Yes, the instructions are useless.
I found the 'instructions' quite informative.
Why don't you clean off the thermal from both surfaces and try a dry run instead of wasting all your grease. I'm sure you are just missing something simple. Hoards of folks use that cooler and I've never heard anyone have problems. I'm not trying to belittle you, I just mean that sometimes a person needs to step back, put it away, and try later.
One thing you may want to look into; take the scissor bracket off the cooler and lay it out on the stand-offs untill you get the correct match.