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View Full Version : Problem with FJC's inner fender


Caribou Sandstorm
02-02-2009, 10:52 PM
Just in case any of you in here are thinking about picking up a used FJC or a new one, there is an issue you should be aware of, that is unfortunately gaining momentum and it appears there is little Toyota wants to do about it.

The issue is the inner fender area begins to bulge and eventually cracks. This is not just a cosmetic problem, it actually will eventually effect the hood secureness and door alignment. And it is not just happening to modified FJCs or those that have seen off road activitiy, it is happening to strictly street drivers, as well.

Lucky me, I noticed the bulge this weekend, just as I was preparing to install my Safari Snorkel. I have filed a complaint with Toyota and waiting for my appointment with the Toyota warranty Rep Mike Whitetock. I also filed a complaint with the NHTSA.

I am under 16,000 miles, so I am under warranty but it may be that they site off road activity as the reason, which is odd given they marketed the Toyota Trail Teams and the FJCs ruggedness, so heavily..

Basically, the thin metal buckles much like it would in an auto accident. The fix is Toyota replaces with 3 ply sheet metal vs the one ply. The newer the model the less this is happening but that does not necesarily mean you are out of the woods. It is very random. Toyota is not willing to fix many, and have only heard of a handful getting it taken care of, most are hung out to dry. The cost is anywhere from $1500 to $3000 per side and there are some folks that have had it fixed twice, only to have it fail again.

The FJC forum has several threads on this and poles. About 200 of the 1100 in the pole have the issue.

Needless to say I am really disapointed but hopeful for a resolution to the problem by Toyota.

What the bulge looks like...
http://chrissandstormfj.smugmug.com/photos/464527962_MmNpM-M.jpg

Outdside fendor has crack..
http://chrissandstormfj.smugmug.com/photos/464527963_XoYFw-M.jpg

driver side fendor no bulge...
http://chrissandstormfj.smugmug.com/photos/464527840_M6YDv-M.jpg

Jacket
02-02-2009, 11:23 PM
Sorry to hear about it Chris. What kind of numbers are we talking about (total "victims")?

The Tacoma problems are more about frame failures and some early 3rd member grenading.

Caribou Sandstorm
02-02-2009, 11:34 PM
Hard to say, 100,000 sold..Probably 20-30% do or will have it. But I suspect many don't know enough about it to look for it. By the time many realized it in the forum they were out of warranty.

I really do love this truck and believe it is a great off roader.

I guess I had Toyota on too high a pedestal..All the glitz and glamour of the summer of 2008 came to a screaching hault.. Kind of like that record/needle stopping sound and a giant WHAT THE...

On the other hand, how can you for see evey failure. These cars do so well in the crash test rating and that is probably due to the impact absorption of the front end folding like an accordian...haha..I knew it would only take me a matter of time to find a silver lining.....

Actually, I had an idea tonight for a fabricated bar, that would attach along this weak zone..Might be a selling opportunity..

Anyone know of a good steel fabricator?

cruiseroutfit
02-03-2009, 12:39 AM
Have you read the "FJC Body Rip" thread over on FJCruiserforums.com? Its several hundred pages long with tons of pics and dealer experiences. The problem started pretty much right off the bat, with cases reported by late summer 2007. Some have an easy time getting Toyota to address the issue, others are not so lucky. Apparently Toyota has redesigned the inner fender several times now, however I think there are documented late model failures too :( . I havn't read the thread in a year or so now so I'm not sure how the latest rendition and fixes are working out.

chtucker
02-03-2009, 07:50 AM
Our serial number is very, very low... (Under 1500 if I recall) We have one of the first FJs delivered in Colorado....

I have watched the inner fender very closely. I even had Hugh at Safari look at it to. We have 38,000 miles with no damage.

Our FJ has never left the road...

Hugh said that is the difference...

treerootCO
02-03-2009, 08:37 AM
This thread is funny. If you jump them high enough the doors won't open.

Oh snap! I win:hill:

60wag
02-03-2009, 08:40 AM
If it was a unibody, I be really worried. Since its a body on frame, it looks like the frame is flexing enough to distort the body. Maybe some softer body mounts would isolate the body from the frame strain.

Caribou Sandstorm
02-03-2009, 08:46 AM
I think the fender panels are too soft but even with 3 ply fender walls, this is happening.

Really, really bummed.

rover67
02-03-2009, 08:57 AM
interesting to see what the resolution will be. good luck to you.

I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to invest so much time and money in what you think is a super solid rig to have something like this happen.

Similar stuff started to happen to subaru when they were marketing the WRX as a rally/auto-x car.. people started coming in with dirvetrain issues that they were told were not covered under warranty because the car had been used in "competition" off road... frustrating because even for a little while they were giving away free SCCA memberships to new car buyers.

waggoner5
02-03-2009, 10:29 AM
This thread is funny. If you jump them high enough the doors won't open.

Oh snap! I win:hill:

I was just looking for that pic. Dang you...

Caribou Sandstorm
02-03-2009, 03:12 PM
I don't think it is funny.

Bikeman
02-03-2009, 04:06 PM
What a real bummer. Good luck for a positive outcome.

nakman
02-03-2009, 05:08 PM
What a real bummer. Good luck for a positive outcome.

x2, hopefully you can get this resolved though.

And I do like your bar idea, kind of like a front strut tower brace you see on the tuners, right?

edit: and your steel fabricator man here is Groucho, especially if you want to produce these in any sort of quantity.

rover67
02-03-2009, 05:30 PM
I agree on the brace.. Depending on what it looks like and where it bolts to I bet it would help a lot. I am sure something could be fabbed up pretty easily. Are you coming to the meeting tomorrow night?

LARGEONE
02-03-2009, 05:32 PM
I wonder if Bruce's idea of different (softer) body mounts would allow the frame to flex without rippling the body?

Chris...is your frame boxed the length of the truck?

I hope you didn't tell them where your truck has been!!! That would void your warranty automatically!!! Just take all of the gear off the truck and tell them its a weekend camping vehicle.

Sorry you're dealing with this...I wonder if this had any influence on Toyota discontinuing the FJ?

nakman
02-03-2009, 05:37 PM
well the entrepreneur in me says you've got at least 200 candidates for the anti-bulge/anti-sway bar. :D

and you haven't taken that thing anywhere it wasn't supposed to go, "just another Sunday drive," exactly like you were told.

farnhamstj
02-03-2009, 05:55 PM
Forest Service roads with numbers are still roads. You've never taken it off road.

treerootCO
02-03-2009, 06:37 PM
Here is a better pic I found on the computer.

RockRunner
02-03-2009, 09:35 PM
I better check Saron's FJC, it has never been off road so that is a plus. This reminds me of the hoods on the older Chevy trucks the would buckle after the hinge.

I would think one o fthe ways to fix this would be to "glue" a brace along the side of the inner fender. This would give it extra strenght and keep it from buckling. You could make a mold of the inner fender and have a shop bend it or stamp it. Then "glue" it and bolt it into place.

One flaw, I am sure there ae more, is that it could hinder in a crash situation. Anyway that is my idea take it for what you paid for it :p:

PS I do accept royalties.............

Caribou Sandstorm
02-03-2009, 09:38 PM
Exactly what I was thinking Tim. I could not have been in better company and drove the truck as advertised..

I went to an auto body shop today that I have used and I like their work. Master Collision Specialists on Kalamath south of Evans, Will Wilmer is the owner and he specializes in Lexus vehicles.

Will looked at it and called Stevenson parts. The part for the fendor, has a new part number that superceded the old part number. Will said that usually means the manufacturer has improved or modified the part. He said it would not let them order the old part, only the new one. I have an estimate for 2k.

If he has to pull the dash, to keep it safe from the weld, then it will be more.

We'll see what the Toyota rep says.

waggoner5
02-03-2009, 09:42 PM
I don't think it is funny.

Then you shouldn't do this...which was pretty funny. Right up until the landing.

Shark Bait
02-03-2009, 10:30 PM
Then you shouldn't do this...which was pretty funny. Right up until the landing.

:lmao: Is there an "after" picture?

MDH33
02-03-2009, 10:34 PM
:lmao: Is there an "after" picture?

You saw post #6, right? :eek: ;)

Shark Bait
02-03-2009, 11:37 PM
You saw post #6, right? :eek: ;)

:doh::doh:

Caribou Sandstorm
02-20-2009, 07:45 AM
Great news!

Toyota is fixng my fender under warranty!

Jacket
02-20-2009, 08:21 AM
That is good news. How much of a fight did you have to put up?

waggoner5
02-20-2009, 09:24 AM
That is good news. They should.

MDH33
02-20-2009, 09:26 AM
awesome. Did they say how it would be fixed? I assume they have some remedy to keep it from happening again?

LARGEONE
02-20-2009, 03:08 PM
Great news!

Toyota is fixng my fender under warranty!

Congrats, Davis...I'm glad to hear they are standing behind their product! They must realize that a few FJs out there beatin' the trails is good advertising for them!

Hulk
02-20-2009, 05:45 PM
Great news, Chris. Hopefully you can figure out a way to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Caribou Sandstorm
02-20-2009, 06:17 PM
Thanks guys!

It was not that hard, I just stayed on top of it and did not wait for them to call me back. Being under warranty and bringing it in clean, probably really helped because it obviously has never been in an accident or abused.

They actually replace the inner and outer fenders. New part, more sturdy but no guarantee it won't happen again. I have an idea for a fabricated plate and will make and install when I get the car back.

I think it is a frame/body mount/soft fender issue...It got a 5 star crash rating, so it obviously is designed to fold like an accordian..would just be nice if it would not do it under normal wear and tear..Who knows maybe it won't..

I can say this, I would never jump it like those nuts at Pismo..

COEMT85
02-22-2009, 09:59 AM
Hey Chris,
This is Alan from FJCruiserForums, Any more info on what Toyota has to say about the repair? Did they say anything about it being a design issue, or just replacing on warranty just cuz? Either way I am glad to hear they decided to fix your truck! I am trying to get as much info as possible because mine is starting to bulge and they do not want to repair or replace anything for me. I am still working with Toyota to get my fender bulge figured out, my problem is I have 52K miles.

Alan

waggoner5
02-22-2009, 10:09 AM
I can say this, I would never jump it like those nuts at Pismo..

Hey I resemble that remark. And besides it was a rental.

Caribou Sandstorm
02-22-2009, 10:52 AM
Hey Alan, They didn't say much, except that it is a known issue that they are aware of. And I did find out from a Toyota parts department that there is a new part number for the innder fender that replaced an older part.

Waggoner5, So that was you in that pic?

LARGEONE
02-22-2009, 10:58 AM
Hey Alan, They didn't say much, except that it is a known issue that they are aware of. And I did find out from a Toyota parts department that there is a new part number for the innder fender that replaced an older part.

Waggoner5, So that was you in that pic?

Alan...the fact that Toyota no longer offers the original part# is pretty much an admission that it was defective. The new fender part# is thicker gauge metal. I think if you call them on this fact, they really don't have a leg to stand on to say that it's not their issue. There's enough info out there showing that Toyota knows of the problem.

COEMT85
02-22-2009, 04:27 PM
Alan...the fact that Toyota no longer offers the original part# is pretty much an admission that it was defective. The new fender part# is thicker gauge metal. I think if you call them on this fact, they really don't have a leg to stand on to say that it's not their issue. There's enough info out there showing that Toyota knows of the problem.

That's what I thought, so about 3 months ago I went to Toyota and had them pull the part numbers and showed them the new designs. I talked to a Toyota engineer that has heard of this problem, and he stated specifically that there currently was no repair or TSB or anything about this. I had him pull the part numbers and showed him pictures of replacements done under warranty in other states. He said he would look into it and called me back. When we last spoke(about a month ago), they had changed the parts and would do the repair but stated it would not be covered for me or for anyone. So this is something new and good that they are covering this replacement now for people within the bumper to bumper warranty time. The service manager at Toyota West also had bulges in his fenders; I do not know if he got his fixed. I have called and checked with Toyota again and they still told me I was not covered and that the issue was not yet resolved. I am glad to hear that Chris got his truck fixed, especially since his was in much worse shape than mine. I will keep looking into this and keep everything thing posted.

Alan

waggoner5
02-22-2009, 05:52 PM
Waggoner5, So that was you in that pic?

Kind of. A friend of mine and I rented that FJ for Pismo. Actually I payed for the hotel and he paid for the Fj. I figured that was a better deal for me because I knew this crap was going to happen...Anyway that was Mike(Treeroot) taking the picture and Nolen driving. The Fj landed nose first and the passenger door wouldn't open. Of course, the first jump wasn't on film, so we had to do it again for a photo op.

Caribou Sandstorm
02-23-2009, 12:38 AM
ahh..now I get it..so how did you guys get the door to work? Curious, did you happen to look to see if the inner fenders were damaged?

LARGEONE
02-23-2009, 07:51 AM
That's what I thought, so about 3 months ago I went to Toyota and had them pull the part numbers and showed them the new designs. I talked to a Toyota engineer that has heard of this problem, and he stated specifically that there currently was no repair or TSB or anything about this. I had him pull the part numbers and showed him pictures of replacements done under warranty in other states. He said he would look into it and called me back. When we last spoke(about a month ago), they had changed the parts and would do the repair but stated it would not be covered for me or for anyone. So this is something new and good that they are covering this replacement now for people within the bumper to bumper warranty time. The service manager at Toyota West also had bulges in his fenders; I do not know if he got his fixed. I have called and checked with Toyota again and they still told me I was not covered and that the issue was not yet resolved. I am glad to hear that Chris got his truck fixed, especially since his was in much worse shape than mine. I will keep looking into this and keep everything thing posted.

Alan

Wow...I'm sorry you are having to deal with this. I know how frustrating something like this can be. I hope you stay on them and that they come to their senses in the end.

treerootCO
02-23-2009, 08:20 AM
ahh..now I get it..so how did you guys get the door to work? Curious, did you happen to look to see if the inner fenders were damaged?

Did you miss post #6 and #18?