For once, it was a success. Nothing broke, nothing was lost and no steps were skipped. I feel like a friggin’ hero!
That shiny piece of plastic was a bit of adventure. I ripped the old one into pieces, literally, because the door latch was defective and thus preventing the hatch from opening easily.
First stop: replace the defective latch mechanism. Remove the bottom trim plate and the interior trim panel, a couple of bolts, and it’s done. But the rust... Oh! The rust!
The new piece bolted right in. It’s important to unplug the two blue connectors to the ECU inside the rear hatch during this procedure. This resets the ECU; if you don’t do this, the new latch won’t work.
Now that this is done, we replace the broken trim. Six nuts and it comes off. Two more screws to remove the switch. And four more screws for the license plate lights. At least, in theory. The screws for the lights were so rusted I had to break the light boxes out with much care.
I found some stainless screws at the hardware store to replace the old ones. In a flash, everything was buttoned back up and working.
So there we have it. A successul project for once. I’m pretty sure the part colour doesn’t actually match, though...
Footnote - all Toyota parts are Denso brand, so all I could think about while working on the truck was this: