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When you say replace the tailgate, is it just the exterior panel/"skin", or are you talking the entire lift gate, including window?
The Toyota service manager said they would be “replacing the tailgate”. I‘ve read that the skin is some kind of plastic resin. The outer frame appears to be plastic resin as well. So I assume the skin cannot be separated from the frame by a body shop. I also assume they would be removing and reinstalling the window, as well as all of the other trim (wiper assembly, light assemblies, subwoofer, rear camera, and interior covers).
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
@okie engineer - Seems like you got the same response from corporate that I did.

So I had my tailgate replaced and the old one sent off to Toyota labs to examine. I've had the new one on for a couple months now in high temperatures and, knock on wood, no dents have reappeared. It's went just as everyone here expected - a replacement frame painted to match and then the existing glass/lights/trim, etc moved to the new tailgate. The shop did an excellent job, and the paint job is actually better than the factory paint. It's a much smoother finish, which I'm real happy with. It took a few times going between the dealer and their body shop to get a couple 'ghost' spots out (turns out they missed a couple spots during the fine finish sanding) and they had to redo the Sienna lettering because it was put in the wrong spot. In the end, I'm happy with the replacement despite the few trips back to the dealer. However, the service manager was more than committed to making it perfect.
 

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@okie engineer - Seems like you got the same response from corporate that I did.

So I had my tailgate replaced and the old one sent off to Toyota labs to examine. I've had the new one on for a couple months now in high temperatures and, knock on wood, no dents have reappeared. It's went just as everyone here expected - a replacement frame painted to match and then the existing glass/lights/trim, etc moved to the new tailgate. The shop did an excellent job, and the paint job is actually better than the factory paint. It's a much smoother finish, which I'm real happy with. It took a few times going between the dealer and their body shop to get a couple 'ghost' spots out (turns out they missed a couple spots during the fine finish sanding) and they had to redo the Sienna lettering because it was put in the wrong spot. In the end, I'm happy with the replacement despite the few trips back to the dealer. However, the service manager was more than committed to making it perfect.
Sounds like they may have figured out and addressed the cause. I took the inside panel and speaker enclosure off to see if I could figure out the cause, but the depressions are buried beneath a layer of bracing, so was inconclusive. Sure wish Toyota was more open to share defect information. Thanks for sharing your experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Agreed, I wish they'd share also. Before the dealer got the word from corporate on what to do, the service manager tried to do the same to get in there and see what was going on but ran into that same thing. He couldn't separate the pieces to get to those areas which, for them, seemed like a first and a completely new construction for Toyota tailgates they had never seen before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Following up on this post. Well, the tailgate is great except for now it leaks after I hand wash the car in the driveway. Water drains out of the grab handle and the inside of the rear glass. Back to the dealer it goes..
 

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Thanks for the update. I’ve decided to live with the depressions. There are too many opportunities for new, more serious, defects to be introduced during a tailgate replacement. (I live an hour away from the closest Toyota dealership so repair rework would be very inconvenient for me.) Hope your dealer gets your leak problem addressed on your next visit.
 
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