Do I have to use the torque wrench to install my running boards, thinking I never going to use again and the savings on installed myself i'll going to spended on the torque wrench. Can I use a regular ratchet ?
I've never used a torque wrench when it's a simple fastening job for body components. I'm more inclined to use one when I'm in the engine and working on parts that expand and contract due to a wide range of temperature extremes.
That said, the proper way to tighten a bolt is to turn it until you feel the head start to shear off, then back it out 1/8 of a turn.
I installed the running board last week so let me share my experience. I don't have a torque wrench but I really liked to following the installation specifications. So I borrowed one from my neighbor. I used the torque wrench on all bolts that go vertically into the vehicle body and the running board. Besides, I had to put a mirror under the wrench (it was upside down) to see the correct lb/ft. However, it was impossible to use the wrench on the bracket bolts because of the limited ground clearance. I just tightened them as far as I could. I did not use Loctite on the bracket bolts but if you want to, use the 'Loctite Blue' so you can remove the bolts using handtools.
Do you have an Auto Zone near you? They loan click style torque wrenches for free amongst other tools. The click style is better and more accurate than the torsion bar type plus you can use it 'blindly'.
Otherwise, use 'wrist torque'. Basically good and tight with a 3/8" ratchet. If you use a 1/2" ratchet just choke up on the handle when tighting as to not overtighten.
OK, my running board installation is completed successfully! Maybe took me an hour and a half, but most of the time was spent on the driver's side board. I was an expert by the time the passenger side came up! Keep in mind that I assembled the sets of brackets prior to the installation. Here's some general comments:
1. I found the driver's side is a little harder to install than the passenger's, so depending if you're a glass half empty or half full kind of person, that should determine where you start. The driver's side center bracket has some, what I guess were fuel lines, that got a little in my way (see #2 below).
2. Make sure you have a socket extension - a definite help on this install in my opinion. Worked great on the bolts towards the center of the vehicle, but unfortunately was not long enough for the bolts towards the outside of the vehicle. Had to use the socket without the extension, and had very little room to work with it (especially on center driver's side bracket). The brackets are too narrow to fit a normal hand in there.
3. Leave the brackets loose as indicated in the instructions! And when attaching brackets to the bottom of the Pilot, don't tighten those bolts more than a couple turns, or you'll have a tough time getting the boards onto the brackets. Let the brackets hang low. Tightened mine too tight at first and had to back them out a little.
4. Used needle-nose pliers to pull the plugs out. Closed them and pushed the center of the plugs in with the tip of the pliers, then opened them and used them to pull out the plugs. Really couldn't be any easier!
5. When done, hand tighten the bolts as much as you can. If they get too light, use the ratchet to tighten them a little, and then they usually loosen up a bit so you can continue hand tightening. This will save you a lot of ratcheting.
6. Decided not to use a torque wrench because of the clearance. I just hand tightened, taking care not to go overboard. Lots of bolts under there, so I figure they're not going anywhere!
Other than that, there's just a lot of bolts, and not much clearance to get underneath. Just take your time and go after them one at a time without going crazy! The brackets were much larger than I anticipated from looking at the instructions.
This has to be one of the accessories that we're most pleased with, both from a function and a style aspect. My wife is 5' 4" find them handy getting in, and more especially getting out (hear lots of stories with ladies ripping their skirts without them). Also proved very helpful getting people into the third row. At 6' 1" I didn't find them to be in the way, although I do not use them. We also like they look of the running boards and think they really finish out the bottom line of the Pilot.
Here is a before the running boards pic of our Pilot.