, as long as you can see the marks on the mounting brackets.

I then lowered the frame out of the way, and drilled those six holes in the mounting brackets. If you are still reading this, you probably already know how to drill holes in metal. But very briefly, I started each hole with an eighth inch bit at slow speed. Once the small bit had gone through, I switched to a three-sixteenths, then a quarter, then five-sixteenths, then three-eights. Tedious and tiring, but I don’t know of an easier way.

That’s pretty much it. I filed the burrs off the holes, raised the frame into position, installed all of the bolts, and then finally attached the steps to the frame, just as described in the instruction booklet. The whole thing took me several hours (maybe four or five), over a two-day period. Other folks (who are probably more skilled than I am) have reported that it took them only an hour or two. I don’t think I could have done it in such a short time.

* This post was edited 11/23/15 01:20pm by profdant139 *


2012 Fun Finder X-139 "Boondock Style" (axle-flipped and extra insulation)
2013 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road (semi-beefy tires and components)
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westend

Shorewood, MN

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Posted: 11/23/15 02:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice write up.

You may not have discovered the use of these Step drill bits. They are a time saver and there is no need to deburr the holes, just lightly chamfer the hole with the next step larger.


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ependydad

Here and there

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Posted: 11/23/15 04:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One thing that became very obvious as I eyed up my current steps for installation is that the edge of my camper wraps around to the frame. I guess to make it prettier. What that meant, though, was that I didn't have access to the outside of the steps box without taking off a bunch of decorative trim.

I ultimately decided it was above my paygrade and am in contact with Redlands Truck & RV Service to do the install. I drop off the camper on the 1st.

I can't wait!


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profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 11/23/15 04:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Westend, I do have a full set of those step bits, but I find that they are not sharp enough for some applications, and I can't figure out how to sharpen them. I sharpen my own twist drill bits, which work just fine. The only downside, of course, is that I have to change bits when going to the next larger size.

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