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Toyota Tacoma 2004 and Earlier Frame Problem



  • I had my 01 Tacoma Frame replaced in March. When it took the truck in for the inspection the dealership didn't know anything about the 01-05's so they contacted Toyota. It seemed to me that they weren't on the same page. The Dealership and I called Toyota and after a few phone calls it all got straightened out. My dealership was Cain Toyota in North Canton Ohio. My truck was the first frame replacement they did but last I talked with him sounded like they had another one scheduled. My Taco has been running fine. Good Luck.
  • We've owned a '98 Tacoma Xtra Cab 4x4 for over three years now and we love it. Second owners with 84K; interior immaculate, exterior very nice with only a couple tiny blisters on the rear quarters. Starts, runs, drives and performs like a champ.

    When I bought the truck, I spent a great deal of time wire brushing/sanding/priming and painting the frame rails/rockers to help protect against the salty NE Ohio winters. Everything looked rock solid then. I received the frame perforation information from Toyota about a year and a half ago and simply filed it away.

    I was wire brushing yesterday in preparation for another round of sanding/priming/painting when I pushed the brush through the bottom of the frame rail just behind the tire and cab mount. I couldn't believe it! I found similar perforation to the same area on the passenger rail. Using a penlight, I found what appear to be a number of tiny holes to the rails near the rear suspension mounts and bumper bracket. Incredible!

    The truck is scheduled in to the local Toyota dealer for and inspection/verification on Monday, 7/20. Based on the existing condition of the frame, and what I've read, it seems very likely they'll deem my '98 to be toast.

    To those who've had similar experiences, how long does it take for Toyota to decide to either repair or buy back? Is this an -on-the-spot sort of decision? Would I possibly be required to surrender the truck right then and there?

    I understand that the buy back can be rather lucrative, but there are a couple of items (2 month old stereo/speakers and alloys added in August '08) that I would want to remove from the truck before it's consigned to the crusher. Should I remove them prior to the inspection?

    I now have concerns about our '04 Tacoma Dbl Cab 4x4 with 95K; the frame is showing a fair amount of scale and some flaking already. Can anyone point me in the direction of any threads concerning '01-'04 Tacoma frame rust?

    Thanks much in advance.
  • theweasethewease Posts: 9
    Hey Wolfie...

    You will see that i have been posting in the last few weeks about my 99 taco. Look back for story. However, it is not an instant offer. Ya have to wait two weeks after the inspection for an infamous letter offer handled by a third party. For me two weeks is tomorrow, so i am still waiting. I understnad that i must sing the letter and sent it back, and then arrange to have my truck dropped off at the dealership where i pick up the check at the same time.

    In terms of the 01-04 tacos, i have had conversations on this forum questioning these dates and if toyota recognizes a problem with these...and i can say..i went to toyota myself and asked the question..and the answer is YES. They have rejected tacos in these years. But i understnad that because they still manufacturer the frames for these years...they replace the frame. For the 95-00 tacos..they do not anymore...which is why you will get an offer to buy back @ 1.5 X kBB.

    The Wease
  • I'm thinking of buying a tacoma that had a the bed swapped with a utility bed. Is this considered under the extended 15 year warranty, or does swapping the bed make the warranty invalid? Thanks
  • Thanks for the info, Wease

    The Service Manager at the nearest Toyota dealer (Nassief) indicated that it would probably take 2 weeks for an offer letter to be generated. She didn't have much more to offer, other than to say that if the frame perforation is as I describe, our '98 is junk.

    I also called Toyota's customer service line, and the fellow (Jason) confirmed the 2 week wait for an offer (to give a field rep time to inspect the truck and crunch numbers). Once I receive the offer letter, I sign/return it, and await a call, at which point I take the title down to the dealer and pick up a check. Jason indicated that the buy-back process can take up to 30 days. So, we'll see.

    I'm a little annoyed by the whole process at this point, despite the fact that if Toyota does buy our '98 back, we'll do pretty well. KBB Retail Excellent factors out to be anywhere from $7200 to $7400, so 1.5 times those figures comes out to $10.800 to $11,100. That's cool, but it chaps my [non-permissible content removed] that I spent money on new brakes, a couple lines and new exhaust last year. This spring I nearly spent $800 for a body shop to repair the small rust areas to both rear wheel wells on the bed...

    We intended to drive this truck for many years; we'd previously owned a '95 T100 4x4 Xtra Cab V6 for 11 years; we put 198,000 miles on it, and never had a problem. We sold it when the sheet metal rust got way out of hand. I still see it around town.

    I don't buy Toyota's crap concerning 'bad metal' and 'inadequate application of corrosion inhibitors' to these '95 to '00 Tacoma frames; total nonsense. To me, it's a clear design flaw: there's either inadequate or non-existent paths for water that enters the boxed to drain out. So when the coating of the interior of the frame begins to flake and falls, it clogs the so-called weep holes and prevents the water/debris from getting out. Things go downhill from there: factor in this mysterious 'bad metal' coupled with road salts, and bingo! Scads of junk trucks.

    It's very clear that the frame on our '98 rusted from the inside outward. The bottom surface of the frame rail looked solid, only being held together by the remaining factory coating and layers of paint/undercoat that I'd added over the years. There was at least 3/4" of rusted, decomposed metal and rust debris that fell out of the frame after I punctured the 'skin' of coatings.

    Here's a shot of the frame rail just behind the front passenger wheel; note the factory barcode still firmly attached just 6 inches from the failure area, as well a a glimpse of the rust inside the boxed area:

    No surprise that '01 thru '04 Tacomas are showing the same frame issues; the design of the newer frame is essentially the same, although they appear to have added small drain holes to the bottom of the boxed areas. That'll work until something falls off the inside of the frame and clogs it.

    Here's our '04 95K miles, which sure as hell looks to be well along the way to becoming premature junk:

    I'd call this excessive corrosion on a 5 year old frame:

    Note how the weep hole is almost completely clogged. And why is there water on the frame? It rained last night. But the truck wasn't driven in it. Looking at that, I'd say within another year or two, we'll have failure. Total krap, as the rest of the truck is pristine.

    More scary stuff from our '04 Double Cab:

    Nice, innit? When I asked Jason about what to do concerning '01-'04 frame rust, he said not to worry about it, as they've had no issues with those models as the frames were manufactured by a different vendor and hold up as they should.

    He changed his tune when I mentioned that I owned an '04 with excessive rust showing on the frame. Jason then indicated that I should have a Toyota dealer inspect it. He indicated that it was normal for metal to rust once exposed to weather, and not to worry. He didn't know if the dealer would be able to "spray" the frame, as that is Toyota's procedure for newer trucks. He also said that if there were any problem areas, that Toyota MIGHT repair them.

    He didn't know exactly how a rusty frame might be 'repaired', I asked about the frame replacements I'd read about online, and Jason responded that Toyota wasn't doing that.


    Spraying the exterior of the frame with some undercoating isn't going to protect the inside of the box, especially when corrosion is already present.

    Looks like I'll be calling Toyota again.

    I always thought it odd that I didn't see many older Tacomas on the road here; now I know why.
  • theweasethewease Posts: 9

    Good Luck.... I empathize with you feeling burned about the money you put into the vehicle with it only to be taken away...i drive my tacos into the ground too. Luckily this year...before i decided to invest in some minor repairs...brakes..bad leaf spring, fluids, belts, hoses, and plugs, i thought it smart to get the i have avoided it.

  • Chris,

    Sometimes I 'think smart' too, but not often enough...

    Took our truck down to the dealership yesterday for the inspection. Service Manager was really cool about it. The tech guy who performed the inspection said our frame was one of the worst he'd seen. So I'm in a rental for the duration of the process.

    We'll do okay in regards to our '98; it was all mostly stock and not tricked out like many were.

    I took some photos of our '04's frame with me and showed them to the service manager, who indicated that I should schedule it in for an inspection, but not until after the '98 is disposed of. Her words: "One disaster at a time."


    Hopefully your buyback is progressing...
  • theweasethewease Posts: 9
    The buyback...for me it has been more than 2 weeks, actuallly 2wks, 5 days... and nothing in the mail...this friday will be 3 weeks!

    Keep ya posted.

  • johnny66johnny66 Posts: 11
    When did you start the process? We have been at it since Oct 08. They told us in Feb that our only option was a frame swap. They said the buybacks were done in December. Any info would be helpful, We have been waiting three months for a new frame and no calls from the dealership on the progress.
  • theweasethewease Posts: 9
    What year is your taco? If later than a 2000, than you will get frame replaced; if < 2000, you will get buyback....
  • Hey, Chris

    Wow, three weeks; that doesn't seem right. Has Toyota made you a buyback offer yet?

    Rep from Toyota called me this morning with an offer on our '98: $11,737.50, which factors down to a KBB value of $7825.00, which is pretty much what I came up with for our Tacoma with 84K miles, 2.7 litre, 4x4, Auto, PS, Tilt, AC, SR5, AM/FM CD, Rear Slider, Bed Liner and Alloys.

    Can't really complain. Rep said the offer letter would go out today via UPS, and that I should have it tomorrow. Once I return it, it could take a max of 10 days for me to receive a call to go down to the dealer, sign over the title and pick up the check (although it might happen faster).

    Don't know what's up with your buyback, Chris...I'd call Toyota @ 1-866-799-4849 and straighten things out; they should have your claim filed under your last name.

    Good luck!
  • Howdy

    We had two Tacomas, a '98 (which is in the buyback process) and an '04.

    From what the service tech at the dealership told me, the buybacks on '95-'00 Tacomas will continue until 2015 (at which time the '00's will fall out of the 15 year warranty extension on the frame).

    The service manager mentioned that the 1.5 times KBB value will ONLY APPLY to someone who's owned their '95 - '00 Tacoma PRIOR to March of 2008, when the buyback process was initiated. Anyone who bought a covered Tacoma AFTER March of 2008 and experiences frame perforation will only receive the ACTUAL AMOUNT THEY PAID FOR THE TRUCK. Of course any of us who've already gone through the buyback are totally excluded from anything from Toyota should we buy another '95 - '04...

    As for the '01 - '04 Tacomas, the Service Manager showed me Toyota documentation that clearly stated that should perforation be found on '01 - '04 frames, Toyota would replace the frame on said vehicle.

    If your '01 - '04 Tacoma has holes in it's frame, then it should be replaced. Not sure if the dealership you've been dealing with is the issue, but I'd try another Toyota dealer if one is nearby.

    We haven't taken our '04 in yet, and I doubt that it has perforation (I haven't found any), but I want to document it's current condition and get Toyota to sign off on it.

    Not sure if any of this helps, but good luck!
  • oho71oho71 Posts: 2
    I posted earlier about the rust on my frame and since then found a hole in a cross member of the frame. The frame inspection Toyota performs (according to their documentation) only mentions side rails. Will the frame pass if the holes are in other frame components?
  • theweasethewease Posts: 9

    You are the man! You were right. Local Toyota said they failed to process it. I corrected that, and now i am in the system when calling the #.. Seems that they are still missing the copy of the registration (local screw up again). So i will email over to ISG.

    Keep ya posted, and again...if anyone needs detailed information...i would call this is where the rubber meets the road!

  • Dropped off my 99 Tacoma with 168500 miles on it and you could run your hand through the frame and over the leafspring mounts. Dealer told me about and to expect 150% of BB value. Bought a new 2009 Taco double long bed SR5. I think they are doing more than enough about it. Have a free rental too.

    Just was hoping the frame would of lasted until the van was payed off in 14 months.
    I have heard of 2 other people with same issue. My frame looked good 2 years ago. Glad it was on TV and people at work were talking about it and after picking up a timing belt for our sienna I saw a new frame for the 04 outside and a fellow showed me where to look and when I got home, it was time to packup everything and start looking for a new one.

    Lucky for me my truck needs a bit of work. Needs rear drums, double cardan joint, AC fill, tires and a few cosmetic things.
  • mplevampleva Posts: 1
    In May of 08 my 2000 4x4 standard cab 4cyl auto Taco was bought back due to rust. Chose to purchase a 2002 4x4 extended cab 6cyl manual Taco as a replacement. It felt nice to feel that I was able to trade up for the inconvenience on someone else's dime. A few months after that I started to hear about frame replacements on 01-04 Tacos. So here is my question: Will I still be able to get my frame replaced even though I was part of the buy back with another truck. I might not of bought a used Taco had I known about the 01-04 problems and bought a new taco, But I did not want to have another car payment again so soon. Can anyone answer this?
  • Just received the letter from Toyota on my 2001 reg cab Taco. The letter states that if it fails their test they will repair, replace, or repurchase? From reading other posts it seems like the repurchase option isn't even on the table after '00. So why is it even mentioned in the letter? Has anyone with an '01-'04 had their Taco repurchased? Is this the same letter others are receiving? I have 280,000 miles on this truck...are they really going to try to replace the frame???
  • tesla63tesla63 Posts: 1
    2002 Tacoma Xtra cab 6cyl. AT, TRD Offroad 4x4. 185k miles. Frame replacement scheduled for next week at Kinderhook Toyota in NY. Great dealership. Handled all the paperwork and ordering in less than 2 weeks from the moment we discovered a major frame perforation. Free loaner car for the duration. Toyota informed me it will take 2 technicians 60+ hours! I'm wondering when everything is said and done if it would have cost Toyota less money to give me a new truck. The rest of the truck is in excellent condition, but the frame has advanced rust. Will keep you posted on how this project goes.
  • bigbebigbe Posts: 17
    I had a 2001 Tacoma 4x4 300000 miles but it was in mint condition I mean it looked brand new Toyota gave me 13000.00 for it I then turned around and bought a toyota fj I miss my truck I would have taken the new frame but was not offered one this was in Dec of 08
  • bru5bru5 Posts: 1
    I am sorry if you have already ansswered a question like this. I have a 1995 toyota tacoma 4x4, with a very rusted frame. I can only see this by kneeling down and looking in by the tires. I am unable to lay down on a creeper (disabled) and get under the truck to see how bad the frame is. It is a great truck that I have owned for seven years. Is there anything I can do about this frame situation? Thank you for your time.
  • tcincytcincy Posts: 28
    Bru5: It sounds like your Tacoma is covered by the 15 year extended rust warranty program Toyota instituted in Fall, 2008.

    Beginning March, 2008, Tacoma owners were notified to have thier 1995-2000 Tacomas inspected for frame rust. Toyota repaired or bought back about
    10% of the 1995-2000 Tacomas having more frame rust than Toyota considered
    to be "acceptable". They offered and in many instances bought back trucks at 1 - 1/2 times "excellent retail" Kelly Blue Book. That is what happened in my case - I had a 1999 with moderate amount of rust,.

    The original "buyback" program was supposed to end October, 2008. However, Toyota recieved so many complaints about frames that they extended the warranty for all Tacoma frames from the standard 3-years or 36,000 miles to 15 years with unlimited mileage for the rust problem.

    Even though you haven't had your Taco inspected under the original program, since it is a 1995, it should be covered through 2010.

    After selling my ' 99 Tacoma back to Toyota, my brother brought his '98 Tacoma in for inspection. It didn't qualify, but due to the extended 15 year frame warranty, they told him to have inspected once a year through 2013.

    So yours should be covered through 2010.

    Contact a Tacoma dealer and advise them you want your Taco inspected ;under the 15 year frame warranty Toyota instituted last Fall, 2008.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    One clarification... rust is not the criteria for having the truck removed from service... it's full rust peforation (aka, a hole in the frame). The frame must rust completely through to qualify for buyback.

    kcram - Pickups/Wagons Host
  • Brought my 2001 Tacoma X-cab V6 with 65,000 miles in to the dealer last week. Frame looked in great shape but they found a fist size hole in the frame on the passenger side. What i'm wondering is what others have had to spend on parts that Toyota didn't cover with the frame swap. Lost my job about 6 mths ago and going to school right now so i really don't need a big drain on the savings. Also if they did trying to get you to pony up did you have any way to get Toyota to cover that part seeing as the part wouldn't need to be replaced yet if the frame wasn't being swapped out? Thanks for your input.
  • I guess this threads so long it finally died.
  • Toolman,

    To complete my story, i did get my check from Toyota - dropped the truck off in exchange - and received $12,375...i think morethan 1.5x KBB. Anyway, since i am in syracuse, NY, where vehicles take a beating, i went on autotrader and found a 2003 tacoma (extended cab) with 55K on it. The truck had never been north of NC. Man, it looked brand new underneath. Nevertheless, it was well maintained; i put $500 deposit and provided it to the private owner.

    I then scooped up a flight for $100 one way, and closed the deal. The vehcicle is in great shape and i paid $12,900!

    So i upgraded from a '99 to an '03, and from 170K miles to 55K miles, and from a beat up truck to one that looks brand new.

    I won huge on this, and i commend Toyota for stepping up to the plate and addressing the problem.

    Regardless of the frame problems, i will always buy Toyota. There product is exceptional, and there commitment to owners is unparalleled.

  • Been following your thread. Sounds like it worked out all right for you.

    Now before you do anything else, have the frame inspected by Toyota and coating for corrosion. As you probably know, the 2001-2004 may have a problem with the frame. With proper care, your Tacoma should not have any problems.
  • i have a 1999 tacoma that has rebuild stamped on the title i purchased the truck about 3 years ago from a guy that brings just tacomas over to canada from the U.S as rebuildabels my truck was in very good condition with very minor body damage and know i see that my frame is in very bad condition around the rear spring hanger and i am wondering if anyone knows if it would quallify for the recall program that toyota is offering .i have gone to my local dealer but they say that because of the rebuild stamp on the title that it doesnt quallify does anyone know if this is so. thanks in advance
  • From what I understood at the time, the program began in March, 2008. Toyota required owners of affected Tacomas to have owned the car before then.

    I would contact a Toyota dealer with the specifics.
  • rachelfrachelf Posts: 12
    So I was the first test monkey for a new frame at my dealership.....6 monthe later, my two front tires are so worn on the inside ,that there is NO tread left and it is dangerous to going in next week for round 1.........any other frame people see this or any other gliches?
  • Hi

    I outright refused the frame replacement for this very reason. (not being snarky)

    You can not take a truck apart, replace a frame, and expect it to be 100%. Especially inside of a week.

    I told them I would park it outside the dealership with a sign on it saying 'ask me about my truck?'

    Instead we came to an agreement on a VERY aggressive 09 price. Aggressive based on this, market conditions, and what was soon to come with car sales.

    I feel for you, I was also an early bird in the 2000+ problem ( I was a 2002). I had a rental for a month and my 09, 2 months before the "hey guess what?" email ever came from Toy Corp.

    I also missed the KBB thing by about 60days.

    Oh well, is what it is... fight them hard... and if you talk to Corp, Ms. Bishop will be of little help ...if she even calls you back.

    Good Luck
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