First, take off the license plate
Since the hatch
wouldn't open, I started from the inside and took down the top trim piece. After that the two side pieces come down, then the main trim piece which covers the bulk of the door comes out. These are all popped in with the white tabs.
There are 3 access hole covers to pop out (don't forget to install them back in when done) and through the left hole you can see the mechanism to unlatch, press it down with a screwdriver and open the door. If anytime you close the door you will have to do this to unlatch, up until you disconnect the cable
and pull out the handle, then you have to locate the cable
and pull that directly.
Behind the large trim piece you will find a metal access cover, remove the 7 or 8 10mm bolts holding that on and pop the 3 white tabs and let it hang off to the side. Disconnect the cable
from the handle assembly by reaching in from the right hand side and popping of the cable
from the handle assembly.
From the left and right access holes, locate the two 10mm nuts which hold the license plate assembly to the door and remove them. Then there are 4 plastic tabs that come in from the outside that hold the license plate assembly on in each corner, try and locate those and using some pliers squeeze them together and push it through. Next locate the license plate lamps wire connector and release that from the left side, it’s the simple push in and pull out square white connector.
After these are out, put back in 1 or 2 bolts into the large metal access cover so the hatch
can be lowered (don’t close it).
Here is where I had fun, begin to pop out the assembly that it was bolted to. I ended up breaking 3 of the 4 plastic tabs in each corner because I did not use pliers from the other side to pull them out, however it remained somewhat useable (hindsight 20/20).
Now the license plate assembly can be taken to a bench to replace the handle assembly (Toyota doesn't sell just the handle, it is a small assembly). Two screws out and the assembly is replaced.
Before pressing the license plate assembly back onto the truck, make certain all the plastic tabs are in the assembly and not in the truck. Reverse the process to re-install.