Here’s What the Engineers at Toyota Found in the Million Mile Tundra
Can you name something more popular in the truck world than the 2007 Tundra that went one million miles? Okay, we’ll wait. That’s right – you can’t.
In fact, not just one, but two Tundra’s managed to deliver this incredible feat of ingenuity from the manufacturers at Toyota. Although it’s not a world record, Volvo holds that with 3,000,000 miles, the million-mile truck(s) seem to get more press, because, well, two is better than one.
To put the million miles into perspective, it’s the equivalence of driving around the planet 24 times, and yet, the truck was ready to run more. The engineers at Toyota Motor North America Research & Development (TMNA & RD) were honored at the opportunity to tear this truck apart and see how it was holding up.
The 4.7L V-8 took a few victory laps around factories in North America before ending up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where it was initially designed. The real question engineers faced was what happens to a truck that’s been driven a million miles? More so, how can they apply this to future car designs and benefit their consumers?
The most intriguing part of the whole equation is that when Toyota tore down the truck, they noticed wear and tear, but not in the amount of one million miles worth. Frank DiMaggio, the analyst at the Toyota Collaborative Benchmarking Center, described it as “this is how I’d expect a Tundra with 100,000 miles on it to look. But this one has a million.”
What the Engineers at Toyota Found
Once the Tundra was completely dissected, the engineers marveled at what they found. It’s incredible that a truck used so frequently and used as it was designed could show such little wear. The key to getting this many miles? Monthly oil changes and small tune-ups. It seems excessive, but the results speak for themself.
The transmission and engine were never changed or altered, and engineers noted that it’s the same components that left the factory in 2007. Although they were used hard, they never needed to be replaced. How often can you say that about any car or truck?
The most interesting part of this teardown is what they look to apply in the design of their next Tundra, and Tundra Chief Engineer, Mike Sweers, mentions that “we can learn from this truck. My biggest interests are the spring seats, the bed, and the front seat. Even things like the door trim that he’s grabbing every day and closing.” Turns out, all of this held up remarkably well, including the driver seat, which was slept in regularly.
As great as both the 4.7L and 5.7L Tundra have been, we’ve heard a lot of chatter about the 2022 model and its complete redesign. As much as Toyota fans love the truck, they admit the design is “tired” and “outdated.” Not much has changed since 2007, except some interior and exterior revisions.
The 4.7L V-8 was phased out, and although it’s a reliable workhorse, the thirsty 5.7L V-8 hasn’t been updated and averages a paltry 15mpg on the street and 17mpg highway – if you’re lucky, which can’t compete with the newer V-8 or six-cylinder options.
Moving ahead, it looks like Toyota seeks a completely renewed Tundra to better compete with Chevrolet, Dodge, and Ford. While we can, we’ll appreciate what the truck this generation Tundra offered as they’re slowly taken off the road for newer models.
The million-mile Tundra is an impressive feat of engineering, and we wonder if they can replicate this success.