Toyota to submit information on complaints about rusted Tundra frames

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 26, 2010

Toyota Motor Corp. is once again entangled in a potential recall after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has asked it to provide information related to complaints over rusted frames on 2000 and 2001 Toyota Tundra pickups. On Oct. 6, the NHTSA began a preliminary evaluation of the problem and gave Toyota a Nov. 20 deadline.

Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said that it's still too early to speculate what the carmaker will do for the Tundra. Lyons said that the NHTSA is currently looking at the cross member that supports the spare tire and this is only one specific portion and not the entire frame.

The frames were manufactured by Dana Corp., which also supplied the frames for the 750,000 Tacoma pickups that had similar rust problems, resulting to voluntary recalls and buybacks last year. Dana spokesman Chuck Hartlage said the company is assisting Toyota with the Tundra investigation. Do you want to know what specifically triggered this probe?

Twenty reports were received by NHTSA that relate to spare-tire separation and brake system failures resulting from severe frame corrosion on the pickups. To date, the federal agency had received 238 complaints about the 2000 models and 48 about the 2001 models.

These complaints range from brake-line corrosion to corrosion of the entire frame.

The investigation was launched in October and since then, more than 70 complaints have been received. So far, three injuries were reported but no fatalities. In March 2008, Toyota agreed to buy back 1995-2000 Tacomas at 150% of the high-end Kelley Blue Book value and in November 2008, Toyota issued a recall on 2001 to 2004 Tacomas.

The warranty was extended to 15 years with unlimited mileage if no rust had taken place but if rust is seen, the frames were replaced. Lyons asserted that no connection exists between the Tacoma and Tundra frames.

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