We recently aquired a 2002 Ford Escape. It’s a good vehicle, and is in pretty good overall condition. One thing that we noticed is that the running boards had surface rust so we decided to remove both, sand down the rust, prime and paint.
The truck did not cooperate.
The bolts were so rusted in place that the socket would not stay on when wrenching on it. It took about 4 hours for the brackets be unbolted from the frame, and discovered that there was nothing left of the metal, rust had consumed them almost completely.
Now the plan is to clean up the brackets, and fabricate new running boards from pipe or rectangular tubing.
The brackets were a pain to clean up, my son spent an hour removing the rusted bolts with an angle grinder.