My spacer needed to be lined up to get the shaft fully seated. I fiddled with it for 5 min till it finally went in easily, other than that it wasnt near the trouble you have had.

03 Montero XLS, OME 2"suspension lift,Full skid plates, Extended Diff/transfer breathers. 34 LTB's, Winch w/syn rope, Locked front/rear.