Started digging in from the top. Man, this isn't any fun! Now, I'm pretty sure the starter isn't even on the alignment pin even a little :-/ Thinking about taking it back to the transmission shop, but I'm afraid they'd dork it up even more! Since it's already on jacks and I have most of stuff out of the way... and I just need to loosen and straighten, I'll give it a shot.
This is a 2000 323it. Looks a bit different than the OPs pics. I'll have to remove at least two heater hoses to the core... any special steps involved? drain the radiator 1st??