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Toyota Tacoma 2004 and Earlier Frame Problem



  • I asked her to clarify, and she said that our Tacomas did not qualify under the "Lemon Law" as they were more than three years old.
    I'm still a little fuzzy on the details, but because there is no OFFICIAL recall underway, I guess they can't mediate? I don't get it. I was doing my civil duty to inform the state that there are countless Tacoma owners driving around in potential killing machines oblivious to their dangerous predicament, and with assurances from Toyota that their trucks are fine. Has anyone received a letter or notification from Toyota that their 01-04 Tacomas might be in trouble and to have them checked out?
    This is scary.
  • Up until a month ago I was probably one of the most active people on this list. I recently bought a house, so I had to shift my time from advocating on this issue to navigating mortages, realtors, insurance, inspections, and negotations. It's a good thing Toyota doesn't make houses, many of us would be homeless. Anyway.... Here's the message I keep touting...

    Take the time and write the appropriate agencies about this issue.

    Southland California Better Business Bureau
    Your state attorney general's office
    Your state consumer protection board
    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
    Your state and federal assemblyman and congressman
    Local news (tv and newspaper)
    60 minutes and Dateline
    Various internet complaint centers like the

    I have form letters, adresses, advice for documentaion, and I'm more than happy to help you. I had a 2001 Tacoma and was RIPPED off by Toyota. I'll do everything in my power to make sure that
    1. Dangerous trucks are taken off the road.
    2. Toyota pays a fair market value for those trucks
    3. All customers affected get the same treatment. Currently, 2001 and newer truck owners are completely hung out to dry. No loaner, no full value, no dealership asistance.

    I know a few people are talking about class action stuff, but that won't happen until an attorney feels the pressure is on enough to take this case head one. Toyota is a multi-billion dollar corporation, and without strength in numbers, I doubt much will happen. Keep making calls, kee writing letters, and keep the pressure on.

    Toyota gave me $3,000 less than what I paid for my truck when I bought it last year. I recently heard toyota has formalized the 2001+ buyback program. If this is so - what are people getting? Rental? 150%? I got niether and I'm considering going for the rest in small claims court but not without vlaidation that Toyota has stepped up to the plate for some folks but not others.
  • I read some where through these threads about someone contacting bostonchannel5, so I did last night, they replied back this morning asking me where I live and if I was willing to do an interview with them. So, maybe this is another route for people to start complaning to them as well...I understand they did an investigation on the earlier models, I will let you know further about this. The only problem I have is that I am located in Maryland, possibly they would consider an interview over the phone, come on folks!!!!!! Let's explore every option we have. considereing there are not too many left.
  • find out what they want to do for the interview..
    is this regarding an 01 - 04 truck ?
    toyota will not buy back trucks if they are 2001-2004 they are only going to replace the frame..

    I just got my offer and it was lower than what I think was fair..
    I argued with Keven ( toyota case manager) and he did not care about any point I made and said "toyota is not in the business of buying back trucks" and my buyback was a "Good will" buyback.

    the long and short of it is,
    toyota doesnt care about how this affects their customers, they are only concerned with how much this will cost them.
  • rachelfrachelf Posts: 12
    OK, so I've got an 02 with the disease.....did the yada yada w/ Kevin, and my service mgr. called to inform me of the frame replacement (bummer) I was ready to upgrade to the 4 door Taco- my inspection expires end of Jan. they told me to turn the truck in and I will get a loaner.....they dont have the parts, and dont know when they will......
    Mr. Service Mgr. metioned that during the "repair" it might be a good time to replace/fix parts that are easily accessible such as fuel/brake lines........ I want to know if any of you know what exactly is included in the frame repair.....a mechanic pal said that Toyota should be responsible for the lines, because they are gonna mess them up during surgery......See where I'm going w/ this ?
    What are the parts that are included with the frame ( I'm a mechanical dummy). I want to go in there knowing exactly whats what.......I am hiring an honest mechanic to put the truck up on a lift and show me the whole deal. I dont want to pay for parts that Toyota is responsible for. Anybody got some info on this?
    Also I'm scared, 'cause I'm one of the first frame jobs for this dealership- being the test monkey doesnt make me feel the love..........
  • Hi

    I ended up working something out with the dealer. They gave me a fair trade in value for the truck. A number that reflects market value of what it would be worth if it did not have a hole in the rusty frame. They then let me use that trade value towards a heavily discounted 09 Tacoma. I wanted 1.5 KBB but Toyota Corp (vs dealer) are being unreasonable about this. I don't have the 3+ months I was quoted for a frame replacement and I don't trust it will be done right, we are talking major surgery. I took the trade deal. The problem goes away, I have a new 09 that was 'heavily' discounted on $$$, and the many months of waiting and Toyota Corp BS is no longer my problem. Also FWIW they did give me a rental for no cost for the 3/4 weeks that it took to work this all out. In the end 99% of this is Toyota Corp, and not the dealer (or mine anyhow) I had already bought 2 there, and the General Sales Manger made it happen. Very nice lady.

    Glad it's all over, I will not miss dealing with Ms. Bishop from the Corp office in CA.

    Good luck to everybody...

  • Hi

    Before I worked out a deal with my dealer, Toyota Corp (Ms. Bishop) REFUSED to provide me with the list of parts in writing/email/fax.


    Toyota's Legal Dept Address is:

    Toyota Motor Sales USA
    National Customer Relations
    19001 Southwestern Ave.
    Dept HQ11 Torrance, CA 90509
    Attention: 2001-2004 Customer Support Program (Tacoma)

    Good luck folks...

  • I agree with rachelf, this frame replacement open heart surgery is going to eventually cause palpitations to our wallets. Toyota will find a way to tack on extra charges for stuff that breaks in the course of the frame replacement. If the frame is rusted, that other stuff is rusted. I expect to have to replace tie rods, exhaust system, etc, as thrashing on that rusted stuff is going to cause failure. I'd just as soon not be responsible for $600-$700 in additional costs arising from this frame replacement. I'm even going to have to replace my oil pan when the engine is out of the truck. I bet I'm personally looking at $1000 out of pocket expenses at frame replacement time. That's why in this economy, a buyback is the best solution for us owners.
  • I had my 97 Taco inspected yesterday. I have owned it since 2002 and have almost 200,000 miles on it. The inspection showed no rust corrosion on the frame. However, I purchased and drove it in Southern California where the climate is mild.

    I now live in New England and the dealer told me to bring it back in one year for another inspection.

    I plan to get the frame undercoated as soon as I can afford it. I would rather drive my Taco until it falls apart than part with it.
  • Undercoating only does so much. It tends to trap whatever is already on the frame beneath the undercoat and just speed up the rusting process. This is particularly true with road salt. Welcome to New England!
  • the frame replacement is a bad idea has I have mentioned before however I heard that the frame will come with kits containing new bolts and related parts that they expect to be rusty.
  • Has anyone with a 2001 - 2004 Taco received a letter yet detailing the new frame replacement program? My case manager told me letters were going out in early January, yet my dealer's service manager (whom I check with at least weekly) still has not heard any details about what the dealers are supposed to be doing or when. I agree with mcalautt, frame replacement is a bad idea, and I've had other ASE mechanics tell me the same thing. My case manager told me that it will be at the dealer's discretion what gets replaced as part of the frame transplant vs. what the Taco owner needs to lay out $$$ for. That will just result in more PO'd Taco owners...
  • Its my opinion that toyota does not care.. they are only concerned about how much they will need to pay out.
    I have a 2001 and was lucky to fall into a buy out.
    My case manger (Kevin) basically is the middle man between us and corporate.
    He made sure he kept saying that they are buying mine back as "good will" as the 2001 - 2004's are all getting a frame replacement. I argued that frame replacements
    are NOT the answer and that toyota is going to really damage their customer reputation. HE said " we are not in the business of buying trucks back"
    I dont have enough room here to begin to tell you what I said.
    Imagine that, they are not in the business to buy trucks.. I said, "consumers are not in business to buy trucks that only last 5 to 6 years.
  • Hey! That was me reccomending the contact with BC5. I've tried in vain to get my local, Albany NY paper and TV stations involved. I'm glad you made some headway. If there is anything you need at all I'd be happy to help. I have pictures from others and copies of every letter I've written as well. please keep the board posted and share the video!

  • If you want to get the local papers involved, just blame it all on George Bush. :)
  • I am in agreement with the others who have posted. I own a 2002 with a rusted frame. When I spoke with Toyota Corporate about it they advised that Toyota will only replace the frames and not buyback any of the 2001-04 trucks. I too feel I should not be responsible for the numerous items that are bound to fail when performing such a major undertaking. Toyota will not even specify what they are will replace beyond the frame itself. I paid more money for a Toyota truck because I had believed in their legendary reliability and durability. Toyota needs to do right by us owners of later model Tacomas by providing the same program offered to owners of 1995-2000 Tacomas. We should not be discriminated just because we purchased newer model trucks.
  • I agree with you.,
    the case manager I had (kevin) claims there were no frames avail for the 95 - 00 tacomas which is why there was a buy back.
    the bottom line is, even though they are pretending to care, they dont. they are only concerned about their total cost on all of this.
  • rachelfrachelf Posts: 12
    So I went to my local mechanic- a great and honest man, and he put my truck up on the lift and proceeded to show me just how much stuff is related to the frame.... I also saw the rust on the frame, which is bad- but not horrible- YET.
    Here are a few things that will need to be replaced because of removing the existing frame:
    Engine mounts
    Cad mounts
    Upper and Lower suspension along w/ control arm......this will lead to a need for re-alignment
    Brake lines and brackets
    Fuel line and brackets
    Spare tire mount
    Evap unit
    All this and probably more- he guesstimated the cost at $2000 ! Plus I already have an existing whole in my gas tank (from rust.what a surprise) I go into my dealer next week to turn in my truck (my inspection expires 1/31/09) . I am going to try and negotiate w/ the dealer on these repairs.......we'll see what happens. I am not very good at playing the heavy- but I will not pay for repairs that I am not responsible for.
    BTW, my mechanic chrged me $16 for the look over.......i should just take the parts and let him do the work.......
  • cman23cman23 Posts: 3
    Just a little info about the 01-04 vehicles, there will be 1,000 frames available at the end of the month. The frames are being manufactured in a plant in Kentucky and were originally manufactured in the U.S. and obviously assembled at the NUMMI plant in Fremont, CA.

    There is no technical procedure released at this point for the frame replacement, and no info as to what is included with the repair kit. They obviously know what the major components are that will need replacement along with the frame. My suggestion is to seek a dealership with a Body Shop if at all posssible, they will be more familiar with the type of repair and procedures involved.
  • The following is a letter that I've sent the NHTSA. I've pulled out all the stops trying to get someone to do something about our Tacomas. I've contacted the bostonchannel, 60 minutes, the Mass AG, my congressmen. It's a long read. I go into detail on what the problem is and why logistically, I feel Toyota won't be able to adequately perform their proposed fixes on our vehicles. That leads us to only one logical conclusion - buyback.


    I am the unfortunate owner of a 2003 Toyota Tacoma. By now I'm sure you've heard all about the frame corrosion problems with the 1995 - 2004 Toyota Tacoma pick-ups. I believe that this is a much bigger problem than what Toyota is telling you folks at the NHTSA. The magnitude of this problem and the logistics of Toyota's proposed fix leaves the NHTSA no choice but to force Toyota to initiate a mandatory buyback of these dangerous vehicles. The conditions of the buyback should follow the precedence set by Toyota on Toyota's voluntary buyback program for the '95-01 Tacomas - 1.5 times the Kelly Blue Book retail value. Tacoma owners, such as myself, must be fairly compensated for unknowingly driving an unsafe vehicle and for the inconvenience of for being prematurely forced to look for a replacement vehicle. All this frame trouble is artificially depressing the Kelly Blue Book values, hence the 1.5 times Kelly Blue Book basically makes Tacoma owners whole. I had plans to keep this Tacoma for many more years. Now all I can wonder is when this defective frame will prematurely take my truck off the road and how much Toyota's gross negligence is invariably going to cost me. This isn't the legendary Toyota reliability that I bought into.

    Toyota's approach to addressing this frame issue is flawed because of the sheer number of vehicles involved. Basically Toyota won't be able to get the faulty frames repaired quickly enough, which will leave literally thousands of dangerous Tacomas still out on the roads, as their owners just can't park those vehicles and wait around for Toyota to replace the frame. Just think about the logistics of all this. Toyota is allotting 60 hours of technician time to swap out a typical frame. If you divide the number of Tacomas needing frame replacements by the number of northern states technicians available to actually perform the work, resolving this frame problem is literally going to take years. Not all the dealership's technicians will be doing frame replacements. Other vehicles will have to be serviced. If you happen to own one of the afflicted Tacomas, you don't have years to wait for a fix. The prudent thing is to force Toyota to accept the overwhelming futility of the situation and initiate a buyback immediately. If as a Tacoma owner, you want to wait around for your turn to get your frame replaced, then that's your call. Most of us can't wait. Our vehicles are rapidly becoming unsafe. We simply don't have years to wait.

    Synopsis of problem: The frame of the Tacoma was fabricated with insufficient corrosion protection, particularly inside the boxed section of frame under the midsection of the truck. The frame is literally rusting from the inside out. What happens is, as the frame rusts on the inside of the boxed section, the rust flakes drop onto the bottom of the boxed section. These rust flakes then plug the weep holes in the frame so that moisture is not allowed to drain out the interior of the boxed section, thereby exacerbating the potential for corrosion. So what is happening is the bottom of the boxed section of frame is rusting out due to the build-up of moisture and the accumulation of rust flakes plugging off the weep holes. The rust flakes are 1/8" deep on the bottom of my boxed section of frame. Basically the bottom 20% of Tacoma frames are rusting out.

    To a lesser degree, the top exterior of the boxed section of frame is also rusting, as the floor of the truck cab is only 1" above the frame, which makes cleaning the top of the frame in that area difficult with a water spray.. Because of the tight frame/cab tolerance, this area doesn't get cleaned by most owners, as they never realized it was such a problem until it's too late.

    What is particularly dangerous about the bottom of the boxed section of frame becoming compromised by corrosion, is the bottom of the boxed section is where the bracket for the rear leaf spring is attached. As the boxed section corrodes, there is less and less material supporting this major suspension bracket. The design of this bracket must be analyzed by your NHTSA independent engineer. I strongly believe that it doesn't take much frame corrosion to severely compromise the integrity of this welded leaf spring bracket. If this bracket fails, then the front of the leaf spring comes free, the rear axle comes out of alignment, which could cause the operator to lose control. This is a major safety issue!

    This compromised leaf spring bracket is why the NHTSA needs to force a mandatory buyback of this vehicle. In the northern road salt using states, the Toyota Tacoma MUST be taken off the road! Rampant frame corrosion is making the Tacoma unsafe.

    Toyota has an action plan to coat the inside and outsides of the good frames with an industrial coating. They are not removing the accumulated salt saturated rust flakes lying on the bottom of the boxed section of frame. They are just spraying a coating over them. The loose rust flakes have to be removed for the coating to properly adhere to the inside of the frame. Toyota's proposed fix for the so called "good" frames is flawed and will give owners a false sense of security.

    The NHTSA needs to demand that Toyota turn over all Tacoma frame design and suspension calculations to an independent engineer hired by the NHTSA. The independent engineer must analyze what effect various levels of corrosion have on the safety factor of the frame and suspension brackets. It is my strong belief that the frame is already designed to the margin for weight savings, so that it doesn't take much corrosion to erase all safety factor and place the frame and suspension components in grave danger of failing.

    I also can't help but wonder that since the frame is an integral part of the vehicle's safety system, what does a severely corroded and weakened frame do to the level of crash protection offered by the vehicle? If NHSTA's independent engineer finds that the frame does play a major role in the crash protection offered by the vehicle, and that these severely weakened frames makes the vehicle inherently dangerous, then NHSTA will have no choice but to force Toyota to initiate a mandatory recall and buyback.

    The NHTSA must take action. Toyota is in way over their head.
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