Installing Side Steps

**Please note that it's not NOS CJ3A side step but look like early CJ-5 step. This article need to be revised and corrected** Whether you found yourself a set of original side steps (good for you!), or you settled on a set of reproduction ones, below you will find some side by side comparisons and some installation tips.

 

Here is an NOS side step.

Bottom of the NOS step.

Note on this set, the left mount (rear) is about 1" shorter, this is because this one mounts to the hat channel.

Side view.

These are the original steps on Steve Chabot's CJ-3B.  Take note of the slanted bracket on the left, and the bolt through the side of the body.  It appears that the early steps mounted beside the hat channel and not on it.  It was also bolted through the side of the body.

 

This is a photo of one of Robert Baker's original steps.  You can see that the bracket in the top of the photo is slanted.  It actually slants back, but in this photo, since the step is bent, it looks like the slant is from the back side.

 

So, you want to install some reproduction steps?  Here is a comparison of the NOS bracket (bottom), and the repro (on the top).

NOS side bracket (bottom), repro on the top.  All four side brackets on the repro steps are 1" shorter than the original ones.

Here is my converted side bracket to mount the repro steps like the original mounting style (see below for details).

Here is the NOS rear mount.  You can see it mounts to the hat channel. 

It appears that the original step mounting style was just behind this hat channel flush with the floor.

And here is my second generation rear bracket installed.

The final install.

 

 

Here is how to install reproduction steps, or how to convert that NOS tread you found on Ebay.

Actual original steps are pretty hard to find, and if you do, they are pretty mangled.  The reproduction ones being made now are a decent copy, but that's about it.  The original steps had a diamond pattern, not like the circles you see on these.

 

The brackets supplied seem to be for a CJ-5 because there is no way the steps would mount without some modification to them.  The supplied bracket is on the left, and my modified bracket is on the right.

To modify the bracket I remove the x'd out portions with the plasma cutter.

The strip of metal on the right will get bent in, then the top mounting tab (on the bottom in this photo) gets reversed.


A bent and welded bracket is on the left.

The finished brackets ready for paint.

The only thing I did not do was bolt the left bracket through the side of the body like in the original photos above.

To mount the NOS tread, just remove the bottom mounting brackets.

I swapped over the mounting brackets and then gave them a coat of gloss black paint.

Most people wouldn't even know these steps are not original.

Those informations below was added on March 30, 2016

Here is more details about how to make the differences between side step shared by Chris Mackay.

I thought I would share the differences of the original side steps.
Ever wonder why there are two holes in your floor board on later cj2a, cj3a, cj3b and early cj5?
Those accept the front bracket for the original side step. They are drilled at the factory.
Also factory, is a small hole in the side of the tub, again on late 2a, 3a, and 3b.
That hole in combination with a stud (to the side of the hat channel) anchors the rear step bracket.
On a cj5 there isn't a stud or hole in the side.
The rear bracket is 3/4" smaller and anchors to the bottom of the hat channel.
The front bracket is mounted the same as the flat fender, through the two holes in floor.
Both types are mounted to the frame as well with another brace to two factory holes.
These steps have seen countless repairs over the years since the brackets are attached to the step with spot welds.
I've seen welding, rivots, bolts, screws and wire to try and hold them together.
There are driver's side and passenger side with both models, making it difficult to find the one you need sometimes.
These steps are hard to find and usually get ripped off since they do hang down or people have removed them over the years.
The original steps have the diamond plate pattern.
The diamonds are farther apart than today's diamond plate sheets.
The reproduction side steps have a bubble tread and are made after the cj5 steps.
Modifications have to be made to fit them on a flat fender.
I hear them referred to as the ugly steps but I love the vintage look of them.

Actual CJ5 Floor.

Cj3b floor. Early cj2a didn't have the holes.

Stud under the gas tank. The hat channel is notched around this stud. Same stud is under tool box.

Hole in the side of tub to accept rear bracket. A good sign of no body work is locating this hole.

Cj3b step. The front bracket is straight like front of a cj5 but the rear flattie bracket is tapered.

Threaded sockets in bottom of cj5 hat channel. Cleaner look with no additional bolt through side of tub.

A cj5 and a flattie driver's side step. Notice the differences in brackets.

This shows the bottom support brace that goes to frame.

And don't forget the little spacer for the side hole too. Yes, that's important to not ruin the bottom lip.
The spacer fills in the gap from the bottom lip. It's a rectangle flat stock with a hole in center.
Will cut steel stock work? Yes. You can even use a stack of washers that have the bottom cut to fit.

You can barely see the spacer on my 3b.