Jeebus due, don't **** yourself up by dropping the car on you! On the e36 you put the jack stands right where the jack pads go, though sometimes it's easier to put the front right behind the LCAB. Here is how I do it:
- lift the whole side of the car by the front jack pad
- place jack stand under rear jack pad
- place jack stand behind LCAB (between the LCAB lollypop mount and the x brace mount)
- repeat on the other side, but be careful as you go up to make sure the jack can roll, or the stands may start tilting.
As for the exhaust and driveshaft, obviously it will make it easier ... I'm think you need to anyway since the heat shield is in the way. I don't know for sure though since on ours race cars, we don't have any of that crap in the way