Toyota Tacoma Frame Recall
John Goreham's picture

Why Toyota Tacoma owners should not fear the frame recall

A Toyota Tacoma owner walks us through the experience and explains why he is still a loyal Toyota fan, and why his truck is now better than ever.

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My neighbor Pete has a 2007 Tacoma he has owned since new. Recently, he was alerted by mail that certain 2005 through 2008 Tacomas in his area (the Northeastern US) needed to be inspected for frame rust. This is not the typical rust that we all see when we look under our cars. Rather, the frames affected are defective and are in some cases rusting through and creating a dangerous situation. If the frames show signs of corrosion, but are still safe and solid, they are being treated with corrosion resistant compounds (CRCs) and returned to customers. Pete’s required a frame replacement. He walked me through the process and told me how he felt during and after the work. The story has a happy ending.

Wondering if the recalls have affected Tacoma’s resale value? Click here to find out.

Toyota Tacoma Frame Rust Recalls
Toyota has had more than one recall on Tacoma frames. In fact, Pete’s previous 2000 Tacoma was subject to a similar recall, but upon inspection was found to not require replacement. However, this time, his 2007 was inspected, and it was determined that indeed, he did need a frame replacement. Pete is very handy, and he knew this would be a serious bit of work. When he was told by the dealership it would take three to five weeks he was not surprised, but certainly not thrilled.

My pictures may not be art, but if you want to see a bonus gallery, click here!

Tacoma Frame Replacement – What’s Involved?
The work itself takes two mechanics two days to complete. However, once a defective frame is identified as needing replacement, it is then “quarantined” by the dealership. A frame is ordered and then the work commences. This is why it takes time. Owners are offered a $35 per day rental car. Pete’s local dealer set him up with a Ford Fiesta courtesy of Hertz. After a few days of driving the Fiesta, Pete couldn’t take it anymore and called the dealer. Pete did not mince words. He called that car a “piece of crap.” His service advisor told him Hertz would be happy to swap it. Indeed they did, and Pete then had a brand new Corolla for the remaining time his Tacoma was at the dealer. That car was fine, and he showed it off to me.
November 12th, 2016 UPDATE - Toyota has settled a class action suit related to this issue - Details here.

Toyota Does More Than Just Replace the Frame
The frame finally came in after about three weeks and Pete’s Tacoma was repaired. Repaired is really not the right word. Replacing a frame on a pickup means it has to come completely apart. Pete and I looked over the paperwork together (see the bonus photo gallery for a copy) that showed the parts list and much more than just the frame is replaced with new parts. The brake lines, exhaust connectors, rear leaf springs and many other parts were also replaced.

The refreshed Tacoma thrills Pete. He says his Toyota Tacoma “Handles like new. Check out our six-moth follow-up story here. The suspension is tight, perfectly aligned, and better than when it went in.“ No rattles, or other issues have cropped up. We looked under the truck together, and the frame is indeed new and it is obvious much more than just the frame was replaced. Other than the exhaust, it looks like a new truck.

Pete says he is not at all unhappy with the experience. In fact, with only 62,000 miles on this truck, Pete expects it might last another ten years. Every part replaced is guaranteed for a full year even though the truck itself is out of warranty.

Toyota has a very loyal truck following, and this defect is no joke, particularly since it has happened on two separate occasions. However, at least by this single account, Toyota’s handling of the situation is keeping customers happy and breathing new life into the trucks that are affected.

Related Stories About Toyota Tacoma
Toyota's secret plan for the Tacoma to match the new Chevy Colorado
Why a 2016 Tacoma Diesel makes more sense than a Tacoma Hybrid
2015 Tacoma TRD Pro Series offers affordable off-road excellence

Photo by John Goreham

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With a lot of skepticism, I told the dealer in November of 2015 to go ahead and order the frame replacement from Toyota for my '05 Tacoma, SR5, 4x4, 2TRFE engine. I received a call on Thursday, March 3, 2016 that the repair parts had arrived at the dealer. I dropped off the Truck the following Monday and was given a new Corolla for a loaner car. I didn't mind, as I did not need the hauling capacity of my Truck for a few days. The dealer called me back on Wednesday and tried to up-sell me on repairs. He said I could use: New spark plugs. (Why are they even looking at the plugs?) New tires. (Current tires are above the wear indicator bars). New oil in the differential (why not transfer case and front diff?) Fix oil leak on timing chain cover (would require an insane 8 hours labor plus parts!) New gas tank straps (I don't see anything but a little surface rust there.) I told him to forget all that stuff and just do the recall work to the best of his ability and that I would just sell the truck and wash my hands of Toyota if things didn't go well. I had ordered a replacement lower steering shaft to address severe steering binding, but had not had the opportunity to install it myself - I did give the dealer 100 bucks to install the the new steering shaft I already had. I know pretty much all of the 2TRFE engines leak a little around the timing chain cover oil seal; Toyota has TSB EG025-07 on this issue; they will only do the TSB free under 60K miles. I told the dealer to just forget it because I never see any oil on the gound, and I park in the same location every day. The dealer called me late Wednesday and said the work was done. I went in Thursday and picked up the truck. I'll have to say they did a great job. Everything seems nice and tight and the tracking is good. No problems with ABS that some other owners reported. The only thing I found was one of the fuel line clips on the inner fender was broken and they had just put a cable tie around it to hold it in place. Everything else looks as good as factory or better. Some, but maybe not all of the items replaced: Frame including leaf springs on both sides. Lower control arms. Various bushings. Many fasteners. Rear brake lines. Brake line unions and tees front and back. front two bed attachment bolts. I took the truck back on the following Monday because I felt the brake pedal feel was a bit soft. The dealer bled the brakes for free as part of the recall job. The pedal feel was better, and the service rep said they did get some air bubbles out of the passenger side rear. It has only been a few weeks since the frame replacement, but so far I feel pretty good about it The truck looks much better now too. The SR5 suspension puts the body up pretty high and the frame is quite visible below the truck and especially in the rear wheel arches. It was an embarrassment to drive such a ratty looking truck - never mind unsafe too. I thank Toyota for stepping up and fixing an 11 year old truck with such an extensive repair. On the other hand, I feel pretty sour that Toyota built such an inferior product in the first place, when they had known for years about the corrosion problems with frames they were getting from Dana. I feel really bad for the owners that were on the wrong side of the cut-off date, left with unusable vehicles and no support from Toyota.
Bill, thanks for taking the time to go into great detail on the good and the bad of the experience. I think everyone agrees with your final conclusion.
I have 2005 Toyota Tacoma which I have driven almost 8 years without accruing much milage. I have been expecting the truck to last quite awhile without major repairs since it has only 40K, but I was completely wrong: since past year, I had to spend thousands of dollars in repairing cost. Why? It's all because things were getting rusty too soon: every parts were getting rusty prematurely. The first thing went inoperable due to getting rusty was axle, and the second thing went bed was alternator, the third thing went bad was line from transmission. The tires went bad prematurely too. Toyota Tacoma is just a piece of junk! When I brought the truck to the dealer when the alternation was dead, the dealer said that the frame needs to be replaced. I agreed that number of other things were replace in the process of replacing the frame, but the condition in which when I brought the truck is not the same: the engine sounds a little weird not running smooth and transmission was acting up: when I changed the gear, once awhile, it just spinning the wheel with no power transfer over the the wheels, the elevation of the truck seems to have been lowered - It just in the same level that I was accustomed to. Toyata Tacoma is just a piece of junk - I just keep my fingers crossed that it does not fall apart on the roads.
You are all talking about newer Yotas. I have a 1993 that I bought in 1997. It was a southern truck with a perfect frame and great body. About 60K miles on it then. Since I am in southern New England, I watched the chassis and washed it every chance I got. There is a dirt road nearby with many puddles of nice fresh unsalted water and I drive it during the winter to wash the salt off as much as possible. About 5 years ago, my mechanic told me that the clunk I was hearing was the front end of the rear springs, the shackles were sitting inside the frame. It was pretty rotted. I took it off the road and used it on the land but I missed it so I offered him the job of welding the chassis up. He did and it has been fine. Now it's probably time to think about a new truck but I am not impressed by anything I see out there. Reading these posts just tells me that I don't want a Tacoma. I like being in charge of when the headlights come on. I like not having to push a button so's I can open the door to get out. I like that my truck is so old I have to do things that modern trucks have the computer do. (I also have a 1996 Ford Ranger in perfect condition that I can't get parts for any longer. Practically dead to me.) When I get in the old Toyota, it's my old friend. I don't have to crawl over a bolster to get into the seat. There's no 23 year old airbag in the steering wheel ready to explode and shrapnel me to pieces. And I think maybe it's time to reframe the old Yota. With 180K miles on it, the engine is like new. A little body work and a paint job and the old truck would be like new. But yes, there's that frame. I'm going to contact a local outfit that specializes in frame rebuilds. To me it would be worth it to spend the money and fix this old truck, restore it, if need be. I'm not impressed with the new trucks. I'm not impressed with the quality of the work I've been getting from dealerships (Ford mainly, as the Toyota never asks for anything). I'm saddened by what I read here. So, anyone have an opinion on reframing. I don't think it would qualify for a recall repair and after reading here, I don't think I care to do through Toyota. My old truck, like me, is pretty much retired. Neither of us has much more than a decade left of driving together. Does this sound like a reasoned solution?
I'm sorry to here that some people had a dealership try to get over on them. Our dealership did all frame replacements at no cost and gave the 1.5 blue book for those that didn't qualify for the repair.
Toyota has told me I'm on my own, only 88000 miles.Frame looks like 200000.Anyone with any ideas? any help would be great.
There is a time frame (no pun intended) for the second generation Tacoma. You have until I think March? 2016. This is a recall so it shouldn't matter where or when you bought your truck.
Any idea who I need to talk to,to get them to help?I have called Toyota customer service as well as two different dealerships.Mostly got the run around until Toyota customer service told me, they can't help me.
I'm taking my Tacoma to my mechanic an have him look my truck over an drive it before I take it in for frame replacement. When I get it back it's going to him right from the dealer to be test driven again to see if all is ok. I would like to hear from someone ( anyone ) who has had a frame done by Fairfield Toyota in Muncy, Pa. an if they had any problems. Please write me at my e-mail ASAP if not sooner. Thank each an everyone of you..... Ken [email protected]
My husband was told today by the local Toyota dealer if a treatment hadn't been done on the frame in the past, that he would not qualify to have the frame replaced. What treatment? He was never sent a letter about treatment or told that if he didn't do it, his frame would not be covered. Anyone have any info. on this? Reading above , no one is mentioning prior treatments.
Never heard that one about the treatment. I believe my ownersmanual said to undercoat the frame would void warranty.
I'm writing this message on March 23, 2016. I have a 2000 model Toyota Tacoma. I had it inspected in 2008 for rust and it past this is documented at the local Toyota dealer. I had it reinspected and 2012 and it passed. I'm now looking at this truck and it is broken in half towards the rear near the shocks the frame is rusted and it cannot be repaired. My $7000 asset is now worth scrap I guess??? I was given a case number by Toyota and after numerous phone calls told by Toyota that I have no recourse. Anybody out there have any ideas how I can recuperate this money??
I received a letter from Toyota in 2014 that said, for a limited time, Tacomas in certisn US states could be taken to a dealer for inspecfion and application of anti corrosion paint to the frame. If the frame were too badly damaged, then Toyota would replace the frame. I did not get to see the inspection, but I believe it involves visualky looking for holes and perhaps applying pressure with a center punch to see if the metal deforms or breaks through. I know my frame was pretty ratty because when I did a brake job, I had to tap the new calipers into place and big half dollar size pieces of frame were falling off. Tapping, not pounding. I could also see a big crack on the driver side about even with the front edge of the door, about where the brake line fitting is bolted on. I've never seen a frame crack in that location, and it concerned me quite a bit. The sheet metal on the truck looks almost show room new and the engine purrs like a kitten. I never had any, "treatment," applied. I am presuming treatment must be something like POR-15 paint. The only thing I can think of is that owners who don't now live in one of the road salt states, but have previously had the treatment must be grandfathered into the extended warranty. It is always worth a call to cutomer care to try to get more information or support for your situation. In my case, the dealer agreed the frame met whatever Toyota's criteria are to need replacement. It took about five months for the dealer to receive the new frame and other parts. The dealer told me I could continue to use the truck until the parts arrived. I was concerned enough that I kept driving the truck to as little as possible. The original frame had been coated with something thst looked more like Vaseline with lamp black in it than real paint. Not too surprisingly, the stuff washed off or wore off within a few years. It was rather impossible to completely address the problem, as a complete disassembly and hot tsnking the frsme followed by paint would have been needed. It would be easier to get another truck. The new frame is painted with what looks like a pretty high quality tough black finish. I don't know what it is, but it looks like it will probably be on the frame to stay. The repair included new rear springs thst are also painted. The original springs were junk. The rear springs broke on both sides, and I had them replaced with new springs fabricated by a local spring shop. Not long after, I found Toyota had published a TSB for rear spring issues. I feel pretty good about the truck now. Everything is in pretty good condition, and I think it still has quite few years of service life left now. I kind of expected the dealer to try to tack on extras to the job. I hate that, but I doubt you can find a dealer that won't try it. Stand your ground and tell them to just do the recall work and that's it. If they break something not covered in the recall, they should take it up with Toyota. Toyota should pay for it, or else the dealer shouldn't have been messing with it and the dealer should be responsible for it. At least I have a list of potential repairs now that I can do when I want. The frame recall, at least in my case, was definitely worth doing.
I want to stress that Toyota states that the rust situation is not a "RECALL" and the vehicles that have been repaired have fallen under their "goodwill "and "warranty extension" -in other words they do not owe loyal customers . I was summarily givien A case number 1603143067 by the customer service representative after 45 minutes on the telephone . I have followed up with three other phone calls that resulted in numerous transfers to different departments and no satisfaction, in my particular case I have owned the vehicle for over 10 years and I feel that Toyota has erred by passing said truck through their inspection process int 2008 and 2012.. As of this writing the Toyota motor Corporation has not returned any of my phone calls regarding this matter
I wished there was a way to post a picture of my truck on here.........It would speak volumes instead of writing to describe it
I just took my '05 Tacoma to the dealership last week as I was told the deadline cutoff for the frame inspection ended March 31. Driving to my appointment, I received a call from a pleasant-sounding woman from the dealership, asking me "wouldn't you like to test drive a new Tacoma, and consider an upgrade from your old vehicle?" I chuckled at the time, because this dealership has always been pretty aggressive with their marketing (but aren't they all?). At the service appointment, the guy said my truck qualified for a new frame and it would take about a month to get in. He showed me photos on his laptop of a pretty severely rusted area on my truck. But in retrospect,I have been under the truck quite a bit as I do my own work when possible, and I don't recall seeing anything like that. He also told me that "most people pay somewhere between 500 and 1000 dollars for other work that needs doing while they're replacing the frame". Hmm...really? That hardly sounds like a recall. Seems more like a gaff to sweeten the pot for the dealer. Nevertheless, I let him go ahead and order the frame and said he would call when it arrived. I have remained blissfully ignorant of any potential problems until I stumbled upon this site. Pardon my cynicism, but I am beginning to share the sentiment that Pete's story is fiction written by Toyota Motor Corp. I love my Tacoma, it drives like new and I want to keep it that way. I am sure there are success stories out there, but from all the bad ones my gut is telling me to just walk away from the "free" frame replacement, and just drive the truck until I am no longer able. At the very least, I am going to conduct my own rust inspection before I make any decision. One humble request: Posters, whether your experience is good, bad or you don't know yet, please list the name of your dealer for the benefit of others. Mine was AutoNation Toyota in Orlando, FL
Thanks for the detailed post Andy. Pete is real, as is Buddy (the dog). He lives across the street from me and when I took him for a ride tis month in the new 2016 TRD Off-Road he said he liked his older Taco better. Check out the six month update on his truck. There is a link in the story. I liked your comment about the "500 to 1000" worth of stuff most owners of '05 vehicles are asked to pay for needed repairs once the technicians check the vehicle out completely. As the owner of a 2007 Highlander, I would have jumped for joy if they told me all I needed was that much in repairs after the vehicle was 11 years old. When I did the timing belt I asked the mechanic to do a full inspection and I had a wheel bearing and two seized rear calipers that needed changing. The Highlander was much quieter and the brakes were dramatically better.
I am located in Johnson City, Tennessee 37601. I have been communicating with Michelle, Danny,,Chelsea,Robert and Heather at Toyota Corp 800.331.4331 Case # 1603143067. Locally, Johnson City Toyota Johnson City TN 37601 formally Phil Bachman Toyota (when it was inspected and passed) Bob the Service Manager and his secretary 855.807.5318
The dealer that did the frame replacement on my '05 Tacoma SR5 4X4 is Summit Toyota in Akron, Ohio. The work was well done and finished on time. I do most of my own work too. Last November I was doing a brake job and it scared the heck out of me to see how rotted out the frame had become. There is absolutely no question in my mind that the frame didn't have long to live and that frame replacement was totally worth doing. Yes, the dealer did try to upsell me with repairs, most of which were unnecessary or I could easily do myself at the appropriate service interval. I told them to just do the best they could and if they were to break anything, to take it up with Toyota. The frame kit comes with a large number of new parts, such as two new leaf spring packs and many new brake lines and fittings. I think many large dealers have done a lot of frames by now, so probably learning experience has gotten them past a lot of the horror stories that have been reported. I am very pleased with the quality of work that was done on my truck. It is still less than a month, but I have been keeping any eye out for any any loose bolts or other stuff out of whack. No problems yet. I had the dealer rebleed the brakes after a few days of driving. The pedal feel seemed a touch soft and the rebleed seems to have firmed up the pedal feel to what I expect.
Thanks guys for your detailed responses, and for providing the dealer names. And I believe Pete is real. After reading your posts, I crawled back under my truck this morning and took another look. I did notice surface rust on the frame rail itself, but everything is solid. Nothing in the wheel wells and certainly nothing I could make crumble or put a pointy object through. The truck looks no worse for wear than it did when I bought it 2 summers ago from the original owner. At the time of purchase I noticed the frame had surface rust (the vehicle was driven on Michigan roads), but nothing serious. After purchase I spent half a Saturday under the vehicle dabbing on Prep & Etch solution to the affected areas, followed by a spritz of Rustoleum. Everything still looks good today, at least except for a couple spots I missed, which I will treat this weekend. So I am still on the fence at this point, not sure I want to pull the trigger on the frame replacement. (Why fix what ain't broke?) The truck has 133k on it and drives like a new one. Believe me, I do not take lightly that the dealer says my vehicle qualifies for a frame replacement. I love free stuff, especially beer. But the photo the service rep showed me (and sent into Toyota) does not seem to match what I am seeing under the vehicle. Could if be that the dealer is sending in a bogus photo to the factory in order to secure the work? How would the factory know otherwise? I am going to call the service rep tomorrow and ask him where the photo was taken on my vehicle and better yet, forward me the photo(s). If he complies I can compare the pics to what I am seeing on my vehicle. And if he doesn't, well.. that should make my final decision that much easier. at least the cancer hasn't spread. I am still leaning toward the camp of Because there are both honest and unscrupulous dealers alike out there, I wonder at this point if I have the option of having the repair done at a dealer of my choice?
For those of you that had your tacoma undercoat ed ,check it because my 05 after being undercoated they found rust and there saying all they can do is respray it. I went back before the recall ended.
For those of you that had your tacoma undercoat ed ,check it because my 05 after being undercoated they found rust and there saying all they can do is respray it. I went back before the recall ended.
Of course the quality of work could vary between dealers. I can say, based on my experience, the frame replacement is capable of providing a result that performs on par with a truck right off the assembly line. Unless the cab and bed are completely removed from the frame, there is no way to get touch-up paint on every place where rust might be hiding. Something else to consider is that the work includes new bake lines and new leaf spring packs for both sides. The factory leaf springs on my truck broke on both sides even though my truck had never been subjected to extreme off road use or excessive payloads. The new springs at least look more substantial than the original springs - and the new springs don't squeak. If the dealer does the work properly, it is almost like getting a brand new truck that might last another 10 years. The body, interior and engine on my truck are like new after 11 years and 115,000 miles. Now the frame is theoretically on par with the good condition of the rest of the truck.
Bill,approximately what was your out-of-pocket cost, if any, for the frame replacement? Did the dealer give you an accurate estimate before they did the work, or just hit you with a bill after? That is my biggest concern, besides having a vehicle with issues afterward.
There was no out of pocket cost for the frame replacement work. All necessary parts and labor were paid for by Toyota Motors. A Carolla loaner car was also provided free of charge. The dealer did suggest additional repairs, but I declined the repairs, feeling they were either not urgent or could be done myself for less cost. Well, I did have to pay for the gasoline to drive the Tacoma to the dealer and a few dollars of gas I used driving the Carolla. So I suppose you could say I had about $5.00 out of pocket.
We took my sons 05 tacoma in for the frame recall with 190k miles on it. We had zero problems and paid nothing for the work. He also takes very good care of his truck, as did the previous owner. My guess is if your having to pay for all these other parts, you probably beat the hell out of your trucks and didn't take care of them prior to the recall. Js
We took my sons 05 tacoma in for the frame recall with 190k miles on it. We had zero problems and paid nothing for the work. He also takes very good care of his truck, as did the previous owner. My guess is if your having to pay for all these other parts, you probably beat the hell out of your trucks and didn't take care of them prior to the recall. Js
Thanks Bill, perhaps I am just being a bit paranoid but lots of horror stories on here,and I didn't like that my dealer was already priming me to expect a fat bill after. Thanks Crissy, I'm glad you also had a good outcome with your son's truck, but your "guess" is wildly inaccurate as I don't "beat the hell" out of anything I own. As I stated, my truck is well maintained and still drives like new, and I want to keep it that way.
Andy, i wasnt referring to your truck. Sorry, i was reading some earlier comments. People like to bash businesses to try and get something for nothing. Not you, just some other comments i read. Toyota has been an awesome company to deal with. we have had 4 trucks. They bought back our 98 taco when they had frame issues for 2k more than we paid for it plus gave us a 1,000 voucher to buy a new one, which we promptly did. My comment just happened to fall behind yours. My apologies.
Thanks Crissy, no problem and I understand the mix-up. To follow up, yesterday I crawled under my truck and took another look at the undercarriage. I see scaly rust here and there but even the leaf springs look pretty good. Certainly does not appear that any item is in danger of failing or rusting through. I was unable to match the dealer photos to the actual rusted areas on my vehicle. I called my Toyota zone representative who suggested I take the vehicle in again and have the service manager show me the actual rust perforation(s) with the vehicle on a rack. He said there must be a least a 10mm perforation in frame for vehicle to qualify for the frame replacement. He said dealers are held to a very strict standard regarding replacement of the frame, and that before actual work is commenced a Toyota rep must verify the vehicle and damage. He said I would not be liable for fasteners etc that break during replacement. He also gave me his direct line in case I have any questions. I feel somewhat reassured now and I think I will follow his advice before I make the final decision. Like you I plan to be a loyal Toyota truck owner for years to come. The frame rust is obviously an issue, but they are such well engineered vehicles otherwise.