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1996 Tacoma Frame-Rot Buyback Advice

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Old 02-21-2011, 06:11 PM   #1
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1996 Tacoma Frame-Rot Buyback Advice

Hello gang! Having finally gotten all the work done on our other 2 vehicles, I'm back to having the opportunity to spend some time on my Taco... here is my situation.

This is a 1996 Tacoma 4x4 standard transmission with only 30k miles. It was my father's truck before he passed away, and obviously he only drove it during winter weather and when he needed to haul cargo. When he passed away last year, my mother had no need for the truck and so she signed it over to me.

The truck still runs great, and when I needed to fix the clutch last summer I found this forum and learned of the frame-rot fix/buyback issue. I have until September of this year before my 15 years is up. Looking at the frame, it is VERY rusted and I'm doubting it is going to pass the test. I know my first step is to actually take it in to have it tested, but I'm assuming it is going to fail and they are going to want to buy it back from me.

This truck has infinite sentimental value to me and I am not interested in selling it for any price when in my mind they can put a good frame on there for much less than they want to buy it for... it is simply out of the question for me if I have another feasible option. I want this truck to last another 20+ years. Lets say that hypothetically the frame fails the test, and I refuse to sell it back to them (and sign their waiver). What are my options? I'd imagine even if I can find a frame in good shape that it would be a major pain in the a$$ to swap out, and it seems to be an expensive job that I can't really afford. But if I refuse to sell, and the frame rots away, the truck is going to be worthless anyway. I just can't willingly sell my dad's truck unless I have no other option, but I feel like keeping it and having the frame fall apart in a few years ends in the same result anyway. Given it only has 30k miles I feel like the engine has decades of life left in it being driven a few thousand miles per year! And the $4500 or so that I would get is not going to buy me another 4x4 with 30k miles, period.

My ideal situation would be to tell Toyota to take the 1.5X book value ($4500) they want to offer me and put on a good frame (pretty sure that would be less than the $4500), but I don't see them doing that.

What do you guys think I should do? Perhaps I'll get lucky and it will pass the frame test, but I want to be prepared when I go in. If it fails, do I have to sign the waiver before they will let me leave with the truck? And if I sign the waiver do I also waive my right to sell it to them at a later time (fear of this is why I have waited so long)?

Any of your time and sincere advice is appreciated.
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:17 PM   #2
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The only other thing I can think of would be to take it to a shop and have them repair the frame. There are certified frame workers out there (the guys that legitimately make limos). Personally, I'd take the buyback. My '99 Taco was bought back in July. I miss the truck dearly cause it was my first truck, but honestly it was like winning the lottery. I took that money and added 5k and bought a brand new Tacoma. A deal like this isn't going to come along again. Are you sure you'll get that little for it? I got over 13k for my '99.
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:17 PM   #3
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You'll get more than 4500 for your truck. They pay you 150% of Kelly blue book for what a DEALER would sell it for. I got 10,500 for my '97. That might help to make a decision.
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy2010 View Post
You'll get more than 4500 for your truck. They pay you 150% of Kelly blue book for what a DEALER would sell it for. I got 10,500 for my '97. That might help to make a decision.
Oh, thanks for that info! I was going by trade-in value... yeah that would put it at around $7500 from what I see on kbb.com (they list dealer retail at $5200; it is basic version, cassette and A/C with the 4x4 and that's about it)... that helps a little more, and if they won't fix the frame that will be probably what I do... but will I have to make a decision then and there if it indeed fails the test?
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:35 PM   #5
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Yes, you will need to make a decision then and there. Although, I've read on here one dealer let them drive off with it. Technically they are not allowed to let you leave the lot with it once it is deemed unsafe. They will give you a rental for up to a month, or until you go to pick up your check. Took about 3 weeks for me to get check, bought my 2010 that same day.
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:00 PM   #6
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ya im in the same boat man. this truck means the world to me(seriously). this was the truck that i worked my ass off( no joke i think i took mabey 2 days of in 3.5 months and worked the weekends away). i have untill some time in 2013 untill the 15 years are up. but i looked it up and the blue book( private party sell) was 5730(BS!). so that would mean they would give me only 8595. what do you guys think( check out pics for help)
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:09 PM   #7
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wait my bad the sugested vaule is 7,070 so that means 10,605... making me second guess....


please read post above but put this info in

thanks
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:22 PM   #8
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My 2000 Tacoma failed the frame inspection and I did the buyback two months ago (December 2010).

Here are my thoughts:
1) The dealership will give you 1.5 times KBB retail value (make sure you look at the retail value when valuing your truck). This is a hell of a deal and will allow you to buy another truck that is nicer then what you have now.
2) You really do not want to drive it away if it fails the inspection. You should be prepared to hand over the keys right then and there. You will get a rental for the time it takes to get you your check, which is when you need to hand over title (2-3weeks). If you sign the waiver and drive it away and anything happens (ie, accident) then you will get nothing from Toyota (the offer is off the table basically).
3) Replacing the frame is really not a good idea. First, the frames are no longer being made on the 95-2000, which is why they are doing a buy back on the 95-2000 model years and replacing frames on the 2001-04 years. Therefore, you would have to find a frame from another Toyota truck, which would be hard given they all have the same problem, not to mention stripping a truck to the frame and replacing your frame with it. Second, the frames often times rust from the inside out and therefore repair would be very hard. My frame looked great until they put a hammer through one side of the boxed frame above the passenger side rear wheel (I was surprised because it looked quite clean).
4) I realize it has sentimental value, but you hand has been forced and it is a great deal so take it as fortunate that you were given this opportunity and go find yourself another great Tacoma. That's what I did.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-22-2011, 04:11 AM   #9
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Thanks to all for the replies and advice. It is now obvious that if indeed the truck fails the test, I have little other option than to sell. Thinking about this long and hard overnight, I've come to a conclusion that sits right with me.

#1) This is a 3rd vehicle that our family doesn't "really" need other than a few days each year when the roads are truly bad.

#2) (Heated in-the-moment knock on Toyota removed after the fact, I didn't really mean it... my apologies)

#3) We are expecting our 2nd child in 7 weeks, and we have been house shopping for some time now, so I think I will use the money to add to our down payment on a new home. This resolution sits well with me and something I know my dad would have approved of.

So for now, I'm gonna sit on my plan for a few months to use the money towards our down payment later this year. I think that is going to be the way we go.
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Old 02-22-2011, 04:25 AM   #10
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I think Toyota realized they had a issues with frames. 1.5 over retail is more than fair. I will buy nothing but Toyotas... You show me what a 96 ranger is worth? Their frames maybe solid, but mechanically, I would never put my family in one.
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Old 02-22-2011, 05:45 AM   #11
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I would do it. If the truck only has 30k on it Toyota should give you a pretty penny for it. I had a 96 for almost 2 years, it was my first truck and I worked so hard to buy it. I put a lot of money into it too. But I knew it was going to be recalled so I bought an 01 before I brought it in and swapped all the parts over. Toyota gave me 6800, and the 01 cost me 8000.
For 1200, I gained 5 years, a V6, e-locker, PW/PL, and a rust-free Cali truck. Buyback was the best thing (IMO) since sliced bread.
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:33 AM   #12
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You won't find something with that low of mileage on it for that money. But you have to keep in mind the age of it. That engine is probably not in as good of shape as you think. Low miles don't mean it's in good shape. Engines are designed to run and run often, not sit for most of the year and get used once in a while.

I agree though. If I was in your situation I would take the money and put it towards a down payment. No point in buying something you don't need.

From my point of view Toyota is going above and beyond the call of duty on this. I had my truck for 12 years and 120k miles. After the buyback I got a brand new truck for just over $5k out of pocket after the check from Toyota. Hard to complain about a truck costing you $5k over a 12 year period. Be sure and let me know if GM, Ford or Chrysler offers you that kind of deal.
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:45 AM   #13
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Guys I don't mean to thread jack, but I have a question. When I contacted the dealership about my 99 they just checked the vin#. They didn't even want to look at it. Is this right?
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:51 AM   #14
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I get the vibe (and perhaps I'm wrong) that most of you reading this are thinking 'what is this guy complaining about, they are offering him 1.5x retail value for his truck!'.

I *DO* appreciate the fact that Toyota will offer me 1.5x retail value for the truck if they deem it unsafe, and the fact they are trying to do (in their opinion) right by their customers does speak as to their character. In browsing online prices of used vehicles, I wasn't considering the fact that the list prices are way higher than what I will end up paying in most cases, so perhaps I can get a comparable vehicle with the money I would get from Toyota.

After thinking a little further, I will now reverse my stance somewhat. I doubt that Toyota would *want* to pay me 1.5x retail value if they can deem it safe at all (as in, they WANT to deem it safe if they possibly can). After taking it through 2 days of rough off-roading a couple weeks ago, and hauling 2 ton of gravel last week, and nothing seemingly going wrong or fracturing, etc., gives me more hope that it will indeed pass the test. And now thinking in this mindset, if they deem it unsafe, I will trust their word as I assume they would rather not give me that check unless they have to. Maybe I'd even purchase another used Tacoma with the money, although owning a home will trump that I'm pretty sure.

Anyway, I will report back to you guys what Toyota does and what I end up doing. Thanks for all the input and altering my expectations to a more realistic level. make it a great day!

And just to be clear, I am not knocking Toyota in any way. They ARE going above and beyond to try to make it right, and it is MORE than a fair offer. It was basically my 3-year old tantrum of "I don't WANT a new truck, i want THIS truck!" I've had my tantrum, accepted my fate, and am infinitely glad they are not a sleezeball company that is trying to give their customers as little as possible to "make it right". It is indeed a more than fair deal for the customer, it just sucks I may not be able to keep the truck.

And you are right about low mileage not necessarily reflecting shape of the engine... although in my amateur opinion, the engine runs as good as the day Dad bought it, but that's not to say it won't crap out in another 500 miles due to unseen corrosion, etc. either. Point taken.

Thanks to all who have replied, I will post back later on with the results of what happens.
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:56 AM   #15
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You had better check with a dealership before you do anything else, It was my understanding that the whole buyback thing was over.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:02 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nepil View Post
Guys I don't mean to thread jack, but I have a question. When I contacted the dealership about my 99 they just checked the vin#. They didn't even want to look at it. Is this right?
Not sure what you mean by "they checked the VIN"? Are you saying they checked the VIN and wanted to buy it without even looking at it?
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:07 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by saweetlou View Post
You had better check with a dealership before you do anything else, It was my understanding that the whole buyback thing was over.
From what I was told by them a few months ago, you have 15 years from the original purchase date, period. I don't believe that has changed (but I could be wrong), cuz they would still be liable if they offered the 15 years, then yanked the offer before all damaged Tacomas were brought in during the 15-year window (logically they should honor the deal through 2019 or so, when 15 years have passed since the last 2003 models were first sold new)
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:29 AM   #18
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My advice, sell it. I totally understand the sentimental value involved but no matter what you do it wont last forever. What do you think your dad would want you to do? He would want you to do what is best for you. Sell it and put the money in your child college fund, or something like this, that would for sure make your dad happy.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:34 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by RckyMntns View Post
My advice, sell it. I totally understand the sentimental value involved but no matter what you do it wont last forever. What do you think your dad would want you to do? He would want you to do what is best for you. Sell it and put the money in your child college fund, or something like this, that would for sure make your dad happy.
I agree 100%, thus probably putting it towards a down-payment on a home. Dad gave me about $10k when I graduated college to help me "get started" that I totally blew through in a few months with nothing to show for it, and I've felt guilty about it ever since (even though he knew I had to fall on my face a few times in order to grow up and never had hard feelings about it)... this is my chance to make somewhat good on that, and thus the decision to most likely add the money to our down-payment on owning a home.
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:59 AM   #20
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I work at toyota and have seen alot of these trucks and if it fails the test then hand it over. I have seen one so bad the leaf fell off the frame cause it was so bad. I also seen one that was bad but not to bad that came back 6 months later and we would not let him drive it home without signing the wavier.He didnt sigh it and took a rental but these frames can not be fixed and i hate to say it but its better u just give it up. U shld get around 10000 or more because the low miles.
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