Yesterday I put the car up on ramps to put WD-40 on the manifold bolts and while looking the situation over I wondered about the possibility of moving the trans rather than droping the exaust system. In fact I was going to post the question to see if anyone had done it before and to my surprise you have already posted the fact that you have done exactly that and successfully.
Given my aprehension about dealing with rusty manifold bolts I will try your procedure. I have a very good (old) rebuilt floor jack that gives me excellent control of a load.
Wow.... what a relief.