Torklift GlowStep Revolution stairs
In the spring of 2016 we had a 3" lift installed on our trailer to give us more clearance for the slope of our driveway. It works like a charm, but of course it raised the bottom step from the ground another three inches. In the summer of 2016 I was contacted by a representative of Torklift International. She had seen my posts on a web forum regarding their GlowStep Revolution stairs and wanted to know if we would like a free set to install and evaluate. I promised to take some measurements and get back to her but once I did, it didn't look like the steps were going to fit - their narrowest steps are 25-1/2" wide, and our stock stairs were only 22" apart. We were invited to choose another product to evaluate for free, and we went with their solar battery box.
In the spring of 2017 I had a closer look at the stair mounts and saw there was a way it could be done. I contacted Torklift and learned that the generous offer was still open - if I could show how the stairs could be mounted, they would send me a set.
The key to the fit is in the brackets. The stairs bolt to the brackets and the brackets bolt to the trailer. Here's one of the brackets (the stairs occupy the right side of the photo).
On more than one occasion I laid under the trailer staring up at the brackets and wondering what could be done to expand that 22" gap to 25-1/2". I figured I was going to have to get some custom brackets made and I got as far as designing them before the light bulb switched on. There are left and right brackets; what if I just swapped them? Then they'd look like this.
Swapping the brackets took the gap from 22" to 25-1/4". So close... I just needed another 1/4" of space, which could be accomplished by moving each bracket further apart just 1/8". To do that, I milled out the mounting holes by 1/8".
Once the brackets were reinstalled, we had our 25-1/2"!
I contacted my Torklift rep and she ordered the steps for me. They arrived within two days!
Installing the stairs
We unboxed the stairs and had our own QA tech give them the once-over.
Because I would be installing the stairs myself I followed the manual's recommendation and removed the steps from the frame.
After removing the old stairs from the trailer, I removed the brackets from the trailer and installed them on the stair frame to check the fit. I could see that there would be interference between the forward bracket nut and bolt and the forward cross brace on the stair frame. After some careful thought I decided clearance holes were the way to go... I'm marking the first one in the photo below.
I wanted a 7/8" clearance hole. I started with a pilot hole, and followed that with a step drill. I drilled slowly (I estimate no more than 90 RPM) and stopped frequently to apply cutting fluid.
Before I could install the stair frame there was one more thing to do... trimming back the skirting around the stairs for the increased width. I started by marking the cut line.
Now for the cutting - first with tin snips, then with a rotary tool.
To finish up, I reinstalled the edging.
Installing the stair frame. Note the nut and bolt in the clearance hole.
Here are the steps attached.
Stowing the steps is simple. Start by pushing the bottom step in towards the trailer to collapse it.
While holding the step, lift up the locking lever.
Push the stairs into the frame...
... and secure the locking lever with the pin.
I had Dawn out for a test climb... climbing into the trailer no longer hurts her knees, and the stairs take out almost all of the bounce when going in or out.
In summary, we're very impressed so far. The stairs are extremely well made - the components are sturdy and work very well together and the fit and finish are top notch. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and with the exception of some small challenges with our particular setup, installation was fairly simple.
We look forward to putting these to the test during an upcoming 3-week camping trip!