By on November 21, 2016

2008_09_01_09_Tacoma_ACab (1)

Rust, as Neil Young once said, never sleeps, and neither will Toyota — at least, not until it has fulfilled its 12-year promise to inspect and replace (if necessary) hundreds of thousands of corroded truck frames.

Toyota has agreed to pay up to $3.4 billion to appease owners of several previous-decade truck models who launched a class-action lawsuit against the company. Replacing those severely rusted frames won’t be an easy task, and there could be plenty of vehicles needing a completely new skeleton.

The settlement covers about 1.5 million Tacomas, Tundras and Sequoia vehicles that left the factory with insufficient rust protection.  The corrosion is so bad, some vehicles could lose structural integrity.

Of the crop of iron oxide-friendly frames, the bulk of them rest underneath 2005 to 2010 Tacomas. The rest lurk below 2005 to 2008 Sequoias and 2007 to 2008 Tundras. As part of the settlement, the automaker must now check up on those frames for a period of 12 years after they first left the dealer lot.

Replacing a frame is a pricey, time-consuming process, so Toyota has set aside $15,000 for each affected vehicle, plus an extra $60 for regular inspections. According to a lawyer involved in the class action, Toyota mechanics should expect more than just a few frame-swaps in the coming years.

“Probably about 15 percent of the frames that get inspected will end up needing to be replaced,” Timothy Blood, co-counsel with Blood Hurst & O’Reardon in San Diego, told Automotive News. “There are a lot of steps to it. And it is labor-intensive.”

Going by that estimate, a total of 225,000 vehicles could see new frames. The original, insufficiently rustproofed frames were supplied by Dana Holding Corp. of Maumee, Ohio.

For a clearer idea of the replacement process, see the video below.

[Image: Toyota]

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66 Comments on “Rusty Frames Leave Toyota on the Hook for Billions...”


  • avatar
    raph

    Was there a NHTSA investigation prior to the class-action suit?

    Anyways seen a truck a few months ago with the frame replaced already. I noticed a “hencho en Mexico” sticker on what appeared to be a super clean frame and the owner told me Toyota replaced it at a cost of 15k.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    This isn’t anything new, except for the settlement being reached. I follow the second-gen Tacoma forums at ToyotaNation (I own a ’13), and there are plenty of owners who’ve had no-charge frame replacements done (also some FJ Cruiser owners).

    It’s time consuming, since you have to swap over all the drivetrain and suspension components, do a front end alignment, disconnect reconnect brake lines and bleed the brakes, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “also some FJ Cruiser owners”

      Now this is of particular interest since the FJ frame is Prado-based and has nothing to do with the US-market Tacoma C-channel frame. I haven’t heard of 4Runners recalled that use the same exact frame, and there were many more of them sold compared to FJs.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        4Runners do get rusty frames, but I suppose not to the extent that requires a recall. Yet.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Oh I hear you, it’s my #1 piece of advice to people looking to buy one, next to careful inspection for accident damage and turned back mileage. Everything else on them is pretty trouble free and/or can be economically replaced/repaired. Prioritize a clean rust free truck over a lower mileage one.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Prioritize a clean rust free truck over a lower mileage one.”

            This. Motors and transmissions can be easily replaced, the whole body and structure are much more annoying and expensive depending on what you’re doing.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Are LOL when you say how cheap it is to repair a Toyota? Geeze man, you’re unreal. Compare Toyota part prices to domestics, stuff like sensors up to used engines.

            Oh but these things never break! Just buy a high mileage one. Its so cheap to fix!!!

            That’s why people give them away for $700
            http://neworleans.craigslist.org/cto/5878673604.html

            Over 200k? Don’t worry about it! Its fine. Like this one
            http://lafayette.craigslist.org/cto/5885526534.html

            Yep,you just can’t kill a 22re. You just have to keep rebuilding it. Or replacing it when it cracks a block
            http://lafayette.craigslist.org/cto/5849918994.html

            And the Prius, 10 years old and STILL worth $1500! And people say the 04-7 Taurus depreciated. It does, especially with and acknowledged stripped torque converter. So, buy a Prius instead so you can be stuck with it undeivable and are forced to dump it http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/cto/5881501568.html

            High mileage is fine, just replace the “head gaskets once or twice” and then deal with low compression. Probably cost $20 to fix it. Must be why he’s dumping it.

            http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/cto/5846726526.html

            I swear, I don’t get it. This chick goes ON and ON about how reliable her 140k mileage Corolla that blew its engine is. Not was, is, even though it needs an engine. Yes. Its so reliably broken right now, but “if you replace the engine, it’ll run great!” lol excellent conclusion, Columbo!

            How does one get so brainwashed? I admit I love Ford, but I am also quite honest about their flops and screw ups. Its not like admitting the DCT in the Focus is crap (apparently) is going to weaken my position that Ford does make good vehicles…overall. Lol, the Windstar, the 3.8L in general, the crash worthiness of 97-04 F-150, Several or their FWD automaics, lots of stuff that was admittedly bad. I still believe in Ford. I don’t put a paper bag over my head when they get caught using a bar in the SuperCrew to improve performance but left it out of the regular and extended cabs. They did the right thing by implementing it on all Body styles since, but to attempt to get away with it deserved harsh words.

            You Toyota guys simply don’t grasp that there are plenty of 22re and 3.0/3.4L V-6 failures. That the frame on the Tundra is lacking, that the Camry and its derivatives ride on a platform being developed when I was in high school (class of ’00), the failure of Scion, the terrible styling on some models, their inability to create a modern world-class subcompact. The Sonic, Fiesta and Fit may have their respective issues, but the Yaris just freaking sucks.
            It baffles me. Its like a mental block you guys have.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            How does one work himself into such a frothing rage over nothing (trolling craigslist for used Toyota ads)?

            Answer: he drives a Ford Taurus

            I’d take the time to break things down for you RE: affordability of parts and durability of various components but it doesn’t seem worth it for your sake.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Take two Festivas and call me in the morning.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        It’s a pretty small number, but there were also some frame replacements due to motor mount brackets breaking; a problem that also affected some 2005 and 2006 Tacomas, before they added reinforcements in that area.

  • avatar
    brettc

    So is this the second wave of trucks with rusty frames?

    I thought there was already an old frame recall on late 90s/early 2000s Toyota trucks, and that they were also supplied by Dana?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Yes this is an entirely new thing, although I’ve heard of gen 1 Tundras recalled before (maybe a silent recall?).

      The weird thing is the “05-08” Sequoias as that straddles two generations. 05-07 was gen 1, ’08 was the first year of the bulbous 2nd gen based on the then-new Tundra.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        Interesting, thanks for the information. It’s kind of insane that this has happened twice. You’d think Dana would have “fixed the glitch” after the first frame debacle.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My co-worker, who owns a 2005(?) Tundra, had his frame replaced by the dealer.

    The truck has some 290k+ miles on it when Toyota did the job last year! He would have been happy with a good trade-in value but decided if they were insane enough to do it, then why not? Now he’s up to 300k miles.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    My colleague literally lost his Land Cruiser to rust. He bought it because “they last forever” but then it began rusting horribly in upstate NY. He paid beaucoup bucks to replace brake lines, suspension components etc. Then the engine seized on the highway. I think it was one of the coolant lines that just dumped it all and killed the car. He lost ten grand right there and then.

    He got a brand new LR4. It certainly won’t rust, but the question is, did he jump from the frying pan into the fire? We’ll have to wait and see.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I pity this man.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “It certainly won’t rust”
      youtu.be/hkLA5uYKHLE?t=294

      “did he jump from the frying pan into the fire”

      Yes.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      PITA heater hose on an FZJ80 me thinks. Yes there is a hose back there you can’t change without removing the engine. You have to rip the metal out and do a crazy bypass. Other than that they are bulletproof. That and the failure prone headgasket, the front axle that needs rebuilt every 60k, the rust, the crap brakes that you have to replace all the rubber on to get to work, the power seats that the gear strips out on regularly, the transfer case that locks up if your tires are a slightly different size, the failure prone servos in the trans, and a plethora of other bits that will run you no less than 250 bucks and have to be shipped from Japan. Other than that though, bulletproof.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        Oh yeah, forgot the frames that crack at the steering box. Other than that though, bulletproof.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Front birfields every 60k? I don’t believe it. I’ve never really heard of transmission issues on those either. Mind you I’ve never owned one of these either so all of my knowledge is indirect.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            Yep, full service on the birfields every 60k. Skip it and you’d better monitor the fluid level as it is a high pinion axle. Remember the 80 series is full time 4wd…but in reality it is just like the 60 series set up without the ability to select 2wd and unlock the hubs. The transmission stuff isn’t difficult…drop the pan, drop the valve body and replace the bad servo. There are 4 and each will set you back…you guessed it…250 bucks. The trans internals are stout though…it is used in busses. The ECU issue is confined to early 93 models, the headgasket is a function of the long head, dissimilar metals, and 90s headgasket material. Toyota wasn’t alone during this time. The brakes…well hit a Cruiser forum. You cans spend tons and make them suck less. You’ll find an aftermarket fix for the seats there too. While there, google “PITA heater hose”. The frame issue I have only ever seen on rigs that are run pretty hard with oversized tires and lots of body armor so I’ll give Toyota a pass even though I never saw a 40, 55, 60, or 62 series with a frame cracked.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Fair enough. I still don’t think any of the stated issues warrant serious derision of the whole truck writing off of the 80 series as being unreliable. There’s a very good reason that most of the world and in remote areas in particular, the 80 series is a legend and a fixture of the landscape to this day. The fact that they regularly see 250k+ miles and people will still fight over each other to buy them is fairly indicative of their well deserved reputation. It’s definitely not a Corolla in terms of low maintenance and cheap parts, but it is stupendously overbuilt and engineered for a very long lifetime. For folks that can’t stomach the pricey and perhaps hard to find OEM parts, something like my 4Runner is a good compromise. Many more sold in the US, parts are everywhere and very affordable for the most part. 30%+ more efficient, most of the LC80’s utility and probably 70-80% of the durability, at 2/3 the upfront purchase price. Having said all that, I’d still LOVE to own a clean 80 series.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            While you see 80 series rigs in the third world, they are not the beasts we have in the US. They offer part time 4wd systems and diesels that are not the 1FZ-FE. Mine did go 250k though before engine replacement (much metal in the oil pan and a nasty knock…forensic analysis showed one of the bores was scuffed pretty good too). Trouble is my old Bronco II was still running at 300k and didn’t need a motor. I’m not saying it is unreliable, it was a pretty stout rig in many respects. But in USDM trim they just aren’t as reliable as past rigs (the 91-92 model with the old 3FE motor WILL do 400k…just slowly). Point is I have heard waaaay more firsthand accounts of Land Cruiser ownership like the OPs than “my Cruiser got my out of a minefield in the Sahara”. Watch the Top Gear Bolivia Special. That sums up most of the Cruiser experiences I know of. Having said all that, I want another one. They are beasts but no way I’d daily drive it again.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “much metal in the oil pan and a nasty knock…forensic analysis showed one of the bores was scuffed pretty good too”

            What was the ownership history of this rig? Now I’ve heard the HG stories, but aside from that I’ve generally only heard positive things about the 1FZ (if not accolades about how efficient it is). Yeah the viscous coupling full time system has its demerits (running mismatched wheel size as you note), but again I haven’t heard of it being a widespread Achilles heel. I’d argue our US LC80s certainly deviate from many of the global-trim trucks in a few ways but in the ways that matter they are the same. I can also say I see plenty of the gas powered 80s and 105s (same 1FZ) in Russia, full-time trims too, and I’ve never heard quite so much negativity in regards to their quality or longevity. In fact it is certain turbo-diesel trims of the LC80 and LC78 Prado that have finicky reputations.

            I can almost guarantee that just about any other brand’s SUV would NOT hold up as well in the locales that LandCruisers seem the thrive in (except for a shout out to Nissan’s Patrols and Mitsu’s Pajero II). Certainly in Russia they have a lot of their indigenous UAZ and Nivas, but you must understand the degree to which those cars are worked on constantly to stay in decently running condition.

            I just find it odd to make the comparison to a Bronco II, a much lighter duty, worse built truck whose Cologne 2.9 motor has a pretty awful reputation. Your personal experience I understand, but the vast amount of data everywhere else suggests that the comparison is laughable at best. Just my $.02.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          Big Al,

          I declare “Other than that, bulletproof” the meme of the week. Nah make it the month.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      I remember passing a stranded 2005-2006 style Prius on the highway a few months back with smoke belching from underneath it. Are you telling me that CR is lying and Toyota’s aren’t perfect and easily last 900K miles without ever opening the hood? This article must be a lie too.

      Repeat after me- “only Toyota’s can last 300,000 miles. Only Toyota’s can last 300,000 miles”

  • avatar
    86er

    Good thing Toyota has lots of money.

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    When I would hear about Tacoma owners complaining about rusty frames, I thought they were just too sensitive to a little light surface rust. But we had a 2005 Tacoma in the other day with 70k miles and I felt I needed a tetanus shot just from looking at the frame. Every inch of the frame had cancerous rust and was severely deteriorated. The trunk could not pass the State Inspection due to a rust hole in the frame. The brake calipers and steering knuckles were also severely rusty and the body was rusting around the caulk. I was shocked!

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Steel is so suck.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Perhaps Toyota could get some pointers from its partner Mazda for things other than hybrids(http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/11/mazda-talks-toyota-hybrids-u-s-diesel-dream-peril/) to control rust problems in vehicles. Or, perhaps not.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    A friend had his Tacoma almost completely rebuilt, a process that took months, during many of which the truck was just sitting in line on a lot. I don’t know exactly how much Toyota spent to fix it, but I can tell you it was a lot more than $15K, and that simply giving him a brand-new truck with no rust problems would have been quicker, easier, and cheaper for the company. That being said he still seems satisfied with the repairs and the truck in general.

  • avatar
    mason

    I did not know Dana provided the frames for these. I wonder if Toyota has pushed back on them to help foot the bill.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Yes, they are getting compensation from Dana.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Dana did not provide this bunch of frames, they sold that business unit in 2000.

      They did provide a paltry 25 million for the earlier frame issues that were built when they still owned and operated that business unit. More or less for building it to Toyota’s specs w/o warning that that spec will result in sever corrosion in the salt belt.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Just a couple of questions here. What would be the retail value be of a 2006 Tacoma , in fair shape ,and a rust free frame in the USA? Are all owners covered , or just the original buyer ?

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    This is a financial windfall for the Toyota dealers.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      And the Technicians that draw the tickets. These guys apparently decided to team up or at least the dealership had them team up. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibfjzXwY8GE They claim 5hrs for the job for the 3 guys working together. Elsewhere there is a video of a guy doing it by himself in 2 days. I’ve seen that Toyota pays up to 40hrs for the swap depending on configuration and options. Still not as good of pay as sawzalling accelerator pedals but very nice indeed.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    Didn’t Rusty Frame win the NASCAR championship back in the 70’s?

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    When an American grabs his sack and heads out into the salty slush in his 4×4, the last thing he deserves is for his frame to rust out from under him. I’m glad Toyota is making this right.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Right, so presumably this affects Toyotas reliability record and they now have a worse reputation than Fiat?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Of course not because it is an “isolated incident” (that ran for many years across a couple of product lines.)

      But seriously Toyota is for the most part treating the customer right on this deal. The buyouts on the earlier trucks meant many people who bought them used were able to drive them for free for several miles and years in some cases. So the customer drives away satisfied and is willing to give Toyota another chance since they felt they were well taken care of. Though I’m certain some dealers botched the customer service aspect of this campaign.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I know two people who have had their Toyota truck frames replaced – a coworker and my BIL. They said the dealer claimed it was a $9000 expense and 4-8 weeks of effort.

    Both were very happy with the work, but my friend foolishly traded his truck soon afterwards, wanting to maximize its value. So in rapid succession he bought an F-150 (“too big”), then a Camry (“can’t haul stuff”), then a RAM Ecodiesel (drivetrain reliability nightmare), and finally a Tacoma once again. All the while, he was saying he never should have traded his first Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I’m not getting the 4-8 weeks of effort. I can see that as a wait time for the frame to show up and scheduling.

      See the link I posted above where the poster claims they did it in 5hrs with a three techs on it and there is another that shows 1 tech staying in his own station doing it in two days. Elsewhere I’ve seen that book time is around 40 hrs.

      I have to wonder what a customer would think when the dealership calls them the afternoon of the day they dropped it off saying it is ready to go, when it supposedly takes 40hrs.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Tell your buddy to send me his paychecks – I’ll spend his money much more wisely!

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatist

      I don’t understand why people would sell a vehicle after getting it all fixed up.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Well since there wasn’t any out of pocket costs for this I can see getting rid of it when it has enhanced value, and before he finds out what the tech didn’t get tight or what hose/wire bundle didn’t get routed quite right and will rub through in a few months.

        However in general I agree with you. I’ve seen way too many people spend more than the car is worth fixed on getting it repaired because “I can’t afford a new car now” and then shortly there after sell it for less than they paid getting it fixed.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    My local Toyota dealer has a stack of frames behind their shop. I wonder how this would work out if it was a domestic manufacturer with the same problem?

    Just refer to the recent story on recalls.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Toyota is buying future customers. It’s a wise play.

      Another friend (besides my truck frame friends, above ^^^), had his Sienna transmission comped by the dealer even when it was out of warranty. He continues to buy Toyotas.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Wonder if they’ve severed all ties to Dana by now, or if they’ll try and get some money from them.

  • avatar
    pragmatic

    Now to get the Ford Ranger’s rusty frames repaired.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    An obvious, to me (and at least one other person, above) question: Why wouldn’t Toyota simply buy back and scrap the older ones–which would certainly cost less than replacing the frame for $15,000?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I know on the first ones they were buying back trucks in some cases when giving the customer a good chunk more than current book value.

      As far as the cost to replace I see some other time lapse videos showing 1 tech doing it in two days and a triple team that showed it as 5 hours. I’ve heard book time is up to 40 hrs depending on the configuration. So the $9,000 quoted above seems about right for what it would go for at customer pay rates. Of course the frames don’t cost Toyota retail and the dealer is probably not out of pocket for them and isn’t making money on that part. All told it probably doesn’t cost Toyota more than $6-7,000.

      • 0 avatar
        psychoboy

        warranty is a weird gig when it comes to the relationship between the manufacturer and the dealer.

        my favorite import dealer has a deal with their associated manufacturer that specifies the labor rate and the price bump warranty will pay….and every dealer has a different deal.

        a recall/tsb merely lines out the parts and the hours needed to do the job. the dealer buys those parts at standard dealer net cost, then sells them to the warranty RO at the negotiated markup. the technician flags the allotted hours on the warranty RO, and the RO is submitted on a warranty claim.

        so, while every dealer is burning the same number of flag hours to install the same parts, they all may very well be getting paid different amounts of money on the claim.

        This makes some sense when you figure labor rates are far higher in some places than others. Alabama toyota techs probably don’t make the per hour rates that NYC toyota techs make, so alabama dealers probably get a smaller check than NYC dealers do.

        but, yes….dealers DO make money on parts. some dealers make a lot of money on parts. they can also make a fair bit on labor…if they’ve made a good deal with their manufacturer.

        again…not a surprise…since toyota doesn’t want dealers to dick around on warranty stuff, only doing it when the shop is slow, they pay enough to compete with the average walk in customer. If you have a brand that is pretty solid, you don’t have a lot of non-maintenance walk-ins…and warranty picks up the slack that keeps techs from leaving early.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          You are correct that the hourly rate that they pay for warranty will vary simply because of the different costs of doing business in different areas.

          As far as the parts mark up I bet this is different. For many warranty issues the dealer is using parts pulled from stock and expects to be compensated for his investment. For this the frames are ordered for specific vehicles and the dealer doesn’t have money tied up in those parts. So I’m betting the aren’t giving much of a margin to the dealer on those parts.

          The fact is that all the mfgs have different labor times for warranty work vs customer pays. The customer pay rate is for a tech that is working with one hand tied behind his back with a hangover so he doesn’t want to use his air tools unless he has too. Warranty work is based on the assumption that the tech has done the job a couple of dozen times and knows all the shortcuts and exactly what tool combination is required for each and every fastener. There is no hard and fast rule but in general it is around 80%. However there are cases where the mfg really wants the issue to go away and they’ll authorize a higher rate to ensure that customer pays take a sideline.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    My now 81-year old dad had his older (year?) small Toyota p/u bought back several years ago due to frame rusting. He bought it used, drove it for several years, and Toyota’s first offer was for a few bucks less than he paid, so he felt it was more than fair. Wish I remembered more details.

    Now I read about this fiasco, so I crawl under his 1998 Tacoma and there is a HUGE rust hole in the right front frame member. Toyota’s response so far is that it’s two years too late for them to care. I’ll try running it a bit further up the chain of command and report back.

    Ideas welcome from the B&B!

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Drive it off a cliff, post video to Twitter, cc Toyota NA?

    • 0 avatar
      WEGIV

      I have a ’97 with a similar issue. Body has no rust at all, frame is a mess.
      Toyota’s previous campaign was voluntary and “goodwill”.
      Older campaign for reference:
      http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/601-toyota-recalls/238100-toyota-extends-frame-rust-coverage-15-years-95-00-models.html

      I was planning a similar discussion with my local service manager, and if that fails, it might be time to call the lawyer that handled the above class action suit and ask how much a little sabre-rattling for a second suit on the older trucks might cost me given the fact that Toyota more or less tacitly admitted that they had a problem when they “chose” to extend the corrosion warranty. But realistically, the best case I can imagine is that they’ll offer to buy them back for 150% of value or something, because nothing that old is going to be worth repairing given the cost of the frame and labor, and the truck is worth more to me than it is to NADA, so it may be time to just suck it up and pay someone to fix it.
      I.E.: employ a body shop to install one of these: http://www.autorust.com/product/rear-forward-spring-area-toyota-tacoma-art-083-s/
      More info/pictures of it being installed: http://www.fourwheeler.com/how-to/body-chassis/1603-toyota-tacoma-rotted-frame-fix/


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