The $25 package included ALL the plastic pieces for the phone (no screws or electronic components of any kind) and express shipping from China. The fit and molding of the pieces were very clean... a good sign that the piece we needed would fit :-)
For this repair, we needed to remove the frame with the broken hinge. This was the frame surrounding the keypad. The only way to remove the frame was to disassemble the unit from the rear. We were pretty sure the phone would come apart easily... we just had to go slow and not force anything.
Once all the obvious pieces (back cover, battery, screws) were removed, we started looking for catches and other things that "clicked" into place. There was one on each side that held the frame in position. A gentle wedge using a flathead screwdriver freed the rear frame from the main body... and access to the guts was granted.
The most important connector we had to locate was the one connecting the LCD to the electronics (red arrows). Once disconnected, all of the circuit boards were easily removed from the casing.
The keypad was in one piece and was easily lifted from the frame. We just had to be careful not to rip the LCD connector when removing the kepad frame from the main unit. The photo below shows a closeup of the broken hinge. It was now clear that the hinge broke due a stress fracture resulting from years of use... we saw a hairline fracture on the opposite hinge in the same location.
To re-attach the new keypad frame... we first threaded in the LCD connector, then slid the hinge into place. We had to push down the pin using a screwdriver, maneuver the hinge into position, and wiggle the frame until we heard the pin click into place.
We reassembled all of the components, replaced the battery, hit the power button, and held our breath. We then heard the familiar T-Mobile tone as the phone came to life... project completed.
Like any project... we did end up losing something along the way. If you look closely, you will see something missing...