Ok, my frustration and lack of support within a new state has brought me, once again, to the pages of LegacyGT.com.
I've owned this 2002 Legacy L wagon 5MT for the better part of 3 years now and its accumulated 221k miles. I recently replaced the front ball joints on this pig due to Tucson AZ having even worse roads than most of the North East. As far I can tell, I tightened down everything appropriately, except I have a clicking/clacking/shifting noise coming from them every time I hit a significant bump or lip in the road.
Now, I've made the noob mistake in the past, of over tightening the bolt on the spindle that grips the body of the ball joint, resulting in snapping the casting and replacing the spindle. Needless to say, I'm a little more apprehensive about cranking that bolt down. Judging by the sound and what triggers it, I think the ball joint body is moving around in the spindle socket. Does anyone have any suggestions to stop this or how to safely tighten down the bolt without having to keep a back up spindle on hand?
Next issue isn't quite as pertinent but still something that needs to be addressed. In July of 2014 I replaced the upstream O2 sensor due to a poor running issue, it ran beautifully until about 2 months ago at which point the same running issue resurfaced along with P0420 CEL code. I replaced the O2 sensor and its running beautifully again, passed AZ inspection and I'm set on emissions for the next 2 years, however after 130 miles, boom...light is back on and the same P0420 code is staring me down. Mind you, I have an EBAY UEL SS header to stock cats to Borla mid muffler and OBX twin tip rear box. I suspect a very small exhaust leak where the manifold meets the heads. If I'm not mistaken, this can also cause a P0420 on this car? As well as kill O2 sensors at the rate at which I'm killing them? Just to be clear, this is a MAP car.
OK OK last issue
Occasionally when I give it the beans, around 5000-6200RPM at WOT it will sound like it spark knocks/detonates briefly, slight power lose and is followed by a poof of black smoke out of the tailpipe. Once that happens its clear sailing to redline. This is NOT something that happens every time and its not often, but it is cause for alarm when it does happen as detonation can be fatal to the engine.
I always run 91 or 93 octane, regular oil changes and I always let the car come up to temp before getting on it. I did a name brand timing belt kit about 20k miles ago, new OEM spark plugs, plug wires, fuel pressure regulator, new battery cables/additional grounding cables last summer and of course, the Bosch O2 sensor this past week.
Thank you to any and all who took the time to read this and gave their input.