If it's the Nebs with 38et you can run as wide as 235/40-18, that's what I run on my Ultraleggera in the same offset. I'm also running Yellows with H&R and had very minor rubbing at full lock and at the outer lips of the fenders front and rear. If the Neb are the 49et you'll have to run a 10mm spacer to stuff those under there with that rubber size, I'd run spacer with that offset anyway.
Keep in mind that the AWD rear axle is wider then the FWD so you will have to pay more attention to the outer lip for contact.
IPD has an OEM wheel weight page Seems like the big weight savings is if you do a narrower rim (7" vs. 7.5-8") for OEM. Most of them are in the low 20's, I know my Titans are 21lbs, Thors are 22lbs. Tethys are 22lbs and Arrakis are 23lbs according to IPD. The Segin off a XC60 are the wides, lightest wheels according to that chart at 20lbs and 7.5" wide. But aren't terribly attractive.
From what I've read it's the shift solenoids that need to be replaced. Sonnax trans has a trouble shooting guide for the AW55. They sell upgraded solenoids for the fix once you determine which solenoids it is.
I won't bother with the filter, just to the drain and fill per IPD instructions. I've done the drain and fill on my AW55 every spring since owning it, 9yrs @211k miles. And still kicking. You have to do drain and fill or you'll just be contaminating the new fluid with old if you dump it all. The drain and fill pumps out old fluid as you are pouring in new, so it really never mixes. You can tell when you've hit the fresh stuff as it goes from black to cherry red quickly.
Use Mobil 3309, Mobil 1 ATF, Toyota T-IV or some other equivalent fluid (make sure it says "equivalent" and not "compatible") Some folks on this site suggested using Valvoline and I believe that is not equivalent. I use the Mobil 1 as it's synthetic not dino. And NEVER by Volvo's 3309 unless you have too much money for your own good.
There is also another issue with finding the correct parts since you are a AW55 auto (5psd) I know the driversside is a special axle, I have the same part on my '00R with the AW55. Passenger I'm not 100% sure since I have AWD. Just something to keep in mind when ordering parts for '00+ automatic cars.
I've never had done stuck too bad, but I've heard if you spray carb cleaner and let it soak overnight. Also don't use 1/2" drive it puts too much force on the plug to snap it, use 3/8". And it sounds like your problem might be spark blowout, especially if the plugs haven't been regapped recently. Have you talked to the guy about the issues you've had? So what shop does this guy work in? I'd like to avoid him if he's not doing good work. I know some folks in Rockville that are the same way.
On the trans bushings, the bracket on the subframe is the same, but the bracket on the trans is different, but the bushings are the same FWD/AWD. Like I said above, both big and little trans bushing can use the poly inserts. IPD used to sell the big bushing, now it's Powerflex that has them.
The passenger side mount coming in AWD and FWD versions, the difference is that AWD includes an aluminum shim. You can buy the FWD and reuse your shim to make them work. Also that bushing comings in two difference hardness, one for 280mm brakes and one for 302mm. I found the FWD version is listed for 302 brakes only 99-00. The front hydraulic mount is hard to see if it's worn, but easy to see if it's broken/leaking. Drivers side will be easy to see if it's collapsed. And both big and little trans bushings are usually worn, since they aren't solid. upgrade to the poly inserts. If it were mine I'd replace all of them at once. Number one reason for front driveshaft CV joint failure is due to worn motor mounts.
Something funny with the links here, but this the site http://skylineautomotivemuseum.org/news/. Unfortunately I think I'll still be out of town on business, but I'll keep it in mind IF I return early. A few NoVa/MD guys here, maybe try Swedespeed too.
Hey guys, bad news, no R-BQ this summer. My work schedule is in overdrive this summer and I'm traveling for a good chunk of time too. It's even cutting into my vacation plans. The only good thing is all the OT I'm getting.
So maybe later in the year, but not this summer... Sorry again...
Use the 320mm kit (DVS bracket and 320mm discs) but instead of using the stock brakes calipers you could upgrade to the Corksport Mazdaspeed 3 upgraded caliper kit. You can also use Willwood 4 or 6 piston kits. If you look up Focus or Mazdaspeed 3 320mm kits there are quite a bit out there.
LOL! John, now that you aren't rocking a Lezbaru we could let you hang... And did you pick up the Plat that was for sale on CL recently? So I'm now leaning toward making this a GYOF. Catering would be low less work, but might make it unappealing $$ to others and with GYOF folk can share something unique or different. But I'm always worried about everyone bringing the same thing, hot dogs everyone? As for dates I'm still looking at late Aug, either the 22nd or 29th. But I'll keep Sept. 5th in mind, if that works for others. That would be cool to make this a Labour Day weekend event.
As with last year I'm opening this up to all my car friends so makes like Subaru, Lotus, BMW, Mini and Deloren may be making an appearance, but I'd love to see a fleet of wagons in front of my house.