Guys and Gals,
I wanted to thank everyone here who helped or inspired me to work on this project. As of today, I call it a success and it is yours as well!
I have put the amp back together and it is working fine. My complaint was the lack of overdrive. As it turned out, the V1 that I originally got is unusually weak (probably a factory defect). By modifying the preamp, I was able to achieve some overdrive. Then, trying a higher gain tube made an even more dramatic difference. The "harder to overdrive" V2 may be a factor but I think to a lesser extent.
I have also relocated parts and the board is not upside down anymore, which makes trouble-shooting easier. It is still a very different animal from the original 5E3 design-wise but it doesn't have hum and the sound is great.
For those who will be building. Some suspected the wrong speaker or the over-sized OT. I am sure now that they had nothing to do with the issue so no worries there.