I'm not sure I exactly follow your post but in a nutshell......you want to start an animation with the product exploded, do a turn table and stop somewhere, then have the product collapse?
I would use the animation wizard to explode your product (you have to have an exploded view already set up for this) over 1 second, then do the turn table and then use the wizard again to do the collapse. The wizard can also do the turntable but I'm not sure how you are setting up your perspective view so the wizard might not be a good option for this? You can use the wizard multiple times in the same animation sequence. It's just easier to use it to set up the keys.
So this is in line with what you call a "hack n file solution" I think but.....You don't have to save the whole animation. You start saving at the 1 second mark so then in your final output your image sequence or avi will start with your product exploded and it will also do the other things you want correctly.
Aaah yes, I feel stupid now, but this is what I was looking for! I forgot that you did not need to export the whole file and could cut out the front-end of it. I will be remaking my animation now and trying it out. Thanks a ton for your prompt response.