Thanks for the suggestions. No progress as of yet. I've cycled the application (ARS/Remedy) and the database (Oracle 10.2.0.4 on linux).
NEW INFO ON TIMES:
Active Link Save As: 2 min 45 sec
Create Active Link: 1 sec (new first time AL)
Update Active Link: 45 sec
Development Cache Mode? checked
Do you run ITSM? Yes this is an ITSM object
ARS Version? 7.1 PATCH 005
To implement case-insensitive searching a couple of weeks ago I added the login trigger shown below:
create or replace trigger
AFTER LOGON ON SCHEMA
execute immediate('ALTER SESSION SET NLS_COMP=LINGUISTIC');
execute immediate('ALTER SESSION SET NLS_SORT=BINARY_CI');
Other posts have suggested a need to rebuild indexes with NLS options in the DDL. I'm going to try that with the indexes involved in this query and see if that changes things.