Lower the exhaust?
When I replaced mine, all I did was put my floor jack under the trans pan (with a small piece of plywood between), remove the rear trans support, which includes the exhaust bracket, remove the flex plate bolts, pry back the driveshaft and reinstall in revese order. I didn't remove any shields or "drop" the exhaust. This is one of the few success stories I've had with this car. Oh yeah, the German printing on the new flexplate means to install toward the rear of the car.