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I bought my 97 back in October, and it came with un-installed factory side steps. I looked in to installing them, but it looks like I have to buy some "rivet nuts" and a tool to install them in the frame. The rivet nuts from the dealer would run me like 8 bucks a piece (I need 12-14) and I can't even tell which of the three or four rivet nut "guns" would be the best. They run anywhere from $25 up to $220.
I'm sure the dealer would hit me pretty hard to install them, and two of the local shops I've talked too don't have the rivet nut guns either. They offered to weld them, but at this point I'm thinking about just going with aftrer markets.
I need the side steps because I have a short wife and two young kids that flounder around all over the place trying to get in and out.

Ideas? Suggestions?
 

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I have aftermarket bars, so I had to buy 8 of those rivet nuts (there's a different name for them that I don't remember offhand) at my local Ace Hardware store. They also sell a little tool for about $5 or so that is a fancy bolt with a big washer on it. You thread the bolt into the nut, insert the nut into the hole, and tighten to crush the rivet nut into place. Seems like there is a second wrench involved to hold the washer thing in place, but it's been several years since I did it. I would recommend putting some JB Weld on the rivet nut before installing it into the frame. Otherwise it's just a friction fit so five years down the road when you want to take the side steps off, the nut will just spin in the frame because the bolt is rusted in tighter than the friction of the rivet fit. The JB Weld holds it in place a bit tighter so you are less likely to be screwed into drilling out the bolt/nut.
 

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They are called nutserts. I think they run about $2.50 for OEM. I got them from All Things Jeep I believe. They will sell you the bolts too but go to a hardware store and get some grade 8 with hexhead tops. The OEM bolts are Torx. I had to send them back since the first one stripped.:D

Google nutsert tool and you will find how to make one cheap.
 
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