I don't think you have to go as far as pulling the steering wheel off (190E owners, am I off on this one?)
You should be able to move the steering shaft out far enough to give you clearance to pull the cluster and get to the bulbs.
The gauge puller tools are $15 at FastLane, and I bought a set because I plan on yanking clusters out often for bulbs, gauge face conversions, etc.
You can use a couple of coat hangers with narrow hooks fashioned at the ends to do the same job. The cluster isn't bolted anywhere, just snugly fit into the dashboard housing via a rubber seal surround or rubber snubs at the top and bottom of the cluster.
Dealer here charges $100/hr labor...that is a bit much to replace $6 bulbs!
Or do what I did a couple of weekends ago....$12 for assorted bulbs for SL, $317 for the broken clear plastic gauge facia caused by over-exuberant pulling of the cluster...