Hi Pauly. I was in the same boat as you a few weeks ago. I restored my Elsie and studied the various assembly techniques. I thought the threaded rod idea would work and tried that first-you can see the various methods on the reassembly picture thread. Anyway, the threaded rod didn't work for me. I kept bending the rods and even snapped a rod off in the top lever-man was I pissed. I managed to get it out though. In the end I went back to the way the Hunter Arms employees did it back in the day. I used a punch, inserted it in the bottom of the top lever, muscled it over and it went right in. One thing to mention with the method, at least in my case, was that as I put pressure on the top lever the top lever slipped upwards (well downwards since you're doing this with the receiver upside down). S what worked for me was that as I was pushing the top over over with the punch in the hole, I used a nylon faced hammer to tap the top lever back down. When I did that everything went into place and I continued with reassembly.
Good luck with whatever method you choose.