Our Toyota Tundra “Bed Bounce” owner’s survey opened on Sept. 22nd. Since that time we’ve received about 100 validated responses. Here’s the statistics we’ve compiled:
1. Nearly 79% of survey respondents have NOT filed a complaint with Toyota.
Amazingly, this problem seems to be under-reported by a factor of five. We’re not sure why people haven’t chosen to send an email or make a phone call, but we’re concerned that this lack of effort might ultimately lead to Toyota officially ignoring the issue.
2. The TRD package doesn’t seem to effect bed bounce frequency or severity.
About 51% of survey respondents reported owning a truck with the TRD package, and that percentage held for people reporting “severe” bed bounce and for those reporting “weekly” or “daily” occurrence. There’s no link we can find between the TRD package and the bed bounce problem.
3. Less than 10% of respondents described their bed bounce as “mild”.
91% of respondents stated that their bed bounce problem was “moderate” or “severe”, however, we think this is to be expected. Anyone with “mild” bed bounce might not know they even have the problem, so we’re not sure how valuable these statistics are.
4. 90% of respondents state they will modify or replace their Tundra if this problem isn’t solved.
If we assume that only people with severe problems decided to participate, this statistic makes sense. However, what doesn’t make sense (at least to us) is that while 90% of the owners will spend money to modify their suspension, replace their trucks early, or even sue Toyota, 80% of the respondents have yet to file a formal complaint…
5. 85% report experiencing bed bounce at highway speeds only.
Evidently, the anecdotes about highway bed bounce ring true — 85% of owners reported experiencing bed bounce on the highway only. Also, 69% of owners who participated reported that concrete highways were the only problem surface.
6. Basic data from the survey.
93% of respondents own the 5.7L V8.
61% of respondents drive double cabs, 36% drive the crew, and 3% drive the regular cab.
49% of respondents have owned their trucks 1 to 3 months, with the rest being evenly split between less than one month and more than 3 months.
53% of respondents rate their bed bounce as “severe”, 39% as “moderate”, and the rest as “mild”. There are no appreciable relationships between severity and truck type, nor between severity and frequency.
About 15% of survey responses were invalidated because of bogus VIN numbers or email addresses — it seems a few of our friends in the Ford, Chevy, and Dodge communities tried to participate in our survey.
Bottom Line: In our minds, our survey has been a bit of a failure. First of all, the number of responses has been very low (102 as of this posting). Also, it seems kind of foolish for TundraHeadquarters.com to lobby Toyota for action on this issue when only 20% of our survey respondents have bothered to officially report the problem. Furthermore, the data hardly seems to indicate that this issue is common. Our website receives more than 10k visitors per month, yet we have only accumulated 102 responses in 3 weeks. Granted, we don’t know for sure if all of our visitors are 2007 Tundra owners, but it seems that at least 5-10% of them would be (at a minimum). While we’ll keep our survey open through the end of October (if not longer based on response volume), at this point in time it seems the overwhelming majority of the community doesn’t find bed bounce to be too much of a problem.
To anyone who would say that they haven’t completed the survey because of privacy concerns, you’re welcome to complete the survey with a fake name. We’ve also upgraded the survey to a secure, encrypted connection. Finally, we only require a valid VIN# and a valid email address to validate a response. We’re not sure what other concerns people have, but we feel like we’ve done as much as we can to address them without ruining the validity of the survey. If you have any suggestions, or if you’d like to know more about our survey results, please contact us.
Again, if you or anyone you know hasn
In response to some questions about our last Tundra Tailgate post, we’ve done some more investigating, and we think we’ve figured out how why you should never drive with your Tundra’s tailgate unsecured.
1. The gas strut assist.
The Tundra’s tailgate is slam-proof because a gas strut (hidden inside the wall of the bed) reduces the effect weight of the tailgate as well as dampens any rapid movement. There is an un-intended consequence here: if the tailgate isn’t secured (i.e. in the closed position OR locked in the down position by the bed-extender or some weight) it may “levitate” at the removal angle.
2. Tailgate removal without tools.
Try this experiment: Lower your Tundra’s tailgate. Now, with it in the down position, “throw” the tailgate up into the air. When you get the force right, you’ll find that it will “hover” at about a 45 degree angle for a second or two. Keep in mind that 45 degrees is the angle you need to hold the tailgate at in order to remove it. In fact, hold the tailgate in this position and see just how easy it is for your to remove it manually. It needs just a slight lifting motion and it’s off the truck.
3. The right combination of bumps/motions will cause the tailgate to fall out.
With your tailgate hovering in the removal position, all it would take is a sudden motion that would cause your truck to lurch forward. For instance, when you hit a pot-hole, your truck first drops suddenly as it falls into the hole (thus raising your tailgate). When your truck hits the back side of the hole, your truck is not only suddenly pushed up but it is also pushed back. This backward force could be enough to dislodge the tailgate.
How we think unsecured tailgates can fall off of the Toyota Tundra.
4. Toyota warns you not to drive tailgate down.
If our explanation isn’t enough, check out page 35 of your owner’s manual. That’s as good of a confirmation of a flaw as you’ll see from an auto manufacturer.
Bottom Line: Our previous tailgate warning was incorrect – you can drive with your tailgate down, but only if it’s locked into that position by the bed extender or the load you’re carrying. Otherwise, you should drive with the tailgate up. If it’s free to move, there’s a chance it will fall out. Thanks again to Glenn for bringing this to our attention. Also, while we’re on the subject, you should always lock your tailgate when you park your truck outside (the tailgate is just too easy to steal).
Glenn sent us this note, and we think every Tundra owner should know about this. Thanks Glenn for taking the time to share.
Here’s Glenn’s story:
I put my tailgate down on my 07 Tundra Crewmax, and forgot about it being down, as I was involved in something that diverted my attention away from the open tailgate. I drove away not realizing it was still down. As I went down the street and over a bump in the road, I heard some banging, so I pulled over only to find my tailgate hanging from the support strap wires, and slapping against the back of the truck! Thankfully, I found a place to pull over immediately, and that I had all the windows, including the window facing the bed down, so I could hear it. Both tail light lenses are now damaged, but luckily, the tailgate itself and the bumper do not seem to be damaged much, except for minor paint damage on the inside of the tailgate. At least not that I can tell at this point.
Page 35 of the operators manual says, “Notice: Avoid driving with the tailgate open”. That is all it says. I had never seen this Notice before, but even if I had, I would not have expected that the entire tailgate could come off the hinges and bang against the back of the truck. I would have taken that Notice to mean that a rock could chip the paint of the tailgate if it were driven in the down position, or some damage could come to the tailgate if towing and turning with the gate down.
Doesn’t this sound like a serious design flaw? Well, not according to Toyota Customer service over the phone. First, there is this “Notice” (No actual warning of possible danger or damage), which tells you to avoid the operation, but does not tell you not to do it at all, or what could happen if you do. Second, there is no safety device that keeps the gate attached to the hinge point. Even a simple twist lock, a safetying pin, or a single securing screw would be beneficial, but none exists. If the safety straps were not connected, or failed and the tailgate were to fall off, it could bounce up into a car behind you and kill someone. If left to bang long enough, it is a real possibility that a failure of the straps could occur resulting in a slab of metal as a projectile at highway speeds.
We don’t want to hear anyone saying “you shouldn’t drive with the tailgate down” either. This is something people do all the time (like when they’ve got an ATV or dirt bike in the bed) — besides, who hasn’t forgotten to close their tailgate at least once? How mad would you be if both your tail lenses were broken because you forgot to put the tailgate up?
One of our readers recently requested we spend some time talking about the “bed bounce” issue and what it means to owners or anyone considering purchasing a new Tundra.
First, for anyone who doesn’t know about the bed bounce issue, take a look at our post about All Known 2007 Tundra Problems.
To understand what’s going on with the Tundra’s bed, you need to know a little bit of physics (not much, but a little). Basically, all objects have an inherent natural frequency of vibration. When an object is subjected to an outside force whose frequency matches the object’s natural frequency, dramatic vibrations can occur. Perhaps the best explanation of natural frequency and mechanical resonance is a child swinging on a swingset. Even if you only push the child slightly, if you push them at the right time, they will go much higher. That’s because you’re matching the natural frequency of the swing.
Another great example of mechanical resonance is the collapse of the old Tacoma Narrows bridge in 1940.
Amazingly, the length, width, and thickness of the bridge created a natural frequency that corresponded exactly with winds of about 40mph. One windy day, the bridge fell down. Mechanical resonance in action.
But what does this have to do with the new Tundra?
Based on posts we’ve read on TundraSolutions, the situation seems to be most evident when driving on concrete highways between 55-65 mph. Evidently running over concrete expansion joints at those speeds matches the mechanical resonance of the Tundra and causes a nasty vibration. Additionally, we’ve see the Ford generated video of the Tundra’s bed vibration. Clearly, the Tundra has an issue here.
Here’s what we think:
1. The Ford produced bed bounce video is worthless. In the video, you’ll see that the Tundra has dramatic bed vibration. You’ll also see that the entry speed was 28mph. Why 28? Our guess is that 28mph was the speed that the Ford performed best at. Had the test been conducted at even 30mph, the results could have been dramatically different. Mechanical resonance is tricky — even small changes in speed can dramatically effect the results. Besides, is anyone really going to drive on that surface that fast? What real-world situation would require you to drive almost 30mph on a surface that unforgiving? Because the situation in the Ford video is so unique, we really don’t think you should put much stock in it.
2. The Tundra’s bed bounce on concrete highways is a big deal for some. Toyota screwed up here — the new truck shouldn’t have this problem. While nearly all trucks exhibit some form of bed bounce on concrete highways, the Tundra’s bed bounce is outside the norm. We think it may have something to do with Toyota’s decision to angle the rear leaf springs rather than orient them straight front to back, but that’s nothing more than a guess. But of all the items on the new truck, this unconventional suspension arrangement seems to be the most radical (and therefore the most suspicious, at least to us). However, based on the volume of complaints we’ve seen on forums, etc., we’re willing to bet most Tundra owners haven’t experienced this problem.
3. The bed bounce problem isn’t necessarily an indicator of frame strength. While one possible explanation for the Tundra’s bed bounce issue is that the frame isn’t strong enough, it seems unlikely. If the frame were really so weak that it would allow the bed to bounce out of control, a few trucks probably would have fallen apart by now. We’re 99% certain that the issue is suspension related, specifically that the suspension doesn’t dampen the natural mechanical resonance of the truck. If bed bounce really was a result of poor frame strength, why does the it only happen at certain speeds? The answer — it’s not about frame strength.
4. There are things you can do to mitigate the bounce. Some owners have reported that adding a few hundred pounds of cargo to the bed has reduced bed bounce. Others have added a new leaf spring, or an air suspension system. Perhaps the easiest fix is to avoid speeds that cause bed bounce — when traveling on concrete highways with big expansion joints, anything outside of the 55-65mph range will result in little or no bounce.
5. Toyota should fix this soon. When we first heard about this problem, we didn’t believe it. However, over the last few months its become clear that something is wrong. Just like it took us a while to acknowledge, Toyota will need time as well. However, once it becomes clear to them, we can’t imagine they won’t fix it, especially considering the fix would be rather simple. Changing the rear leaf springs, while expensive, would undoubtedly cure the problem. In fact, the fix COULD be as easy as adding a new brace or redistributing some suspension weight. It’s important to remember that minor changes to the suspension can result in a radically different natural frequency, and therefore no bed bounce (or very little).
6. Should this affect your decision to buy a new Tundra? Like all things, it depends. We tested the Tundra here in Denver a few months ago, and noticed no bed bounce. We drove it all over town, on highways, etc., with no problems to report. However, there aren’t a lot of concrete highways around here. Our advice to anyone considering buying the truck is to take the time and test-drive the vehicle on your normal commute route. Based on the number of complaints we’ve seen online, and the relative lack of publicity, this problem likely affects less than 5% of Tundra owners. 95% of the people considering purchasing the new Tundra shouldn’t be effected, and therefore shouldn’t be too concerned.
For those that have to deal with this problem daily, we hope Toyota finds a solution quickly.
So there you have it. Our opinion of the Toyota Tundra pickup bed bounce issue and how it should impact your decision to buy a new Tundra. Any comments?
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Here’s a list of all the known problems with the 2007 Toyota Tundra. We’re not trying to tear the truck down or anything – we love it – we just want to make sure everyone knows what’s going on.
1) 5.7L Camshaft Failures
This is EASILY the most publicized problem with the new Tundra, but we think it was completely been blown out of proportion. Toyota said that this had only happened 20 times. We think it might have been slightly higher than that, but not by much. Since the original news story broke, very little has been heard about any more failures. Many doom sayers predicted the Tundra’s sales would collapse because of this “HUGE” issue, but the Tundra has never sold better. Confidence in Toyota quality remains high, as it should be, and the 5.7 camshaft issue is actually a non-issue.
2) Highway Bed Bounce
This problem is very odd. Because of the specific characteristics of the Tundra’s bed and frame, it is possible to induce a self-amplifying oscillation of the back-end of the truck. Amazingly enough, this can occur at highway speeds as the bed bounces over expansion joints in the roadway. Here’s a video:
Here’s a different video shot on a California highway. At this time, Toyota has not announced a fix. While all trucks exhibit some type of bed bounce on concrete highways with lots of expansion joints, Tundras seem to be worse than normal. Adding weight to the bed and/or a trailer helps, and some other fixes include air suspension and custom leaf springs. The best solution might be to wait and see if Toyota comes up with something official. Finally, if you can drive faster or slower than the harmonic frequency (observed at 55-65 mph) the vibration is vastly reduced. Try using that as an excuse when a cop is writing you a speeding ticket…
3) The stereo shutting off by itself
Of all the problems to have in the world, this one is pretty small. Occasionally, for no apparent reason, a small number of stereos in brand new Tundras have shut off all by themselves. Evidently, this is due to a short in the stereo itself. Toyota is aware of the problem and will replace your stereo as part of the warranty. We’re not 100% sure, but we can’t imagine this problem won’t be fixed in the 2008.
4) One of the air vent’s louvers won’t stay pointed downwards
This problem is actually kind of humorous, so we decided it might be fun to mention. The vent to the right of the driver, due to the effects of air-flow and gravity, has a tendency to creep upwards. In other words, you turn on the A/C, point the vent towards your mid-section, and within a few minutes the louvers have worked themselves upwards so that now the air stream is pointed towards your face. The smartest fix we heard of was to attach a book clip (you know, the black plastic and wire clip) to one of the louvers in such a way to keep it from moving. You could always ask your dealer to fix it, but they would have to remove part of your dash to do so. The book clip seems so much easier.
5) The seatbelt warning chime
A lot of people have complained about the seat belt warning chime. If you take your seat belt off for just a few seconds (say to get out of the truck to get the mail) your warning chime will go off. Also, if you are hauling something in the front passenger seat that weighs more than about 40 lbs, the weight sensor in the passenger seat will think there is a passenger sitting in the seat. If this cargo isn’t buckled in, you’ll get to hear the warning chime. There are lots of solutions to both — check out our article on the Tundra’s annoying seat belt buzzer.
6) Not getting the mileage on the sticker
In our opinion, this issue doesn’t really belong on this list. As long as people buy new vehicles, there will always be some that don’t get the mileage printed on the sticker. First of all, the mileage indicated is an average, meaning half will get more and half will get less. Second, the testing process used to determine those mileage numbers is, well, ridiculous. This isn’t a reflection on Toyota either — the EPA came up with this test nearly 30 years ago. It involves driving VERY slowly with the A/C off and not exceeding 54mph on days ending in “y” with your head cocked at a 17 degree angle…you get the idea. It’s not very applicable to today’s driving. If you’re looking for ways to improve your Tundra’s gas mileage, we wrote about gas mileage earlier this month. But don’t let stories you hear about Tundras getting poor gas mileage scare you off — just know that the mileage printed on the sticker is an estimate.
7) The Tundra is “too nice”
We’ve also heard of new Tundra owners being accused by their relatives (typically domestic truck owning in-laws) of having stuff that was “too nice” and “showing off.” We’re not sure what it is about, but it seems the Tundra gives people the impression that you’re better than them.
Any problems you’ve had that aren’t mentioned here? Tell us about them! We kind of made that last one up btw.
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