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Toyota Tacoma 2004 and Earlier Frame Problem



  • I am not a Toyota Employee, but I am an owner of a 2001 4Dr - 4WD - SR5 - 92k miles.
    I am "in the system" as of approximately two months ago. I took my Taco in for the 90k maint. and found out then that I had the frame perforation issue. At that point the dealer placed me into the buy-back program.
    Since that point, I have been surfing all the blogs and forums and communicating directly with my dealer weekly. I have read many conversations regarding the newer vehicles and questions surrounding the buyback and how much they might get or have gotten some dollar amount for their vehicles.
    Approximately three weeks ago, my dealer informed me that I (my situation) would not be participating in the buyback plan, but would instead be eligible for the "frame rework" plan. This was after the dealer took about 40 pictures of the Taco and sent them to the district manager. After another week I found that I would not be participating in a rework plan but that I would be participating in a rebuild plan.
    Subsequent conversations have revealed that Toyota is responding to the newer owners (2001-2004) by 1)If their vehicles are not in good enough shape overall (Not sure what the specific requirements of this are), then a buy-back might be possible, but unlikely. 2)Some vehicles (frames) could be "rvamped". Highly unlikely as the liability associated with revamping a questionable frame structure would carry too high of a liability in my opinion for a large company as Toyota to deal with. 3)If their vehicles are considered of a high level of good condition, they are seriously considering a "re-build" which means Toyota will perform a complete ground up new frame on restore.
    This now appears to be the case for me. Last week I spoke with my dealer and they stated that they in process of putting together the "parts list" for the rebuild. This means the new frame, all A325 bolts (high strength), bushings, isolators and possibly the leaf springs as they deem necessary.
    To date, this is all I know. I have generated a list of questions that will need to be answered and a "punch list" of items that I feel they should consider part of the rebuild. And I naturally plan on doing some "refeshing" on my own.
    Like- Body & bed checked for rust- treated with rust inhibitor and undercoated as needed. There will be more added to this list as I find out what Toyota is not including on their list.
    Right now, I'm staying in close contact with my dealer and my body guy in case I need him for some "tweaking".
    Hope this answers some of your questions.
  • tcincytcincy Posts: 28

    If you really like your '01 Taco and don't see them
    a. buying it back;
    b. giving you much of a trade-in, then

    I suppose rust-inhibitor would be a good idea. I would be kind of susicious if they were applying what they call "rustproofing" to an 8 yr. old Taco.

    I had a '99 and it had enough rust for the buyback program, even though I didn't think it had much.

    I have a brother who rust-proofed the h*** out of his '98 Taco when it was brand new and he has "no hint" of rust on his, hence, his did not qualify for buyback.

    Tim Cincy
  • Yeah I pretty much have to keep the truck, I just put shocks in it and had the front brakes done.It also has to go in the body shop I will never get my money out of it selling now.The frame on mine is in pretty good shape living in southern new jersey probably saved it. Still my old ranger never had the signs of rust like this truck and that was exposed to a lot more salty roads.I saw a picture of a taco in the shape of an 'A' on the internet. The frame snapped as they were driving it around at an auction, the exterior of the truck looked to be in very good condition.I'm undecided if I would buy another taco, will follow how the new ones are holding up.
  • thats the problem.. the new ones are not old enough to find out if there is a prob.
    right now toyota is saying 2001 - 2004 and I bet that is only because owners complained. whos to know if it affects 05,06,07 ? they may be too new to see
    any rot problems.
    I asked toyota if they knew for a fact when the frames were manufactured correctly and they wouldnt answer me.,
  • rodnhrodnh Posts: 10
    Here's what my '02 4x4 TRD w/80K original miles looks like:
    It failed an independent state safety inspection last week. I then took it to the local dealer where I purchased it new. He inspected it and stated that it was "UNSAFE TO DRIVE". I can see why. The picture is only a sample of the terrible condition of the frame. This dealer is gearing up specifically for a lot of frame replacements. I am told they anticipate doing about six a month for some indefinite period. They start their first one tomorrow. I will be the second one behind that. I don't like being a guinea pig but I guess it's better to be second than first. It is very unclear to me just how much this is going to cost me out-of-pocket. The dealer seems to be saying that ONLY the frame itself is included in the deal. That leaves a lot of other parts up in the air. Surely there will be some that have to be replaced that otherwise would not be, simply because they will have to be destroyed during removal. Anyway, I'm playing it by ear right now. I expect to be called sometime during the next two weeks for my frame replacement. There is no buy-back option. I was told my only choices are frame replacement or trade.
  • Looks just like mine did. I went with a trade deal as it was a very good offer, and I didn't wanna deal with being jerked around by Toyota Corp for the next 6 months.

    I like my 09 and am glad to be rid of the frame nightmare.

    Whoever moved the clock in the post 05 tacomas ( I had a 98 and an 02) ... thank you :-)

    I also always had SR5's and the TRD shocks make frost heaves (new england) much easier to deal with.

    Still feels weird having an ebrake on the floor.
  • Holy Crap...even my 1996 wasn't this bad! It did fail but this is amazing. Looks like the frames were made worse on the later models!! :lemon:
  • What did toy do to resolve the frame problems in the 09s??
  • HOBPHOBP Posts: 7
    Same story - took my 02 Double Cab 101K mi (bought 10/04 w/ 67K mi, love it!) in 01/29/09 for an oil svc / free up rear e-brake pivots (new e-brake bellcranks & pivots installed 11/07 due same problem, but then I never really used e-brake & they recommended to do so and I didn't since then, so guess my fault).

    There I am in showroom 15 min later quietly reading a book - Svc Mgr comes over and sits down next to me. - He: "Have you heard about our 2001 - 2004 frame replacement program?" Me: "No". Goes on to briefly explian that I have a rusted frame - that they found a 1 1/2" hole etc and that they will "replace the frame". Me: "Wow - that's a lot of work!"

    Apparently I am the first at this dealership - so my Taco will be their "Guinea Pig"!

    They gave me a 4x4 2009 Taco Access Cab loaner/rental - very nice but I am obviously spoiled with the room / access of the Double Cab.

    Svc Mgr said it would take 2 - 3 weeks - and that they would call me w/ update on frame work - also would call due fact loaner had under 1K mi and I should not go over 4K (assume so they can sell as a demo) - maybe then swap out loaner.

    No word as of today. My Taco also has a badly rusted rear bumper (started 2 yrs ago) - thru painted surface every few inches (assume at mountings) - and rust is starting to perforate / show on the tailgate (4 - 5" area lower right corner).

    SO - my questions (4):

    1) Do any of you have new info - has anyone's Taco frame been worked yet?
    2) Seems to me that ANYTHING however connected to the rusted frame should be part of the deal is rusted beyond solid/safe attachment capability - brackets / body pan / rocker panels / fenders etc? If I am not presented with a ZERO-$ repair bill I will "pitch a fit", to say the least.
    3) Should I seek to get the rear bumper and tailgate replaced as part of the deal - for "Goodwill"? They should have gone rust-free to at least 150/200K mi, yes?
    4) W/ ref to #3, guess the possibility of getting a "Rattletrap" back from the so-far-untested frame replacement process is fairly high (no rattles/squeaks on my Taco so far), so all the more reason to press for some addl "Goodwill", yes?

    PS: I have not yet contacted Toyota Corp/Cust Svc, as after reading this forum my problem seems clear - no buy-back offered on 2002 etc- dealing only w/ dealer on their frame replacement option.

    Thanks, all!
  • your damn right.. this shouldnt cost you a cent and if anyone else you know parked even close to your taco and now they have rust on thier cars, id make them pay for that too.
    in other words, they should replace anything connected to that frame that is rotted.
  • HOBPHOBP Posts: 7
    Thx, mcalautt!

    Very Funny, that comment about "parked even close"! - Believe you mentioned in previous post(s) that you are in the Albany area? Hey, maybe our Tacos "traded rust" last year while parked in adjacent spaces in the Crossgates Mall? --- Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!

    My Taco apparently spent the first 67K miles of it's life running back & forth on I-88 - beautiful condition when I bought it 10/04.

    Nov 08 I heard an exhaust noise - crawled under and found a split on muffler seam - OK I can deal w/ that (probably original) - replaced all from Cat back for $390 local shop.

    At the same time I did notice a HELL OF A LOT OF RUST ON THE FRAME AND ANYTHING CONNECTED TO IT. But then I am not an expert on frames/rust - no knowledge/notice until dealer advised me during the 01/09 oil service appointment.

    To date have received no letter/notice from Toyota re the frame problem. No, I am not the orig owner, but servicing dealer database should have generated the letter, yes?

    So much for customer communications...
  • ADK Taco owner - currently driving a Kia Sportage furnished by 02 Taco is sitting in Plattsburgh, NY waiting for a frame replacement. Service Dept. tried to hose me on pre- existing non- frame related (ha..) work. I need a gas tank. rotors and pads, and they said an e-brake. I will have my local honest mechanic do all this......He said he can fix the existing e brake and do the rest of the work for 1/2 the $ the dealer quoted. Dealer got very pissy w/ me when I rejected additional repairs, and especially rude when I requested to know what will be included on frame repair..I am the 1st one for them.....I have my fingers crossed.
  • HOBP,

    You're zeroing in the biggest issue with this frame replacement - "the zero $ repair bill".

    Now do you really believe that they aren't going to break things and try to backcharge you, as what broke wasn't part of the original frame kit? Us Tacoma owners being charged for stuff that breaks during this frame replacement or immediately after the frame replacement is my biggest fear. I simply don't have the money to pay for all the rusted incidental stuff that broke during the frame replacement or fails soon after due to be thrashed on. Come on. You know Toyota and their dealers. You WILL be charged for some of the incidental stuff that breaks and to me that is unacceptable, as that stuff wouldn't have broken if I wasn't forced into this frame replacement.

    Toyota is NOT going to warranty stuff that breaks soon after the frame replacement. For instance, I fully expect my entire exhaust system to fail after the frame replacement, because once you disturb something like the exhaust, the subsequent failures are like dominoes. Toyota is NOT going to fix for free all that ratty stuff that pops up after the frame replacement.

    Because of the sad reality of this out of pocket cost to us owners, that's why I say that high buyback is the only acceptable option.
  • I agree.....but did you see the NY Times on Friday? Toyota is reporting 5 Billion in losses..........not lookin' good for us!
  • Because Toyota is experiencing economic pressures is why I strongly believe they won't do the right thing. We Tacoma owners are going to pay for this, and if it means nickel and diming us for stuff that breaks during the frame replacement, so be it.

    This is why I think the ultimate answer is to force Toyota to do the right thing - easier said than done. My state AG blew me off with a form letter, refering to this Tacoma debacle, as this "matter". My US Rep is supposedly pursuing this "matter". Somehow, someone of authority, needs to force a mandatory recall of this truck. It's hard to get past the fill in the forms to a live person who is actually willing to carry the torch.

    I'm taking the approach that I'm entirely on my own. I need to do everything I can to make this frame last. I need to keep the salt washed off, keep the exterior painted, and keep the interior of the frame covered in oil. Toyota is not likely to solve all my problems for free, even if they played a part in most of them.
  • Well mine is now 'under the knife.' Last week the service manager said they had finally gotten all of the part info from corp and were manually entering the part numbers to order everything. I spoke with him yesterday and was told that all the parts are in and they were beginning to work on it. It was taken for a test drive by 2 "senior techs" to see how it was before they started the work. As they go through it I will be contacted to let me know if any parts should be replaced 'while they're replacing the frame.' Service manager - who has been excellent to date, the only one giving me a straight story - said that it would be a good time to do any work they find needed as the labor would be almost free. Not sure what the heck that means but as others have mentioned I am not planning on paying a thing. If they break anything they're paying for it and if they find that they need to replace something not covered I have no intention of paying. I should know when to expect it back in the next few days so will keep you up to date.

    I would highly recommend what others have done - write and call everyone you can to complain. NHTSB, state consumer protection board, attorney general, etc. Seems quite coincidental that a few days after I received a letter from my state consumer board indicating they had sent a letter to Toyota corporate the parts suddenly became available. Most be just one of those coincidences.

    I am not confident that the truck will ever be the same but am stuck. My regular mechanics will check it out after I get it back to let me know what's what. Hope all works out well but ...........
  • Here's the skinny- my frame "kit "arrived today at the dealer. It includes: brake lines, control arm, brackets, and rear spring...... we'll see how it goes, they are saying end of next week............
  • My local service manager called me this morning to inform me that he expected the kit next week and to allow another week for installation. He DID mention at no cost to me as well which I was expecting but still relieved to hear. We'll see if he stands by his word, but at his point I'm still seriously considering trying to unload the truck right away and get something else ... non Toyota.
    Please let us know how things turn out.
  • Well, stopped at the dealership today. Its been just over a month and no frame yet. They told me they got their first one today. I'm 4 or 5. I also got to talk to the mechanic doing it and he told me exactly what goes on and he said so far Toyota is replacing anything bad on the frame...control arms, springs, lines, etc. They told me it would probably be a few more weeks. The dealership has been great so far and they're actually impressing me.
  • Well I found out yesterday that Toyota is going to replace the frame on my 2001 Tacoma. The frame should be in within a month. I was hoping for a buy back. My problem is I am in Iraq until April, and my brother is handling everything for me back in the states. Does it really do any good to try and fight for a buyback or are you just wasting your energy? I am not sure what direction to go in on my end especially by not being in the states. I haven't had a lot of time to research but have read some of the posts here. Any input/comments/answers????
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