I read this post last night, and was not quite sure how to answer intelligently. So I gave it some thought in the meantime. Here are my thoughts.
Possibly, you had uneven tire wear on the rear tires that were moved to the front. This may have caused the vibration that you are experiencing. Just a possibility.
Also, turning the steering to the lock should NOT damage the pump. The pump has a built in regulator to control the pressure. Turning to the lock will only cause the regulator to limit the pressure by bypassing the excess.
I strongly suggest that you take the car to a third party to have it evaluated and diagnosed. Since I cannot see or hear the problem from here, it is difficult to diagnose from descriptions.
Normally, a bad pump will make noise, or the steering will require unusual effort to turn. Vibrations generally come from someplace else.
Some food for thought. If a repair facility was to actually sabotage somebody's steering, the liability would be enormous! If a collision resulted, the lawsuits would literally put them out of business. IMHO, no reputable (or even not so reputable) shop would take such a risk.
Thursday, May 28th, 2009 AT 6:44 PM