By on April 28, 2009

On the day that The General announces involuntary gastric bypass surgery at the hands of Dr. O and while Crash Cart Chrysler waltzes with the Grim Reaper, not all is well with Toyota. The nosy newsmen at Boston’s ABC affiliate exposed a nasty little secret hiding under Toyota’s hospital gown. Yesterday, Team 5 divulged “more than two dozen complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Administration” regarding 2001 and 2002 model year Tundra frames that are rusting and blowing away. Today Toyota implied responsibility when they offered to buy back the rust buckets at full retail value. Keep in mind that this issue is limited to certain areas of the USA and Canada where salt is used as the predominant ice melting material.

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41 Comments on “In Toyota We Rust?...”


  • avatar

    They’ve been paying top dollar to buy back Tacomas with the same problem. The affected owners I’ve heard from couldn’t be happier.

    Hello, Detroit, if you’re still there: the issue isn’t how many problems you have, it’s how you handle the problems. There’s an editorial about customer care on TTAC somewhere…

  • avatar
    hitman1970

    Yes, and right now Toyota is telling those customers “Problem? What problem?”. How you treat your customers’ problems indeed.

  • avatar
    brapoza

    They bought back my son’s Tacoma that he had purchased second hand. Can’t remember the year but it was several years old with a rusted out rear chrome bumper. They took it back, no arguments and gave him a loaner to drive until the settlement. He got full value for it. He was happy as a clam (at high tide). Went out a bought a Yukon. But as he’s 6′ 7″ I could see his rational.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    2001/2002 would still be within the normal corrosion perforation warranty, no?

    If so, then this is really a non-issue unless a) the frames were damaged in some other way (shade-tree work) or Toyota stonewalls. Considering how few Tundras were sold, they may as well buy them back.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    What Mr. Karesh said.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    A buddy from church had his Taco bought back.

    Summing up-Ya, Toy fouls up too, but they seem to take care of it.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Right the frames on a 8 year old Toyota’s rot off.This isn’t something new ,the Japanese trucks
    Nissans,and Toyota’s are known for it in this part of the world.

    Now that people are keeping thier vehicles longer
    the myth, of superior foreign quality is starting to unravel.

    20 year old F150,s and Chev.Silverados are common.A Nissan, 7 years old won’t pass a safety check[rotten frame\'s]Give it a few more years and watch the KIA’s head to the junk yard.Check the quarter panels on a 6 year old Huyandai right above the wheel well.Rust and bubbling.Check it out,you might be suprised.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Toy fouls up too, but they seem to take care of it.

    Yeah right… after a pile of complaints are filed with NHTSA and they can almost feel the gun at their head.

    This doesn’t make them better than Detroit, only smarter by a small degree.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    So the big story is that they buy the cars back? And they are insinuating that this is a cover up?

    Wow. Have they already skewered all the local politicians, or are all the local politicians of their preferred party affiliation?

  • avatar
    mikey

    @bunter 1 How long are they going to keep buying them back?North East USA ,and Canada east of Manitoba,thats a lot of trucks.

  • avatar
    kowsnofskia

    “20 year old F150,s and Chev.Silverados are common.A Nissan, 7 years old won’t pass a safety check[rotten frame\'s]Give it a few more years and watch the KIA’s head to the junk yard.Check the quarter panels on a 6 year old Huyandai right above the wheel well.Rust and bubbling.Check it out,you might be suprised.”

    Check the roads for 15+ year old Accords, Camrys, Civics, Corollas, Sentras, Maximas, Legacies, etc.

    Then look for how many Tauri, Escorts, Cavaliers, Luminas, Intrepids, Spirits, Neons, Grand Prixes, etc are surviving of the same vintage.

    I’d wager there aren’t as many 20 year old F150s and Silverados around as there are 20 year old Accords and Camrys.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ Carefull how you bet kowsnofskia.20 year old Accords and Camrys are as rare as Palm trees here in the frozen north.

    Long distance drives,temps from the 90′s down to 35 below slush, salt,cold start’s,all have a way of sorting out real quality,from the percieved.

    Actually I saw a 12 year old Civic heading to the scrap the other day.Repairs were “cost prohibitive”,said the owner.I’d wager the glove box door still fit real nice though.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I’d wager there aren’t as many 20 year old F150s and Silverados around as there are 20 year old Accords and Camrys.

    That would reflect badly on the F-150′s and Silverado’s. Twenty years ago, sales of Accords and Camrys were just a fraction of the trucks. If they survived at the same rates, there should be far more of those trucks than Accords or Camrys of the same age.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    How long are they going to keep buying them back?North East USA ,and Canada east of Manitoba,thats a lot of trucks.

    Technically, once you get past a certain point in Ontario, they stop salting the roads and switch to sand because salt does not help when the temperature drops to “F_______ck!” levels. Same with Quebec. I don’t know about Newfoundland et al, but they do things differently there.

    So it’s entirely possible that outside the Land Of Salt (the 401 corridor and Niagara) that this isn’t as much an issue. I can certainly tell you, by the amount of sand on my lawn, that they don’t salt here.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    When you see a story like this, you just know the Detroit fanbois are going to come out of the woodwork and have themselves an Asian bash-fest.

    Go at it, guys. Enjoy yourselves. But here’s something to think about… Toyota, Honda, etc, they didn’t win market share by pissing customers off.

    Buying an old truck back? At a really good price? The customer is going to remember that longer than he’s going to remember that the frame got rusty. And if he didn’t know the frame was rusty but the Toyota service manager told him after an oil change at the dealership, or he received a letter telling him to come in for a checkup, he’s going to remember that Toyota took care of him.

    Tearing away at the Asians now won’t do Detroit anywhere near as much good as taking care of their own customers would have. How many Detroit customers got pissed off because of GM gaskets? Ford transmissions? Repeated trips to the service department for a single problem? How many years does Detroit bake problems into a run of cars or engines? Do they jump on a problem and get a new solution into manufacturing as soon as they notice spares being consumed for a new motor? Hah!

    And Detroit’s still driving away customers. Look how that fellow (story here on TTAC in recent months) with the Tahoe hybrid braking problem got treated… GM couldn’t fix his problem on a flagship product, a $55K premium priced truck in a segment where GM hopes, someday, to actually win some customers. So, they jammed him up on the lemon law buyback. Their own test mileage and his trips back and forth to the dealership ended up costing him cash out of pocket.

    Do you think someone who spends $55K for a Lexus gets treated like that? Think again.

    Compare and contrast the Tahoe hybrid problem with the Tundra camshaft issue that the Detroit fanbois love to yak up… Some camshafts broke. Toyota shipped all the parts back to engineeering for analysis and figured out what the probable source of the trouble was. Customers with SUSPECTED bad camshafts got called, came in, got a loaner for the day the truck was out of service and got a new engine.

    Bash away. Enjoy the moment. But don’t be surprised when it doesn’t win any new customers for Detroit.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Hello, Detroit, if you’re still there: the issue isn’t how many problems you have, it’s how you handle the problems.

    Very smart way of handling the problem… a problem that should have been solved during design stage.

    It’s also expensive…

    But yes, it’s nice to have full pay for your POS rusted to hell truck.

    This doesn’t make them better than Detroit, only smarter by a small degree.

    EPIC!!!, I like this guy.

    A 7-8 years old truck SHOULDN’T be rusting to the point of making the vehicle unsafe or need the replacement, goddammit. The manufacturer is SUPPOSED to protect the frame so it lasts “forever” or “infinite life” (engineers understand the term). And a PROPERLY corrosion proofed frame is by any measure a sign of QUALITY.

    To me, those trucks are real POS, crap, basura.

    The internet is surfacing Toyota’s quality problems: engine sludge, recalls, bad auto trannies (last V6 Camry auto), failing engine camshafts (5.7 Tundra) and now this…

    Emperor is naked… or starting to get…

  • avatar
    Airhen

    Living in the rust belt, I refuse to drive my built-up Jeep once it starts to snow due to the massive amounts of salt that is put on dumped on the roads as I don’t want it to rust out. I’ll admit the salt works, but the roads are literally white afterwards.

  • avatar
    Bubba Gump

    Nothing to see here move along :) Now you want to see something? How about 300 plus pages about fender well rips in FJ cruiser inner fenders which Toyota is fighting to own up to still. In fact the body cracks are right down the front crumple zone darts in the sheet metal. Now theres a story. http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/problems-dealer-service/33440-engine-bay-body-rips.html
    A little search of the NHTSA database reveals several hundred complaints since 2007 for FJ cruiser body structure tears at that point.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    This story does tell us that once Detroit is dead and gone, who the next target will become.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Carefull how you bet kowsnofskia.20 year old Accords and Camrys are as rare as Palm trees here in the frozen north.

    There must be palm trees all over the place then. Perhaps they are disguised as pines! I have a 15 year old Camry and a 21 year old Civic in good old Costa Del Newcastle. Each has a little surface rust but nothing major. Toronto is chock full of 20 year old Accords, Camrys, Civics and Corollas. The assertion that domestic vehicles outlast imports, at least in this part of Canada is a myth. My 95 GMC Safari lasted 10 years and 2 accidents but I paid for the crapbox twice over in mechanical repairs!

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Yeah, the rust problems should have not occurred, and no doubt Toyota did have a gun to their head. But in the end the treatment the customer got was better than the treatment that Detroit usually dishes out. My brother’s ES did get a new engine after sludge killed it, though the dealer tried the “we don’t have your oil change records at our service department” crap. But the mother ship took care of things. Not so with the 3.1 V6 intake gasket that cost us $800 to fix. Only got back $400 from a class action suit. GM basically said kiss off when the problem first occurred. Poor maintenance, they said. What happened to 5 years/100,000 miles?

    But not always are the Asians so quick to respond. We had one of the first OBDII compliant Accords. Seems that it was not so compliant after all. Honda could not make the misfire detection work reliably enough to ensure the “reliability standard that Honda was known for” would be maintained, so they programmed the ECU to ignore misfire issues. Got caught on that one and was dragged kicking and screaming to the chopping block. We got extended warranty coverage and free oil changes.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “Today Toyota implied responsibility when they offered to buy back the rust buckets at full retail value.”

    Sounds good to me. How many times have other companies faced similar situations and chose to fight their customers instead of trying to make it right?

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Did it occur that replacing rust buckets at hi cost is cheaper than defending class action product quality lawsuits ad infinitum, paying out for the deaths which would inevitably occur, and all the bad press which would attach to the name Toyota as these dramas unfolded?

    Better to be dollar-wise, than million-dollar foolish…

  • avatar
    rtx

    We just lost our old faithful Tacoma worktruck…….went out for service and never came back. Toyota compensated the company I work for at full market value for our beat up old worktruck because of the frame rust problem.We wouldn’t have got anywhere close to retail value on the private market because of its interior condition and the numerous dents and scrapes it had accumulated over the years. Company is happy..they got more then the truck was worth.
    Bottom line……Toyota Corp. looks after its customers.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Come on oboylepr you know as well as I do that 20 year old Japanese cars arn’t that common around here.Yeah there is the odd one but not too many.I have been helping my brother at his scrap yard located 40 miles east of you.We got Toyotas and Hondas stacked to the sky.

    The good news is people are flocking in to pick parts,cause the new part prices are staggering.

    I’ll give you, Honda builds a half decent car,but not perfect as the rice crowd would have you believe.They can, and will break,and repair cost will kill you.Toyota runs a distant second place.The Germans build overpriced crap.A well maintained FWD GM will run forever and repair costs are a fraction of the imports.

    I just read Robert.Walters comment,and he nails it,this isn’t a head gasket,or a sticky seat belt.We are talking about the frame,the very backbone of a truck Toyota is thinking,law suit and there crapping thier pants.They can’t write the checks fast enough.

    So much for legendary quality eh?

  • avatar
    Bubba Gump

    Question for you John. So for the last 8 years Toyota has been doing what??? Passing out Mai Tai’s and singing Kumbyya

    In reality it sounds like they’ve been doing this for the past few years “GM basically said kiss off when the problem first occurred”

    Some of my friends are three years into this FJ disaster. Trust me TM and its dealers are kicking and screaming all the way on this one. Every one thats been fixed has been a fight.

  • avatar

    Still better than Porsche handling the intermediate shaft issues. Toyota quality has been sliding for a while…

  • avatar
    Adub

    This does not surprise me.

    I was made aware of this when the Tundra first came out. GM bought some for competitive testing and the Tundra disintegrated during the rust testing. Even the engineers who analyzed the results were incredulous. It was by far the worst they had ever seen.

  • avatar
    amadorgmowner

    Well at least Toyota is owning up to this rust problem. No, they should not rust after just eight years. Whether or not TM had a gun to its head is irrelevant. They are taking the trucks back at full retail value, and that’s great. If only GM, Chrysler and Ford would just own up to defects and take care of them promptly and without complaint, they wouldn’t have lost so many customers for good. Instead of bashing Toyota, we should be complimenting them. Taking care of major defects and problems correctly is how they have become number one. And I have owned mostly trouble -free GM cars for 25 years. But my next purchase will be a Toyota. I am not going to reward GM and GMAC for their inept business practices anymore.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Why should we compliment a company that takes nearly a decade to own up to the fact their trucks have a serious corrosion issue that compromises the safety of its passengers and cargo?

    Why should we compliment a company that decides to take this sort of action not of their own initiative, but after receiving unfavorable media coverage that jeopardized their corporate image?

    That’s not responsible behavior, that’s somebody high up on the Toyota chain hoping that nobody noticed these problems because they’re Toyota and they’re all that’s holy and good in the automotive kingdom.

  • avatar
    Morea

    This doesn’t make them better than Detroit, only smarter by a small degree.

    This is like the joke of the two guys trying to out run a bear… you only have to be a small degree faster than the other guy to survive.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Why should we compliment a company that takes nearly a decade to own up to the fact their trucks have a serious corrosion issue that compromises the safety of its passengers and cargo?

    Why should we compliment a company that decides to take this sort of action not of their own initiative, but after receiving unfavorable media coverage that jeopardized their corporate image?

    We shouldn’t. In fact, we can’t.

    I insist: the frame, god, the mother f@#$%& frame is the backbone of the thing, a freakin SAFETY part. It have to be well rust proofed. Period.

    A frame that rust in 8 years is a piece of crap, whether Toyota pays full price for the truck or not.

    This pic link is taken from the FJ forum quoted above:

    http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk35/FJrover/Offroad%20Tech/fender%20tears/IMG_8042.jpg

    Is this what people expect from a quality built rig? Or better yet, from a Toyota?

    I was made aware of this when the Tundra first came out. GM bought some for competitive testing and the Tundra disintegrated during the rust testing. Even the engineers who analyzed the results were incredulous. It was by far the worst they had ever seen.

    EPIC FAIL!!!!

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Question: I’ve seen badly several vehicles, domestic and foreign, and to a fault the ones that were severely structurally compromised were body-on-frame.

    I’m not saying that Toyota is off the hook, but I’ve never seen rust problems in their recent unibody models, and I have seen problematic rust in salt-belt BoF trucks from all makes. I just don’t see very many Toyota trucks.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Right you are psarhjinian Rust and rot are a problem in this part of the world.The mid sixties full size GM “B” cars had cheesie frames.If they wern,t rust proofed 12 to 15 years and the frames were garbage.The trucks from that era had bullet proof frames.The newest rotten GM truck I’ve seen was an 88.This old reg cab long box had been neglected big time and yes the frame was f—ed.

    When the junkers come to the bone yard on a flat bed the guys will unload them with a Michigan loader.Soon as you pick them up you know the frame
    is toast,cause of the way they twist.

    With the Nissan pick ups you don’t dare use the forks,cause you will f–k up what few good body panel’s its still got.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    TrueDelta, Consumer Reports, and JD Power still give Toyota extremely high reliability ratings, overall. Are they perfect? Of course not. Are they better than the Americans, the Koreans, the Germans, the British, and the other Japanese makes other than Honda and Subaru? Yes.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    A vehicle isn’t reliable if it is rusting to pieces, period.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    Michael Karesh, what are you smoking and can you please pass it down, because it must be really, really good.

    Toyota probably had one of the worst, all time responses to hundreds of thousands valid customer complaints of engine sludge in a wide variety of Toyota vehicles utilizing mainly their 3.0 liter V6 (and to a lesser degree, their 4 pot).

    The problem was caused by piston tolerances that were way too tight, leading to carbon build up and motors seizing, and Toyota denied any and all liability for YEARS, with many customers forced to pay out of pocket for brand new motors, UNTIL MANY CLASS ACTION and STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL lawsuits were filed in many, many states against Toyota.

    It was only after years of litigation that Toyota finally capitulated, acknowledged a design defect, and reimbursed owners who paid out of pocket for new engines due to this defect.

    So much for ‘Toyota knowing how to treat customers.’

    Please, Mr. Karesh. Please.

  • avatar
    Jason

    “A well maintained FWD GM will run forever and repair costs are a fraction of the imports.”

    My FWD GM (’97 Grand Prix) was a hunk of fragile excrement and tried to bankrupt my young family. I parked it in the yard and refused to drive it (used my wife’s car exclusively) until someone finally took it off my hands, and I went running back to Nissan, which had been my pre-GM vehicle.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    ohsnapback: “Toyota probably had one of the worst, all time responses to hundreds of thousands valid customer complaints of engine sludge in a wide variety of Toyota vehicles utilizing mainly their 3.0 liter V6 (and to a lesser degree, their 4 pot).”

    The Internet has a tendency to magnify crap entirely out of proportion.

    Somehow, in spite of this massive sludging problem, Toyota maintains a long history of red bulls-eyes in CR and a very, very high customer rentention rate.

    If your story is true, then it’s a sad commentary on GM because they’re still worse.

    As it happens, I know at least 8 people with the Slugdgemaster V6 and the only one whose Toyota has a problem – and I mean any problem, not just an engine sludging problem – is me. A week ago, the interior latch release on the passenger side sliding door stopped working. It’s an ’01 with 85K miles and this is the first problem of any kind.

    If my GMs and Fords had behaved like this, I wouldn’t be driving Toyotas. Nor would a lot of other people.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    KixStart, for your reference (if you want data on how terribly Toyota treated problem plagued customers for almost a decade, Google is there):

    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2007/01/toyota_settles_/

    Toyota Settles in Sludge-Damage Suit

    * By Mark Durham Email Author
    * January 30, 2007 |
    * 11:03 am |

    Toyota has agreed to settle with thousands of Toyota and Lexus owners who claimed their engines were ruined by oil sludge build-up even though they followed maintenance guidelines. The agreement covers eight Toyota and Lexus models sold in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including the Camry sedan, Sienna minivan, Highlander SUV, and Lexus ES 300. The number of covered vehicles could reach 3.5 million.

    The case began when a Lexus RX 300 SUV bought by a New Orleans stockbroker in late 1998 had its engine fail due to sludge damage after just two years and 42,468 miles. The settlement comes as Toyota struggles to cope with a wave of recalls that has hurt the company’s reputation for rigorous quality control.

    Toyota is not the only carmaker with sludge issues — DaimlerChrysler, Volkswagen, and Saab have all fielded numerous complaints from consumers about sludge-damaged engines. Those companies now have to worry that the precedent set by this settlement could put them next in line.

    [Source: Reuters]

  • avatar
    KixStart

    ohsnapback,

    Color me unimpressed.

    That article has no quotable sources and few details. And in 2007, “thousands” out of 3.5 million engines that had by then been on the road for up to 9 years? And, in spite of their protestations, you know some fraction of those “thousands” (I’m calling it 1.5 thousands – feel free to find a better number) of owners failed to change their oil on schedule or Insty-Loob incompetently filled them up with 10W30 instead of 5W30, which is spec.

    Moreover, the contrast with GM couldn’t be starker… at the same time that Toyota was quite sure that proper engine maintenance prevented the problem, they tore down a lot of engines and ended up changing the parts to allow for the freer flow of oil. That’s not an admission of a problem, that’s Toyota acting to make the engine more robust and more resistant to damage from neglect.

    How long did GM stonewall on DexCool? How many years of engines got plastic intake manifolds? Crap gaskets? GM knew they had a problem – and this wasn’t in the shady area between owner neglect and manufacturing defects – this was pure GM got it wrong. And the customers got the shaft.

    Bash away. Enjoy the moment. But don’t be surprised when this Toyota problem doesn’t win any new customers for Detroit.


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