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Frame Rust

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by drmchase, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Feb 11, 2019 at 9:07 AM
    #1
    drmchase

    drmchase [OP] Member

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    So...in January, we took our son's savings (he's soon to get his learner's permit) and purchased him a 2003 Tacoma which we thought was a great deal. The truck was due for inspection on 1/31 so my after purchasing and getting tags at DMV, etc. my husband got the truck inspected. You guessed it...it failed due to the frame rust. We were clueless that there were frame issues in these trucks and now feel like we are stuck with a truck that we can't do anything with and my son's savings is now gone. The truck runs great and the interior is in pretty good shape so we were excited for our son. My husband can do work but feels like this is a bigger job than he can take on. Give us your best advice please!
     
  2. Feb 11, 2019 at 9:13 AM
    #2
    FreshOldTaco

    FreshOldTaco oh I wouldn't know

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    That's a bummer, sorry to hear that. Did you purchase the truck from a private owner?
     
  3. Feb 11, 2019 at 9:17 AM
    #3
    drmchase

    drmchase [OP] Member

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    Yes...it was purchased from a private individual.
     
  4. Feb 11, 2019 at 9:21 AM
    #4
    BINK05TRD

    BINK05TRD Well-Known Member

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    Wussta Massachusetts
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    Sorry to hear this.
    If your state allows it could you repair the frame if it’s not that bad ?
    Welcome to the forum there’s a lot of knowledgeable people here that will chime in to help out.
     
  5. Feb 11, 2019 at 9:29 AM
    #5
    drmchase

    drmchase [OP] Member

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    I think it's beyond repair. Wish we could find a new frame because the rest of the truck really is good and it was the perfect truck for him.
     
  6. Feb 11, 2019 at 9:30 AM
    #6
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Well-Known Member

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    That's a pretty bum deal, but all is not lost. The frame rust is a fairly well known issue to those of us who have been around Tacomas a while, and there are ways to move forward.

    You do have a few options.
    > Depending on how bad the rust is, there are some companies out there that sell frame reinforcement plates. Those can be welded on by a fabricator and it will end up stronger than stock.
    > Depending on how much you paid, you may be able to re-sell it to someone who wants it as a project, likely at a loss, however.
    > You can have it as your own project. Source a new frame, or a used one from a rust free state like AZ, and do a frame swap yourselves. If I remember correctly, a *new* frame is around $3k, maybe 4k?

    I would love to have had a project like this to work on with my dad when I was a kid. While it doesn't really solve the immediate issue of your son needed a drivable car, it would be a tremendous learning environment for everyone!

    There are several members who have done frame swaps, and they have fairly detailed threads for the work they did. I'd suggest reading through them and seeing if that's something you guys would be willing to tackle.
     
    Hamer95USA and 970btu like this.
  7. Feb 11, 2019 at 9:56 AM
    #7
    FreshOldTaco

    FreshOldTaco oh I wouldn't know

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    ^Yup those are your options.

    Unfortunately it's too late to get a free frame from Toyota under the recall. The 01-04 models had to be inspected by October 31, 2010 - at which point they either applied a coating or replaced the frame if it failed, both of which extended the warranty to 15 years from the vehicle in service date.
     
  8. Feb 11, 2019 at 9:59 AM
    #8
    BartMaster1234

    BartMaster1234 American Auto Horns

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    This is a 2003?

    Call Toyota, ASAP. Only a few 2003 and 2004 trucks still qualify for the 15 year frame replacement campaign. You might get lucky.
     
  9. Feb 11, 2019 at 10:16 AM
    #9
    FreshOldTaco

    FreshOldTaco oh I wouldn't know

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  10. Feb 11, 2019 at 11:44 AM
    #10
    drmchase

    drmchase [OP] Member

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    Thank you for that information on the replacement process. We did call our local dealer and they looked up our VIN number and said we were out of luck that the recall period on the frame has expired. If we were to look for a frame in one of the states that did not have a recall, does anyone have any good sources of where to look?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  11. Feb 11, 2019 at 12:11 PM
    #11
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Well-Known Member

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    Just so you're clear, the frame replacement is NOT a recall. It is an extended warranty.

    I have heard of some people being told by the dealer they are not eligible for a recall, but that's just because the person they talked to was looking for RECALLS on their truck.

    The frame rust thing is entirely different. As far as I know, trucks in all states were eligible for the frame replacement. It's just that certain states had requirements for inspections that needed to happen by a certain time period because those states use road salt in the winter. States like CA use sand (or it just doesn't snow most places) so rust is not nearly as big of a deal.
     
  12. Feb 11, 2019 at 12:12 PM
    #12
    970btu

    970btu Well-Known Member

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    Do you have some pictures?

    jbrandt said it perfect.

    This is the biggest single most issue with our trucks second to aftermarket lower ball joints. It happens to people I think every day and a new post is up on one group site or another every week. People know the problem and dump them on unsuspecting others all the time. :(

    It happened to me. I used the safe-t-caps form autorust technicians. They have a really great product but these frames rust from the inside out. You patch one spot, then you need another, and another, and another. I almost have a new frame from their kits now. I started out having a local welder weld them in but as the cost kept adding up I ended up getting buying a welder to do the work myself. It was an expensive endeavor. Looking back I would have just bought another frame and swapped it out.
    Others have had different experience with the same and local welders and shops.
    Here is a recent post of a guy with a similar situation.
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/broken-frame-at-rear-leaf-spring.586331/#post-19549662
     
  13. Feb 11, 2019 at 12:30 PM
    #13
    FLBAdrian

    FLBAdrian A Pretty Sizeable Onion

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    Picture of the frame would help
     
  14. Feb 11, 2019 at 12:31 PM
    #14
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Well-Known Member

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    You bring up a good point.

    Just because you've replaced the frame, doesn't mean you can forget about it. Granted, a NEW frame would presumably have better protection from corrosion as the original frame, but you're not out of the woods.

    Depending on where the OP lives, this WILL be a continuous problem unless you take certain precautions. Treat the frame with POR15, routinely (as often as possible - with a power washer) wash the salt off the frame/undercarriage, etc...

    Also, the frame isn't the only thing that rusts. It's almost guaranteed that most of the nuts and bolts and other hardware are pretty badly rusted as well.

    Doing a frame replacement is THE best time to go through all that stuff and treat/replace as necessary.

    At the end you'll have basically a brand new truck, and it will be awesome.
     
    970btu likes this.
  15. Feb 11, 2019 at 1:02 PM
    #15
    Sperrunner

    Sperrunner I buy your old parts

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    Wd40, zipties, duck tape, and my hopes and dreams
    Wanna buy a frame?
     
  16. Feb 11, 2019 at 1:04 PM
    #16
    drmchase

    drmchase [OP] Member

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    I will get some photos from him and upload them.
     
  17. Feb 11, 2019 at 1:05 PM
    #17
    Crow_of_judgement

    Crow_of_judgement Judging you.

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    Too soon.

    stares-in-klingon-30341702.jpg
     
    ALI3N_123 and Sperrunner like this.
  18. Feb 11, 2019 at 1:30 PM
    #18
    FreshOldTaco

    FreshOldTaco oh I wouldn't know

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    What's the general feedback from those who had their frames coated by Toyota?
     
  19. Feb 11, 2019 at 1:42 PM
    #19
    RysiuM

    RysiuM Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure this is not true. New frames are as bad as old ones. If Toyota knew how to make rust proof frames there would be no free frame replacement warranty on 2nd gens. Wait few years more, and the turd gen will have it as well.

    I blame the EPA for that too. They force to make trucks lighter (to save fuel) and the cheapest way to save weight is use thinner metal. I wouldn't mind driving Tacoma with frame containing few hundreds pounds of metal more.
     
  20. Feb 11, 2019 at 2:37 PM
    #20
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Well-Known Member

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    At least at the time of installation, they're rust free, lol... But like I said, a new frame doesn't mean you can ignore it.

    It's not about frame thickness, all that does is make it take longer for the rust to work its way through the material.

    Personally, I blame the salt on the roads (or the air - in coastal towns), and Toyota underestimating how bad that crap is for rust. That said, I don't think there's a vehicle out there that's completely immune to the rust.

    I'm definitely making an assumption that the frames Toyota uses to replace the rust buckets would have *at least* the type of additional frame coating they require of the frames to be eligible for a replacement in the first place. Obviously, if you source a used from from the wrecker, you're likely to not get even that.

    But like I said earlier, you're not out of the woods simply by having a new frame...
     
    onakat, RysiuM and FreshOldTaco like this.

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