You're right, the 16mm nut can be reached from above with a really long extension. I never would have thought of that. The rear O2 sensor might be reachable that way also.
Using the nut to tighten the stud was a calculated risk. I may wish later that I had replaced the stud as well as all of the nuts. Luckily the nut did not unstick, and it drove the stud until it is fully seated. Who knows, maybe the leak would have stopped if I had simply tightened that nut? No complaints, my luck held and I acquired some knowledge.
The downpipe's flange was clean and smooth. I think that smearing on some anti-seize helped it to mate smoothly. The grease cooked off quickly and hopefully left behind some copper and aluminum to help it stay sealed.
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