Toyota Investigating 2000-01 Tundra Pickups With Rusty Frames

,Toyota Investigating 2000-01 Tundra Pickups With Rusty Frames
Photo: Toyota

Despite an arctic-inspired name, certain Toyota Tundra full-size pickups may have problems withstanding harsh winter climates. Toyota is investigating reports of frame rust problems in 2000 and 2001 Tundras similar to those that caused the Japanese auto giant to extend warranties, buy back entire trucks, or repair or replace severely rusted frames in its 1995-2000 and 2001-04 Toyota Tacoma midsize pickups last year.

We contacted Toyota after reading a story from Boston television station WCVB about Tundra owners with frames so badly corroded that some trucks might not be considered fit for work or resale.

“At this stage, we’re trying to grasp the situation,” said Brian Lyons, Toyota’s Safety and Quality communications manager. “We don’t know whether we have an issue with Tundra or not.”

But 2000 Toyota Tundra owner Tim Gatzke says he knows.

“I can only drive my truck about two or three miles because the power steering fluid leaks out,” Gatzke said. “That’s because the steering rack behind the front part of the frame is so corroded that it’s broken away from the frame and the seal on the rack is leaking fluid. One of the rear leaf springs is broken, too.”

Rear Of Frame Looking Forward
Photo: 2000 Toyota Tundra Owner Tim Gatzke

Gatzke emailed us underbody pictures of his Tundra pickup that show severe rust damage.

Other Tundra owners have filed similar complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, where more than two dozen corrosion claims about 2000 and 2001 Tundra frames are on record.

According to Lyons, 1995-2004 Tacoma pickups and 2000-01 Tundras shared the same frame supplier: Toledo, Ohio-based Dana Holding Corporation. In investigating the Tacoma’s rust complaints, Toyota discovered that Dana hadn’t properly prepped Tacoma frames to resist corrosion before they were shipped to Toyota’s NUMMI manufacturing plant, where the Tacoma is assembled.

“Because of the Tacoma, we are taking a look at other vehicles of similar make and production elements. This includes the Tundra,” Lyons said. “[Dana] used the same rust treatment [for the Tacoma and Tundra] during manufacturing.”

2000 was the Toyota Tundra’s inaugural model year. It was introduced as a replacement for the earlier Toyota T100 pickup. The first trucks were built in 1999. In 2000, 100,455 were sold, and another 108,863 were sold in 2001.

Most rust-damaged Tundras have been reported in what Toyota defines as severe cold-weather states, like Massachusetts, where brutal winter road conditions can take their toll on under-protected metal.

For now, a team of Toyota engineers and technicians out in the field is inspecting reports of rusted Tundras as they’re flagged by Toyota dealers or Toyota’s national Customer Experience Center. Toyota has yet to send out a formal letter about the issue to its dealers or to Tundra owners, like it did for the Tacoma in 2008.

Leaking Power Steering Fluid and Steering Rack
Photo: 2000 Toyota Tundra Owner Tim Gatzke

“We need to look at each vehicle and understand its history — where it’s been driven and how it’s been driven," Lyons said. “It’s a little complicated because the warranty on these 2000-01 vehicles has run out. We can’t just warranty the frame. We have to deal with them on a case-by-case basis.”

Lyons says Toyota is still trying to figure out how it will support customers complaining about these vehicles, but part of Toyota’s short-term response could be paying for repairs even though the trucks are well past their factory warranty periods.

Over the long term, if the situation warrants, Toyota could take similar blanket action with the Tundra as it did with the Tacoma.

Lyons says 2000-01 Toyota Tundra owners with questions or trucks showing frame rust problems should call Toyota’s Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.

[Source: WCVB Channel 5, Boston via]



Before some "patriotic" American truck buyers start bashing the Japanese, let's remember this was an American parts company that failed to follow rust prevention procedures.

I heard of similar issues with Nissan Frontiers. Some kind of pattern?

Does Dana not make frames for other manufacturers? If so, what process differs that causes these frames to rust away when others aren't?

freethinker, If you approached a supplier to make you tidlee winks with certain specifications, they would do just that. Case is no different here. The manufacturer has the liability to correctly specify the make-up of the part additionally they are to assure durability, quality ,and longevity of the parts and assemblies of the finished product meet the expectations for wear and corrosion. Toyota missed the boat on quality control here. First the Tacoma, now the Tundra, even the new 2007 Tundra is showing similar signs.

Where was Toyota's quality control when these frames were being shipped into the vehicle assembly plant? I thought Toyota had the best quality control in the entire auto industry? Just goes to show you can ship junk to Toyota and they will accept it.

It appears that the 2007+ Tundra are having frame problems too.

Newest Tundra Frame Issue: needs to investigate this.

Freethinker you're dead wrong it being built here in USA, but the parts are Japan. American didn't make a mistake.

Great article - excellent investigative reporting. Thanks for the link, and please let us know if you're looking for help or assistance pursuing this story.

Replacing an entire frame on a truck? Now that's a time-consuming job!! Rather than putting a new frame under a truck (even if Toyota is doing it under warranty), they should just give the customer a new truck and be done with it. Short and simple solution to the problem and the customer doesn't have to wait for his truck to be completed. I think if a truck frame has to be completely replaced due to a major rust issue, then the truck should just be considered totaled.

Toyota definitely should have had more rigorous quality control when they accept parts from outside suppliers. After all, the outsourced parts will carry the Toyota name and reputation.

In general, though, Japanese cars use lighter, thinner metal, which increases the probability of rust-through. This is done to save weight and increase fuel efficiency. At least their mechanical systems tend to hold up better longer. With many American cars, buy the car, and keep buying spare parts and labor over and over again. Yup, support your country at least twice ;)

Hey, it's a 10 year old truck, looks like it's got a busted leaf spring, who knows what shape it's in or what kind of maintenance its had. Really shouldn't happen though. In any event, Toyota ought to wax undercoat the chassis like GM does.

Go back to sourcing from Japan. Not many issues from Toyota suppliers there.

You have to start wondering if sabatoge by U.S. suppliers is a factor?

After all Toyota should now consider getting a new supplier which means Dana will lose out in contracts and jobs because of this.

I knew the very 1st comment would be someone defending the Japanese company and putting the blame on an American company. Of course if this was GM or Ford, the very 1st comment would have been slamming the American car company. Just goes to show you that Toyota screws up just as much as everyone else.

Freethinker, you are a funny chap. So what that the Asians' mechanicals hold up? Without the damn frame to keep everything together you might as well send the great working engine to the junk yard anyway. Or buy a new frame. And then try to make a solid business case out of it.

Great working engine? Toyota engines have the oil sludging problem.

Another example of poor quality from the supposed quality leader. I remember the Lexus engines they put into Tundras that blew up under hauling or towing. And the year Toyota recalled more cars than it sold in the U.S. If you want a real truck, pull up your man-panties and buy a Ford.

You get what you pay for, educated truck buyers know GM, Ford and Chrysler build the best trucks. Tundras are junk, be an American, Buy American.

Well, this couldn't be better timing! The side of the aircraft carrier "Arizona" in the bottom of PEARL Harbor looks better than those 5 year old Toyota frames ! The comparison is purely coincidental I think, don't you? WAKE UP AMERICA if there are any Americans left?
Stan, Washington State, still in America for now.

"Arizona" is a Battleship. The US didn't loose any carriers in the Pearl Harbor sneak attack.

Back on subject...I own a Ford. ;)

I own a 2003 Tundra...granted I did pay the dealer extra $$ for undercoating when I bought it--I live in the snow belt and thought it would be worth it. I have zero rust issues and my truck is as tight, squeak and rattle free today as the day I drove it off the lot 6 years ago. It has been an absolutely perfect truck for me...maybe this guy in the photos has been driving up and down the beach--salt water kills all metal.

I purchased a used 2000 tundra from a reputable dealer in N.H.back in 06 I thought nothing of the spare tire mounted under the frame being the wrong size and type for the vehicle until a few days ago when the whole frame above the tire collapsed showing an unusual amout of rust, as the mount itself broke away from the frame it took out the LSP&BV unit and two brake lines. I'm not sure if it was an honest mistake with the tire or they were trying to cover up Toyota's nasty little secret!

I have a 2000 tundra that I bought brand new and it only has 50,000 miles on it and it has been my baby for the whole time I have had it. My undercarriage is so rusty that it is coming off in pieces. I am now afraid to drive it for safety reasons. I don't want to have it sitting in my driveway doing nothing but what else can I do. It has been washed every week since I have had it and polished at least twice a year. I have been talking to Brian at toyota but don't seem to be getting anywhere. Stock answers about the weather in MA. Maybe if we all call at least once a week we can get something done. Worth a try don't you think.

I also have a Toyota truck with a badly rusted frame. It's a 2000, but only has 22,000 miles on it (no lie). Toyota wouldn't help me 2 years ago, so I spent $1600 on rust repair then. Now the rust is back and I've just failed my state inspection again.

I should note that I have never towed a boat, kept it near the water, or subjected the vehicle to any adverse environmental conditions, etc. In fact, the past three years, my truck has been stored in my a garage every day. This vehicle is in otherwise excellent condition.

Of course, all Toyota will tell me is that there is "no program at this time" to assist Tundra owners with this problem.

I believe the frame alone would cost about $10,000 to replace, more than the value of the truck!

What can we do?

Toyota Dealer and National Highway & Traffic Safety Administration has called about my 2000 Tundra Corrosion of FRAME...Looks like they may recall this junk...Wow after a year they may help me, a first and last time customer.

I have been contacted by my Dealer about my 2000 Toyota Tundra. It seems they will be helping me with the corroded frame. I incourage anyone with Corrosion problems of 2000-2001 Tundra frames to please file a complaint at This will help determine if there needs to be a recall.

Pass it on to other 2000-2001 Toyota Tundra owners

Toyota has contacted me, and they are going to replace the frame of my truck...2000 Toyota "TUNDRA". Thanks Channel 5 in Boston, Thanks Mike Levine for the great piece on, thanks to the NHTSA at, thanks to the many people that I have contacted over the last year+ to get this resolved.

That's great, Tim. Glad to hear Toyota is stepping up to help you out. Thanks so much for the update!

"Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality."

Mr. Gatzke,

How many miles did you put on your Tundra? Did you do a lot of driving on gravel?

My 2001 is pretty rusty (7 years of salty Iowa winters plus 2 in Kansas), but it isn't any worse than anything my father has seen on his 3/4 ton Chevy's in the same mileage.

I own a 2000 Tundra with just over 200,000 miles and about half of them were winter Vt miles. I have oiled the frame about 3 times since my father bought it in 99. During the winter months I try to give the frame a good blasting when I`m at the car wash. My frame is in good condition all around. The only real rust problem I have is the rear diff cover, its rusted through and leaking oil. I`m going to get a leaf spring assy. and rear from a wreck and thats that. I think anyone who has a bad frame on a Tundra was a little lacking in the cancer prevention dept. My leaf springs are beat beyond recognition (barely any spring rate left) but not broken. I have had a set of air bags on there since `01 and have hauled heavy a lot.. Don`t know how this guy broke a spring. I plan on retiring my Tundra to the farm at a quarter mil, and then I`m gonna get me an 05 or 06.

Just in case some of you guys are interested, your customer, Toyota sets the specs of the product he is buying from you, let’s say Dana. He Toyota has supplier quality engineers, of which I am one. They go to the supplier and monitor their product being made.

Now either the Toyota SQE has been drinking his lunch and not doing his supplier quality audits or Toyota has set the bar low enough for their frames to just pass a short duration salt humidity test.

Having met other SQE`s out in the field, I can safely say, Ford & GM are the strictest for quality adherence. The product standards both of these two companies have on power train and suspension components are top drawer.

Now if our press would acknowledge the real differences between US made car parts and the stuff coming over from China and Japan, a good lot of you guys would be up to speed on quality. Oh well, what do I know, I’m only a certified quality engineer who’s worked on the Dana Hummer and Colorado frame and all GM engine pistons from all foreign and domestic suppliers.

I turned my 98 Chevy Z71 over to my grandson with 290K miles, it runs like a bear and out of the shoot in 4 whl drive can pull away from a Toyota by a truck length with its 5.7. Oh ya, its frame that lived in Michigan is still solid.

Got truck with 54,700 miles in 2007 January. It now has 89,000 and frame is I put on about 34,000 miles.

I have an 00' tundra with 145,000 NH mile. The spare fell off a few months ago and the frame is unrepairable. Nobody will fix it or put a sticker on it. Yes, I use it like a truck but I expected to drive the thing for much longer. Now it seems worthless. I have a call into a dealer now. We'll see what Toyota does.

I just purchased a 2000 Tundra in January (09) at a used car dealer. It was like new- paint ,interior, bed etc. This truck could set in a showroom somewhere. I believed I was getting a good deal and financed for 48 months. It is now the first of October (09) and a rear shock just broke thru the upper frame mount! After really taking a good look at the underside of the truck, It will never take a state inspection sticker again. I don't know why it did when I purchased it. I have'nt driven this truck 3000 miles yet for an oil change. The frame is the only part under the truck that is rusted out. The steel is flaking and in many places I could put a screwdriver thru it! Toyota will not do anything for me and It looks like I will have to rebuild this truck myself to use it.
What a loss, and disapointment with a company that doesn't stand behind a product that is clearly defective.

Sorry for your Tundra troubles..well not really. As a Ford engineer for 20 years we know exactly what quality is built into every product, and what our competitors do.

How can Freethinker try to spin this around to the American suppliers? Whoever's badge is on the grill gets the glory, or the pain. Do you know there is a good percentage of American parts on maintream Toyotas (new Tundra, Camry, etc) so wouldn't American suppliers be the reason for their success? The difference is design requirements and long term reliability standards, and there is a big difference in what Toyota expects from their trucks than Ford does. If you are not convinced, lets hear what NHTSA will be issuing on this.

Before we start bashing the brand I have been driving for more than 30 years without issue, let me give everyone a history lesson about some things nobody seems to remember.
GM: Exploding on side impact pickup gas tanks killed 100's of people before they even admited it was an issue.
Ford: Pinto, Crown Victoria: Hit one from the rear and watch it go up in flames like fireworks show. Our law enforcement was at stake here.
Bronco, Explorer. rollover issues, Bridgestone says the suv's are to fat and Ford says the tires are crappy. Neither willing to accepting any resposability while more people die.
These are just a few issues that have happened in my lifetime that took forever for the American manufatureres to even admit were an issue. I have to hand it to Toyota for having the brass **** it takes to make a recall in the time frame that they do. Everyone will make a mistake in their lifetime. The mistake is not what is at issue here. It's how you deal with it. To date, I will not purchace anything from Exxon, Bridgestone, Ford, GM, and some other American companies because of the way they delt with problems when the happened. Bottom line is, if you create an issue, deal with it promptly in a professional manor, rather than starting a year or more of finger pointing.

J. Simons. Appreciate your perspective, lets look at all history though. Toyota is not volunteering to do a re-call, they have been avoiding it for over a year.
Agree, US autos have had their share of issues, and have been very high profile. Some of these are physics problems. SUVs have a higher center of gravity, low tire pressure creates heat and the tire will eventually fail, all brands, all the time. There was no design issue with the Explorer, the lesson was SUVs handling had to improve for ALL manufactures. If you followed this issue you would see every SUV maker had rollover fatalities, essentially following whoever had the highest volume had more occurances.
The government now prescribes essentially how tall and wide all vehicle must be, depending on segment.

Part of history which is now being shown is, Toyota has a long pratice of minimizing and not admitting responsibility.
Roof crush concerns, vehicle structure integrity, and rusting of key structural components are all real problems for Toyota and have all been low key in the media.
Auto journalists have not been able to bring themselves to write anything that doesn't communicate US = Gas guzzling garbage but Japan = Auto Nirvana. This is changing.
There is a whistleblower lawsuit now in the courts by a previous Toyota lawyer who helped the defective product lawsuits go away (read shred the evidence). He is being labeled a disgruntled ex- employee, but thankfully he has the conscience to state in his suit Toyota will go to any means possible to discredit any data, any claim, any facts that have indeed produced products which unitentionally have harmed people. I am not a Toyota basher, in my opinion buying American puts the welfare of my country first, because the US gave me the FREEDOM to make that choice, and I support what is best for the US.


You're a TOOL. It was FIRESTONE!!!

Yes I am a Tool engineer for idustrial turbine engines. I get that alot when I shed some reality on someones fantasy.
Firestone/Brigestone, Goodyear/Goodrich, Exxon/Mobil etc...each pair is basicly the same organization. If you spend your money with either one it ends up on the same CEO's bonus check.
I agree with FordJustRules on the physics of SUV's. A land Cruiser will roll just as easy as an Expidition if you try hard enough. And while I must give Ford a big two thumbs up for not accepting the bailout and feel that that was a wise choice for them, it still doesn’t make me want to buy one. It could be that I carry a crudge way to long, but when a company starts to practice that kind of buisness and won't step up before to many people die, I will not continue to support them. I can see where Toyota has replaced frames and extended warrenties to 15 years for the trucks that were under question. I feel that before this year is up they will have this issue resolved to the point that I won't feel that they are just ignoring it. At leat I hope so. I don't want to resort to driving VW's. All the American auto makers have already pulled one to many on me. As well as the the motorcycle industry. I also ride a Honda but would not recomend them to anyone either. Still better than the service I got from our USA version. I see Toyota about the same as our customers see the company I work for. "They are the best out of a bad lot".

My 2002 Tundra has some heavy surface rust areas that have been a concern to me. My truck has only 20,000 miles and is often washed underside and top. I became aware of the tacoma issue awhile ago and questioned a possible ismilar issue with the tundra. It appears my 2002 tundra may be also one with a frame rust issue. The rust is spreading quickly in my estimation.

love my 2000 tundra i have less than 50000 mile was hopeing to keep it 15 years very rusty frame sad part my 1987 gmck3500 25000 plus miles frame still looks great i sold it to buy the tundra in 2000???????????????????

I allway's bragg about my 2000 tundra on the job site now i will get it shoved in my face by ford' gm' dodge owner's




i would like to use some of your stills in a tv piece we are running on the tundra rust rproblem,. can you give use permission if we credit you



My 2000 Toyota Tundra frame is so rusted that the shock bracket rusted off and broke my breakline causing me to loose breaks. Upon checking problem I discovered major rust throughout entire frame. Will Toyota replace the frame or do a recall for the problem?

The comments to this entry are closed.