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

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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:

It is too early to speculate what we will do for Tundra…They’re [NHTSA] only looking at one specific portion of the frame — the cross member that supports the spare tire — not the entire frame. [Lyons confirmed that Dana built the Tundra frames but that no connection exists between the Tacoma and Tundra frame rust issues] The frames were built to a different design and at different plants…so this is not apples to apples. [Toyota does not blame Dana]. Ultimately, this is our vehicle and our responsibility.

There are two interesting notes here.

  1. Note that Lyons says “what we will do” rather than “if we will do.” It’s a minor distinction to be sure, but hopefully it’s a positive indicator.
  2. Combined with previous statements, it sounds as if Toyota has begun to determine the financial impact of a potential fix. Why else would they go out of their way to say that Dana is not responsible?

It could be that Lyons is simply trying to clear Dana’s name after Toyota made a couple of statements earlier in the year that all but said Dana was responsible. Here’s the first statement that indicated Dana was to blame, released nearly six months ago (see Toyota Indicates First-gen Tundra Frame Rust problem):

…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.

This was Toyota’s very first statement on the frame rust issue, and it indicates Toyota knew they were going to have a problem because of Dana’s production mistakes on the Tacoma. This quote from a article further supports this idea:

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

Today, it seems clear that Toyota has made an about-face in regards to frame supplier Dana.

In addition, reports today that

Toyota has been studying the [frame rust] issue for more than six months and has repurchased several Tundras from owners as part of its investigation process, though no formal repair program has been put in place

This information is supported by rumors of repairs and replacements found on popular Tundra forums (as well as reports that have been conveyed to us directly). It could very well be that these moves were for investigative purposes only, but our belief is that Toyota would not be buying back vehicles unless they were seriously contemplating a major fix. Here’s why:

  1. Buying back vehicles is a good way to test the efficacy of warranty repairs as well as determining scrap value and potential liability.
  2. Clearing Dana of financial responsibility might be corporate courtesy, but it could also be viewed as another indicator that Toyota is putting a price tag on a fix.
  3. Toyota’s belief that NHTSA will expand their investigation is a sign that Toyota is not expecting this problem to go away on it’s own.

Let’s hope that these moves are indicators that Toyota is preparing to make a financial commitment to fix this problem.

Filed Under: Tundra News


RSSComments (24)

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  1. Mickey says:

    A very good article Jason. Alot of good need to know for the 1st gen trucks. Hopefully a fix is near.

  2. Janet says:

    We picked up our Tundra from the dealership today after it was there for 76 days. They agreed to replace our frame in early Sept, yet made it clear we were not to badmouth Toyota. We were interviewed by Fox news and a Boston News Channel about the rust problem. The dealership treated us so poorly during this lengthy drawn out situation. They demanded we pay them approx $1700.00 (up front) for parts connected to the frame(also corroded). Weeks went by and my husband kept calling for updates…They would say things like “We don’t care” or “I don’t know what part we need”…it was a nightmare. Today, they called and said it was ready. When we got the truck, the spare tire was missing and the back window broken and all taped up with plastic. The employees of the dealership were laughing and pointing through the window. They claimed we brought it to them like that! They completely sabotaged our truck. We drove it for a half of an hour before the check engine light came on! Clearly a retribution against us for being instrumental in public awareness of this serious safety issue!

  3. Mickey says:

    This should be headsup for the rest of the trucks owners out there. Take a video shot of the truck all around and underneath before they take it in. Show the dealership while filming. Dealer may complain about the filming but you need to exercise your rights before letting this happening to you

  4. Contact Toyota and let them know that unless this is fixed, the bad mouthing ON THE NEWS, has yet to begun.

  5. mainhunter says:

    I thought my dealer was a pain. I can say if they did that to me I would have done something bad….like drive my truck thru the side of there shop! When my Tundra is gone I will NEVER own another Toyota, and I will tell every person I know not to buy Toyota.

  6. mk says:

    Janet, my sympathies go out. I would’ve went ballistic if that happened to me and would’ve driven to the local police and news dept. to get full coverage out there immediately. That dealer would’ve closed down for sure on my behalf one way or the other or I would’ve died trying. I think that the current 07′ on up Tundras may be in the same boat in a few more years, but hope not.

  7. Janet – I saw your comment on – that’s awful. There’s no way that this kind of behavior is acceptable. Unfortunately, it sounds like things have really degraded between you and the people at the dealership. Any chance there’s a third party that can get involved on your behalf? Do you have documentation of the condition of your vehicle before hand? I’m sure that you’ve contacted Toyota, but do they know about this latest development? Not trying to be nosey, just trying to suggest some solutions.

  8. Janet says:

    The truck was in the dealership from Sept 5th to Nov 20th. My husband was allowed to see the truck on Oct 1. It was in pieces but the window was intact. The employee who allowed him to see it doesnt work there anymore , nor does the lady behind the desk who first told us about the problem they were having with tundras. Yes, we have called Toyota customer line. They document everything. Our case worker is no longer on the case. Funny, how people keep disappearing. One more thing, our windshield washer fluid container was punctured, and Lord only knows what else. We did ask and receive some corroded parts…really unbelievable to see up close.

    • Janet – Considering that you guys were in the right, it seems like the dealership shouldn’t bear you any ill will. Any chance the “warranty” was actually just money from the dealer’s pocket? If Toyota didn’t honor the repair, the dealership could have paid all the expenses themselves…that might explain why it took so long and why they’re angry at you. Have you talked to the GM at the dealership?

  9. Ryan says:


    I was a auto insurance appraiser a few years back and I know that auto bodies perform frame swaps everyonce in a while. I would have it saftey inspected on camera by a independent auto body. If items are missing installed improperly etc. Document fully and see a Lawyer… Sue there asses!

    If Toyota doesnt make this right I am done with there trucks…

  10. TXTee says:

    Janet – I’m very sorry you and your husband continue to have such a horrible experience. At this point I’m sure you don’t care who gets blamed and I really see no reason you’d want another Toyota in your life even if it’s made 100% like new. The dealership is wrong in so many ways and I’m sure it will take time but their day is coming. And whether it was out of their pocket or Toyota’s – that’s really not your concern. They are a representative of Toyota – PERIOD. Keep us posted on the outcome, please.

  11. Janet says:

    Recall is the best news we heard yet! Channel 5 news in Boston was really instrumental in starting the ball rolling in the media. They showed our truck again on news. Also Toyota paid for the frame not the dealer. Toyota Headquarters called my husband today and spoke at length about problems at the dealer. We were happy with that. I am confidant they will deal with them.

  12. Janet – That’s good to hear. Glad that Toyota is paying attention. Here’s the recall you mentioned…

  13. rjm says:

    I dont feel sorry for anyone who gives money for a foriegn product.
    Ford has had the best selling truck for 31 years now.The frame rust on these trucks is an obvious sign of a cost cut in the material process or poor quality / consistency in anti corrosive techniques. And they did not learn much, the current generation tundra has a host of issues. Sales speak volumes its how the consumer speaks. I hope there is a lesson here for all.

  14. rjm – I think the lesson is that all trucks have problems. The F150 shoots spark plugs out of engines, can spontaneously combust, and has been known to blow an airbag when the key is put in the ignition.

  15. Mickey says:

    RJM before coming into a different website and shoot out all the problems of one manufacturer, you should at least know the issues of your favorite manufacturer. Now explain Ford’s second recall on the same item the cruise control which catches on fire? You can take this several ways. Is it that Ford owners think their poop don’t stink so they don’t get it fixed? Is it they can’t read? Here’s a good one is it that the part replaced is having the same problem again? Yes Ford’s are built Ford tough, especially when it comes to catching your home on fire. Ford’s fix for this is don’t leave your truck or SUV in the garage or next to your house. So now you park your Ford across the street.

  16. Phil Johnson says:

    Heh, I have seen more Toyota trucks busted in two than I have seen Ford trucks on fire. I don’t know why this is being treated like some sort of major revelation, Toyota’s always had junk frames for their pickups. Heck I have seen less 80s and early 90s Toyota trucks with intact non-welded frames that those that were either busted or repaired. Those trucks were built in Japan so no Dana scape goat to blame it on. My Ford truck’s frame busted between the spring mounts, but then it only took 32 years and 265,000 miles for it to happen.

  17. Mickey says:

    Question for you Phil why is it that Toyota has a better resale value than yours? You want me to tell you a story also????? Once upon a time…..

  18. Phil – Fair enough. Many people who never have liked Toyota have always said they had a reputation for rust.

  19. Chris says:

    great article but still just a tease and no real meat to it just speculation. anyhow, my ’00 has severe rust – the front sway bar mount rotted and fell apart, the sway bar dropped and took out a power steering line. its a disaster! I have 120000 miles on it. I have had many many toyotas including a pristene ’96 Tacoma, never have i seen anything as atrocious as this.

    I live in VT, BTW (rust central).

    take back my Toyota!

  20. Mike says:

    Which dealership did you bring your Tundra to? I want to make sure I don’t patronize them ever.

  21. Janet says:

    The only Toyota dealer in Dudley, MA…still paranoid of retribution

  22. […] Stumbled upon this. Sounds like Dana was cleared by Toyota of any wrongdoing. Toyota Tundra Frame Supplier Dana Off The Hook, No Rust Fix Yet | Tundra Headquarters Blog […]

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