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Toyota Tacoma 2004 and Earlier Frame Problem



  • oxi04oxi04 Posts: 10
    I have an 04 Taco X-cab 4wd, I am in NY state. Got a letter in late Dec 2011 and said I had until 12/31/12 to take my truck in to any NY dealer for an inspection. Took it in last week and the mechanic took me into the bay while it was on the lift and showed me a big hole in the pass side frame rail near the attachement point for the rear leaf springs. They told me I would definitely get the new frame but they have to send pictures and a report to Toyota for confirmation in order for it to be official. The mechanic also gave me the lowdown on the details. Even though the frame is rotten because of Toyotas bad metal, many other parts that are rusted will not be covered under the frame replacement deal. Some parts are covered, such as: New brake lines, New rear E-brake cable, New leaf springs, New front lower control arms and all new nuts and bolts as needed. BAD NEWS, Items not covered, Such as: 2 Front splash shields up front , Gas tank shield and any attachment straps etc. And if they happen to break off the bottom bolt of one of your front shocks inadvertently making it unusable they will charge you for a new shock. Since they immediately deemed my 2 Front Splash Shields and Gas Tank shield unusable I asked if they would give me those "at cost" since if it wasn't for Toyotas bad frame I wouldn't be needing to replace those items at this time? I got a chuckle and was told "no way" but they wouldn't charge any labor for the items since they would have to put the old ones back on if they were usable. They said I could give them a "wish list" of parts and they would price them for me so I could shop for better prices and if I purchase the parts elsewhere they would still install them at no charge(big of them). My position is that if Toyota built the veh using crappy metal for the frame and they are replacing it free then they should be replacing all the other rotted components along with it, FREE. So far I have priced the 3 splash shields and gas tank straps etc and it looks to be well over $600. plus I,ve already spent half a day just to bring the truck for inspection, I'll have to bring it back to leave for the frame replacement and another trip to pick it up when done. I think the least Toyota should do is offer the other parts at "cost". Anyone out there know of any places to get the best prices for Toyota parts? Thanks for the help. By the way I still love my Taco, its my 3rd Toyota PU, had an 87 that i had to put a wooden box on because the box rotted but not the frame, also had a 94. Bought the 04 new(a first for me) and it only has 67000 K on it and looks great on the outside. The only things I've done are the font brakes last yr and the rear muffler, other than that just oil changes every 3K.
  • dyankedyanke Posts: 9
    Check with another dealer. Almost everyone who has had their frames replaced has made mention of only paying for parts that were optional or that they upgraded. Sorry, but sounds like a very lazy, uniformed mechanic.
  • oxi04oxi04 Posts: 10
    Just to clarify, the mechanic said the 2 front splash shields and the gas tank shield on my truck were so rotted that they would literally crumble when removed and that is true. Thats the reason I'll have to buy new ones. My front splash shield is in tatters and flaps in the wind, falling off piece by piece as I drive along. I just think they should give me these at cost since I wouldn't be replacing them if they weren't replacing the frame.
  • duck20duck20 Posts: 2
    Thank you for response I'll check .
  • dyankedyanke Posts: 9
    If they were that bad then it was a safety issue and the frame being replaced was coincidental. I really don't think it unreasonable to charge for the parts if they were really that bad.

    My comment was more along the lines of a mechanic that just thought it easier to replace than taking their time. On mine, one or two of the cab bolts snapped. Not part of the list but the dealership is replacing.
  • Any luck at all rustcity? Same happened to me because of an admitted wrong address by Toyota and the dealer.
  • oxi04oxi04 Posts: 10
    Had frame replaced 2 weeks ago. Wife picked it up, drove it 2 parking spots, stopped & called me. Truck has wicked vibraition at idle, worse when in gear with foot on brake, even worse when in reverse. Has terrible vibration/rumble at 1750 rpms. Front bumper is misaligned, drooping down. At the time the frame was replaced the Cat converters were replaced under warranty, now I have an exhaust leak. Strange thing is the veh tracks down the road with no problems and drives good. Sounds like crap though. Also had to replace many items underneath,(2 front splash shields, gas tank shield, rear shocks and exhaust from converters to the back of the truck). I told dealer I wanted items at cost, they quoted me full retail, told them I would purchase parts elsewhere myself and bring them. They suddenly dropped their price on parts from $1500 to $800. What a pain in the butt this is. Now have to bring veh back for fourth time to have fixed again. They told my wife it was rough because they had to reset the computer or some malarkey, said it would "smooth out". Beware people, this dealer was supposed to be good at these replacements because they do many. HA !
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    edited July 2012
    Yeah, that's a shame. Most of the replacements come back from the dealer better than new;I know mine did. My dealer replaced 15 before mine, so they were very experienced; had it done perfectly in three days. I hope they are leveling with you about the computer, don't accept any results less than what it was before the replacement. Good Luck !
  • frame_builderframe_builder Posts: 6
    edited August 2012
    First off, the frames are not made by Toyota. Up until Jan 2011 they were being made by Dana corp in Stockton Ca. I worked for Dana corp for 11 years until they sold their frame division to Metalsa (which now the frames are made in Mexico) The rust issue is with the black paint (E-Coat) Toyota standards require the E-Coat to be so many microns thick. It hardly ever was. Sometimes the paint was to thick which caused a big problem with the p-nuts (nuts spot welded for various components) the thick paint made installing bolts a pain for the NUMMI plant in Fremont and Baja Ca where the trucks were being built.

    We ALWAYS had paint issues. We had bare spots on frames that we were told to use a spray can of paint to "touch up" I saw frames in our yard that had rust forming on them.

    Dana Corp sold out to Metalsa, and our plant here in Stockton Ca was shut down and moved to Mexico. BTW The Tundra frame are also made in Mexico!
  • The Dana plant in Stockton Ca that built the tacoma frames until 1-30-11 did not build the 4runner frame. I can guarantee you 100% we only built frames for the tacoma's. Our E-Coat system was always crashing and having problems. I spent 5 years as a QC tech for Dana at that 5 years was spent as a RE (Resident Engineer) at the NUMMI plant in Fremont ca where the tacomas were built. There was so much bad stuff going on with the tacoma frames. In house damage for example. Forklift driver bent the #4 cross member (the cross member that supports the center bearing bracket AKA drive line) while loading it onto the dolly that took frames to the line. When it was bent we would use pry bars and try to straighten the best we could. If the truck went through the roll test and had no vibrations, we were good to go. I have many, many stories of sub pare Toyota Tacoma frames that got built in trucks..... :(
  • cbone14cbone14 Posts: 8
    You must be so proud to have worked there. Good old American unions at work no doubt. You should be ashamed to have posted this let alone worked there.
  • eallmaneallman Posts: 16
    Thanks for giving us an insight into the workings of this factory. Don't mind the haters who post insults on the Internet.
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    Okay, so who built the Tundra frames since we know they were defective also, and getting replaced?
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    Why blame the messenger ? Even union workers have bosses they have to lesson to. Frame Builder - Solidarity Forever !
  • One of the Dana plants back East made the Tundra frames until they got outbid by Metalsa. Metalsa I think they started building them in 07 or 08, but don't hold me to those dates.
  • frame_builderframe_builder Posts: 6
    edited August 2012
    Dana sold their frame division to Metalsa and moved it to their facility in Mexico. Needless to say, our plant was shut down and 175 people lost their jobs including me. Toyota shut down NUMMI (which was a joint partner ship between GM and Toyota and moved the production to a new plant in Texas) Although there were certain model of frames we did ship to Toyotas plant in Mexico.
    When NUMMI shut down there were 5000 jobs lost there, not including all the local suppliers, am i bitter about my job being outsourced to Mexico, I sure in the hell am!

    Why should I be ashamed of posting this info? I don't work for Dana or Metalsa any more. When I did, I was not allowed to say anything about what was going on or I would have lost my job and like everyone else, I had bills to pay. The Dana plant was non union until the last year and a half, by that time we were Metalsa. Although I was considered part of management I was not allowed to join the union.
  • I took my 2001 Tacoma into the dealer today after easily poking a hole in my frame over the weekend. While doing some work under the truck I decided to give the frame a few taps with a hammer to see how it was holding up. Sure enough it went right through near where the leaf springs meet the frame. I did have the protective undercoating applied before the deadline mentioned in a letter I received about 2 years ago (Completed in August 2010). The dealer claims he can't authorize the frame replacement and is bringing in a Toyota rep for an inspection and I sense a battle brewing.

    He told me that by my tapping a hole through Toyota would not warranty the frame. I told him that the "hammer test" was how these frames were being passed/failed by dealers like him all over the place. He confirmed "hammer test" was initially used, but claims that after the protective undercoating was applied use of a hammer was not permitted anymore and would most likely mean Toyota would not replace the frame.

    So now I have a truck with a hole in the frame, and the Toyota Rep. will be out in a week or so to check it out for a final decision. It may work in my favor, but I have a bad feeling I may need to fight this. I'm just trying to get my ducks in a row and would appreciate any advice/opinions on the best ways to proceed and not get taken advantage of. Thanks!
  • bigbebigbe Posts: 17
    Hi dont worry they will do rite by by you They want that truck off the road
  • terceltomterceltom Allentown, PSPosts: 1,024
    First off, if anything Toyota might eventually agree to a re-frame, because only "99"s and before are removed "off the road". But I really would like to know how you can be so confident that "jay3379"s Tacoma will be taken care of, when others on this forum have had no such luck?
  • going through the same thing. i owned a '92 toyota pickup with no rust on it. decided it was time to upgrade and got a '03 tacoma (off craigslist) knowing nothing of the recall. frame looked good when i checked it out. when i took it in to have the muffler replaced the mechanic pointed out that the frame has a hole in it. toyota will do NOTHING for me because the recall has ended. [non-permissible content removed] out of luck.

    now i am wondering is it worth welding it?? worried this will just be a problem that keeps coming back to haunt me.
  • Did you have any luck with your truck? We just found out that our '04 Tacoma's frame is rusted, deeming it 'unsafe to drive' and failing inspection. But Toyota won't replace the frame because we never had the underspray. So now we have an 04 truck with only 148,000 and it's essentially useless?? Preparing to deal with Toyota's corporate office, any advice is appreciated! Thanks!
  • tcmatcma Posts: 8
    Yes i went through the process it took awhile. I dont know what the stipulations on the 04's are. I had a 97 and it failed the inspection and they bought the truck back. When i went through it they had a complete standard operation procedure they followed to buy the truck back. It had nothing to do with if you had the frame sprayed. The frames were bad from the factory because the special rust treatment they dip the frames in did not work and of course the frame was rusting prematurely.
  • Toyota customer care told us tonight that we missed the deadline for the underspray, so we are not able to access the extended warrenty, so there is "No Further Action" that Toyota can take. Clearly we are not happy with this response, and it certainly doesn't seem to match with their proclaimed 'customer satisfaction'. Need to figure out what to do next ... selling a truck of this supposed reliablity for parts doesn't seem like it should be the only option. (looks like '95-'99 trucks were bought back, '00-'04 trucks had frame replaced ... if you meet the timeline for the warrenty and had it undersprayed)
  • We have an '04 Tacoma, 148,000 miles, that just failed inspection and is now deemed unsafe due to perforations in the frame from the rust. We never had the undercoating spray done (Toyota says they mailed us multiple notifications of this program, we don't recall getting them ... bottom line is the undercoating spray was never done), so we missed the deadline to have the frame replaced by Toyota under their extended warranty program. The undercoating would have extended the warranty from 5 years to 15 years for the frame. (Yes ... I've read that several people had it sprayed but it still rusted out ... that argument went nowhere with the Toyota rep). So now Toyota is telling us that "no further action" can be taken on their part. We are just a tad bit frustrated (yes, that's an understatement) that we now have a decent truck on our hands that we can basically only sell for parts??? Clearly we aren't going to come up with the $14,000 that it would cost us to replace the frame. Any advice on where to go from here would be greatly appreciated!!!
  • oxi04oxi04 Posts: 10
    kqs: What state are you in? I'm in NY and have an 04 Tacoma, bought new. I receved a letter in late Dec 2011 that advised me I had until the END of 2012 to have the truck inspected for rust perforation problems with the usual list of options, ie. undercoating or frame replacement. If you have been following this site you will have notice that the dealer did a crappy slam bang job on my truck. I have since resolved most issues with my local mechanic and will be sending the bill to the Dealer (I know lots of luck). Found even more problems as I drove the truck after a while, like leaking brake fluid from untightened connection under the hood. Majority of problem with the vibrations, shuddering were resolved when my local guy found that the dealership had put a bolt in the transmission mount that was too long and was rubbing/pushing on the tranny outer case. Once he removed that and put the right length one in it was like the same old smooth running truck it always had been. Sorry, back to your issue, I would put something in writing to Toyota headquarters in CA and send it certified mail, return receipt requested. Give them a detailed document of what you have done, dates, names of people you have spoken with, the whole 9 yards and ask them for a written response as to what they can do for you. If you have been a Toyata customer for a while give them a list of all the Toyotas you have ownedm ight help, and it can't hurt. Good Luck.
  • Thanks for your feedback! I am new to this site ... new to having any poor dealings with Toyota. Customer care did tell me last night that NY was the only state still applying the undercoating. So do I sell it to someone there, and then they'll get a new frame put on thru this warrenty??!!!

    Definitely planning to write a letter, and will follow your advice for certified mail, return receipt, & requesting written response ... hadn't thought of those pieces.

    Sorry to hear about your frustrations with Toyota!
  • Sorry about all your problems. My 99 off the road got 13k for last summer, put 5k in bank and got a sweet 4runner........ Good Luck
  • oxi04oxi04 Posts: 10
    Selling it to someone in NY might be worth a try if you don't get any satisfaction from Toyota. What state are you in? I know a guy here who bought up several of the 95-99 Tacomas and made a ton of money using the buyback deal. Maybe you know someone in NY who could help you out.
  • greg128greg128 Posts: 418
    Any advice on where to go from here would be greatly appreciated!!!

    I knew someone years ago with a new Ford F-150 that had a bad knocking diesel engine that his dealer refused to repair or replace. He showed up on the street in front of the dealership with a sign with a big lemon on it. Guess what...he got a new engine.

    try showing up in front of the dealership, off of their property with a sign like this in plain view of any prospective Toyota shoppers:

  • "YO" in TO-"YO" TA.....don't ya love it....whatever.....

    Guys, I am on my 3rd Tacoma and I love these things (as I hope you all do) only I really wish they didn't feel they had to get so LARGE (2005-2012).

    I had a 92 and loved it but a little underpowered (4cy) so bought a '99 (v6) and just loved it, drove it from Iowa (home) to D.C. MANY times; to Madison,WI MANY times; Minneapolis/home many times; hey this truck was just great, I loved it, my son (madison) and daughter (minneapolis) used it off/on for several years and the entire family loved this thing......until:

    I had new tires installed and when they tried to align the wheels found that the frame was "junk". So, they bought it back (1.5 times avg. retail) (whoopee) not bad hey, except that I was now forced to buy another truck! Yo, I'm not made of $$$$$$$

    I really liked this generation of tacomas, they have so much more style than the newer ones... So, I'm looking at a 2004 that looks (online posting) like a really nice truck. Previous owner (1st owner) an "older gentleman" that just drove around town/etc... and the guy(2nd owner) says he is "fairly certain" it has been sprayed. Well sorry, that is just not good enough, I need proof. "Been there-done that"...
    The truck is several hundred miles away so, my question to you all is: how do I know WHEN was THE DEADLINE? (When "is" the deadline?
    If I look at this truck and it looks good, that's great, but if the owner missed the underspray what? I'm going to tell him that I need proof the truck was sprayed and the date of such. What do you guys think, sounds like you have all been through at least (or more) than I have so I need any/all suggestions on how to proceed.
    ( I have several friends who have over 200,000 miles on their tacomas and they are still doing great-crappy Iowa weather and all).
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