I do not think you can get enough room to get in there without removing the bottom pin and no, you can not get the shoes out without taking the pin out. The lower part of the shoes rotate on the pin itself. I am not sure what you mean about removing the assembly without the shoes. You can try and it is not difficult to remove the keepers and top pin. If you are lucky (very) the bottom pins may come out easily. You have access both from the top and the bottom of the axle housing.