When I say the carriage is in the wrong position, I mean the printer is moving it to the wrong position, not that it's installed incorrectly. So check the encoder strip, make sure there aren't any bare spots. And make sure the black plastic end 'caps' on both end of the frame are screwed in correctly and flush with the frame. If they're not installed correctly the carriage will move too far in that direction upon startup, throwing off where it thinks that lever is (and where the roller mark is, and the service station, and the cutter, etc.)

Sounds to me either the carriage isn't pulling that lever correctly, or there's something wrong with the bail/clutch assembly.

Try pushing that lever upright when you do the bail test, see if the bail raises up correctly.