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Is it possible for non-mods to initiate tag synonym requests?

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You should be able to - go to the page for the synonym you want to be the master (I think), click "synonyms" and there should be a "suggest a synonym" box at the bottom.

Users with more than 1250 reputation and a total answer score of 5 or more on the tag, can suggest tag synonyms. Users with a total answer score (total upvotes minus total downvotes) of 5 or more on the tag, can vote for tag synonyms. Suggestions will be automatically approved when they reach a score of 4, and automatically deleted when they reach a score of -2.

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  1. Click on any tag (e.g. )

    For the cylinder-head tag, the resultant URL looks like:

    https://mechanics.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/cylinder-head
    
  2. Click on the synonyms link

    Found in the blurb at the top of the page body.

    For cylinder-head tag, the resultant URL looks like:

    https://mechanics.stackexchange.com/tags/cylinder-head/synonyms
    
  3. Suggest a synonym

    Found towards the bottom of the page, with a "Suggest" button next to it.

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  • IIRC, you can only suggest a synonym if you have a certain amount of reputation in a given tag (could even be both tags). – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Feb 23 '18 at 13:40

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