No easy way. Just be ready for the mess. Also stand trans up in pan or something before removing bell housing. It will help keep everything in place when you remove bell/pump. Did the tool show up?
Check the adjustment of the shift cable.
If it's not the mechanical adjustment then it might be a hydraulic pressure issue.
Add a little Lucas for transmissions. It causes seals to swell to make a tigher fit. If that doesn't do the job then you might have a misaligned or torn seal somewhere. Did you have any difficulty installing the center support with the seals?