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Toyota Tacoma 2004 and Earlier Frame Problem



  • My 01' Taco's frame comes today and I was told I should have the truck back by the end of next week. I'm glad to hear from the folks on here that they have had no major issues thus far with their replacements as I am going through it right now. Rust inhibitor will be the next step -but my question is this - If we are getting new frames due to the old ones rotting out why doesn't Toyota or (DANA -the manufacturer) put rust inhibitor/preventative on/in them prior to the swap to help prevent future issues? Just an idea for Toyota I guess - just makes good common sense to me.
  • mcalauttmcalautt Posts: 67
    in theory they are suppose to apply the protection during the manufacturing process.
    usually what they do is negatively or positively charge the frames and then do the opposite to the inhibitor as they dip the frames.
    Not sure why they are telling you they are going to do it after the install.
    that does not sound good to me, sounds like they are going to undercoat it which is a friggin mess and doesnt protect anything.
  • doubleusndoubleusn Posts: 20

    I am also glad to hear replacements are going well. I ended up opting out of it as my circumstances did not allow for it to be an option to me.

    I am glad to hear that things are going well for folks and now that frames are avail things seem to be speeding up. Many folks had been waiting a long time for frames, and my 02 was deemed bad before there even was a letter to send out.

    Question to All: Does anybody know what product they are using to spray under the ones that are rusty, but are not considered a failure.

    Question to All 2: Do we know if the 2005-200x model run corectd the problem?

    My understanding was it is a rust from lack of protection spray problem, but also a design flaw in the frame so that moisture does no drain properly.


  • Not sure about what undercoating they are talking about applying. I was told the NEW frames they were manufacturing have a different rust protection, specifically having the rust preventative baked on as opposed to just sprayed on.
    I can't fathom why they would tell you they are putting an undercoating on (which doesn't do anything except increase the problem) other than to make you feel better.
    I'm curious how the 2005 and up frames are holding up... unless they have addressed the problem, we'll probably be hearing about this in a year or two.
  • doubleusndoubleusn Posts: 20

    Thanks for the reply

    It was my understanding is that frames that were not rusted (not being replaced) out per se were getting something applied to them instead, under this program, to reduce the risk going fwd. I was wondering what product they were using for this.

    I was in a situation where 'waiting' for a frame and using my truck 'after a frame swap' was not an option for me.

    I argued with corp for many many weeks, and ended up working out a 'fair' deal with my dealer.

    This fair deal now includes me having an 09 TRD OF. I am just trying to gather info on the 2005+ frames, etc under the guise of preventing anything on the 09 now vs later.

    Thanks again for the email.

  • rachelfrachelf Posts: 12
    The new frame has a 15 yr. rust warranty on it.....the way i see it, the new frame will out last almost every truck body it is put under.........
    PS mine has been back for 2 weeks and is doing fine- i plan on watching how my tires wear .........
  • mags6mags6 Posts: 13

    Just wondering - the 2001 Tacoma Double Cab I am looking to purchase has had its frame tested and it passed even though it is VERY rusty. It was sprayed with some black tar like inhibitor. Do I have more than one shot at being tested? I am assuming I would have 6 more years before the warranty ends and still have the option of frame replacement if it rusts through. Would anyone know for sure.

    Thanks again.
  • doubleusndoubleusn Posts: 20

    I'm not sure I follow.

    You can see it is very rusty, yet it is also sprayed?

    Are you saying it's sprayed, but maybe not 100%?

    If 100%, what part is rusty?

  • mags6mags6 Posts: 13
    Hi, and thanks for the reply, I will try to be more clear.

    The truck that I am looking at passed the frame test even thought it is really rusty. The outside of the frame was sprayed but not the inside. The rear leaf springs, gas tank guard and the "inside of the frame" were not sprayed. It shows just how rusted, and I mean RUSTED this frame/and parts really are. It was rusted enough that Toyota Corp. took it and punch tested it to see how bad it was. Because the inside of the frame is so rusted I think it is just a matter of time before it is perforated as the rust eats through the metal. The rest of the body panel though are excellent.

    Thanks again.
  • doubleusndoubleusn Posts: 20

    Thanks for the update.

    In my eyes, and in my own opinion, I see this as a three question/step process.

    1) Location - Where do you live? Does it snow? Is there salt? Where did the truck live before?

    2) After reading this whole thread how do you feel about having a frame replacement? (maybe)

    3) What is you own peronal opinion of how well a replacement will hold up over time and the hassle (time is money) you 'may' have to give up in the future if #2 comes true. 'If' other things start failing early as a result of the complete disassembly from the frame replacement. (only the frame itself is covered is my understanding)

    It may be the best replacement program in the world, it may not be.I had an 02 Dbl Cab with the problem (hole in frame) and I chose to opt out.

    If it was 'me' ,without being forced, I would hesitate.

    Just my .02, FWIW.

  • dvuolodvuolo Posts: 2
    I own a 2001 extra cab 4x4 tacoma with 137,000 miles. Wondering how much rust holes toyota is looking for in order to replace or buy back. I havent really inspected the frame to well, but just getting underneath to do oil changes, have notice a few holes big enough to stick three fingers in.
  • Sounds like you have more than enough rust and perforation to fail the "punch test" to get a frame replacement. My 01' Taco had a hole about 4"wide by 1 1/2" high and it failed easily. I just stopped by today at the dealership to see the progress. Let me tell you it's an odd experience to see your motor and rear differential on a new frame, but your cab, bed, and all other parts scattered across the floor of the dealer's shop bays. Looking forward to getting it back at the end of next week. So far so good.
  • mags6mags6 Posts: 13
    Hi, take your truck to your nearest Toyota dealer and show them the holes. Any perforation of the frame makes you eligable for a frame replacement. I don't believe they are doing the buy back but try it if you want to. It appears some people have succeeded with it.
  • wish the would have put new frame under my tacoma it was a 97 with 64,000 miles and mint body.The 12,000 i got just didn't make me happy.I still feel that i got screwed
  • I dropped my 01 tacoma off at the dealership today with 130,000 miles. They had the frame all set up and ready to go. I'm going to stop over in the morning to take a look. I am having a new exhaust and shocks put on while its taken apart. Does anyone have any suggestions on other items I should have replace while the truck is disassembled? Water pump, oil pump, timing belt?
  • If it's a v6, do the timing belt, water pump, and the timing belt tensioner. Maybe do the accesory belts too. No need to touch the oil pump. If it's a standard, it would be a good time to do the clutch. However now your repair bill will be getting up there. Good luck.
  • Just wanted to give you a head's up that the 2005 tacomas are showing problems with frame rust.

    There are two vehicles at the dealership where I bought my taco that have frame rust. My taco was 2 years old when rust started on the frame. It got so bad that the dealership stripped the frame, painted and rust proofed. Two weeks later the rust was back worse than ever. The dealership recently took it in again, stripped the frame and applied a chemical treatment. I was told that this would work. I seriously have my doubts considering that Toyota Canada won't extend my rust-perforation warranty like it's doing with the 2001-2004s. If anyone has had this treatment applied to their truck, please let me know. Thanks.
  • mags6mags6 Posts: 13
    Hello, I think I know how you must feel. You can get attached to these things which can make it more than just a ride. If its your "baby" and you take real good care of them it does seem like a waste to just trash them. Price does seem OK though.
  • Just wondering if anyone could give some info on what Toyota will do with a 2001 Tacoma that has been re-built. Will they still replace the frame? I can see that their is definitely a rust problem. Any other info would be great....
  • mags6mags6 Posts: 13
    Hello. see item #770 in this forum. Good Luck.
  • pataco01pataco01 Posts: 14
    Got my '01 back on 2/26. Everything is fine so far. My Dad's a mechanic and I consider myself a decent wrencher so I've gone over it pretty good. My truck has 161,000 on it so I had them replace the timing belt, clutch, press. plates-etc,and the water pump and they also had the flywheel cut. I had previously done plugs, wires, and belts. My total cost was $964.31. Labor cost were: $78 for clutch(1 hr), and $200 for timing belt, water pump($50 of which was the flywheel). I priced the parts before I told them so they didn't rip me off and I'm happy with the labor charges. I could have done this myself but hey, they already had the truck in pieces, saves me some headaches. They even gave me the original clutch back because it was still good. So far soooo good.
  • I have read a lot of the posts, but I confess that I can't make it through them all so my apologies if this has already been covered. Is this frame rust issue pretty much a regional problem, in the northern tier states and Canada where salt is used in winter...or is it more widespread? I have never heard of this problem here in the sunny south until I started doing some research on Tacomas. I'm looking at purchasing an '03 from a used dealer. This truck has spent its life so far in southern Texas, obviously not a snowy region. Would you still have concerns?
  • mcalauttmcalautt Posts: 67
    yes this is a problem with all the trucks as far as I know but if your in an area of the country where its mostly dry and you have no road salt then you technically wont have a problem.
  • dvuolodvuolo Posts: 2
    I took my tacoma to toyota, the rust on frame was bad enough to have frame replaced. Told them i would like to qualify for buy back. Dealership told me its impossible and toyota wouldnt do a buy back, my truck wasnt safe to drive and if i left with it, that toyota wasnt responsible. So either leave the truck there or i was out of luck.Left truck there for them to fix. Its been there for two days sitting outside. I called toyota corp. and they said if the damage was bad enough that i could qualify for a buy back. Isnt a frame replacement enough damage? So they are assigning me a case manager. I need to call dealership in morning and tell them not to touch truck untill this is cleared up.Should have the dealership assigned me a case manager when i asked to be bought out?
  • vtjlgvtjlg Posts: 2
    I have a 2001 Tacoma x-cab w/170,000+ miles. Did you all get letters about this "service" or have you called your dealers directly. I was under the impression that Toyota was going to notify us and I would need the letter to schedule an appointment. I keep shelling out $$ here and there to keep my taco on the road. I replaced cab mounts and need to address the brackets holding my tie-rod. If they're going to change the frame anyway, maybe I can save a little money on all these (relatively) minor things.
  • I noticed a 6 inch hole in the side of the frame and just took it in. It should be ready next Thursday. The dealership should by now be aware of everything. Good luck.
  • Are there ANY good Tacomas within the years 1996-2004 out there, or are they ALL suspect? I still see plenty of this vintage for sale at dealer lots. I wonder how many of THOSE show signs of frame decomposition? I also wonder if I asked the sales folks permission to whack the frame with a hammer, if they'd let me? (hehehe).

    I am in the market for a Tacoma sized truck from this era (price-driven), and honestly can't think of any other make/model/style that I'd rather own. So my question is this...what are the odds of finding a Taco of this vintage that will last as long as it should?

    Also, if these trucks are so bad (Not to doubt ANYTHING I have read here), how come all the automotive reviews websites (including Consumer Reports, MSN autos, etc), STILL rate the used Tacomas as excellent vehicles to buy? NOT ONE MENTION on Consumer Reports of any frame problems? Also, almost all the personal reviewers RAVE about this vehicle. Don't believe me, see for yourselves. Am I delusional, or could it be that you folks are the "vocal minority"?

    I'd be curious to know how many folks here know of people who have NO ISSUES with their Tacos' frames, especially up north in snowy climates?

    I guess I'd like one kinda badly, and need to be talked out of buying one. Of course, I'd have my mechanic inspect it first.


    PS: I am truly sorry for those who've been BONED by Toyota. Some of your stories are almost heartbreaking.
  • mcalauttmcalautt Posts: 67
    from what I understood, they are all affected.
    but if they are not in a high salt area then they prob wont have a frame issue.
    other than the frame having a problem with corrosion protection, the truck is rock solid.( no pun)
    I loved my truck and it was typical toyota quality.
    I assume that CR and others rave about it because they have not and may never experience this frame issue depending on where they live.
  • mrbill1957mrbill1957 Posts: 823
    I have a 95 Tacoma, live in Wisconsin where alot of salt is used, and so far the frame looks good. Just a few small areas where the paint wore off and a little surface rust started. Granted, I only have 110k miles on mine, but have been using it as a winter driver for most of it's life.

    The sales brochure for the 95 and 1/2 states: Tacoma's tough anti-corrosive steel frame resists rusting. That's one of the reasons I bought the truck. Sounds like something changed in the years following the first year?

  • Mrbill ,

    Was your VIN within the "Extended Warranty" range? Have you had your dealer give it "the inspection"? Have you taken any extraordinary protective measures under carriage? Are you the original owner?

    thanks for the post...maybe I'll hafta aim for a 1995.0 or older. Guess I'd get "more truck" for the $$ that way.

    thanks for posting.
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