• Oct 8, 2009

Coming hard on the heels of its largest U.S. recall in history is news suggesting that Toyota could again face the wrath of the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. That's because the government agency is finally turning its eyes on the frame rust problem for 2000-2001 Toyota Tundras, a problem that has lit up owner forums for years. Toyota is no stranger to frame rust issues, as it has also extended the rust warranty of 1995-2000 Tacoma trucks and has even offered to buy back the trucks in 20 cold weather states at 1.5 times their Kelley Blue Book values. 2001 to 2004 Tacomas are already eligible for supplemental corrosion protection and replacement frames if necessary, but Toyota will not buy the newer trucks back.

The latest probe by NHTSA involves 218,000 Tundras from the 2000 and 2001 model year, as the government safety organization has reportedly received 20 reports of frames that have rusted to the point where some serious problems occurred. Five of the reports were for brake lining ruptured on the driver's side "rear crossmember at upper shock mount." The other 15 reported incidences involved spare tires which separated from the rear crossmember as the result of excessive rust. Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies told The Detroit News that the frame rusting problem is so severe that the "bottom can collapse." We take that as meaning that the frame of the Tundra truck can collapse under its own weight due to advanced tinworm.

Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons told the DN that the company is aware of the issue and is conducting an investigation of its own. The Japanese automaker claims that the frames were built by the same supplier which built the potentially defective Tacoma models, so we're thinking a similar issue could be a real possibility. Since the investigation is ongoing, Toyota has yet to officially accept blame for the issue, nor has it offered to repair or replace any defective frames. If NHTSA's investigation determines that 2000 and 2001 Tundra frames are defective due to excessive corrosion, the world's largest automaker may not have a choice. Hat tips to Rene and Alex.

[Source: The Detroit News]


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  • 39 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      All manufacturers have their problems and recalls. The difference is how thy deal with their problems.
      My last full size domestic was a 1991 Ford F-250 4X4. It pulled our 5th wheel trailer that weighed 6000 pounds. The truck had a 10000 pound rating. At 51000 miles the transmission blew and cost me almost $4500.00. No warranty. At 92000 it froze a lifter, ground down the cam lobe and I ended up needing an engine rebuild.
      I have had small Toyota PUs since 1976.
      I gave my 76 Toyota to my oldest grandson about 9 years ago. The deal I made with him was that when he bought a better vehicle he would give the Toyota to is next younger brother. It's now being driven by a third teenager and has almost a half
      million miles on it .
      When I see as many 10 and 20 years old domestic vehicles on the road as I do Toyota and Hondas I will again consider a domestic vehicle. If I live that long!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Finally. Now the public can see that Toyota has its own share of (often worse) problems versus domestic competitors.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I had an '06 Tundra DoubleCab that I leased new from July 06-July 09.

      Truck was driven in 2 Michigan winters, and the frame frame and suspension had a TON of rust on it when I turned it in with only 26,000 miles on it. I replaced it with a used '05 Chevy Silverado 2500HD which had seen 4 Michigan winters, had 100,000 miles on it, and had about 1/2 the amount of rust. (Sure, the 2500HD has a *heavier* frame, but I'm only talking about surface rust here.)

      I also had a '01 Sequoia several years ago that had rust similar to the Tundra.

      There's some serious issues going on, for sure........
      • 5 Years Ago
      oh step off it. as if there aren't plenty of import lovers on here who bash the domestics every chance they get. I'm sure we'll see some "at least toyota is stepping up and taking care of the problem... unlike government motors who won't recall the chevette cuz my brother's co-worker's daughter had one that had a bad transmission!"

      the idiots who think their brand is perfect and every other brand is $#!T goes both ways... if you can't see that, then you must be one of them.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Ligor

        We are now seeing that lots of deceit went into the quality reputation Toyota has garnered. Substituting inhouse recalls for public recalls have given the public and media the idea that Toyota's are sterling, bullet proof. Hiding information from the government on rollover safty is not just deceitful it's criminal in my opinion. It's time for Toyota to live by the rules of the road, they are and have never been any better at the business of producing automobiles than the rest of the industry. Consumer Reports sell their Kool Aid, but car buyers are beginning to see through that thin sterling veneer and the brittle rust is shining brightly through. Oh what a feeling!......not!
        • 5 Years Ago
        while I agree with your logic
        there was a time when GM was making crap cars, you can't deny that.

        it was the last decade that created the trust in Toyota as the domestics were really f....ing up. They did though keep a much better wuality on their trucks than their cars adn seems Toyota's car quality was not to be so in their trucks, adn that's what will take them down as well if they don't get back on the game and improve

        if allowed, competition will always catch up and surpass - domestics did this but as of late they've finally understood how to do it right, well at least Ford adn GM has, Chrystler still short
      • 5 Years Ago
      Don't rightly know what fairy tale land you live in, domestic 10 to 20 year old cars outnumber Toys and Hahonda's here 20-1.
      I will concede that once in a while I do see a 10 year or older Tacoma still hanging on for dear life. Usually with the bottom half of the bed rusted away, rocker panels, doors and front fenders rusted out like an abandoned Studebaker.
      But then again, that just may be designed into Toyota's plan. As trucks get older, fuel economy gets worse. Let the trucks rust shedding hundreds of pounds to equalize the mpg's.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @Bloke

      "However, the sheer insecurity of American domestic car fanatics over the inroads Toyota has made into the US Market"

      He is on his "supercilious sandbox" again.

      Once again you need to get off of your "import applecart" as you are quick to criticize anyone who speaks ill will on Toyota. This response if from someone who does not drive a Toyota as they are considered not exciting at least in their US offerings (he drives a VW, Mercedes and Mitsubishi). That is an understatement to say the least. The definition of "bloke" is a British term meaning "man". So in his view American car fanatics are insecure men which only reinforces, in my view, his insecurities about his manhood and the perceived threats to it when someones disagrees with his viewpoint. You need to be more "catholic" in your views (look it up).

      The issue is Toyota's history of dragging their feet and suppressing safety data at all costs and their previous immunity to criticism. It comes with the territory and the quest to be best. In their march to record profitability, costs are to be controlled at all stops at the expense of engineering, durability and safety. This philosophy has come full circle now as the results are in.

      In Toyota's view this is nothing more then a can of "Rust-oleum" can't fix just like a new "floormat" is going to fix an unintended acceleration problem.

      It is about accountibility and responsibility.

      If this was about an Domestic car company this would be all over the mainstream media. Fortunately but sadly, Toyota will recover from these debacles much faster then had it been a Domestic offering. People are very forgiving to a fault when it comes to Toyota.



      • 5 Years Ago
      hmm they dont make them how they used too...Toyota welcome to Number 1 Spot.. You get all the attention for the short cuts you take in order meet sales figures lol....They should learn from the Big 3 lol...
      • 5 Years Ago
      It doesn't "got " to be crap, because it IS crap.

      This isn't just a case of a few trucks that rusted out a little prematurely. The evidence of corrosion this severe indicates things far worse - bad steel - lack of PPaPing the steel source - engineering cluelessness, you name it.

      You didn't see cars in the 50's this bad, especially from a company that touts quality.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder what Shane feels. He and JDM Life are two of the biggest Toyota defenders here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You forgot to add "Bloke" to that list....LOL
        • 5 Years Ago
        Would you also include Matt for his usage of Toyota's sales in his desperate attempts to make Ford look bad.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota is the most overrated car company in the world.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They may be in recent times. At one point they were not though. During the 80s and most of the 90s Toyotas actually lived up to their reputation. It is going to take Akio Toyoda a lot of work to get Toyota back to where they once were no doubt!
      • 5 Years Ago
      vespid82,

      for the most part i dont think Toyota is the most popular brand on this site because they build cookie cutter cars without personalities for people who think driving is a hassle. and tell me when you look at your toyotas interior and see how big all of the buttons are you dont feel alit bit special. -yes special in that way.


      and if you think that Toyota can and or will make a truck as well as GM, Ford, they have been in that business for far to long. they have spent to many billions developing these trucks to be beat at this game.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's fair. Thanks for clarifying that as I failed to see it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        i understand that one for sure. i live in michigan. but when i sit in a toyota i take it kinda offensive and or downgrading in a way (sorry its hard to explain it) when i look around and see that every button is huge and i mean huge like some are 2 1/2 inches wide it makes me feel like im special.

        im sure i cant be the only one who has noticed this.....? small buttons "can" give the feeling of precision.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The buttons are big so you can operate them with gloves on. Up here in Canada I HATE cars in which to turn the defroster on I have to take my gloves off.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "for the most part i dont think Toyota is the most popular brand on this site because they build cookie cutter cars without personalities for people who think driving is a hassle."

        Cookie cutter cars sell. And I really do believe that most people view driving as at least a daily chore if not a hassle. Most Americans are not interested in "fun to drive". They just want cars that look decent and are comfortable and reliable. Toyota didn't get to be "the world's largest automaker" by building "fun to drive" or exciting cars. And they won't hang on to that position buy building sludged up engines, rust prone frames and deadly accelerator/floormat combinations.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @daleam

        if you read my post is stays "most popular brand on this site" i understand that most people out there in the world dont care about performance, steering/brake feedback or anything else like that, what i was saying is that i believe most people on this site are car enthusiasts and we love cars. we love emotion in our cars because we take pride in our own.

        people on this site are more likely to like corvetts, or sti's over any toyota because we are car people. not just some consumer who needs transportation.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is more than an issue of a little rust or corrosion. Cars and trucks in the 50's didn't deteriorate like this even.

      This indicates something far, far worse for Toyota.

      I leave it to others to say what it is.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Vehicles haven't been doing this since the development of e-coatings in the 1980's-90's. There is no excuse for this kind of rust on a modern vehicle (though personally I still get mine aftermarket rust treated and checked). Rustproofing is so advanced these days that vehicles generally have a long rust through warranty. I find it hard to believe that Toyota would not be e-coating. What I would suspect though is that the frame holes and various other connections were not getting proper coverage. It is also possible that the frames developed stress cracks allowing rust to get in. That wouldn't be that suprising since Toyota's trucks really aren't built to handle some of the punishment people in North America typically put their trucks through.

        None of this has anything to do with a Toyota or Lexus car. There is a world of difference between building a car and building a truck for the North American market. People in North America use their trucks to haul heavy loads, drive on salty roads, off roading, etc. These vehicles get punishment no Camry would ever see. Just as Ford had to take a few lessons from Toyota and learn how to build a real car Toyota is going to need to take a few lessons from Ford if they are serious about building trucks and selling them here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Totally agree. I live in Germany where road salt is dumped liberally throughout the winter months....I've see NOTHING like this over here from any contempory auto mfgr, regardless of country of origin. Toyota has a real problem on their hands....and so do the owners of Tundras...obviously.
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