colorado

2012 Frontier Modifications

Chevrolet 3" Step Bars

step bars

WHY? Convenience. At six feet I'm not a short guy, but my old hips don't flex like they once did and my wife needs a little boost getting into her side of the truck.  I've used step bars on my full-size trucks in the past but didn't need them on My Nissan Frontier; that showed me that the step-in height of the Colorado is just slightly greater than on mid-size trucks of the past.  As with most accessory items the aftermarket for these bars hasn't caught up to the Colorado yet so I went shopping for some OEM units.  Besides, I really like the looks and design of Chevy's 3" step bars.  I shopped the item (GM #22929606) and--as usual--found the best price at ShopChevyParts.com, who had them in stock at a nice discount.  I placed my order and paid $487 (plus shipping) by credit card.  Be sure to shop around--you might find a better deal.  If you do, don't contact me; I don't care.

SERVICE:  Excellent.  Immediately after placing the order I received an email confirmation.  The very next day I received a shipping notification, complete with UPS tracking number.  The mats arrived just six working days after I first placed my order.  I consider that to be pretty darned good service. The step bars arrived in a large, heavy box that was pretty well banged up; I unpacked everything, fearing that there might be some damage.  I was really disappointed in the way these bars were packed; they were wedged in the box between pieces of styrofoam that was way too light to protect heavy steel.  All the bouncing in transport caused the bars to destroy the styrofoam, and when I opened the box it was broken into many chunks of foam and literally thousands of small flakes.  I'm not kidding when I say it took me longer to clean the mess out of my garage than it did to install the bars themselves.  GM really needs to pack this stuff in spray foam--it's much tougher.  

unpacked

INSTALLATION:  Not too difficult, and could be accomplished by a home mechanic with just a 13mm socket and ratchet with extension.  There were no installation instructions included.  The process was not too difficult to figure out, but a beginner might benefit from these directions:

1.  Slide under the side of the truck and locating the mounting holes.  You will find holes drilled into the frame, with larger holes filled with plastic plugs.  There are 4 sets of plugs on each side.  Remove the plugs; they will look like this:

mounting holes

2.  Slide the speed nuts through the larger hole so the threaded end rests in the smaller hole.  It will be oriented like this:

closeup

When the speed nuts are in place they will look like this:

nots installed


3.  Lift the bar into place.  You can lie on your back and bench press it or you can work smart and use a floor jack:

jack


4.  Once the bar is lifted into place, bolt it up using the supplied bolts and washers.  Snug them all up, then tighten them when the bar is aligned correctly.  Done!  Here are before and after pics:
before

after

RESULTS: Not so good.  I really like the looks of these bars, so I was pumped up after I got them installed.  I couldn't wait to try them out so I opened the truck door and stepped up and into the cab.  Problem #1:  When I stood up on the step I had to bend and hunch over considerably to get into the cab.  Not comfortable at all.  Then I stepped out of the cab and quickly discovered problem #2:  When I exit the cab and drop my legs to the ground I smack the back of my calves against the bars.  Not only is it uncomfortable, but it also deposits whatever dirt and grime is on the bars to the back of my pants.  Stepping out of the cab, onto the step and down to the ground is very awkward and not a good option.  A shorter driver might find these step bars more useful, but since they didn't work coming or going they simply won't work for me.  After two days of awkward entrances and exits I removed them.  eBay, here we come!

WORTH THE MONEY?  Obviously not.  They are well-built and attractive, but not very functional for me. Even if they had worked, they are very expensive compared to the aftermarket bars that will soon be available.