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Toyota Tacoma 2004 and Earlier Frame Problem



  • 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.
  • vdragonvdragon Posts: 12
    I have a 2003 that's been in CA (Orange County to San Francisco) it's whole life. I called and had the Dealer check my VIN and he says my truck is not on the recall list. I'll have to check the frame myself. It sounds like this is mainly affecting trucks in the snowy areas that use salt on the roads. That sucks...

    But I hope my frame is OK.
  • Great letter. Very informative and well written. Have you heard back from anyone yet? I have an '01 that's sitting in the shop right now. They did give me a loaner but I want my truck back. They've already made it very clear there will be no buyback. I just wonder how long and how much bs until my truck's back to where I want it.
  • It has been 5 weeks now and no information on when the frames may be available. As others have noted the Corp reps are useless, they have no information and repeat the same corporate BS. Case manager (Kevin of other postings) refuses to provide the letter or provide a higher authority to talk to. Unbelievable. They're deliberately stonewalling us. To top it off my buddy Kevin tells me the local dealer is the one who would have the info and my local dealer tells me they get all the info from corporate. Dealer has no idea what parts to order, what part numbers will be needed, when they may get parts, etc. Absolutely atrocious responses from Toyota corp and their lackeys. Dealer now has 4 Tacoma's sitting there with same issue.

    I'm going to try contacting local papers and TV stations but am not holding out much hope.
  • I called Toyota Canada and am not happy. I spoke with a female Toyota employee and she started off her conversation with "we've told you over and over again, your 2001 Tacoma is not covered under this campaign".

    The reason she said "over and over" is because I emailed them 3 times regarding this issue because they never answered my question, so I replied until they answered. She said regardless of what is happening in the US, Toyota Canada does not have a program for 2001-2004 Tacomas. She was extremely rude, all I called for was because I wanted to know if the frame replacement in the US applied in Canada.

    Oh well, theres really not much to do but wait. I don't plan on keeping a truck that had the frame replaced, so hopefully they buy it back and I can purchase a new Tacoma, if not, I don't know what to do.

  • well she sucks and so does her attitude.
    If I were you, I wouldnt buy a new tacoma or any toyota for that matter after being treated the way people have been and to think thats just in this forum.
    I fought with Keven and he was pretty much reading from a Q card. it was pointless.
    so i told him I will never buy a toyota again and he said "thats your decision to make"
    So tomorrow it looks like I will be getting a honda element.
    I wanted the ridgeline ( which is awesome) but the gas mileage is bad :(..
  • Same bs I heard. Sounds almost word for word. Still waiting to hear ANYTHING. No one has a clue what is going to happen let alone when. Its been 2 weeks and the dealership still knows nothing. Kevin just reads from a card and won't tell me anything. I'm getting real disgusted with Toyota and it looks like Nissan here I'm come.
  • Nissan or honda ..
    u cant lose..
    I just missed a 2007 honda element AGHHHHH
    it was awesome but they would not meet me on the price..
    major bummer .. :(....

    look at consumer reports for honda and nissan if your looking for a truck again.
    the ridgeline is awesome and got excellent ratings.Get this,
    nissan makes thier NISMO frontier.. and I heard that Suzuki is going to sell
    the exact same truck and with suzuki you get a longer factory warranty.
    Worth looking into because its literally the NISMO with suzuki badges.
    my buddy has a NISMO and loves it.
  • Toyota :lemon: dissed me and now I drive a Nissan. To hell with them!!!
  • Yeah, bought my wife an '05 Nissan Xterra Off Road. Absolutely love it. It would run circles around my 3.4L taco. I really like the '03 and up Frontiers, and I did see the new Suzukis in a quad mag. Not real crazy with the bed on the Honda though. The bedsides are too high for my liking. My dealer told me to just tell him what year/make/model/mileage and he'll find it for me. Just wondering what I'll get for my truck though.
  • cman23cman23 Posts: 3
    I recently posted some info regarding the frame replacement, the kit will consist of new brake lines,parking brake cable, front control arms and rear leaf springs. There are a few other items, but it is unclear exactly what they are, I would imagine hardware. Hopefully this is beneficial to some of you. The frames are being provided by DANA corp in KY, which should be available very shortly.
  • Thanks for the info.

    For clarity, do we know...

    1) When was the last year this frame model was used in tacomas? (1995 - 2004?)
    2) Are the 2005 and newer ones using a different design?
    3) Is Dana the supplier of the original bad frames, or just the replacement ones?
    4) Who makes the frames for 2005 - 2009 model run?

  • I too have a 2001 Tacoma with a rusted frame. The dealer now has my truck and gave another vehicle for my use while the frame is replaced. I don't understand all of the noise people are making about the problem. We all bought Tacomas because of their quality and Toyota's reputation. I read where many of the trucks have several hundred thousands of miles and the only problem has been the frame. Toyota has stepped up to the plate and agrees to repair them. It is an inconvenience but I am sure Toyota will do a quality repair just as they do in manufacturing the vehicle in the first place. Just imagine if there were a similar problem with a truck made by an American manufacturer. We would all be getting zip! So let's give Toyota a chance to repair these trucks. It is understandable that people would want a new truck for free but it is not realistic. There are tens of thousands of trucks that will require repair at a tremendous cost to Toyota. Have patience --- life is too short!
  • I speak for only myself, but Toyota's lack of communication in this matter is what bothers me the most. I asked for a reasonable time frame that the work would be done in, what parts would be replaced, and the going forward warranty. I asked for it in writing, multiple times. Toyota Corp said "no". I think my requests were very fair given the work being undertaken. Toyota was also very arrogant when I made these inquiry's about 'My' truck.

    Again everybody has their own things that work for them, but Toyota's lack of communication (still no letter yet) and arogant attitude is what upset me.

    As far as the loaner goes. Some people want 'their' trucks. This is not a 3 day deal, it will be many months. Also Toyota offers no insurance on their rental, that burden is also on you.

    Toyota has also known about this for some time but has chosen 'saving face' in the media over alerting people asap as they are maybe riding around with loved ones in a potentialy structually unsafe (in crash) truck.

    Again to each their own, but while it may work for you, the outlined points above, in my opinion, justify people's anger.

  • My thoughts exactly. I've been driving around in my truck with my 15mo. old daughter everyday! Believe me, I appreciate the loaner and my dealership has been pretty good but they still don't know anything yet either. Toyota corp. has been the worst though. They won't tell me anything and expect me to thank them when this was their (or whoever they sub'd the frames out to) fault. And I still haven't gotten a letter.
  • ya thats exactly the attittude they have..
    that is an excellent way to put it..
    They act as if they are doing us a favor. My rep (kevin) kept saying this was a good will decision for me because I have an 01 but got into the buyback program.
    He kept saying it as if to shut me up because I was lucky to be getting a check instead of the frame. He kept saying how the "program" my truck fell into does not offer a buyback only a frame replacement. So I asked, Kevo, what would your answer be if we were having this conversation 6 months ago when there wasnt a "program" for the 01-04 trucks?. I got no answer.
  • theiglutheiglu Posts: 10
    I had my truck taken away on Nov 5th.

    I'm scheduled to get my check for my 2001 TRD in less than two hours.
  • I would like to say this forum was very helpful for me and this is obviously a huge problem for toyota.. By reading this forum and gathering information it was at least fun to get service writers back peddling. What a friggin nightmare I have a 01 tacoma and to me toytota is nuts to put a new frame in vehicles worth about six grand.My truck was rear ended and needs 2 grand worth of work and I told the body shop to hold off,since I can drive it and wait to see what my frame status is..He told me the frame was changed in 01 and that explains the 98 to 2000 buy back they can't get them as someone posted. The retail price of a frame I was told is 3 grand,to me it would make sense for toyota to make some kind of offer to owners,if they would buy a new truck. I am also waiting for my letter and a call back from the dealer for a appointment.The frame warranty I believe he said is for fifteen years and the 01 to 04 trucks have just been added as a potential problem,last month I was told the 01 is fine. .Oh and that this is not a recall I guess just a huge blunder.Living in new jersey I feel it's not a question of if the frame will rust out it's just how soon. No wonder the beds are now made of plastic they probably would make the whole truck out of plastic if they could.
  • your 01 will rot out if its in or around new england.
    it isnt a recall, im not sure how toyota got away with this not being a recall but they did. Maybe because they call it a "buy back" program and they "extend" the warranty on the frames.
    In my experience, it didnt seem to matter if you were going to buy another toyota.
    I had initially said that to the boston rep that came to look at my truck at the dealership and then when ISG called me with an offer I declined because I thought I should have got a little more. My case manager called me and basically said I was lucky and that this was a "good will" buy back.
    As I mentioned before, he claims " we are not in the business of buying trucks back".
    so that made my decision simple.
    I wont ever give my money to toyota again.
    As I said before, they act as if we are lucky they are even doing anything.
    Also, think of this... Toyota had a 3rd party company manufacture these frames so you can only assume toyota is going after them as well so toyota will be compensated in some way so its not totally out of pocket for them.
  • tcincytcincy Posts: 28
    You were right to hold off on the body shop work. If it's that bad they will cover it, if it's not covered now it will be. the "frame being changed in 01" sounds kind of fishy. so if it was, it shows the old one was bad and Toyota should replace it too.

    My case:

    My Tacoma was a 1999. I took it in for inspection in August, 2008.
    I was told the program covered 1995-2000 Tacomas.
    My Truck had enough rust that made it eligible for buyback.
    But I didn't leave it at the dealer -even though one service guy tried to get me leave it - telling me it was a "safety" issue and it was dangerous. I told him I drove it to the dealer, I'm taking it and driving it while I wheel and deal with the Tacoma ISG Rep. They don't have any choice - it's your truck. You have the right to take it.
    I FIRST drove it as much as I wanted;.

    AFTER I settled with the Tacoma ISG rep, and he paid me, THEN I took Tacoma's loaner for 30 days. That way I took my time looking for a new vehicle.

    How the extended 15 year warranty works:

    My brother took in his 1998 at the same time I took in my 1999.
    It didn't qualify for buyback - not enough rust. However, Dealer said Tacoma will extend, immediately the entire frame warranty for ALL TACOMAS, for
    15 (fifteen) years from the date it was purchased new.
    He bought his in December 98, so he can breing it back, once a year, until December 2013 and have it checked for rust, and if enough rust shows up on it, that is eligible for buyback. I don't see how they can't extend the warranty for 2001's, 2002's 2003's etc. if rust remains a problem.
    I would sit and wait and drive it sparingly and try to drive something else old until it's resolved. I wouldn't spend $ 2,000 or $ 3,000 on it until I found out about Toyota covering it ean,ezn1o
  • Like I said you and others writing in this forum have been very informative and I thank you again. I really think the economy is playing into this problem maybe if toyota didn't decide to be kings of the big truck market and get into NASCAR at the worst time possible,they would have some cake for us. I really do believe at some point down the road they will figure this is nuts and make offers to us. I also think they have to look at this case by case. My 01 bare bones 4wd for example versus a loaded 04 has to come into play What about the bare bone 2wd trucks that are eight years old it just does not make sense. I am no mechanic but I know you built the vehicle around the frame and when most older vehicles get frame damage they are totaled. Could you imagine what this job would cost out of warranty at a buck twenty an hour and with a parts markup? They wanted 500 to install shocks I purchased. A point nobody is bringing up is how this effects the mechanics at toyota and the dealerships. They have to tie up A mechanics to do warranty frame work. Warranty work is always a loser for them as we speak toyota probably can't even put a exact time on this job. Along with those rusted frames are a lot of rusted bolts.They will have a lot of happy workers, lets see warranty frame job or cash brake job or tuneup. In my earlier post it was reputable body shop that told me they changed the frame in 01 ,the shop looked it up on the computer. I was all ready to get it fixed and then I came across this forum and told him to postpone the job till I get a answer. The sad part of this whole thing is the trucks on the outside look great. Back in the day the tacomas had all the rust problems with the wheel wells and beds. They fixed that and this time you can't notice the problem. A lot of people will get screwed,who buy them used and don't know of the problem. I cannot do that and will go down with the ship.Either they show me the money or it will be a old truck with a new frame. Maybe they made these frames out of the old rusted out trucks?
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