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Toyota Tacoma 2004 and Earlier Frame Problem



  • Picked up my Taco today..... I spoke w/ corp Kevin this am (he actually answered the phone!) and he cleared up a bit of my concern with the repair- this repair, like any work done at the dealer is written up as a repair order, this is in fact a contract, and warranties said repair for one year. The frame has a 15 yr perforation warranty (big wup, the body will rust first) I was/am concerned about things that will happen due to the major surgery.....a year will suffice to see what happens. All my service mgr had to do was tell me this instead of- " I dont know anything about a warranty- just pick up yor truck". I spoke w/ the dealership owner before I left who apologized and said I probably caught the service mgr on an "off" day.'s over. or maybe just starting we'll see. they basically put in a frame, leaf spring, control arm, and assorted brackets and clamps etc.
  • I guess i should of come back and updated this.

    I recieved 100% KBB around the end of October 2008.

    I just today 02/24/2009 recieved a call from Toyota and they are mailing me a check for the remainder 50%. So all told I got about 18.2k for my 2001 TACO with 130+k miles on it. Not to bad!!!

    Two things in this whole process I did not like were.

    1. That I had to wait 10 days for Toyota's check to clear and I had to return the rental the day they gave me the check. This could of left me without a vehical.

    Luckly the Ford dealer who I was purchasing from worked with me on this.

    2. The 3 months wait without a single word from Toyota. They could of atleast called and told me they missed me, lol. Seriously, give us an update once a week or biweekly atleast. It would go a long way to making us feel better about it.

    3. I guess there is a third and that is that I had to give them an answer when they called about anything and if I said No, I had to return the rental. That is just bad customer service hell I was in the middle of a business trip the one time and could not even return the car for 3 days.

    Anyways, I bought it cause of their reliability but I won't buy another. This frame issue is a major screw up, but they atleast are trying to fix it the right way.

  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Since you're the first of the group to receive your frame replacement, be sure to keep everyone up to date as you add up the miles. You can also take advantage of the personal blog space here at Edmunds, which you can access from your CarSpace page:

    kcram - Pickups/Wagons Host
  • Hi, do you have any idea what month your truck was produced? When was your case started? We have finally had a Toyota rep look at the truck after starting a case file in October. He said the buybacks were only good from October thru December but we were in contact almost every week and no one ever told us. Letters to owners in Illinois have not even been sent out yet.
  • When was your case started? We have been waiting since the end of October and finally after checking in every week a Toyota rep finally looked at the truck. We have recieved no letters from Toyota, in fact found out today that the notification letters for illinois have not even been mailed out yet. Thanks
  • How long ago did your case start?
  • I was just wondering when you started your case with Toyota and when they made you an offer. Thanks
  • I took my 2002 tacoma in for an oil change and a problem with my "check engine light". The date was November 11, 2008. The dealership performed the oil change, while on the lift, I was informed about the massive rust. My receipt that day stated as follows: No further diagnostics performed due to rust/corrosion perforated frame.
    I was asked to leave my truck on that day, just luckily, the rep was due in the following day. I was told from my dealer about the buyback, I was clueless, as to I knew of nobody in my area with this problem. the dealer told me my truck was more rusted than the earlier models. When the rep inspected it the following day, I was told it had failed, with 45 days I would receive an offer from Toyota in the mail.
    well, this time frame put us the holidays, we received nothing. so, On January 7th we for the first time was able to reach our case manager, tiffany bishop, she told us that we were NOT included in the buyback, as to that program ended in december. I told her I was at my dealer on november 11th, I wanted to be grandfathered into the buyback, she said I am sorry, you are going to be getting a frame replaement. I said oh no I am not. I told her this issue would not be settled over the phone. I had asked to have a meeting scheduled with the rep, cause the first time of inspection I had just dropped off my truck, I was not able to talk with him. so, I continued almost daily to have contact with Ms. bishop, who was rude to say the least at times, and I was rude to her back, after all, we are the consumers drivoing our families in unsafe vehicles, not her, I am the loser in this situation.
    she would contine to tell me I was only getting a new frame, meanwhile, I wrote out letters to everyone, BBB, auto safety , attorney general, state and local reps,toyota, over and over.
    I asked Ms bishop who her boss was, she replied, I make the final decision. well, everybody has a boss. and her boss is Kristi.
    I kept calling the toyota number, and different people would answer, I would tell them my problem, for as long as they would listen.
    2001-2004 are being discrimated against for having newer vehicles, toyota needs to make it right for every owner with the frame rot. These trucks are not safe.
    A frame replacement, to me meant big big problems I could not have imagined my truck ever being right or safe after a frame replacement, I told them I did not feel the dealership was qualified to do this work. I honestly did not trust them. To me this is a major overhaul, alot of parts included, alot of nuts and bolts.
  • message continued...around feb 12, 2008, received a call from latonya, from impartial services, wow, she is really friendly, professional, unlike the case manager, she informed me I was included in the buyback, I asked her over the phone the amount, and she said 16,300.00. I had 3 days to accept the offer, and fax the contract back to impartial services. I meet with the rep on March 7th to pick up check and hand over the keys to my 2002, and although it is in excellent condition, 65,000 miles, God answered my prayers to take this unsafe truck away.

    Everybody MUST write as many letters as possible...

    It is Toyotas responsibility to include every truck in the repurchase program with faulty frames from dana.

    as I have read, many newer models 05 and 06 are starting with frame rust issues.

    Not to sound stupid, where do I find when my truck was produced? it is 1 2002, so I suppose in was produced in 2001.

    Good Luck Everyone!!!
  • anybody on this board from the Boston area??

    I had researched online and found where Boston channel 5 had previously done an investigation on earlier models with rust, I contacted them, they responded, asking me if I would consider doing an interview, However, I am not located in boston, but anbody interested, her name was jennifer bearman. I just went to the website, and told them my story: I explained they needed to do another investigation as to the owners of 2001-2004, are being discrimated against. as you know..they have bought back 2001's and 2002's, why are they being selective?? Not fair..can do it for one, should do it for all. These trucks need to be removed from the highway ASAP!!

    so, for the ones still fighting for the buyback channel 5 in boston did seem interested,maybe they would do phone interviews if you are not in that area, at least that was going to be my next step.

    I honestly feel that i was included in the buyback because I hounded them daily, and wrote complaints to EVERYONE!!
    hey, I bought this truck for its depenability and toyotas reputation.
    Toyota is not a cheap vehicle, we have all bought them for their dependability.

    I encorage everybody to not give up if you have not recived your frame yet, demand to be in the buyback.
  • post number 648 on this board really got me going, for those still fighting for buyback , I encourage you to go back to that post and read.
  • what the ???

    "excellent condition, 65,000 miles"???
    a 2002 ? and u got 16300?

    was your truck a V6 SR5 automatic 4x4 ?
    I hope not because I got bought back a few weeks ago and got 16385 .
    my truck was a 2001 SR5 auto v6 4x4 with 136+ miles.
  • I AM

    im about 25 mins north of boston !

    I think I saw that investigation done by channel 5 and I am totally against the frame
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    Tacoma owners may want to consider a product called Krown Rust Control. It's been around in Canada for a long time. I used it for many years when lived in Ontario. See attached link:
    Good luck.
  • I have been reading this forum for several months now. I have an 01 Double cab that will be needing a frame replacement soon. I wanted to take a minute to alleviate the stress some of you are feeling about getting a frame replacement. It's not as scary as you think.

    Even though the scale of the job is larger than normal (big nuts and bolts), it should be an easy job for any competent technician. If you would trust a dealership, or any mechanic for that matter to do any specialized work (brakes, suspension, steering, etc...) a frame swap is no different.

    There seems to be this idea that these trucks were somehow magically assembled by brilliant scientists. Each one hand fit together. No chance. These trucks were designed to be easily assembled, and can easily be taken apart. Rust and corrosion will hinder the process, but all the rusty hardware will be replaced.

    I've monitored the first 2 swaps at a local dealership, as I know several techs there. Everything and anything that might be needed for the job with the exception of exhaust parts, is included in the kit. Other's have listed the parts in previous posts, so I won't repeat it. The total retail cost of the parts plus 60 hrs labor was around $14,000!!! Thats a lot of new parts for an older truck.

    If you maintained your truck for the long run, this swap should make you feel even better about getting many more years out of it. Don't get me wrong, Toyota definitely screwed up, but they are trying to fix it (more so than most manufacturers would). I think it would make sense to continue the buy-back, as they can fix the trade-ins and resell them. Anyway, relax, get the new frame if you need it. The truck will be safe and reliable.
  • mcalauttmcalautt Posts: 67
    Not sure what experience you have directly with the repair of vehicles but your analogy about a frame swap being the same as brakes, suspension etc is wrong.
    further more, no manufacturer builds cars to be easily disassembled.
    car and trucks are designed and built as efficient as possible as to save the manufacturer time and money on the assembly line.... Frame swap is a very big job. if you get a rolling chassis ( everything built into the frame that is needed) then it would not be as bad but the simple fact is, when you disturb electrical connectors and other fasteners that have been in one position for a long time, odds are there are going to be problems. Most likely your concern should be with electrical.
  • mcalautt:
    "Not sure what experience you have directly with the repair of vehicles but your analogy about a frame swap being the same as brakes, suspension etc is wrong. "

    mcalautt: I have many years of service experience, but more importantly, I owned a 1985 Toyota truck that I replaced the frame on. (As you can imagine I am a little ticked that I am 0 for 2 with toyota truck frames) I admit, I was a little weary at first, but the job overall went very smooth. After the swap, I drove it daily for 5 more years and 120,000 more miles trouble free ( I still own it)

    An experienced tech, should know how to properly remove electrical connectors. And, if one should get damaged, fix it. Were talking vehicles that are 8 years old in the worst case.

    Talking with techs who have done 2 frame swaps already, it went much smoother than anyone first anticipated.

    My analogy to brakes, steering, etc..., was in the trust that someone who works on your vehicle will put it back together safely. El-cheepo tire barns who mount tires, install valve stems, and bolt wheels on everyday have an equal amount of responsibility, as would someone doing a frame swap. I guess everyone takes that kind of work for granted.

    It's important to understand that this is just my opinion. Most people who know me, hold my opinion in high regard. I wanted to convey some optimism in an otherwise gloomy forum.
  • mags6mags6 Posts: 13
    Hi rachelf! Just wondering if any knows- are the new frames made of any better steel than the old ones that have rusted away? I am looking at a 2001 Tacoma Double Cab 4D in Ontario, Canada. This is also the land of the oh so salted roads. The truck is mint with 56000 miles on it. The frame looks pretty rusted but was tested Toyota Canada and had the "punch test" done. It "passed" and was sprayed with some covering that is supposed to protect it. Mmmmmmmm. I think that once rust in introduced it just keeps eating away at the steel and spreading. Should I buy this truck???? After reading all the comments here I am wondering. I sure it will need "frame replacement in the future. Any and all comments and suggestions greatly appreciated.
  • Hey all, just a heads up. Last year Toyota bought my '01 Taco back and after 2 months of arguing offered me $12k for it,,,,just barely KBB. Being completely sick of the whole proccess, I took the money and bought a Dodge. Well, wouldn't you know it, last week i got a call from Toyota Corp advising me that my '01 was now included in there buy back program and that they were sending me an additional check of $6k and change!!!! So, all total Toyota has now paid me just over $19k for my loved Taco. Had they initiated the full 150% KBB in the beginning we would still be driving a Toyota. However, they took a bit too long to make the right decision. I took the money and ran. I hope in the future Toyota pays more attention to the details. For you that had cases close last year for the '01 Taco's you might be in for a delightful surprise.
  • bigbebigbe Posts: 17
    I also had a 2001 toyota tacoma and got $13k I turned around and bought a 2008 toyota fj Hope i get another check
  • johnny66johnny66 Posts: 11
    Can you tell me when your case started? Where are you located? We had a 2001 looked at in Oct. 2008 and have been given the run around ever since. The dealer and reps said the buyback ended in Dec but we never received any notice or call and we have been in contact with the dealer every week. We are meeting with a Toyota rep in 2 to 4 weeks and have been told over and over there are no more buybacks and the (frame replacement or trade in your vehicle) are the only options and want all the ammo we can get. Thanks
  • pataco01pataco01 Posts: 14
    Well, got my truck back on Thursday 2/26 after the dealership had it for 2 months. Everything seems fine so far except they forgot to top off my power steering pump but I did when I heard it whining. My frame kit consisted of frame, rear leafs, lower control arms, brake lines, E-brake cable, and all the nuts and bolts. While they had it I had them change the clutch, timing belt, water pump, and they cut the flywheel. My final tab was $964. The labor was next to nothing and I priced the parts before I told them what I wanted so they couldn't rip me off. So, so far so good. I'll just have to wait and see how it works out.
  • mcalauttmcalautt Posts: 67
    keep an eye out for electrical mishaps and intermittent issues.
  • JRB2002JRB2002 Posts: 2
    While I cannot take credit for finding this info (found it through another forum), there is some interesting information on the NHTSA site regarding Toyota's campaign for 01-04 Tacomas. If you do a search under Service Bulletings at and drill down to 2001 Tacoma Structure: Frame and Members, you should find a PDF to download. The TSB is TCS=08-018. The PDF appears to be a sample of an official communication from Toyota Motor Corp about the rust perforation problem and indicates a possible buy-back of 1.5x Blue Book for 01-04 Tacomas. The PDF is CSC-10027968-5540. This might be some valuable "ammo" for us who are having problems with Toyota and not getting any response or very poor service on our problems.
  • divwiddivwid Posts: 10
    Dear Sir--I had a 2000 Tacoma with 96,000 kms. here in S. Ont. just west of London, ON. Last summer it failed inspection. Toyota paid me 19,000--the same amount I had paid 5 years previous. Not worth the insurance issues if I had an accident with a "failed" truck. Sure miss my truck, but glad to be rid of the whole situation. Toyota paid for a car rental for one month while I shopped for a new vehicle. A 2009 Corolla---hmmmm, fancy that. A little salesmanship going on here?? Nevertheless, Toyota paid generously, I feel and I sold off the tires before dropping off truck for the last time. Glad to rid of the whole mess. Still feel that I would buy Toyota, but not the Tacoma until this situation is resolved.
  • mags6mags6 Posts: 13
    Hi divwid, thanks for the advice. Toyota really needs to address this problem not just now but right at the time of manufacturing. They must know that a large percentage of their trucks/vehicles run in the northern areas where salt is applied to the roads. There is no reason why these frames are made from steel that is so suseptable to rusting or that a proper treatment was not applied at this time. This is not an accident but a deliberate engineering flaw. Very sad. Anyone out there that have had their frames replaced I highly recommend that you treat your new frames with somekind of rust proofing anually. Up here we have RustCheck or Krown Rust Proofing. Very effective and should help your new frames survive in the coming years.
  • mags6mags6 Posts: 13
    PS- sorry for the spelling mistakes, I should have proof read or spell checked.
  • Gentlemen -
    I have not written in a while because I wanted to really get a feel for things, but I have been driving my '01 Tacoma with the new frame, etc. for three weeks now.
    No complaints. Handles better than when I bought it in 2003 and I have done my best to beat the hell out of it too to put Toyota's work to the test.
    Buyback wasn't an option for me, as with most of you I'm sure, but it's better than nothing and we all know that the "big three" would have told us to kiss their [non-permissible content removed].
    Anyway, if there are specific questions I can answer, let me know.
  • mags6mags6 Posts: 13
    Hi and congrats on your successful swap. I have a 1983 Toyota sr5 that I still drive. I have rustproofed it regularly and for the most part have kept rust at bay. I am looking to buy a 2001 Tacoma Double Cab with 57000 mi. The frame pasted inspection but I am sure it will need a replacement sometime in the near future. It is comforting to hear you are satisfied with the work done. Anyway, do you know if the steel in these frames is any better than the original frame steel. Has it been treated for rust prior to installation? Thanks for you time.
  • HOBPHOBP Posts: 7
    Hello all! -- Have been out of town, but now post "The News"

    Ref my post of Feb 09 - believe I may be the first one here to get my Taco back w/ the replacement frame. On Feb 10 I stopped by the dealer to ask a few questions re the replacement - Svc Mgr said "it's apart - want to see it?"

    There was my Taco - in pieces/chunks/components up/down etc. Frame was across the service area - naked (covered w/ a lovely light golden rust color!). At that point they were waiting for the replacement kit. Well, they must have gotten it in the next day, because they called my on Feb 13 to tell me it was done!. Only problem was they couldn't align the front wheels due tie rods ends "frozen" and they couldn't free them up. I argued why this not included in the work order (if frame hadn't needed replacemernt I wouldn't be facing that problem), but they were adament that it was not part of the deal. So I had to spring for new - cost $410 w/ labor - which labor I believe should have been included in the process - but will take that up w/ Toyota.

    Picked it up on Feb 14. They did a nice job - truck feels/runs like new, no rattles/squeaks. Only thing I noticed was that front and rear body sections are very slightly misaligned - gap between them maybe 1/4" larger on one side than the other. No big deal - shouldn't affect aerodynamics at 70 mph.
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