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Toyota Tacoma 2004 and Earlier Frame Problem



  • I also have a 2001 Tacoma SR5 Extended Cab (built 2/01) with the rust problem. My dealer has taken pictures and forwarded to Toyota. They will get back to me. A "small" chance of a buy back but the frame does have holes so I will get a new frame. The mechanic who will work on it is very good and I trust him.

    I told the dealership that if they gave me a "real good deal", I'd probably buy another. A lot of the '95-2000 drivers didn't buy again so they didn't make any money. I'll have to see....
    I have the 2.7 I4 w/5-speed Extended Cab. Not many out there to replace it with. Too many automatics.

    Then I got to thinking about letting them rebuild the frame. They extended the warranty to 15 years, only 3 on a new one.
    I already have a new muffler by Toyota so another muffler would be free. I'd have the shocks replaced so that is another life-time item. (I tend to keep things for a while).
    I can look over the body when they have it. I believe it's in fine shape.

    They said anything that looks questionable during rebuild (hardware, fittings, etc.) would be replaced.

    Truck is paid for, I'd have to spend my own money on a new one.

    New tires on 11/27. Day after Thanksgiving.

    The chassis is rebuilt but while apart, I'd add new shocks, timing belt, clutch job, all items that I'd save on labor while the truck is apart. Easier for the mechanic.

    MPG is less on the new one.

    Same with the load capacity.
    2001 has 1,900 lbs. (steel box).
    2010 is 1,395 (plastic composite box).
    A lot to give up!

    I considered having the body shop giving the new frame a really good paint job before the rebuild. I'll have to see what the replacement frame looks like. Do it before attaching everything.

    The rebuild would have to be done while I still own it. I was told the dealership doesn't get as much if they own it. Advantage to the dealer if rebuilt under my name. I've seen figures of 60 hrs. needed and a cost of $14K. Makes my truck worth more. Everything is new underneath. Runs like a top anyway w/96K.
    The more I think of it, I might keep the truck after the rebuild. I'd need a VERY good offer to part with it!
  • New frames are by Dana and warranteed for 15 years. They are made in the USA too (not Indonesia). FYI , my gas tank is my problem. I'm holding out for an aftermarket one.
  • I have heard much discussion of how many consumers are not being helped with their Toyota frame rust problems. Maybe I'm an exception to the rule or maybe it's the local Toyota dealer I go to here in Canton, OH... but it's been my experience that Toyota has stood behind their products. I started with a 1998 Toyota Tacoma that had frame rust 2 years ago and Toyota bought it from me for 150% of it's value. With the proceeds, I then purchased a 2002 Tacoma which I was just informed today that it's frame is bad and is going to be replaced by Toyota. The total cost to replace a frame is almost $10,000 on a 7 year old truck that's worth about $8,000.
  • tcincytcincy Posts: 28
    Same here.
    I live in Cincinnati and leased new, then bought, a 1999 Tacoma from a Florence, Ky. Toyota dealer. They inspected mine in August, 2008 and bought it in Oct., 2008 for 150% KBB excellent retail, which I used to purchase a 2009 Tacoma. So I got the buyback payment as well as a $1,000 incentive to purchase another Tacoma. I've been reading horror stories on here for a year from customers getting the runaround on inspections, paperwork, not being able to get their trucks back, dealers wanting to "repair" the frame, etc. It sounds like Toyota let their regional offices handle things as they see fit, instead of one consistent national policy.
  • It does include 2002 Tacomas. I received the letter just before the holidays. Decided to wait till after the first of the year to take the truck in. Had it inspected on Jan.16. Was told it was totally unsafe to drive. One baseball size hole in frame. They gave me a loaner but no offer of a buyout. Called the 800 number the receptionist gave me. Have a case number and she will call me back on Tuesday, Jan. 19, I hope. I can keep you informed if you wish. Pam Rivers
  • Pam, please post the 800 number you have for Toyota.
    I took my 2002 Tacoma in about 2 months ago and was
    told I have a "hole in the frame" and that they want to
    replace the frame.I want them to to simply buy back
    my truck.

    It would be cheaper for Toyota to buy it back than repair
    it! I need to contact Toyota & plead my case for buy back
    Vs repair. Has anyone been able to get a buy back for
    a 2001 or newer?
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    For those of you with 2001-2004 Tacomas, you are not likely to have your truck purchased because the frames for that generation of truck are still in production - that is why Toyota is replacing the frame. The 1995-2000 frames are not in production, thus those trucks are being purchased by Toyota and subsequently destroyed.

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  • As somebody who lived thru this nightmare last year (before corp even publicly acknowledged it) this post is spot on... they will not buy your truck. Mine was an 02 and I tried and I went to the end of the earth trying. (Lawyer, AG, BBB, Etc)

    You options really are:

    1) Frame Replacement and keep.
    2) Frame Replacement and sell.
    3) Workout a fair deal, with your dealer about trading it in, for a new one*

    I was able to pull off #3. I got a fair KBB number for a non-broken truck and a heavily discounted new Tacoma. That had to do with me being a long time customer @ this dealer and the economy as they need to sell trucks.

    I saw my old 02 many months later on their used lot for a HUGE number. Who knows if they got it, but I am glad to see it over with. IMO, if you were gonna drive your Tacoma into the ground, do the replacement. If your's was low miles and or you have concerns with it long term after a replacement, do # 2 or 3.

    * = your mileage may vary
  • The number was 1 800 331 4331. Did not hear back from Toyota on Tuesday. I will be calling them Wednesday morn. to talk with them. It seems so ridiculous to spend $10,000 or so to replace the frame. My 2002 truck has very low mileage but it's not worth $10,000. If I do decide to have the replacement frame it could end up costing me money for parts that are messed up during the installation of the new frame. I would not have to pay for any labor though.
  • Received phone call from Toyota Co. last night. NO chance of buy out. Tried to reason with her, just doesn't do any good. Time to Call dealer and see if I can't work something out with them, if not will have the frame replaced.
  • I have a 2002. When they installed the new frame on your truck were there any parts that where broken that had to be replaced? I was told I would have to pay for the parts but nothing for labor.
  • I have an '02 also. I had the frame replaced last March, and have had no problems so far. They suggested that I could replace the shocks while it was apart, but since money was tight, I chose not to. The truck still rides good on the old shocks
  • My 01 frame replacement was done last March. I have had no issues so far. I had 135k at the time and everything was original. I replaced muffler and rear shocks. My dealer didn't give me much of a discount but I was very please with the work they did. I planned on keeping the truck so I put some of the money into.
  • Took my 2001 AC 4X4 in for the frame replacement. I was the 1st for the dealership and they did a top notch job.
    The tech said he was given a 63 page instruction manual on how to do it. The replacement isn't a guessing game.

    I took advantage of free labor for the shocks. Dumb not to take advantage of free labor savings.
    When the engine/tranny was out, I had the clutch replaced. Easier and cheaper.
    Replaced the fuel filter and all fluids (differential, transfer case & tranny also.)
    The new parts I wanted that weren't on the list were discounted by the dealership.

    They provide the labor, frame, rear springs, lower control arms, brake lines, emergency brake cable, hardware, new brake fluid, anti-freeze and front end alignment.

    They let me drop by and take all sorts of pictures.

    When the body and box were on the hoist, I had a chance to look at the underside and it was rust-free. Had the truck Ziebarted. I now have a "new" 2001 truck and it's paid for!

    Some people worry about a frame replacement.
    The techs are trained and they replace all the parts during normal work operations. With the frame replacement, they get to work in better conditions and with lots of new parts.

    The dealerships make out better if the replacement is completed in the owners name, therefore giving the original owner better trading advantage.

    Because of the crushing of Tacomas, the survivors will be worth more in the future.

    Do the replacement, it's great!
  • Hello, I just wanted to know how long the process took from when your truck was inspected until it was finished. My truck was looked at originally in October 2008 and had the official inspection December 2009 and still can't get the frame replaced. The dealer says they can't get a frame. The person who inspected the frame said it was one of the worst he had ever seen. I talked to another dealer who has performed a frame swap and said that it is a money maker for the shop but also said once you start dealing with one dealer they won't transfer the process to another dealer. So basically have been fighting with the dealer for over a year. Thanks for any input you may have. John
  • John,

    Are you still driving your truck? That's one of my biggest fears is having my truck deemed "unsafe" and yanked off the road, as the frame replacement games begin. From reading accounts of people riding around with baseball sized holes in their frame and the frame not failing, I'm willing to keep running my truck. I just don't want my Toyota dealer yanking my inspection sticker so I can't legally operate the truck.

    My second fear is having to pay for all the rusted stuff that breaks because they had to disturb those parts during the frame replacement. Even though I'd be getting a new frame and nice riding new rear springs, I don't appreciate having to pay out of pocket for stuff I'd never normally have to replace over the life of the truck.

    Man, I wish they'd give us the same cash buyout deal they gave the older Tacoma owners. I just can't believe they won't do what even makes sense. If it costs Toyota less to buy back my high mileage Tacoma with failing transmission, etc rather than replace the frame, wouldn't it make better business sense to buy back the truck? I just don't get it.
  • I was in for service in December. They called me to tell me the frame needed to be replaced.
    The parts came in slowly. I'm sure they use your VIN to order the correct parts. The frame was the last thing delivered (Tuesday, Jan. 12). The semi driver had about 10 frames stacked on his truck, just making deliveries to other dealers.

    As soon as the frame got there, they called me and I dropped the truck off about 11 AM. I took it through the car wash and hand car wash to get as much underside dirt off and make it easier for him.

    Dropped in and took pictures everyday. I even gave him a camera so he could take some as he progressed.

    Stopped in on Monday morning, Jan. 18 for more pictures but the truck was done and in the parking lot.

    I figure it took less than 4 days and I was the 1st frame replacement for the dealership. Helps to have a great mechanic.

    Some worry about problems with disturbing old parts. No worry as so much is replaced.
    Frame, brake lines, e-brake cable, rear springs, lower control arms, all needed hardware.
    Basically, it is a full rebuild underneath.
    I had new shocks replaced all around. The labor is free! 98K on the originals!

    Truck runs and feels like new. Highly recommended..... and it's free! Just had to pay for a few new items and it wasn't much.

    Got the truck Ziebarted. Now everything is sealed well.
  • Thanks for getting back to me . Where are you located? I am in Illinois and I know they started this deal out East. Thanks again, John Hovey
  • I, like most Tacoma owners bought my truck because I believed Toyota
    was a company that stood behind their products & you could count on them
    to do the right thing. I am greatly disappointed in how Toyota is handling
    my Toyota Tacoma rusted out frame replacement warranty operation.

    I am unemployed at this time & really don’t appreciate the added burden of
    the cost Toyota is putting on me & I believe it is quite unfair.

    This is my complaint: I added a class 3, two inch trailer hitch to my 2002 Tacoma.
    It uses 4 bolts, two 10mm factory & two supplied with the new hitch. Well BECAUSE
    the frame is so rusted, one of the 10mm factory bolts broke off when I tried to remove
    it to mount my trailer hitch (I was using a hand ratchet, NOT an air tool). So now I only
    had 3 bolt points for a 4 bolt hitch, and I had to have the hitch welded onto the frame.

    Well now BECAUSE the rusted out frame has to be replaced, my trailer hitch I
    normally wouldn’t have done anything with, cannot be removed & reinstalled
    on the replacement Toyota frame. The trailer hitch needs to be replaced BECAUSE the
    frame needs to be replaced – and the hitch was welded BECAUSE of the rusted frame!

    I don’t believe my Tacoma should be better than it was before the frame replacement,
    But it shouldn’t be LESS than what I had before the frame replacement either! I have
    petitioned Toyota, (both dealership & corporate) They told me “Sorry, we won’t cover
    your trailer hitch” I believe Toyota caused me this loss and they should be the ones
    to cover the cost of it. Toyota is going to pay $10,000 to $12,000 to do this rusted out
    frame replacement operation. In comparison, why not cover the cost of the trailer hitch (approx. $200) on my $8,000 to $9,000 Tacoma. (And/ or why doesn’t Toyota buy this truck back like they did with others?)

    I don’t believe Toyota is doing all they could or should in my case - the lack of
    covering a $200 part is costing them a LOT of ill will. Toyota shouldn’t simply say
    “Sorry”. Toyota needs to do the right thing… and strive for customer satisfaction
    in accomodating my loss as a result of their frame replacement repair.
  • I feel your pain. Even though Toyota bought back my 1999 (which I'd only had for two years and only had 60,000 miles), when you add in my time spent dealing with the company they hired to implement the buy-back, and the fact that I had to buy another truck in a big hurry (and got a lemon and had to buy new snows and a cap), they created much ill-will with me. They have done a terrible job of customer relations, I feel, on the rusty frame issue, and you are right -- they have never said they were sorry.

    Now I just bought a 2010 Tacoma (two days before the recalls were announced), and I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I just got a survey asking me to tell them what I thought of the "purchase experience," but they haven't asked me how I feel about the fact that my brand new truck has lost much more of it's value than normal because of the recall issues, and how mad I still am about the rusted frame thing.

    They do a piss-poor job of all of this, and they need to start paying better attention. I do feel your pain.
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