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Toyota Tacoma 2004 and Earlier Frame Problem



  • Well, Kevin is polite as a corporate drone can be. I know it's not his and Ms. Bishop's fault, so I do my best not to lose my mind when I deal with them, even though that's essentially what Toyota pays them for; to be the first in line for the firing squad as it were.
    But, like you guys, I have no idea when the "kits" will be available, what my "kit" will include as all models will have different "kits" according to Kevin. When the dealership could expect my "kit" to arrive, or how long it would take once my "kit" got there. Sounds like they're building a model truck or something. ;) He did mention leaf springs, but that's it, and even those he didn't seem too sure about.
    I mentioned the absence of any formal acknowledgment from Toyota corp that there are frame rot issues with their Tacomas. The way I see it, regardless of how they're treating us who are aware we have a problem, the fact that they seem to be in no rush to let others know they might be putting themselves and their families in harm's way is frightening and disgusting. Is the corporate logic so far advanced that they will refuse to issue a recall and cross their fingers that noone is killed in a Tacoma due to frame failure while this little mess is being swept under the carpet by keeping us quiet by replacing our frames? It's downright scary when you think of it like that.
    Kevin said that a formal letter was being sent out, but in "waves", that these mass mailings "take a lot of time" to get off the ground. Chalk that one up to bull, I've seen a backwoods secretary priority mail a thousand envelopes in under an hour. Don't tell me a corporate monster like Toyota can't do the same. Kevin told me even though I had opened a case that I would receive a letter. He even says it could take months, and that I could very well have my truck back from the dealership by the time the letter arrives. Gee, that makes me feel a lot better, and all the parents driving around with their kids in the back should do so in blissful ignorance and as long as it doesn't affect corporate earnings, right?!
    All right ... off that soapbox for the moment and on to another one: A complete dissatisfaction with the NEW Toyotas.
    I love my 2001. Takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' ... until a serious frame issue pops up, but that's beside the point. I've been tooling around in a dealership provided 2008 Highlander until last Thursday. Kind of like a luxurious schoolbus ... handles about the same too. Anyway, the windshield wiper fluid light comes on. Pulled over, got a gallon and poured it in the resevoir ... and kept pouring. Turns out the resevoir is busted and fluid is pouring all over the concrete. Huh? Call the dealership and trade the Highlander rental for a 2009 Tacoma. By the time I get home, there is a message on my answering machine demanding a call back right away. The rental agent says the service department has looked at the Highlander and determined that I must have struck something as the interior bumper plates are pushed back and that's what crushed the windshield wiper fluid resevoir. Huh?! She said that the techs have seen it a lot this winter and I must have struck a snow bank. According to the techs the snowbanks are especially hard this year. WTF?! Long story short, I owe them $395 for damages incurred while in my possession, even though I think I'd remember if I smacked a snowbank, don't you? And that leads me to my initial rant about the new Toyotas. Are they that fragile that I might have crushed the front bumper supports and wiper fluid tank by simply parking the car into a snow bank? If I Dukes of Hazzarded it into the parking lot, I might understand, but the idea that a brand new vehicle can be messed right up with something I could probably inflict with my fist is really pathetic. So now I got this 2009 Tacoma and I'm scared to death to drive it in fear that it might suddenly incur some random damage I'll be held responsible for.
    Uggghhh. Fixing up that old Ford truck out behind the garage is starting to look more and more inviting. Toyota has pissed in my shoes too many times in the last month.
  • You got to lose the loaner and get something off a lease or off their used car lot.Four hundred for a plastic container and bumper brackets,this is what I been droning about all along. The cost on this frame job is insane for a outside body shop to just order a frame retail price is 3gs. Toyota isn't making and shipping these parts for nothing and like others have written you know they will make us eat something. You can hit 2 grand out of pocket in the blink of an eye. I really believe what happened is toyota thought the frame problem was just in the trucks before 01. They figured since they can' get them anymore and your dealing with ten year old vehicles, the answer was obvious a buyout. Than they realized recently 01 to 04 different frame,same problem, OH [non-permissible content removed]! I personally was told last month my 01 does not have this problem,made at a different plant yada yada yada. Maybe they will hit the trifecta and find 05 to the present is wrong,who can say. Toyota may have forgot how to rustproof frames but they are not totally stupid and know they have to think this out for the best possible solution.I think the truck value will come into play and if you are the original owner and who yells the loudest.Has anybody been to a dealership that has done this job? I'm still trying to just get mine on the lift still no call back for an appointment. Looking forward to "the letter" January has come and gone,still nothing by pony express. Really looking forward to phase two of this maybe tomorrow maybe next year. One thing for sure if they go thru with this your talking about a long line at the deli.
  • Hi

    This is the other reason I worked a trade-in deal with my dealer.

    Having their rental is a liability, and can become an extra expense in this already nightmare-ish problem.

    If you can and it's in the cards for you, get your dealer to take yours in trade @ kbb trade value (as if the frame problem did not exist) and then take it to buy an aggressively discounted new car from them.

    You do sadly get a new payment, but you also get a new car, and the nightmare goes away. They also get a 'sale' at a time when they need them and Corp will pay for frame work (not the dealer).

    It worked for me. Didn't want a payment, but more so didn't want the nightmare to last another 6 months... or longer.
  • I am glad it worked out for you. What I would like to know did the dealer give you any kind of time frame if they were to fix it and were you allowed to leave with your truck. I am totally confused at what they are telling you guys.Old Bones is like it ain't no thing toyota is on it and everything will be great. Others are saying it is a total runaround. In a nutshell any advice would be greatly appreciated
  • I never considered the rental a liability till it hit me in the pocket personally, and I can't afford things like this right now. I really can't afford a new payment.

    However, I think it might be in my best interests to take a spin around there used lot and see if there is something that might work as a trade. Even if they offered me top KBB for my Taco, that's not saying a whole lot since the value has plummeted recently.

    I'd like to get a truck back. Not a TOY that breaks if it's sneezed on wrong. I use my truck, it's not just for looks.
  • Sambone5769 your wrong.
    why buy another toyota after this run around and blatant disregard for your safety.
    I will never buy a toyota again and not because of the quality, [non-permissible content removed] happens,
    but the way they are treating people sux.
    further more, trade in your taco now for nothing, the dealership will get the frame paid for the same way and turn around and sell it for much more and tell the buyer " dont worry about the frame problem you heard of sir, this has a new frame with a 15 year warranty.."
    u want a truck ? buy a ridgeline.. look at consumer reports.. it got awesome accross the board
  • No no no - you misunderstood me. I've been burned enough that I'm through with Toyota. Unless some amazing change comes over corporate's regard for their customers and our safety, then they can kiss my grits.
    I wanted a Tacoma ever since I saw Back to the Future. No joke. Finally got mine and spent a lot of happy years driving it and telling everyone I know how great and dependable and reliable they are. And now this?
    Dont misunderstand, when I get another truck, it will NOT be a Toyota.
  • Turned in my Taco on Fri. am now driving a Kia Sportage at Toyota's expense......have no idea on time frame- neither does the dealer- they are going to evaluate current condition based on passing inspection ( I need a new gas tank- mine rusted- what a coincidence......) then we are going to make "an agreement on what the frame repair will include" sounds squeaky to me..we'll see.
  • Dealer said 8+ weeks last week of Dec, but we both acknowledged it was a SWAG at best.

    In the end I think Corp is jerking the dealers around just as much.

    I was also skeptical of a new Tacoma but this is all my dealer sells.

    One may have better luck at a multivendor dealer.

    Just thinking out loud.

    FWIW: It has been six weeks and still no letter and I know my old 02 is still just sitting there.
  • sorry samboni.. glad you are not giving them your money.


    you are not obligated to buy a truck from the dealer your getting yours "fixed" at.
    so go to another dealer after yours get fixed.
    Odds are ( i assume) the new tacoma's will not have the same frame problem but this is a matter of morals.
  • Agreed, but for clarity's sake.

    I didn't wanna wait 3-6 months for this to happen, I didn't want the rental liability, and mostly didn't want the hassle of waiting.

    I agree I am gambling, but the dealer now owns the problem, and I can walk away per se.

    I got a trade number from the dealer a few days before my frame problem was discovered (I like to keep up on what things are worth). They honored this number in my 09 deal, and also heavily discounted their 09.

    Everybody has different situations. If I had the time and my cal was clearer I would have waited it out, but it was not the case.

    Some here have the time, some don't want the hassle, some want anything but Toyota, some wanna keep their truck, just have to go with what works best for you.

    What I did was the best version of walking away I could get, and I needed to do that.

  • Drove my '01 TRD to the dealership Friday afternoon. The lady handling the buyback was nice, had me sign the bill of sale, title and handed me the check. Didn't even look at my truck first.

    I have since purchased a 2002 Tacoma regular cab for very short money. Going into this knowing about frame replacements, I can't complain and actually look forward to having new suspension done when the frame finally goes. It just sucks to lose your truck that you thought you would have forever, not so bad when you keep in mind the frame warranty while buying used. If it was a low milage or decent shape truck, I'd complain, but for a used vehicle with 116k on it, free leaf springs/frame/suspension/etc is pretty decent. Think i'll have them do my clutch while they are in there.

    I have until 2017 for the 2002, so far the frame is solid.
  • Dealer calls me today to say what i need to be done to pass inspection- other than the frame kit : rotors and pads, gas tank and shield and an e brake....all for $ 2100.00
    Yikes......i dont even need the e- brake ( mine is frozen).
    I am going to have my local mechanic do all of this for1/2 the price........kind of a bummer to see the greed coming from Toyota..........Hey, how did 01' people get the buy out and not the 02? Should i hound Kevin on this?
  • This is an email I sent to TOYOTA CANADA today:

    Hi, I have a 2001 Tacoma. I appreciate the buyback program you offered for the earlier models. I'm sure your sales of 09 tacomas increased because of it. My problem is that I do not officially qualify for the buyback even though I have the EXACT same symptoms/problems. I know about the frame replacement but I did not buy my tacoma to have its frame swapped out. This is unheard of. What I need clarification on is the reason as to why some 2001 tacoma owners are getting buyback at %100, some at %150, and some don't even get offered the buyback, and yet again, some are told their trucks don't qualify for any program at all, and are left to drive their unsafe, uninspectible trucks away empty handed due to no fault of their own. It can't be the dealers deciding to buyback certain 2001's because if they are not officialy included in the buyback then TOYOTA corporation would not reimburse them. So in my mind I believe that TOYOTA CORP has given them instructions to buyback certain 2001 models. If this is the case then it is discrimination against 2001 owners and it should be made officical that all 2001's are eligible for buyback. Please let me know what is going on here. I am too scared to even bring my truck to the dealer yet because I am afraid of what the outcome will be and my option for repair, if any at all. Please get back to me ASAP.

    Let's see how long and what kind of response I get back.
  • The e-brake cable comes with the frame kit,don't know if your e-brake pivots are seized which may be the case, but the e-brake cable is definitely replaced with the frame,along with all the brake lines,control arms and leaf springs, and various bolt kits. I did not ever follow up, the frames were originally manufactured by DANA corporation and are again being supplied by DANA. They last used these particular frames in 2004 Tacoma's. I am unsure who manufactures the 2005 to 2009 frames. I am unsure how some of you are receiving out of pocket expenses for a loaner vehicle,if that is the case. The whole situation is frustrating, but your dealer should make this pretty pain free.
  • My 01 taco passed inspection and I was told they will call me back to have the truck frame "rustproofed". This is the dealership that I bought the truck at and they were a lot more helpful than my local dealer who were clowns. I know this is the easy way out for them and all it will do is look good but so be it. I can't afford a car payment right now either.
  • I read my journal recently where in 2005 I launched "Operation Preserve Tacoma. That whole notion is laughable now. In 2005 my 2003 Tacoma was a daily driver commuter vehicle racking up 50,000 miles/year. I wrote that "this is the best pick-up I'll ever own" so I better take steps to "preserve" it. So I bought a car to use as a commuter vehicle and this Tacoma became a weekend vehicle to keep the miles off. What a difference 3 years makes. I may have the noble idea of preserving this Tacoma but the frame under this truck has other ideas. I wish now that I hadn't bought the car and instead had driven this Tacoma into the ground. If my Tacoma was nearer the end of it's useful life, this whole frame business would be easier to take, as I wouldn't have so much stranded value in the truck. My grand plan was for the truck to last until 2015 and 300,000+ miles. I figure I may have about 2 years left on my frame. Unbelievable.

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought they bought a 300,000 mile vehicle of impecable reliability. I never would have believed the frame would do it in. You can bet that with any truck I buy in the future, I'll keep the frame well washed and painted. Trial by fire. We'll always carry these scars caused by Toyota.
  • Here's the response; supposedly Toyota is not aware of any reported problems with 2001-2004 tacoma rust perforation???

    Dear Mr. --------,

    Thank you for your most recent correspondence.

    We would like to take this opportunity to explain that Toyota has received isolated reports regarding a small number of 1995 through 2000 model year Tacoma vehicles exhibiting excessive rust corrosion to the frame causing perforation of the metal. Only certain 1995 through 2000 model year Tacoma vehicles, produced in North America between January 1995 and September 2000, are eligible. Although we will continue to monitor the later model years, we have not seen any pattern of rust incidence in 2001 to 2004 model year vehicles that is unusual for this age range.

    It is important to remember that this condition is unrelated to and separate from normal surface rust which is commonly found on metallic surfaces after some years of usage and/or exposure to the environment. However, if you notice perforation of the frame and/or large amounts of rust that flake off the vehicle, we suggest you contact a Toyota dealership of your choice in order to have your vehicle inspected.

    Thank you once again for taking the time to write.


    Nikki Cornell
    Customer Interaction Centre
    Toyota Canada Inc.
  • My 2005 Tacoma also has a cracked frame around the engine mount. I had the same exact problem with the radiator fan hitting the shroud and took it to the dealer and they said since it was out of warranty they couldn't do anything about it. I've talked to everyone from the corporate office to the customer relations manager at the dealer and I can't get anyone to talk to me about this problem now. One of the managers at the dealer even suggested to me that I should turn it in and use that money towards a new Tacoma. He also called it an old truck since it has 110k miles on it. I was under the impression they sold quality vehicles that lasted forever and I’m not going to buy another truck from a company that can’t stand behind their vehicles. The truck has been sitting out front of my house collecting dust since 9/08. Since I need my truck so bad I've even tried getting my insurance company to pay to repair it and they won't cover it since they say it's a "manufacturing defect". To the owners of 2005 and newer trucks please take a look under your truck around the engine mount and see if there is any cracking or bending of the frame. If there is take it to your dealer and request a FTS/DSPM Inspection so we can get something done about these defective trucks before they cause an accident and kill someone.

    Here’s what mine looks like.
  • I'm sure I'd feel differently if I was stuck waiting for a frame replacement, but I was one of the fortunate '01 owners to get a buyback offer.

    Got the check yesterday, which was pretty much exactly 150% of KBB by my calculating, and my local dealer was extremely helpful throughout the process, making sure I had a nice new Camry to drive while the process played out.

    Took delivery of my '09 Taco the week before turning over the title to the old one. This is my second Taco and fourth Toyota truck, and this problem aside, they're just hard to beat. I too had planned to keep my '01 for at least two or three more years, and wasn't planning on having payments again this soon, but I think the treatment I received was more than fair.
  • 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.
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