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Toyota Tacoma 2004 and Earlier Frame Problem



  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Just my 2¢, but I'd avoid a vehicle that's under recall for such a serious issue. If you read this whole discussion, quite a few people said their Tacomas looked in top condition and still had the rust holes in the frame.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • reuserreuser Posts: 8
    I own a 1999 Tacoma which I purchased less than 2 years ago with 39000 on it then, 54000 now. It failed the test two weeks ago despite undercoating. I DID NOT make out as well as those who enthusiastically sold their 1997 Tacomas with 400000 miles on them [sic] since I had only recently purchased this vehicle (replacing a 1990 pickup), and it was in fine shape other than the fist-sized hole in the frame which even my mechanic missed three months ago. I probably paid too much for the '99 in the first place (commissioned to be purchased at auction), but I was in a hurry two years ago and needed help fast.

    Because I don't have the time or energy to spend on this exercise, and because all of those who were notified earlier than me and able to get officially inspected and rejected have sucked up most of the available used Toyota inventory within a 300-mile radius of Vermont, I am now the un-proud owner of a 2006 Ford (!) Ranger, V6 with the potential for ABS problems. Although on the face of it I may have been left with some cash, it is greatly diminished and almost disappears when my time involved is calculated as well as the miles I have driven (I refused to let them have my Toyota on inspection day) looking for a different vehicle. The annoyance factor, lower mpg and the increased insurance premiums take up the rest and more. (By the way, supposedly the dealer was to make me sign a waiver when I left the lot, but I was asked to sign nothing).

    Last week I spoke with Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety (see their website, and he is aware that this is not a good thing. Although it would appear that Toyota is stepping up to the plate, between refusing to call this a recall and literally leaving people stranded at the dealer when the truck is turned in (and mine is 40 miles away), they have made an awful mess of things. (This doesn't even count the 2000-year plus vehicles which have rust problems). Everyone seems to think that because they provide rentals that that makes up for everything, but taking the rental away and leaving you wondering how to get home after they hand you the check isn't my idea of good public relations.

    I've also heard, although I haven't verified it, that if you ignore them after they tell you you have perforation and get the frame fixed on your own, your title then becomes a salvage title, which greatly diminishes the value of the vehicle. (The increased warranty apparently only applies if no perforation is found now). It is apparently also true that if you continue to drive the vehicle and get into an accident even your insurance company won't cover you. Therefore you are FORCED to resell it to Toyota and suffer their repeated overnight mail which barely gives you time to find a copy center and call UPS or, heaven forbid, be out of town during this process.

    I've owned Toys for 27 years (put a wooden bed on my '90 when it rusted out), but I'm not sure I will again. They seem to be going downhill fast, and I'm sorely disappointed to be receiving somewhat threatening letters without provocation. No "thanks for being a loyal customer," no "gee, we're sorry to put you through this and we'll help you find a different vehicle to suit your needs, even if it's not a Toyota," just a hired gun (Impartial Services) whose staff don't seem to talk to each other. And they don't even include their email address when they say that you can return things by email. Rushing a bit? Not too well thought out?

    Taking on Toyota would be a big job, but there has to be a law firm interested if they only knew the extent of the problem. I just noticed that on the Center for Auto Safety's website ( there is a place to file a complaint and indicate your interest in a class action suit, but because of all of the contact information which is published I'd recommend that you not file your complaint until you've cashed your check. There aren't alot of complaints listed, so people may not know about the site, but I think that if hundreds of people complained a law firm might take notice...even those with model years beyond 2000 should complain.

    I am not litigious by nature, but this is appalling. Clearly there is a safety issue here -- I don't argue with that -- but if Toyota wants to survive in this economic climate (and some of us still need trucks), they need to be more accomodating at least. And as one person pointed out on another blog, Toyota MUST have known about this for several years -- so why did it take so long to go public? A recall would have been instantaneous, and more honest.

    As far as I can tell I've signed nothing that waives my right to sue, so I'm game. Thanks for listening, I needed to vent.

    Unhappy in Vermont
  • Did you not get the full KBB bood value at excellent condition 150%? Because I read someplace that if you were not the original owner then and only then would you not get it. The would pro-rate the amount and give some to the new owner and then some to original owner who sold it. Sorry you didn't make out so good. If it makes you feel a little better, I didn't know about this forum. I got my letter on May 20, the dealer took my truck on May 31. My truck had a new exhaust manifold and 3 new belts put in in April, plus I paid my 2 yr MV registration in April ($89 for 2 yrs), it passed inspection and MV in NY was SOOOO NICCCEEEE :mad: to refund me 1 yrs MV fees only. Plus in Oct of 2007, hubby had rust sandblasted off my frame and had the whold frame and the whole truck painted to the tune of $3000. So when we found this forum and saw letters were going in March, and Toyota knew about this and I spent almost $1000 in April, well my husband thinks I was ripped off. You are right. I signed nothing saying there can't be a class action lawsuit. Hopefully a lawyer starts one. I will be on the bandwagon for that.
  • reuserreuser Posts: 8
    Yes, I will get 150% of KBB (I just sent back the acceptance letter). My point was that by the time I bought a different vehicle (from the limited number of 4x4 manual transmission trucks available in this area at this time), buying a cap, getting a bridge loan from the bank so that I could get a truck almost instantly (I can't afford to be without a vehicle where I live in the woods), spending my time not working but rather buying a truck and fielding phone calls and mail from Toyota, driving to the dealer twice, buying new snows etc., I've used up all of that money and have a Ford Ranger I don't want. BTW, they need to take the engineering license away from the Ford person who designed the back of the Supercab -- impossible to access.

    This is a headache all the way around for some of us. Because of the way the buyback program is designed and being implemented, some people are faring better than others, but most are forgetting, I suspect, to factor in their own time expended.

    I challenge any automobile manufacturer to come up with an affordable (no bells and whistles) four wheel drive long bed truck with good MPG. Just a truck. Do it. I suspect you'll have a lot of takers. Not all of us live in a city with mass transit, or want a status symbol. Just a reliable truck that will last.
  • The 2 cents helps! But let's say the 1999 tacoma I'm looking at to buy passes inspection. No holes. And I buy it. Is it logical to assume it won't develop problems for awhile and maybe never? Wouldn't the rust perforation have shown up by now (truck is in the chicago area)? And if it rusts out later am I covered under the extended warranty, as a second owner and purchased after the letters were sent out? I wouldn't qualify for the buy-back, at least the full amount. Is this correct?
  • It's was your Toyota dealer not Toyota. When I called for my insepction they said they would have a rental truck for me. When i got there and it failed they said all the rentals were gone. They offered me a ride home, I told the service manager "I'm getting a 30 day loaner". Then he pulled a 2004 Trail Blazer with 17k miles off the used car lot. Next he said he called my Insurance Co. & they would not cover the car. So in his office I called the underwriter handed him the phone, I was covered. If you read my first post I said I had a problem wtih him.
    Dealers don't want to deal with it. The first one I called said they did not know what I was talking about. Funny thing that dealer gave me the best price on my new one.
  • Your right....anyone not getting a loaner is because of the dealer. My Taco was a 2 x 4. They brought out a Tundra 4 x4 for me to have as a loaner as they thought the Taco belonged to my hubby. I had a fit and said there was no way I could get in and out of that truck. The rental part of the dealer went out of their way to find me a Toyota I could fit into (32" inseam) and that was why I had the Taco. I ended up with a Scion XB. My dealer had me trying out all their rentals before they bought out the Scion and your insurance is not even involved. You have to keep insurance on your Taco until you hand in the title. And they might give you the plates sooner then the check like they did me as there were so many Tacos coming in they were taking off plates to send them out. But the only thing I had to do was keep insurance and keep the plates until they showed up with my check. I didn't even have to call my insurance. I live in the country too. And hubby drives an 18 wheeler over the road. He missed a few runs while I went used car shopping and then decided to buy a car. It was aggravation on our part too. And stress. But now its done with and I think everyone of us goes thru this aggravation. I was driving my hubby crazy. He told me it was like I was losing a child. Heck... I had all original parts in that Taco I took such good care of it. I was positive it wouldn't have a hole and was wrong.

    As for buying a 1999 Taco, it too is going to have the 15 yr corrossion warranty on it. And read about the one guy who passed inspection and then 2 months later had holes. Any truck being bought after March is not going to qualify for 150% buyback if it developes holes in the next year or so. Toyota already said any of the affected years will not be qualified. And dealers are not supposed to sell them and if you buy privately they are going to pro-rate any money if a hole crops up. The x-owner is going to get some of the money.
  • divwiddivwid Posts: 10
    Lady former Taco. owner here in S. Ontario. Re: rental car after Taco. flunked inspection. Rental co. (Enterprise) put me into a 2009 Corolla after I told them that I was considering buying a Corolla to replace my Taco. I called my insurance co. (State Farm) and they called "head office"). Said my insurance would cover me for the 30 days. Dealership took my Taco. away with the plates still on. Dealership seemed to be really "talking up-selling up???) the 2009 Corollas over the 2008 Corollas. Purchased 2009 Corolla as I knew I would come close to breaking even on deal. I did, however, get undercoating put on as new Corollas don't have it. Sure hope it holds up better than Taco. undercoating!! 6 months of road salt here, then 6 months of road construction. Welcome to Canada!! Salesman at dealership helped to track down my Taco. and removed plates with sticker. As my birthday is February I can get some money back. I wondered if rental co. and nearby Toyota put their heads together to help sell their Toyota vehicles by putting rental drivers such as myself into Toyota vehicles so that we can "test drive" them for 30 days. Nevertheless, this is my third Corolla. I was second owner of the Taco. I believe first owner is not involved in any way with the $19,000 Canadian I will receive for Taco. My cheque is still "in the mail". Will update again when the money comes through.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    From what I see of this program, you can buy that truck and it could pass. You are then required to get another inspection every 12 months. Next summer, they hit it with the hammer and a tennis-ball-size hole appears. Now you're in the same situation you might have been this year... confiscated truck and you're shopping again.

    I say look for a truck that won't give you this potential headache.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • divwiddivwid Posts: 10
    Couldn't agree more. Buying a Tacoma at this time, if you can find one is just asking for trouble. As 2nd owner of my former Taco. I put on 26,000 kms. (miles=17,000 miles ??) in five years. had underside oiled last summer. Not one spot of rust on paint job. No accidents, not a scratch on it. However inspection guys created one small hole in frame by hammering hard on it. No doubt frame was weak there and it was only a matter of time until more perforations appeared. Just stay away from Tacomas. If I had read this site and had a 2001 and newer Taco. I would sell it soon before any new recall comes on them re: defective undercoating. Does anybody know when and if this undercoating problem was corrected at the plant where these Tacomas are built? Where are they built?
  • annjotannjot Posts: 6
    We recently purchased a 97 tacoma. Has what I consider to be more than just surface rust from the leaf spring bracket back. bumper and towing hitch were so rusted hey had to be cut off with a torch. Accidentally found out about this frame rust problem when researching how to repair frame rus 2 days after we bought it. We took the truck in for an inspection two weeks go. They just said we would be hearing from toyota. I called the dealership today. They just said we would get a letter in the mail letting us know one way or the other (pass or fail). Does anyone know how long it takes to receive this letter? We have this truck just sitting in the driveway because we don't know if it is safe to drive. If it passes for now we need to finish work we started before we found out about this. if it failed we don't want to do anything else to it. We purchased this as a recreational vehicle only and were in the middle of adding a 3" suspension lift. we just put new breaks, rotors, calipars, struts, as well as other parts on the truck before we found out about this. we also have new wheels and tires waiting to be put on. Can someone please tell me how long it normally takes to get the letter? This is ridiculous!
  • You are not going to get a letter in the mail. They are lying to you. You just stated you just recently bought it. Was it after March 7,2008? Because if so the letter goes to the owner of who you bought it from and THEY have to tell Toyota who they sold it to.

    I told the girl in my bank about my truck and she had bought one 2 yrs ago used. She called up the dealership I went to and they gave her an appt. without the letter. The truck failed and she got a loaner.

    Call another dealer. But from what I read the other owner will get part of that money. You won't get the whole amount if you bought it after March 1, 2008. There was a dealer letter link here someplace talking about what was going on. I deleted the link I had to the pdf file. But call Toyota themselves. They well give you a case number as you have rust and they will make sure the dealer checks it out for you. I had to call Toyota after I got my letter because we did rust repair in Oct when my whole truck got painted. Lady Taco owner in Cananda. I paid for an undercoating on my Taco when I bought it in NJ new in 1997. It spent 2 yrs in NJ, 1 yr in NV and 8 yrs in upstate NY.

    Did the undercoat work???? Well, I guess they will say it was weak metal.
  • annjotannjot Posts: 6
    We just bought it in July 08. We live in Alabama. The people we bought it through had it 18 months here and before that it was owned by a friend of theirs in Ohio and Maryland before that(found that out via carfax after the fact). The dealership that inspected it has our address and registration information and said they would let us know if it failed or not via letter in the mail. If I do not receive a letter in the next week I will try contacting them again. They did not give us a case number or anything. They just said they took pictures of the rust and sent them along with our registration information to the corporate office(or to whoever makes the decisions on the buy back). Do you or anyone on here have a number or any contact number for who ever is taking care of this stuff besides the dealerships? I asked the dealership and they said they did not have a number they could give me. Said I would just have to wait on the letter to find out anything. I should hope if they have to buy it back the original owner would not get any of the money. For all I know they had it inspected and it passed but they wanted to get rid of it because they didn't want to deal with it in the future. After all they did sale it for a strangely cheap price. We Thought we were getting a good deal! It would be extremely unfair for them to get any more money. After all, they were paid for the truck the amount they asked for it. I think if you sale a potentually unsafe vehicle to an unsuspecting person just to be rid of it you should have fines or jail time. If this truck had been in Alabama all these years I think it would be fine but unfortunately for us it was not. I have read some people are buying these trucks from individuals who do not know about the problem just to resale them to toyota for a profit but this is not the case with us. We have big plans for this truck and hope they do not want it back. We did not know anything about the situation when we purchase the truck a few weeks ago. Unlike the states with a lot of salt this is not something that has been advertised in Alabama. It hasn't been on the news that I have seen or on the news websites in this area so no one knows about it unless you were a toyota owner when it all came out and then I've read people in this area did not get the letters...that it was mostly states with snow/salt. I contacted the previous seller via email to ask if it had been inspected and she said no but she received something in the mail from toyota right after we purchased it but threw it away without looking at it since she didn't own the truck any more. I have no proof but think she was not truthful and knew of the situation before selling us the truck for so cheap. It is a 1997 tacoma extra cab 4x4 and seemed to be in pretty good condition considering they were only asking $5500 for it...they took $5300 for it. I couldn't figure out why they were selling it for so cheap. Thought they were just crazy but now I guess I know! We have previously owned a 1994 toyota pickup and a 2003 tacoma double cab and loved both of those. Older toyota's are our favorite trucks! This is just all too sad!
  • Well, the dealer is giving you the runaround. That woman who sold it to you is lying. She admitted she got a letter and threw it away. Guess what? The outside of the envelope has in big red letters, EXTENDED WARRANTY for your Toyota. Right next to the window in the envelope with the name. I bet she got that letter and then sold the truck.

    Ok... I found the link. It wil ltake you to the dealer letter that went out to the Dealers and also show where they are looking for the holes and at the very end it shows a copy of what went out to owners. And it has a phone number in it to contact and make a case number up. You can explain to them how you got the truck. And they will make sure a dealer looks at it and even file a complaint against the dealer you took it too if need be.

    Here is the is in PDF format. Lots of luck. I would figure on the book value in excellant condition only if I were you. She will benefit now that you say you bought it in July and if it fails. There is no doubt about that.

    Hope this link helps you.

    Read the article first and then come back to this message and click on the Toyota bulletin that went out with a copy of the letter sent to owners and it shows the previous owner was supposed to notify them. And there is a Toyota number to call to get a case number. as/
  • bigbebigbe Posts: 17
    Hi Every one Got another call fronm local Toyota dealer I guess he changed there3 mind I had it inspected today and it faild :cry: My truck is mint the only rust is the frame They sent me home to take my personal things out and return back with the truck .. On the way back home I get a call from same dealer the this "recall" is for tacomas older then 2001 and I was not to do any thing . Until I hear back from them I guess I better not hold my breath :confuse:
  • I would say go to the link I posted for the Toyota Letter. And get the phone number and call Toyota. You should not be driving a truck that failed inspection. There is also a list of the vin numbers affected from 1995-2000 in that PDF file. Just because you have a 2001 doesn't mean it wasn't manufactured in 2000. Call Toyota, the number is in the dealer letter.
  • 2001taco2001taco Posts: 14
    They are buying back the 2001's ...It is just not the same deal. You have to deal directly with Toyota .
  • annjotannjot Posts: 6
    Thanks for the links!! I called the customer care number. I was surprised not to have to be on hold for more than a few seconds. Spoke to someone right away. I told them we took our truck in to our local dealer 2 weeks ago for the inspection and still have not heard anything and that it has just been sitting in the driveway because we don't know if it is safe to drive. They seemed surprised it has been two weeks and no word. She apologized that it has been so long. She asked for our VIN number, name, address, & telephone number. Gave me a case number and said it would be investigated. She said a person that does the investigation will call me within 1 business day. So...we should hear from them tomorrow. I need to write down a list of complaints we have about the dealership...such as not provided a number to contact the regional office as I requested. Also caught the man in a lie....when I first contacted the dealership he said they have only had 4 tacoma's come in for an inspection and only one 1 out of those 4 failed. But then yesterday when I spoke to the same guy he said they have only had a total of 3 come in for inspection and ours was the second one. The dealerships around here just do not have their act together! I also asked the lady today if it had to be bought back from us would the previous owners get any of the money and she said no. Then, I asked her if the fact that we haven't had the truck very long would be an issue and she said it should not be an issue. I did ask her how bad the rust had to be for them to buy it back and she said it would have to have a hole all the way through the frame. There is not yet a hole all the way through but there are large chips of rust that just falls right off the truck frame and if you stick you finger in the existing holes made in the frame you can feel lots of rust just piled up inside the frame. The back just looks like old decade card board. In my opinion it should fail the inspection but if it has to have a hole all the way through, it will pass I guess. To me just becaue it doesn't have holes doesn't necessesarily mean it is safe! Hopefully we will find out what's going on tomorrow.
  • I have been driving a used 1997 Tacoma in Southern California for five years with o problems. But now I have moved to New Hampshire and I am worried about corrosion. What is this spray solution?
  • rcoolercoole Posts: 10
    What is the average time to get a call from Toyota concerning the buyback of your truck. Mine was failed on July 29th and was given a rental car. As of today August 6th I have not received a call from anyone.
  • rcoolercoole Posts: 10
    Mine passed in mid May 2008 and failed on July 29th. I had it is for an oil change in July and they discovered a hole in the frame (the size of a dime) about an inch in front of the spring hanger on the bottom of the frame. I had lots of flaking rust prior to the May inspection and the hole must have been there all the time but was covered over by the paint. They had struck the frame about two inches in front of where the hole developed. Just keep looking at the frame, eventually it will rust through. The sooner the better for the buyback price.
  • dalap22dalap22 Posts: 1
    We have a 2001 Tacoma and the frame has a date of 2000 on it, toyota is supposed to be getting back to us today with an offer, I could not get on the link for the letter you had posted. They have deemed the truck unsafe to drive, there is a 4 inch rust hole in the frame in the same place as the buyback tacoma's. Is there anyone else who has a story to share for the 2001 tacoma's or anyone who has a 2001 on a 2000 frame and is in the same boat. I am reading they are offering KBB but I have also read they are offering up to $2000.00 over KBB. Any info please let me know
  • I have a 1997 Tacoma and I did not know about the frame rust problem until I got on this forum.

    I bought the truck used in 2001 from a dealer in Orange, California

    Do I have rights as a second owner?
  • My truck was inspected two days ago, and they noted that my truck frame was perforated. I overheard the guy in the distance tell the dealership guy to write a repair order. I asked him about my inspection and all he would tell me was that Toyota would contact me within two weeks and set me up with a rental. I don't like the way this sounds. My mechanic and the inspection station I go to has told me that my truck is unsafe and will not pass inspection. My inspection sticker runs out at the end of the month and I will not be able to drive my truck. Is there anything I can do to find out what they intend to do? I have been told so many horror stories about driving my truck I don't know what to do. The inspection station told me that they will not pass my tuck if Toyota tries to weld the frame. I'm between a rock and a hard place, can someone hlep?
  • Yes, you do have rights. Go to this link and call Toyota. You don't need a letter.

    And it takes time to open as it is a PDF file. And quite a few pages. The 800 is listed in the letter sample to the owner. You don't need the letter to have it inspected.

    If anyone has problems clicking on the link I suggest copying it and pasting it into your address bar and then it will open up.
  • Call a dealer and tell them you got a letter even if you didn't. They don't ask for it and let them give you an appt. Heck...some of these dealers are starting to annoy me. It's not coming out of their pockets to have that truck sitting in their lots. And they don't have to worry about liability as you have to keep your insurance on the truck. Get it there fast as my truck was registered in NY for 2 yrs and inspection and 3 weeks later Toyota took it. I lost money for an exhaust manifold, 3 new belts, inspection and a yrs worth of Motor Vehicle regstration.
  • annjotannjot Posts: 6
    It doesn't matter if you are the first, second, third, fourth owner,etc and you don't need a letter. Just call your local dealer and ask to set up an appointment to have your frame inspected for rust. If you have any problems with the dealership or getting information after the inspection is done, then you want to call the 1-800 number. I had problems getting much info from my dealer so I called the toyota customer care center at 1-888-270-9371. When I told them I was calling because it had been two weeks since our inspection and still no word and the dealership wouldn't tell me anything they transferred me to another department and also gave me another number for that department which is 1-800-331-4331. The person I then spoke to gave me a case number and said they would turn it over to a person that will investigate the situation. they said that person would call me within one business day and someone called me the very next day as they said. So far they have been very nice and have called me back when they say they are going to and the girl investigating it even gave me her direct extension so I could contact her directly. I still don't know if our truck passed or failed and they said it could be a few more weeks until we know for sure. Meanwhile we can't drive the truck because it has a 6 inch lift on the front and a 3" lift on the back because we don't want to finish what we started until we find out if we are going to HAVE to keep the truck. The rear of our tacoma frame flakes off like potato chips but as bad as that looks they say they will only fail it if it has a hole all the way through. We'll see...eventually.....
  • divwiddivwid Posts: 10
    Dear Annjot-My 2000 Tacoma did not have a hole in the frame to my knowledge. However at inspection they hammered very hard on frame to the point that they put a dent in the frame on one side at front. The other side they again hammered very hard on frame and it went through which created a hole in the frame. They then came to me in waiting room and said there was "one small hole" in the frame. No doubt frame was weak in that area. I never once saw flakes of rust or undercoating on my driveway or anywhere else it may have been parked. I wonder why they did not tell you right at the inspection whether your Tacoma passed or failed. I can't help but wonder if there are lots more old "clunkers" on the roads with rusted out frames. Bet they are not going through all these hassles as we Tacoma and former Tacoma owners are. Received offer letter from Toyota in one week to buy back Taco. Cheque will take 3 weeks, so they told me. Lady Taco owner in S. Ontario
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Please use your CarSpace albums for these and/or a third-party photo site and provide a link to the picture. Posting oversize pictures causes major problems to the page structure of the forums.

    Annjot, I had to take your posts down because they caused posts to actually stretch behind the menus on the right and thus left them unreadable. If you can post them in your CarSpace album - your homepage is - or provide links to where they are hosted, that would be appreciated!

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • Well im meeting the agent at my dealership on Wed. morning, I had a 98 reg. cab Tacoma with 170,000 miles and they are giving me $11,000+ for it....thank you Toyota. My wife and I had talked about a new vehicle for some time now, this is a no brainer for me.
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