Power steering fluid leaking - could the pump be bad?

Hello experts,
I have 96 Nissan Quest which runs fine except -- it leaks power steering fluid. I went to a local precision tune shop and on their
suggestion, I had them replace the lines. After a month I noticed my minivan is still leaking the fluid, and I took it back to them. Now they say, the pump must have gone bad between the time they replaced the lines and the month that passed. They swear that their original diagnosis then didn't indicate the pump was bad, just the lines. Although I think, it is more than coincidence that the pump, which worked for 13 years, just went bad after they replaced the lines and that's the reason I fail to see any "effects of repairs done" (I feel my van is leaking the fluid at the same rate)
My question to you experts are,
Can a bad pump leak power-steering fluid? I didn't use my van for two weeks and it sill leaked fluid, so can a bad pump still leak fluid when the car isn't running?
Secondly, how difficult is it to replace the pump? I am not a mechanic, but, can a layman follow instructions and replace it? The same garage shop gave me an estimate of 624$ for an original nissan pump+labor. They don't install after-market pumps. My local autozone shop sells one that works in 96 nissan quest for 165$ -- big difference.
Any suggestions, advice, tips welcome.
Thanks
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wrote:

yes
WTF kind of shop is that? They only use original parts? That's a ripoff.

If you are experienced with a wrench and have a manual, it's not too bad. Can be messy though.

Get a shop manual and look over the procedure. See if you like what it says.
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First piece of advice -- Don't go to Precision Tune. Find an honest mechanic. It takes time and patience.
Repairing the things that mean a lot to you or affect your life (heirlooms, major appliances, your house, your car, etc.) isn't like shopping at Costco or Walgreens. Businesses that offer people easy, convenient answers to their problems often just want to rip off the unwary. So be wary! There are so many people who will charge for what they cannot do or what does not need to be done. And I still get taken, not least by Precision Tune. They were right around the corner, I needed an oil change, and they had a special -- what could go wrong, eh? Oh brother.... Sorry if I sound preachy, but I really care about these situations.
Second piece of advice -- Get underneath your Nissan and try to pinpoint the source of the fluid leak. Is the leak *actually from the pump* (real bad) or could it be one of the power steering hoses (not so bad)? Is it the pressurized hose or the non-pressurized one (supply hose / return hose)? If it's the non-pressurized, as it was for me, you may be in luck and just need a new, better hose clamp.
It may also matter how long you've had the leak. Do you keep the pump filled up, or has it been so long the pump makes noise all the time? Noise from a PS pump means expensive trouble if you let it go on and on.
Sparing you the details, I took my 93 Sentra to Vinny (no kidding there, that's his name) because the DEALERSHIP's mechanic messed up. And charged me for it too. Vinny saw that the dripping hose was a gravity leak (non-pressured hose). A band-type hose clamp solved it.
HTH JPM
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