2005 Tundra Rusted Frame

Looking for some guidance. I have a 2005 Tundra, 60K miles. Dealership just told me the frame is rusted out, with actual holes in frame under driver side. Said car was unsafe to drive or have on road. Called Toyota and opened case but said I was out of warranty and they were not accountable. I also sent complaint to NHTSA. I know there was a recall on same problem for 2001-2003 Toyotas. Very frustrated with Toyota, anything else i should be doing?

Get back with Toyota and keep dinging them…maybe try to negotiate a trade in…IMO. it’s a safety item but technically, they are correct until they are forced through a recall to do something. You are caught because if you take it some where to have it fixed by a body shop, you must get statements and keep all records from the dealer ship and where ever you had it fixed for later reference should they be forced to do something.

I have had a plethora of Toyota trucks but have always worried about this problem here in the rust belt. So, every two years, I crawled under neath and painted red grease with a foam brush on all suspected areas and oiled the inner frame. Frames looked great ten years later…it’s a pain, but worth it with any truck, especially with Toyota poor frame/rust reputation.

+1 for @dagosa. You are not alone @mkb100. I added a link that you might be interested in reading. Toyota has a problem with their 2005 models and it’s not going to go away. It’s only going to get worse as time passes.


Chinese steel again by any chance?

@mkb100 I am NOT siding with Toyota on this.

But they will probably point out that it was your responsibility to be proactive about corrosion. They will probably point out page 418.


But realistically, most of us don’t crawl underneath, as @dagosa does.

Have you contacted the Toyota “regional manager” yet? He has the power to make things happen?
The most you could hope for, realistically, is financial assistance from Toyota in replacing that frame. Perhaps they’ll help you if they think you’ll be buying another Toyota soon.

Thanks for advice. Will try and track down regional manager. Got truck back from dealer this AM and took a few pictures. Now I understand why they are saying unsafe to drive.

"Chinese steel again by any chance. ? "
That could very well be, but I think there is more to it then that. The box frame used in Toyota trucks along the attempt to move as many components as possible in and around the protection of that box, has created a problem for me over the years, accessing some parts of the frame for rust proofing. I can readily see areas that would collect mud and salt making It difficult to drain and remain “rust free” ( no such thing). They do a poor job of draining…and, .concerning @missleman’s post…it could be as simple as poor draining from the footwell above too…

IMHO, it’s as much a matter of engineering as it is steel. I used my Toyota trucks going through knee high mud and am greatful for this ability, but the accumulated mess underneath above the frame bottom, if anyone cared to look, was sometimes substantial. I can’t speak for any other trucks other then a Chevy I used to own, but components were often hung below as an after thought. Not good for off roading but the frame was clearer above from those components. Because I do my own yearly rust proofing, and necessary off roading, I do notice the irregularities of hanging components from many trucks but not so much on Toyotas.

It seems their attempt from my point of view, to protect components below the frame along with poor engineering in this attempt “may” have contributed to the problem…Chinese steel not with standing. To get an example of what I’m talking about, slow down to 65 mph in a 65 mph zone and notice the undercarriage of passing trucks. You may see what I’m getting at. It would make sense, if frame rust is a concern for you, and you do not off road, consider this when choosing another truck. My bros. Rangers were terrible off road but he never experience frame rust with any of his Fords.

All of this asside, I have long held that all vehicles use poor steel, just as strong as necessary to make them functional, but not as long lasting as they could be which would cut into long term profits. iMHo, Toyota may make fairly reliable trucks, but they DONOT bend over backwards any more then making them just enough to stay ahead of the crowd. They could all do better in rust proofing but they all choose not to.
You climb around enough car/truck underpinnings for a long enough time, I feel you would come to a similar conclusion. Engineering has it’s compromizes, and Toyota could do a lot better. It’s worth the effort to keep at them. Remind them that your next truck will not be a Toyota, and neither will it be for anyone who cares to listen to you.

Second the advice of @db4690 and @missleman.

Well,I’ve seen it on other things besides Toyotas
(many times) but as I have said before,steel is the ideal material to build autos out of,besides its many advantages,it will go away on its own in a few years,if not maintained(good for the manus)-If I were in your shoes and liked the truck.I would repair it and do the"Dagosa" every year-Kevin

A you can see @kevin, steel is an alloy made of many elements and not all steel is the same…how rust resistant a steel is depends upon the chrominum added ( and other supportive metals)
I contend that steel can be made that is more rust resistant for cars then it is. I believe the added expense is negligible or well within the price of what a perspective buyer would be willing to pay. We debated this before and their are more qualified opinions…that’s just mine. Until it’s done, we are on our own in the battle with rust.
Do “The dagosa”… Sounds like a dance. I like it.

Do we REALLY need all that salt on our highways? My boat trailer is steel framed, but it’s hot-dipped galvanized…It will last longer than I will…Car and truck frames could be be protected using this process for $300-$400 extra cost…The frame under that Toyota appears not to have been even painted…When you are paying $25K for a truck, what’s another $400 bucks? After Toyota’s frame rust recall, you think they would have learned…

According to the body people I have talked to, rust and brake damage on cars has accelerated due to the use of liquid de icers. DOT of states claim it is less harmfully then sand salt to the environment they used to use and more effective and cheaper in pretreating for snow and ice removal. The body people claim that during wet conditions, it remains liquified and can get into more areas then salt granules. This makes traditional car washing much less effective and sometimes, counter productive. I have had better luck not washing my car with recycled car wash water but waiting till the end of the winter… The car gets washed more frequently in the summer then winter for this reason. But I don’t know what really works best in a washing schedule.

I have had conversations with managers of several body repair shops and all of them, say their emplyees to a man, practice their own preventative measures as I do. But, what I do is environmental sensitive if not done right and they would be out of business the next day if they performed the service for customers at their shops…and if boat trailers were routinely trailered in the winter, they would rust as fast as the the cars that towed without rust preventive measures which snow mobile trailers often have. When my friends say they can’t be bothered with the messy process I use, I ask them…“would you do it for $200 or more an hour ?” That’s what I easily save per year over the life of the car? Ask @mbk100 what he thinks his Tundra is worth now ? When I resell my cars, I make sure I show perspective buys what I have done and the condition of the body…it always seems to seal the deal.

@Dagosa,havent had a chance to read your link,have to take wife around to do home health today due to the snow,but I wouldnt have no qualms about buying a used vehicle from you-Kevin

Boat trailer? Did u drive trailer to work today? I bet it is sitting in storage building. Nice and dry. Amazing how long steel lasts in dry, warm storage shed

I see two things in the small pictures. One, the truck IS safe to drive at this point, assuming that there is not worse damage somewhere else. Second, it is not the quality of the steel that caused this but the weld wire. It appears to be the welded seams that are rusted out and this happens when the weld wire is a lower grade than the base metal. The weld wire always has to be equal or higher grade or the seam will corrode quickly.

This perforation is along the bottom of the box frame at the seams. If the sides of the box were perforated, that would significantly weaken the frame, but there is far less stress along the bottom. Small sections of the seam that are rusted out do not measurably weaken the frame.

This is also easily repaired by a good welder, just make sure they use a CRS wire or an SS wire.

I would definitely get the opinion of a welder on this.
Unfortunately, I waited too long on my old '79 Toyota and the frame rotted through on both sides and broke in half. I always said I wanted to keep a vehicle until it feel apart in the middle of the street. Never though it would happen literally.

Btw, the rusted areas are all drainage problems in the enclosed box frame and not a “C” frame which leads me to believe, it’s engineering and not just the typical poor quality steel and welds that most use and does contribute regardless. Notice too that the frame appears to be covered with salt stain. That’s all on the inside of the box as well and why a drain hole and oil/ grease inside adds years to frame life.

So, I could whine and complain about Toyotas and not buy another though other’s do it to a lesser degree (Ford body panels have really poor drainage) Or, I could properly maintain it. The choice is the owner’s.

It’s engineering. Or perhaps lack of engineering. Improper drains and ventilation. I know that for a fact, 'cause I saw it in my own '79 Toyota pickup. As a matter of fact, even if it were materials and/or coatings and/or rust prevention, IMHO it’s STILL bad engineering.

Oddly, they had solved the problem in my '89 Toyota pickup. I guess they forgot what they’d learned.

Some would argue it was “good” engineering (sarcasm). I had a Subaru that use open cell foam strips under the bolt on fender seams. It looked like they wanted it to rust. A friend has a diesel Ford truck with mechanics that could last a generation. There were NO drain holes what so ever on the bottom of the door he had to replace. So don’t be afraid to drill holes on your own. I do ALL of the time and a good bit could be the best investment you could make for rust proofing. Box frames are stronger then C frames but notorious for not draining properly.

I gotta go with Dag on the C rails being a better design. Even “I” beams. It’s gotta be able to dry.
My '79 frame raisl had drainage, but they had a low spot in the boxed beams on each side, and the water would apparently puddle in that spot.

My contention on another post was that Toyota designs their trucks to be more functionl off road which necessitates box frames for stiffness without using as many cross members… That’s one reason I have used them. But the rusting because of it has always been a concern.