Toyota Seems To Admit First Generation Tundra’s Suffer From Frame Rust
UPDATE: As of May 2010, Toyota has extended the warranty on 2000-2003 Tundra frames. Please see Toyota Tundra Frame Replacement Program for more details.
Investigative reporting by Boston’s WCVB (channel 5) seems to have uncovered evidence that 2000 and 2001 Tundras may be susceptible to the same type of frame rust that plagues same model year Tacomas. They’ve uncovered more than 2 dozen NHTSA complaints against Toyota from 00′ and 01′ Tundra owners.
UPDATE (10/7/09) – NHTSA has begun investigating Tundra frame rust issues.
Perhaps most importantly a statement from Toyota seems to admit some level of culpability:
It is important to understand that “manufacturing defect” is a generic term that globally defines an issue’s root cause, whether it is design, assembly, process, or manufacturing….Toyota’s Customer First approach dictates that using the information obtained from the Tacoma, we pro-actively investigate other vehicles of similar design and production elements. In doing so, our investigations have indicated that there are a small number of complaints for a similar condition on 2000 and 2001 Tundras. We are currently investigating each incident.
Translation: The 00′ and 01′ Tacoma and same model year Tundra shared many of the same design and production elements. According to the statement above, Toyota seems to have anticipated the fact that 2000 and 2001 Tundras could have the same frame rust issues as 00′ and 01′ Taco’s. The above statement (taken from WCVB’s website) also seems to indicate that Toyota is laying the groundwork for a warranty enhancement for the Tundra.
Our Prediction: In all likelihood, some 2000 and 2001 Tundras and 2001 Sequoias suffer from frame rust issues similar to the well-documented frame rust issues of the 2000 and 2001 Tacoma. Toyota’s statement seems to admit as much. Still, until Toyota or NHTSA make an official announcement, this is only speculation.
It must be pointed out that this issue is limited to certain areas of the USA and Canada where salt is used as the predominant ice melting material. If you live in a dry climate, it’s likely you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
Recommendation: If you own a 2000 or 2001 Tundra or 2001 Sequoia, and you live in the northeastern portion of the USA or anywhere in Canada, and/or if your local government uses salt to melt road ice, you’re advised to make an appointment at your local Toyota dealer for a frame inspection. Your local dealership may or may not be aware of this issue yet (it’s still very new), but it’s important to get your vehicle checked out immediately.
Not only is there a potential safety issue, but it’s also the best way to make certain that Toyota is made aware of the full scope of this problem (if it is indeed a problem). It’s also important to have the dealership provide you with documentation that the frame inspection occurred and the paperwork must contain notes abut the condition of the frame. If your 00′ or 01′ Tundra or 01′ Sequoia have this issue (and the vast majority will NOT have this problem), the sooner you can get it documented the better.
The Good News: Toyota stepped up and took responsibility on the Tacoma, going so far as to offer to buy back the trucks for full retail value. If there is indeed an issue, we’re confident Toyota will do the right thing.
This looks like the beginnings of a big story – we’ll keep you posted.
Filed Under: Tundra Recalls