Review: Westin Running Boards
Product: Westin Running Board
Vehicle: 2009 Honda Pilot
Level of Difficulty: Easy
After looking at the same Honda Pilot in the garage for four years, I decided it was time for a quick upgrade. I‘ve seen a few different running board styles around town and decided that adding them to our family truckster would enhance its functionality and style.
AutoPartsWarehouse has a huge assortment of exterior accessories to choose from and offers many leading brands. After sorting through all of the running board styles that would fit our Pilot I decided on simple black running boards and matching hardware kit from Westin Automotive. I placed my order and in just a few days two boxes showed up, here’s what arrived:
The long slender box contained the running boards. As I opened the box I found them neatly packed and wrapped to avoid scratches. The installation kit arrived next and was much heavier with all of the galvanized hardware, (6) steel brackets and instructions.
After reviewing the parts and instructions I organized the supplied hardware and laid out the tools required for the job, including a 3/8 drive and 13mm socket. I have a small compressor in the garage so I decided to use my air tools.
Fortunately the Pilot has enough ground clearance to reach the frame rails so I didn’t need to use a jack or lift. A creeper is handy if you have one at hand.
To begin with pull out the three support brackets and select one large bracket and two of the smaller brackets and the specific hardware to attach them to the frame rail on the driver side. The larger bracket mounts under the drivers’ door and the two smaller brackets will attach further down the frame rail towards the rear wheel. Once underneath the vehicle it’s a little more challenging to identify the threaded holes for each bracket. A flashlight and a little patience will pay off. If you have some WD-40 around that will help clear any debris out of the holes.
The first two drivers’ side brackets went on easily and the third bracket threw me a bit of a curveball.
Westins’ instructions point out where the supplied wire nut needs to be inserted (since the hole in the frame isn’t threaded) and I couldn’t get it to fit through the opening in the frame. I realized what the instructions meant to say was that’s where the wire nut should end up and that it should be inserted through one of the larger rubber plugged holes in the frame. Once I figured that out the next challenge was to get the wire nut to stay in position while the third bracket is held in position as I get the bolt threaded. The wire nut is a bit tricky to locate since you are positioning it via “remote control” with the attached wire-small movements translate to big changes in direction. After a few minutes of cursing I had a brainstorm and found a magnet to hold the wire nut in position in the frame while I held the bracket and started the bolt.
With the lessons learned from the Driver’s side, the passenger side brackets went on more quickly. Since the directions caution against tightening the hardware prior to completing the installation; I placed the running boards on the brackets and hand-tightened the bolts securing the running boards to the brackets.
The bottom line
I found that there was a bit of measuring/eyeballing the running boards between the fenders before I was prepared to tighten all of the fasteners to the recommend specification of 23ft. lbs torque.
Overall, the Westin running board install was painless and took about 90 minutes start to finish. If you are looking for an easy and inexpensive way to dress-up your late model SUV or truck I would highly recommend tackling this project in your garage sometime soon.