just an update but so far the cluster is doing great! previously i could not go maybe 15 miles before the previous '94 cluster would lose power. i've driven it about 150 miles now and it'* working perfect. also, the '94 cluster would typically lose power once it started getting cooler outside (like when it would get dark out) and that was not the case the last two nights. i haven't had one problem at all. everything (except boost gauge of course) works perfectly. the compass isn't auto-calibrating anymore, but it still works fine and is accurate.
so apparantly, the '94 cluster i was using had a problem somewhere other than the main circuit board. however, the main circuit board in the '93 cluster was definately bad. sooo...the '93 cluster with the main circuit board from the '94 cluster solved my problems and my mileage is correct to boot!
what a relief!!!
btw, i found it pretty easy to get the cluster out without lowering the steering column. lowering it a little does make it easier but certainly not needed.