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Toyota Tells NHTSA All First Generation Tundras Have Frame Rust Issues

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.

We’ve obtained a copy of the defect information report from Toyota to NHTSA, which contains information about Toyota’s frame rust recall that, as far as we know, has not yet been disclosed to the mainstream media. What follows are snippets from this letter.

First and foremost, Toyota has acknowledged that ALL first generation Tundras may be subject to the same rust problems that are found on 00-03 Toyota Tundras currently under recall. Therefore, Toyota will be offering rustproofing to 2004-2006 Tundra owners in the near future.

…while Toyota has not determined a defect exists in 2004 through 2006 model year Tundras, Toyota plans on initiating a field action in the near future to prevent future corrosion on those vehicles…at no cost to the owner

Obviously, Toyota would not be offering to rust-proof 04-06 Tundras unless they believed these vehicles also have this issue.

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  • 2004 toyota tundra frame recall

Toyota Tundra Frame Supplier Dana Off The Hook, No Rust Fix Yet

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.

While this is not the news that the owners of Tundras with frame rust were hoping for, Toyota seems to be moving in positive direction in regards to frame rust complaints on first-gen Tundras. Before, Toyota seemed to blame frame supplier Dana for this issue. Now, it seems that Toyota has determined Dana is not responsible for frame rust problems on the first-gen Tundra.

This is an interesting distinction that, when combined with other facts, could indicate Toyota will take action…but it’s still very early.

Tundra frame rust.

Tundra frame rust.

According to a story in the Automotive News, Toyota seems to believe that:

  1. Frame supplier Dana is not the source of the rust problem.
  2. NHTSA is likely to expand their investigation of Tundra frame rust to a full engineering analysis.

Much of this is based on statement by Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons, who is also the main point of contact at Toyota for the unintended acceleration issue.

Here are the statements made by Lyons to the Automotive News:

NHTSA Investigating Tundra 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.

NHTSA has officially announced a 2000-2001 Tundra frame rust investigation. According to multiple news sources, Toyota has begun to quietly replace frames and/or buy-out Tundra owners. Whether this is Toyota deciding to act in good faith or an attempt to avoid an embarrassing safety recall is hard to say, but the good news is that 2000-2001 Tundra owners with rusted frames are finally going to get consideration from Toyota.

Rusted frame on a 1st generation Tundra

Rusted frame on a 1st generation Tundra

WTF NHTSA? Toyota Tundra Crash Test Results Shenanigans

When the 2nd generation Toyota Tundra debuted in 2007, Toyota was quite confident that the Tundra would be the safest pickup in it’s class. With standard ESC, side airbags, and Toyota’s latest and greatest crash test technology, Toyota had every reason to be confident.

Then NHTSA’s results (that’s National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration) came out. 4 stars. Toyota was devastated.

Time passed and the IIHS (that’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) issued their first ever Top-Pick rating to a pickup when they declared the 2007 Tundra to be the safest truck in it’s class.

IIHS crash test of 2007 Toyota Tundra

IIHS crash test of 2007 Toyota Tundra

NHTSA said 4 stars, IIHS said top pick – and anyone shopping for a Tundra was (understandably) confused.

However, yesterday NHTSA released the results of a “re-test” of the 2010 Tundra and guess what – it got 5 stars. Great news right? Except the structure of the 2010 TUNDRA DIDN’T CHANGE!