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“Retractable” Steps Replace Running Board
“My 81-year-old mother loves her 2002 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500 extended cab diesel pickup, but due to her age, height and health issues she would’ve had to replace it with a new vehicle that she could get in and out of easer. She loves this pickup and was almost in tears at the thought of having to give it up,” says Darrell Hartzog, Zephyrhills, Fla.
  The pickup came from the factory with running boards but they were too high off the ground for Hartzog’s mother, who is barely 5 ft. tall. “Three years ago I lowered the running boards four inches which helped for a while, but due to her increased age she still had trouble climbing in and out of the pickup. I had to figure out a way to keep her in the pickup she loves so much,” says Hartzog.
  He solved the problem by replacing the pickup’s driver’s side running board with a pair of electric-operated, retractable steps that I bought from a local RV dealer. The steps measure about 24 in. wide. The bottom step folds down about 1 1/2 inches above the ground, which makes getting in and out of the pickup as easy as walking up a small set of stairs.
  The steps are activated by electric door sensors so they quickly drop down into position when the door opens. “When you shut the door, the steps fold back up out of the way,” says Hartzog.
  He bought the automatic retractable steps at Lazydays RV’s (ph 855 211-3333; www.lazydays.com). The steps came with a magnetic door switch and a control wiring harness. He used angle iron and flat steel to make new mounting brackets and bolted the step to them, then cut away part of the original running board bracket and welded the new brackets on for added support.
  “I used a floor jack to jack the stairs up and hold them in place while I was measuring for the mounting brackets, and I used a 2 by 4 to help keep it level on the jack,” says Hartzog. “I also painted the steps black.
  “Now when my mother opens the door the steps automatically lower down to the ground, allowing her to step up into the truck. When she closes the door, the steps automatically go back up.  She has no trouble getting in and out.”
  Hartzog says his total cost was $784.12. He paid $684.47 for the step, $39.93 for the homemade mounting brackets, $48.91 for electrical wiring and breaker, and $19.81 for paint.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Darrell Hartzog, 4738 Timberway, Zephyrhills, Fla. 33542 (ph 813 610-8079; dhartzog3@tampabay.rr.com).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #4