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2005 2.5i OBW
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Discussion Starter #1
Our outback rear hatch quit working a couple of weeks ago. I couldn't find any DIY's on how to fix it, so last week after the ski area closed I dug into it. I must say it was quite inconvienient not having access to the rear of the wagon for a few weeks.

First I removed the small cover at the bottom of the hatch from the inside. Pry it down from the top first and pull down. Then use a flat blade on the drivers side of the actual latch, when you get it exposed, where shown to get the hatch to open. Make sure you move the white lever down to unlock the latch (picture shown without White locking mechanism in place).

Then you need to pull the sealing strip off the bottom of the hatch and remove the four plugs that hold the rear hatch cover in place at the bottom. Next remove the small cover on the pull handle via a small flatblade screwdriver right in the middle of the flap as shown and remove the two phillips head screws.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Next you need to remove the side covers along the window, they pull off at two points as shown.

Then the two cover push ins at the upper side corners of the lower hatch cover..

Pull the cover off from the bottom up, at this time only push ins are holding it to the hatch frame.

Remove the auto lock from the latch by removing both electric leads in lower right and upper left and the two small phillips head screws.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Remove the white lock system and let it hang.

Pull the black covers off either side of the hatch to expose the two small 8mm nuts that hold the cover on the back of the car below the glass. These covers are held in by two push in snaps and push in pin. Leave the pin in, just pull the two snaps loose from the bottom and let it hang.

Remove the two nuts from each side. Continue removing all the remaining nuts from the inside. They are on long studs, so you must have a deep well 8mm socket to get them all out.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Remove the back up light connectors from either side. Lift the outside cover off noteing that there are 13 8mm nuts that you must remove to pull it off. The latch is now exposed and can be removed by taking the two 10mm nuts off the latch from the inside. You also need to remove the two small push ins that hold the cable in place along the back of the hatch. Then you can pull the latch out with the cable still attached if the cable is broken.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Remove the latch with a T40 bit and pull out thru the front side of the hatch. If the cable isn't broken you will need to detach it from the latch at the white clip. In my case it was snapped, so it came right out.

Subaru doesn't sell just the cable. You buy the pull latch with the cable attached. Part number is shown on the box. It was under 30 bucks at my local dealer.

Install in reverse order. The whole procedure will take about an hour if you have the part and all the tools needed. I didn't have the T40 or the deep 8mm socket, so that added some time and minimal cost. If you aren't afraid to pull some panels off the car, it's a very easy project and will save you some hours at the mechanic.
 

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Great DIY -- details and pics. It will no doubt help not only when there's a similar cable break but also for just getting into the rear hatch for whatever reason. The explanations of how to remove the interior trim panel, and the external "garnish" (part that covers the external handle) are nicely detailed.

Did the cable broke down at the latch mechanism, or was it up at the handle end?
 
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