How to Install Running Boards on a Jeep TJ or YJ (for $100!)

If you are looking for a very affordable way to install running boards for your Jeep Wrangler TJ or YJ you’ve come to the right place.

Today I want to share how to install aftermarket Jeep running boards for around $100. Keep in mind that these running boards are for a Jeep Wrangler TJ, however many other aftermarket running boards are installed in a similar manner.

A kit like I bought here works for both the Wrangler YJ models (1987-1995) as well as the Wrangler TJ (1997-2006).

Always be sure to select the part that fits your vehicle.

Time to complete: 1-2 hours

What you will need before installation

  1. An aftermarket running board kit that contains:
    – (4) mounting brackets
    – (4) bolts with (4) lock washers
    – (4) washers
  2. Socket wrench (or impact wrench)
  3. 5/8” socket
  4. 18 mm socket
  5. Socket extension (if using socket)
  6. An old towel to lay on (or mechanic rolling bed)

Below are links for the kit I used. Most of these aftermarket Jeep running board kits looks exactly the same as this one (including the hardware) but go by different brand names.

Click here to view this running board kit on Amazon

Click here to view on eBay

Step 1: Remove both body pins for each side

To start, take your running board and hold it up to your jeep the way it will look once installed. If you look underneath the Jeep you should see a rubber bushing/body mount pin (5/8” head) that should line up with each end of the running board as pictured below.

There are a few of these, so just be sure to loosen the correct ones that line up correctly.

These body mount pins are essentially the 2 anchor points that you will use to secure each end of the running board to your Jeep.

You want to start by taking your socket wrench with a 5/8” mm socket and start loosening the body pins from underneath your Jeep. This is made much easier with an impact wrench if you have one. I just used a socket set with the extension, which made it a lot easier to take off.

Mine were extremely dirty and rusted and for a lot of people, so you can apply something like WD-40 or another penetrating oil overnight to help make things easier.

Once you loosen everything, both the body pin and bushing will come off. You will need to keep this when installing your running boards

Step 2: Install mounting bracket

The next step is to take your mounting bracket and thread the pin through the first or second slot depending on the Jeep you have. For 1987-1995 you will use the back slot, and the front slots will be used for 1997-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ’s like mine.

Once you secure a mounting bracket, make sure you don’t tighten it too tight but ensure that the outside slot is facing you and ready for the next step in the process.

Once both mounting brackets have been installed on the side you are working on, proceed to step 3

Step 3: Attach your running boards to the mount

Start by threading the lock washer through the bolt, followed by the regular flat washer.

With the bolt and washers in your hand, insert it through the back of the exterior-facing slot of the mounting bracket you just installed, so the bolt is sticking out.

The end of the running board will have an opening to thread the bolt through. With one hand, hold the running board up to the bolt in the other hand, and hand-tighten into place.

At this point, one side of the running boards should be attached to your jeep while the other will be on the ground. Do the exact same process on the other side until both are firmly secure.

Once all the bolts are threaded make sure they are all tightened properly. You may even want to try stepping on them to make sure there is no wobble or movement. Some movement is normal, but you want to make sure you have everything installed properly.

Repeat this exact same process for the other side.


So there you have it!  For more tips for washing or modifying your Jeep Wrangler, check out the YouTube playlist I made here for similar mods I’ve done.

If you’d like to learn how to improve your detailing or car washing ability, head on over to my other site, for more tips and tutorials for keeping your vehicle clean.

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