Fig 4 on page 19-20 shows a 3.5L air tube being removed. Did you read through the whole process in that PDF? The Wiper Assembly is the metal plate you're talking about.
Thanks. I studied the pages more than once, but sometimes it's hard to relate a diagram to the real thing without getting your hands dirty. A mechanic next door said he has replaced these without removing the items mentioned, but I am wondering if he has ever tackled inner tie-rod ends on a 3.5 engine.
I was also worried about breaking any plastic fasteners.