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Toyota Tacoma 2004 and Earlier Frame Problem



  • Did you have any luck with your truck? We just found out that our '04 Tacoma's frame is rusted, deeming it 'unsafe to drive' and failing inspection. But Toyota won't replace the frame because we never had the underspray. So now we have an 04 truck with only 148,000 and it's essentially useless?? Preparing to deal with Toyota's corporate office, any advice is appreciated! Thanks!
  • tcmatcma Posts: 8
    Yes i went through the process it took awhile. I dont know what the stipulations on the 04's are. I had a 97 and it failed the inspection and they bought the truck back. When i went through it they had a complete standard operation procedure they followed to buy the truck back. It had nothing to do with if you had the frame sprayed. The frames were bad from the factory because the special rust treatment they dip the frames in did not work and of course the frame was rusting prematurely.
  • Toyota customer care told us tonight that we missed the deadline for the underspray, so we are not able to access the extended warrenty, so there is "No Further Action" that Toyota can take. Clearly we are not happy with this response, and it certainly doesn't seem to match with their proclaimed 'customer satisfaction'. Need to figure out what to do next ... selling a truck of this supposed reliablity for parts doesn't seem like it should be the only option. (looks like '95-'99 trucks were bought back, '00-'04 trucks had frame replaced ... if you meet the timeline for the warrenty and had it undersprayed)
  • We have an '04 Tacoma, 148,000 miles, that just failed inspection and is now deemed unsafe due to perforations in the frame from the rust. We never had the undercoating spray done (Toyota says they mailed us multiple notifications of this program, we don't recall getting them ... bottom line is the undercoating spray was never done), so we missed the deadline to have the frame replaced by Toyota under their extended warranty program. The undercoating would have extended the warranty from 5 years to 15 years for the frame. (Yes ... I've read that several people had it sprayed but it still rusted out ... that argument went nowhere with the Toyota rep). So now Toyota is telling us that "no further action" can be taken on their part. We are just a tad bit frustrated (yes, that's an understatement) that we now have a decent truck on our hands that we can basically only sell for parts??? Clearly we aren't going to come up with the $14,000 that it would cost us to replace the frame. Any advice on where to go from here would be greatly appreciated!!!
  • oxi04oxi04 Posts: 10
    kqs: What state are you in? I'm in NY and have an 04 Tacoma, bought new. I receved a letter in late Dec 2011 that advised me I had until the END of 2012 to have the truck inspected for rust perforation problems with the usual list of options, ie. undercoating or frame replacement. If you have been following this site you will have notice that the dealer did a crappy slam bang job on my truck. I have since resolved most issues with my local mechanic and will be sending the bill to the Dealer (I know lots of luck). Found even more problems as I drove the truck after a while, like leaking brake fluid from untightened connection under the hood. Majority of problem with the vibrations, shuddering were resolved when my local guy found that the dealership had put a bolt in the transmission mount that was too long and was rubbing/pushing on the tranny outer case. Once he removed that and put the right length one in it was like the same old smooth running truck it always had been. Sorry, back to your issue, I would put something in writing to Toyota headquarters in CA and send it certified mail, return receipt requested. Give them a detailed document of what you have done, dates, names of people you have spoken with, the whole 9 yards and ask them for a written response as to what they can do for you. If you have been a Toyata customer for a while give them a list of all the Toyotas you have ownedm ight help, and it can't hurt. Good Luck.
  • Thanks for your feedback! I am new to this site ... new to having any poor dealings with Toyota. Customer care did tell me last night that NY was the only state still applying the undercoating. So do I sell it to someone there, and then they'll get a new frame put on thru this warrenty??!!!

    Definitely planning to write a letter, and will follow your advice for certified mail, return receipt, & requesting written response ... hadn't thought of those pieces.

    Sorry to hear about your frustrations with Toyota!
  • Sorry about all your problems. My 99 off the road got 13k for last summer, put 5k in bank and got a sweet 4runner........ Good Luck
  • oxi04oxi04 Posts: 10
    Selling it to someone in NY might be worth a try if you don't get any satisfaction from Toyota. What state are you in? I know a guy here who bought up several of the 95-99 Tacomas and made a ton of money using the buyback deal. Maybe you know someone in NY who could help you out.
  • greg128greg128 Posts: 336
    Any advice on where to go from here would be greatly appreciated!!!

    I knew someone years ago with a new Ford F-150 that had a bad knocking diesel engine that his dealer refused to repair or replace. He showed up on the street in front of the dealership with a sign with a big lemon on it. Guess what...he got a new engine.

    try showing up in front of the dealership, off of their property with a sign like this in plain view of any prospective Toyota shoppers:

  • "YO" in TO-"YO" TA.....don't ya love it....whatever.....

    Guys, I am on my 3rd Tacoma and I love these things (as I hope you all do) only I really wish they didn't feel they had to get so LARGE (2005-2012).

    I had a 92 and loved it but a little underpowered (4cy) so bought a '99 (v6) and just loved it, drove it from Iowa (home) to D.C. MANY times; to Madison,WI MANY times; Minneapolis/home many times; hey this truck was just great, I loved it, my son (madison) and daughter (minneapolis) used it off/on for several years and the entire family loved this thing......until:

    I had new tires installed and when they tried to align the wheels found that the frame was "junk". So, they bought it back (1.5 times avg. retail) (whoopee) not bad hey, except that I was now forced to buy another truck! Yo, I'm not made of $$$$$$$

    I really liked this generation of tacomas, they have so much more style than the newer ones... So, I'm looking at a 2004 that looks (online posting) like a really nice truck. Previous owner (1st owner) an "older gentleman" that just drove around town/etc... and the guy(2nd owner) says he is "fairly certain" it has been sprayed. Well sorry, that is just not good enough, I need proof. "Been there-done that"...
    The truck is several hundred miles away so, my question to you all is: how do I know WHEN was THE DEADLINE? (When "is" the deadline?
    If I look at this truck and it looks good, that's great, but if the owner missed the underspray what? I'm going to tell him that I need proof the truck was sprayed and the date of such. What do you guys think, sounds like you have all been through at least (or more) than I have so I need any/all suggestions on how to proceed.
    ( I have several friends who have over 200,000 miles on their tacomas and they are still doing great-crappy Iowa weather and all).
  • Toyota told us it would be valued at $500 for a trade in due to the rusted frame. Seriously?? Toyota ... '04 Tacoma wtih 147,000 miles with routine maintenance is now only worth $500?? Nice durability. Real reliable. Super impressive long lasting vehicle Toyota.
    Report after report documents that their "undercoating treatment" was completely ineffective ... these frames continued to rust out anyway. Yes, clearly we somehow missed the opportunity to have this ineffective undercoating applied in order to extend the warranty, but we strongly feel that the warranty should be extended to all trucks that Toyota has admitted (and won a lawsuit over) to having a faulty frame. Sooooo disappointed with Toyota now! Continuing to push for support, but Toyota telling us their "sorry, but nothing further can be done". Nothing else basic wear & tear for the age) is wrong with this truck but the rusted frame!! $500 ... my dad offered to pay me more for that just for the tires!
  • oxi04oxi04 Posts: 10
    bdvance1, I have an 04 Taco X-cab, 4wd, AT, AC. Black. 7400 orig miles, I am the orig owner. No accidents. Excellent conditon. Remote starter, 4 extra mounted snows. New Frame end of June, new exhaust w new converters, new gas tank shield, 2 new front splash shields, new rear shocks, Tow hitch. Runs great. make me and offer. As far as deadline for frame replacements it appears to vary based on what state you are in. I,m in NY and my letter(rec'd 12/2011) said I had until the end of 2012 to bring in for inspection and whatever treatment was deemed necessary. I'm looking at trading truck in but will entertain offers.
  • lick45lick45 Posts: 3
    last week found hole in frame on my 2002 Tacoma, contacted toyota and was told same think--no help! I filed a complaint with Pa. attorney general and BBB. no word.
    for all their supposed contact tries, it seems a lot of owners missed the deadline. I know I don't remember getting one.
    anyone in NY state want to buy a low mileage rust free ( body ,anyway) Tacoma?
  • That stinks! Ours is still sitting in the driveway... have sent certified letters several places as well, and just waiting to get a written reply from Toyota. One lady from customer care told me it doesn't matter if someone from New York buys it, they would just track the VIN # and it still wouldn't qualify, but I don't quite trust customer care on that one. The local Toyota dealership told me they could give us $500 trade-in, Junkmycar website quoted $2450 for them to come tow it away. Need to also get quotes from salvage yards ... but it still seems unbelieveable that a truck like this is only worth salvage now. If the undercoating spray program had been more effective, then I would accept that we missed the opportunity, but since it was clearly not effective, then we feel strongly that Toyota should extend all warrenties for the trucks they know they made faulty. Keep me posted on any luck you have!
  • lick45lick45 Posts: 3
    I have bought nothing but Toyos for the last 25 years and my wife and daughter both have RAVs, time to mend the error of my ways and buy American all the way around
  • I recently purchased a 2002 Tacoma from a Honda dealer in Columbus Ohio who showed me VIN Checks that showed no issues with the truck. Once purchased I found out none of the recalls had been performed and the only one that was still applicable was the ball joint recall. Upon calling Toyota I was told the deadline in Ohio passed in 2011. What a bunch of crap. I went with a Toyota due to their touted reliability, but should have known better with all the recalls going on now with most of their vehicles. I now have a great looking truck with a frame that is completely rusted and I fear to drive it. I cannot trade as I have a loan on it, and cannot afford another vehicle. Are there any resources for someone who may have missed the deadline or a class action to get behind? I know the truck is old, but have a firm believe that the frame should be the LAST thing on a vehicle to go.
  • We have years and years of vehicles from Toyota also. Supposedly the bad frame Toyota used was bought from a company in CA ... go figure. We're still waiting for a final letter from Toyota, after calling them umpteen times to try to fight this. Did go to a salvage yard yesterday just to see what our options might be from here ... they said they could offer $1200. This is so frustrating!! We need a reliable vehicle, which is why we bought Toyota in the first place, so it stinks to have to start researching other companies and think about taking out another loan. Again, we really feel strongly that Toyota should be extending the warrenties on all the trucks they know of that they put in a faulty frame, not just the ones that participating in their underspraying program, since that clearly didn't fix the problem in any way! '04 Toyota trucks should not be worthless with only 148,000 miles, and if they are, then Toyota's reputation should be down the drain.
  • An '02 Tacoma should not be considered old, or unreliable! We did just send certified letters to Toyota, BBB, NH Traffic & Safety, and one other place. I don't know of any class action, but we are trying to fight this (with no luck for the past 3 weeks). I'm sure more and more letters can't hurt. We certainly haven't gotten any impression from Toyota that they care about this issue at all ... not what we've come to expect from Toyota. :mad:
  • **Update** Ok, so the Toyota Rep. came to inspect the hole in my frame. Bad news - the hole did not qualify for frame replacement because it wasn't a "natural perforation". The frame was rusted and soft and by looking at the cross section of the hole (about the size of a quarter) it was CLEARLY rusted through enough that a light tap of a hammer broke through. I felt it should qualify but naturally Toyota disagreed.

    Apparently I was the first truck they had seen with rust/perforation AFTER the undercoating had been applied. I had a good amount of surface rust prior to the coating (coating applied August 2010), and now everywhere that the paint covered the rust, paint was peeling and the frame continued to rust. I'm sorry but you can't paint over a problem and pretend it isnt there. I feel the coating was nothing more than a feel good stall technique to get people to forget about the rust until hopefully the warranty expires. Outta sight=Outta mind.

    Good News - they disqualified the current hole, but the rest of the frame was still under warranty if any new holes would surface.

    Just my luck a few weeks later the proportioning valve broke, and in the course of replacing that several other rusted parts associated with it broke. Between the frame issues and overall rust under the truck I decided to get rid of it before any more headaches came up. Luckily I was able to get a more than fair price on a trade in and have moved on to a new vehicle.

    My advice to anyone out there is DO NOT attempt to break/tap/manipulate any suspected weak spots or holes on your frame. If you can't push your finger through it with little force, it won't qualify. I feel Toyota has spent so much money and time with this issue that they are really clamping down and are FAR less cooperative and willing to make things right. Best of luck to all of you, you will need it!
  • Hi, i'm new to this. I did the frame recall inspection 2 years ago in Illinois. they said the frame was fine and put on the coating. two months ago a mechanic put his finger through a spot in the frame. two dealers said it is not a problem. Who is the best to contact to get some resolution ? Fyarosh
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