I hate to see all you guys struggling with this. Some times shortcuts turn in to "long cuts". I've fallen into traps like that, and they are never fun.
That being said, do yourself a favor, and PULL THE WHOLE DASH OUT!
Sounds crazy, right? in the past, (in the 70's, 80's, 90's) it was a nightmare. But modern cars are built in sub-assemblies to make the build easy at the plant. This makes it easier for us too. Only hitch is you don't have the "fixture" they use at the plant, so you'll need a helper to get it out. Just pull the cluster, knee bolster, some trim panels, (most have little or no hardware, just snap on and off), and about a dozen bolts. A couple of big wiring connectors too. Take 1 bolt out of the steering joint, and the whole column stays with the dash.
I've done it. You will be amazed at how well that dash is assembled, and engineered. Follow the instructions on the PDF. With a helper you can be done in a couple hours, to an afternoon, depending on your skill level.
Hope this helps.