I recently purchased a very nice set of side steps on eBay. They were off a 97 TJ. My ride is an '03. Same model, so I assumed a similar fit...or didn't have any way to verify the fit. As it turns out, the holes on the back bracket of the side steps don't line up exactly with the holes in my frame. Close, but not exactly.
To make matters worse, and what has taken me 3 weeks of research, is that my frame doesn't have the threaded inserts (nutserts). I've been to every parts store and hardware store in town and when I tell them what I need (and show them a picture from a thread in this forum on installing nutserts) I get the blankest of blank stares. A trip to the Jeep dealership was useless. Nutserts they couldn't help me with, but did find that the OEM sidesteps for the 03 used something called an 'M-Bolt' that threaded through both holes to receive a washer a nut and secure the side steps. So it seemed I was searching down the wrong path. But, alas, they have none, don't sell them any longer, don't know where I can get some, and were unhelpful with suggestions on where to find them. I tried hardware stores, but nothing is the right fit. Seems that short of trolling the local repair shops for spare 'M-Bolts' laying around, I'm out of luck.
I just attempted drilling through the frame completely...bought glavanized bolts, lock washers and nuts, but found that the inside of the driver's side frame is lined with a row of fluid lines, securely fastened and not so flexible. So I could move them and get the bolt through, but then thing the lines would rub on the end of the bolt and nut and eventually cause a problem.
So two problems...one the holes don't line exactly up with my frame. If I have to drill holes anyway, I don't really care about drilling a new hole or two. Problem two, the fluid lines that are in the way.
Does anyone have some advice on how to get these attached to my Jeep?