NHTSA Opens Investigation Into Tundra Frame Rust Issue

NHTSA Opens Investigation Into Tundra Frame Rust Issue

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into reports of frame rust and corrosion 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.

The investigation is the latest quality ding against Toyota after an urgent warning to remove driver's side floor mats from 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles last week.

"We're cooperating with NHTSA after learning about the investigation today," said Brian Lyons, Toyota’s Safety and Quality communications manager, this afternoon.

Several PickupTrucks.com readers have experienced and reported the problem and a source inside NHTSA told PickupTrucks.com just last week that the agency has been receiving "about one new report of frame rust issues a day recently."

Lyons says that NHTSA has received 20 complaints total. Approximately fifteen of the complaints relate to the spare tire mount rusting to the point where the spare tire has dropped away from the vehicle. Five reports say owners experienced broken brake lines at the proportioning valve that's located on the driver's side of the rear frame crossmember at the upper shock mount.

Pictures taken by 2000-01 Tundra owners also show flaky rust, perforated frame rails and broken leaf springs.

Toyota has been studying the issue for several months and recently agreed to replace one owner's rusted frame as part of its investigation process, though no formal repair program has been put in place, according to Toyota officials. The 2000 Tundra belongs to Tim Gatzke, a PickupTrucks.com reader. Toyota has also contacted several other owners to directly inspect their Tundra pickup trucks.

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 was assembled.

Most rust-damaged Tundras have been reported in what Toyota defines as 20 severe cold-weather states, like Massachusetts, where brutal winter road conditions can take their toll on under-protected metal.

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.

NHTSA's investigation is in the earliest stage, and the only way the agency will issue a recall is if it finds a reason for concern, though Toyota could take some kind of action before that happens. We’ll keep you posted.


Toyota pickup frames have been rotting away since day one.For them to not demand a better coated or galvanized frame is simply cost cutting.
However,have to hand it to Toyota for finally admitting to the problem.Now if GM could admit that their C/K series truck's body mount crossmember caves thru and sags the cab in an obvious manner,justice will be served.

Makes me glad my Ford still has hot wax coating.

My mum's 2000 Tundra 4wd in coastal NH has severe rusting and flaking on the frame. It was enough for the local garage during state inspection to call/send her to the Toyota dealer for review. Toyota dealer/rep took pictures but only said it would pass their inspection. They encouraged her to return next year.

It really is too bad as truck with 90k miles has been otherwise flawless in service.

Our 2001 Tundra with about 100, 000 miles had to taken off the road last spring due to frame rot. Our mechanic,when he saw several holes in the frame and cross members warned against driving it from his shop to home, a whopping distance of ONE mile.
Toyota's response was essentially, tough luck, it's past warrantee. Then out of the blue, they issued a check for $7300 last week and hauled the piece of crap out of the our yard.

Toyota also has 2 Deaths in the US due to floor mats........them frames aint no good anyways, toyotas crap.

This is RETARDED! Toyota makes crappy trucks...with regards to quality. My mother once told me she saw a 1980's Toyota Pick-Up with some damage to the door something fierce like a wrinkled scratch aluminum foil. Then you got the Tundra problems - rusty frames (2000-01) and shotty transmissions (2007) and floor boards and mats are causing people to accelerate head-on into (a wall, tree, car, hell, etc)! On top of that Toyota shuts down its Cali plant?! Man i'd rather drive a child's ride-on toy pickup made of cardbord than some rusty old-butt blown tranny faulty floorboard gas guzzling Reynolds Crap aluminum that'll fall apart the second I drive it off the lot!

If this post here is correct, Toyota has replaced more than just one rusted Tundra frame...

Newest Tundra Frame Issue

"Have a buddy at work who has a Tundra, and he got a letter from Tojo HQ a few weeks ago informing him of possible frame issues. He went to the dealer and was told he had to wait for a letter from the state or something before anythnig could be done.

Just for S&G's he went to two local dealers yesterday to inquire about what happens if his frame is found to be faulty.

Dealer #1 had a 20-something yo service mngr., who informed him they "simply" replace the frame.
Not believing what he had heard, he went to dealer #2... they told him the same thing, even showed him a Tundra in their bay which was having its frame replaced...

Are they serious with this?! How many dealers have a facility sufficient enough to perform this type of work?!

My friend said if they find his frame to be "faulty" he's gonna go to my Ford dealer and get a 100-150.

What do ya'll think?!"

source: http://www.f150online.com/forums/general-discussion/373551-newest-tundra-frame-issue.html

Sure am glad I've got a GM truck, my 99 sierra has been in the worst weather and has no body rust and no tangable under body rust. If people would take the effort to wash their truck, high pressure under body wash, it will prevent salt from doing damage. No GM, Ford or Dodge will rust if people take care of their trucks. Those people who are lazy and won't wash salt off in the winter get bad rust then whine like babies that they have a crappy truck when it's the driver that's crappy.

I found this article from back in April with a few pictures of the rusty Tundra frames. This looks pretty nasty!!!


pickuptrucks.com had the story first with the rusty frame pictures. my bad.


More proof American trucks are the best on the planet. There is no reason to buy anything else.

What a nice blog you have..thanks for all this information

I have a boat bay that I wash my frame off in once a week in the winter. My frame is in bad shape and I take great care of my truck!! I have used POR-15 and Rust bullet paint and the rust still comes back. My spare tire is about to fall out and my frame is rusting from the inside out. My truck is a 2001 Tundra in maine.

Before everyone slams Toyota and starts all that buy America talk, realize the frames were made in Ohio.

It doesn't matter that Dana manufactured the frames, it's Toyota's responsibility to ensure the frames are up to spec. If this was an isolated incident only involving a few frames, it might be acceptable, but the breadth of this recall shows how much Toyota's QC dropped the ball. Ford, GM, and Chrysler get hammered in the media for major recalls (usually justified), so turnabout is fair play.

This has been such an eye opening experience regarding a huge auto maker taking advantage of the 'little guy'. Our truck has been undrivable for a year, but the exterior looks great. Its what you dont see that is an accident waiting to happen.

I can't imagine that it would cost all that much to galvanize the frames. The frames would be protected for many years. They could use this as a selling point.

Overheard Toyota bigwig conversation ,
lets blame Dana they made the frames
ah sir we specifically requested the frame steel formula
so what we will still blame Dana
sir we have batch lot samples from all Tundra frame lots
destroy them
sir that's unethical I cant do that
do it or your fired
GM Ford and Dodge truck frames dont rust like this
your fired

Does this also apply to the Sequoia SUV? It shares the same basic structure as the Tundra pickup.

What is - is. It's time the brainwashing about Toyota quality stops. There is a reason that fleets of trucks that have to work hard and survive are purchased from the American three.


Know actually Toyota is very good about taking care of problems with its vehicles, it just did the recall for freaking floor mats two weaks ago, and they are going to have a recall on this issue to in the coming weeks. Don't forget they also paid off a bunch of owners with 10 plus year old Tacomas, Now it took GM years of lawsuits and government involvement to fix the gas tank issue on its older trucks.

Toyota said they were "willing" to call it a recall but what have they done? The goverment said to take out the mats. Then Toyota said take out the mats and they still aren't willing to say there is anything wrong.

Toyota said in a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration late Monday that it was "willing to identify this campaign as a safety recall in the owner communication about the campaign" BUT the company said it "has not determined that the vehicles ... contain a safety-related defect."

In a related story today on MSNBC, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33192916/ns/business-the_drivers_seat , Toyota's reputation takes a pouding, Toyota has been hiding potentially damning evidence that should have been provided to owners who’ve sued the company over allegedly defective products.

As for the rust, this has been going on for years and the original post on pickuptrucks.com was posted several months ago. I guess people will just have to wait a few more months for another family to die in a crash as the result of a rusted out Tundra frame before our friends at Toyota will move to action? Sad.

2007 Tundra now rusting too???????

from T.H.

"Sorry, don’t know anybody getting cash incentive or new frame due to rust. I would like to know if the 2007 on up tundra frames are also being built at that same plant ‘Dana Holding’ in Ohio? One small reason I got rid of my 2007 tundra is the frame was rusting pretty bad in only 1 1/2 years and 20K on the truck here in WI. The 07’s might be in the same boat as the 02’s are now in 4-5 years from now unfortunately. I’m definitely going to check right after winter on my 2010 tundra for rusted tailgates, chrome bumpers and lug nuts, and 2 other areas besides the frame rusting that I had all replaced or repainted on my 2007 tundra double cab. I expect a little rust on the frame in 2 years, not excessive which I know it was on my 2007 tundra."

I always am amazed by the "Jap scrap" versus "American made is best" crap that comes up when it comes to vehicles especially pickup trucks. We seem to forget or overlook the crap Detroit has made. Remember the Ford pickups with the "engineered" holes in the frame or the crappy diesels that GM was putting in their half tons?
Go to cars.com and look at their "American made" index.
1. Toyota Camry** Georgetown, Ky.;
Lafayette, Ind. —
2. Ford F-150 Dearborn, Mich.;
Claycomo, Mo. 1
3. Chevrolet Malibu*** Kansas City, Kan. 3
4. Honda Odyssey Lincoln, Ala. 7
5. Chevrolet Silverado 1500*** Fort Wayne, Ind. 8
6. Toyota Sienna Princeton, Ind. 6
7. Toyota Tundra San Antonio 5
8. GMC Sierra 1500*** Fort Wayne, Ind. —
9. Ford Taurus Chicago —
10. Toyota Venza Georgetown, Ky

Half the vehicles in the top 10 list are Japanese. Toyota Tundra is ranked higher than the GMC Sierra. There isn't a single Dodge in the top 10. The GM Duramax diesel is a Mitsubishi engine (Japanese). Pull your heads out of your *sses.
Each manufacturer has been guilty of producing crap. Any one of them should be held accountable when they do make poor vehicles.
Whats more American? A Toyota made in Texas using a majority of American parts or a Dodge (owned by Italian Fiat) made in Mexico ?

The Tundra is built in the USA, fantastic.... It's still designed by Toyota which is Japanese, which claim to make the best vehicles. All manufacturers will get hit with recalls at some point however, Toyota seems to be getting slammed right now. Every single truck manufacturer makes a good truck, if there is an issue they just need to suck it up and admit it.

Toyota better do something about the quality of their vehicles or consumers would stop buying from them.

Here's a bunch of Toyota trucks with the surging problem and there was no mat interference at all. See I told you so.


This is what happens when the Toyota frames rust. The video starts at 9 seconds in. This is a must see...


Toyotas Suck, fllor mat deaths lol, rusty crappy frames, and cars that are generally driven aggressively, because they are so slow, toyota should be banned from the US and Canada.

This isn't the same Dana that makes axles is it? Because if it is I have no problem buying off as them being the casue after the issues Nissan had with the axles they built for the Titan. Delving into the failures almost totally points to poor QC of assembly processes and materials. Before someone jumps on Nissan and says they didn't check the axles, know that they are shipped the axles already assembled. It is also hard to fault Toyota for not catching a bad coating 10 years ago. This isn't an issue where a 2 year old truck failed. It took 8-10 years for the problem to show up. I am sure there are good and bad as they may have caught some of the frames in their incoming QC inspection. However with all the amanufacturing processes no one inspects 100% of a product. The test a sample size or rely on the suppliers QC after auditing them. That is the point of ISO and other international QC systems. A participating manufacturer is expected to abide by the specifications set forth by the customer and inspect the product to a set level when it leaves their plant.

anyone here toyota has come up with a fix for the floor mats they are supposedly telling dealers to zip tie the mats to the seat frames if the goverment lets that be the fix it is just bs maybe the truck bodies will get extra large zip ties for the frames to be held together

Toyota needs to give up, on trucks and cars, the drivers are making the roads un safe, the cars are slow, they need to be all melted.

LOL at the guys who thought they were getting new floor mats out of this. Those zip ties are absolutely hideous!


I was one of the reports to NHTSA that my spare tire fall off. They called me 10 minutes after recieving my email. They said they were very concerned with this problem. It was on a town road here in NH. A cop saw the thing drop from under my truck. Don't want to think about what would have happened at 60mph on the highway. I don't care where the truck was made. One day it had a blue book value of 10k, now it's not inspectible and worthless. There is very little steel remaining anywhere on the frame. Everyone else I know with an 00 or 01 Tundra up here has similar problems. Toyota has to do something.

So much for Toyota taking over the truck industry! Remember when the new Tundra came out? All these people were talking about Toyota replacing Ford’s Chevy’s and Dodge’s in the work zones? Some people speculated that in 5-10 years Toyota would gain market share in the truck section. They can’t even make their trucks last ten years! It really is a shame that this is happening to the people who bought their trucks, and I agree that even if the frames are built here in the US or if they are built in Japan it is still the manufacturer’s responsibility to make sure everything is in good quality! It’s not a secret why Ford Chevy and Dodge sell more trucks then everyone else. They have been making them for more than a century they been practicing for a long time, and like the old saying says “practice makes perfect”

The problem doesn't stop with the 04's. The 05+ Tacomas have the same rusty frame problems.

Go to NHTSA web site www.safercar.gov look for 2000 Toyota Tundra corrosion frame investigation begins, also leaf springs and spare tire mount failures.

My 2000 has a badly rusted frame even after I have coated spots on it. My brake lines are brackets are about shot, the steering rack rusted and burst and lines are about to burst. The spare is about to fall off the bolt is rusted down to about 1/3 orginal size.

I was a UAW worker, these frames were done at a Dana UAW factory. My guess, it was sabatoge by employees to make Toyota look bad. I drove Hondas and Toyotas to work at a UAW shop and other members would damage, dent, scratch it with a key.... it's typical. Toyota should fix it and go after DANA uaw workers for the damages.

My 2000 Tundra went in on September 5th to get the frame changed. The dealer said they would only cover the frame...not the shocks, sub bumper assy, spare tire mounting, or the left or right leaf spring assemblies. They never got back to me with the estimate before they completely dismantled the truck. Dealer felt I would be compeled to pay to get my truck back...WRONG:)
Now they said it is not driveable and if I wanted to come down and have it towed away I could do that. It is almost 2 months later and the dealer is still trying to stick it to me as payback for daring to call into question their fraudualent practices...yes I said FRAUD. This truck was purchased as a primary vehicle to get back and forth to work. It has been nearly 15 months of struggling to get to work. Oh, no loaner from the dealer, and they wanted me to shut my mouth until after they screwed me a second time for opening my mouth. I don't take kindly to anyone standing by and let me succomb to financial ruin. Bunch of CROOKS.

Bought 2006 Tacoma TRD 2 wheel new in Daytona Beach. Met with District Service Operations manager today about some pretty serious rusting issues on the frame. Was informed it was the enviroment I lived in, normal they were not going to do anything. Chunck rust can be chipped off of this thing in places. Not sure what I will or can do, but have no confidence in the long term prospects of it being remedied by Toyota. Has anyone entered into or considering a class action suit against Toyota. I bought this thinking I would have it for 10-12 years. I really can't afford to spend another 10k or whatever it might take to get another truck.

Just found out today 11-12-09 that my 2000 Tundra with 94,000 miles has a frame that is rotted to the point it is not safe to drive. I purchased it in the summer of 2007 from a Toyota dealer with 78k miles on it. My first thought as an attorney was during their inspection that they brag goes through the entire car & showed no problems. They didnt notice the accellerated rust of the chasis?Guess they just wanted to sell the car. Tomorrow I will call the ntl highway safety admin. & the toyota corp.I hope they do the right thing. My legal fees are free!

I am in the same situation. In addition to the cross member rust the rack is also so rusted that it pours power steering fluid out at a quart a day. I bought my 2000 tundra for business and did not even consider other vehicles because of my years of owning Toyota's that never gave me a days trouble. I have no idea what to do about this Tundra. Without a truck I have no business and I certainly do not have the money to buy a new truck. I hate to have to file against a company that I was always was happy with but if Toyota does not recall this whole truck and soon they will have effectively put me out of business. I have no option but of keep hauling around my equipment in this rust bucket and praying that it holds together. Please let me know if anyone is getting anywhere in filling a class action. I hope we can get this resolved before my family has to file a wrongful death suit instead.

i bought my 01 tundra used 5 yrs ago never a prob 150,000 miles love her to death then she almost killed me i still love her tho..she sitting at the dealers and they paying for my rental till they figure out what to do (unsafe to drive). happened about 3 weeks ago, found out about recall 2 days after lol,nothing like heading into a turn at 45mph and losing your tire and half of cross member top of drivers side rear shock and all that it was supposed to be mounted to musta hit the tow hitch back end went high but still is a great truck except for the frame


Toyota just wont 25 million from the company who made the frames because they were not made to spec, the most interesting part is, while this link says Toyota was only 6% of that companies business (Dana Holding Company), and that Ford was 20%, if you look else where you see GM was a BIG customer of theirs also.
Makes you wonder if Ford and GM either HELPED OR I do know while just looking up (Ford rusting frames) there is allot of stuff.
Why don't GM and Ford just build a better car and truck, I have customers who the day they retire from big 3 they buy a Toyota saying there company made them cheap and to break for profit reasons

The frame rust problem is with 2005 tocomas to

I have a 2004 Tundra SR5 Access Cab. The truck is in GREAT shape and runs like a top BUT my frame is severely rusted. If I got serious with a hammer I could break through parts of the C rail and tranny crossmember. I've called Toyota 3 times on this issue and was informed that my particular VIN isn't elligable for the frame replacement program. I also brought the truck to a local dealer and was informed that " my frame was in great shape, nothing to worry about ". Here is what I fail to understand, why is MY truck not covered? The Toyota Tundra's frame and it's manufacturer did not change from 1999 to 2006. I believe ALL of these frames should be replaced in the salt belt states. I'm still paying for my truck and I want to keep it. This is my third Toyota and I plan on staying loyal but I'm beginning to get a sour taste for this brand.

Why would you stay loyal to a car company? Toyota has nothing to do with you and they treated you badly. If I was you, I would be open to looking at some of the competition specially since everyone will have new trucks arriving in 2013/14/15. You may find something you like more if start with an open heart and an open mind.

I have a 2002 TACOMA, Toyota completely replaced the frame in 2011. My problem is the bed of the truck has a big rust rotting hole in it. Nothing has been done about this. The truck does run good and I still have it.

Found this post searching for information about the 2nd generation Tacoma...mainly the 2005 and 2006. My 05 has rusted through the frame in 2 locations and is covered in hard scale rust that falls off in thick chunks the size of silver dollars all the time. The Toyota dealership actually found the holes this weekend, one that is the size of a racquet ball. Pictures and a report were sent up to Toyota but still waiting to hear back form them on what is to be done. I am not the only one out there with a 2nd gen Tacoma experiencing their truck rotting out from under them as one poster alluded to above. Many 05 and 06 Tacomas are rusting straight through the frame from the inside out.

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