First of all, thanks for the info you provide, because it helped me lower the cost of some recent major repairwork. However, I still have the same problem: sometimes my car has a clicking sound when I try to start it unsuccessfully, and other times, it might start just fine; it also recently died on me driving home, but now it's fine. The total loss of power had been diagnosed as the alternator by a repair shop not on your list, by the way. I had the battery and new alternator checked, and I was told they're not the problem, but that it could be the starter solenoid.
What's the estimate for a starter solenoid, including labor? on 1997 Subaru Legacy
by RHD in Front Royal, VA on June 22, 2009
ANSWER by Russ on June 26, 2009
Starter solenoids are not generally replaced individually as they were in the old days. Most common now is to replace the complete starter assembly - including the solenoid. Please check the repairpal estimator for the replacement cost of your starter motor.
ANSWER by Visitor on November 03, 2010
I have the 98 Legacy Outback 2.5L - The solenoids were aged by a few years in the Las Vegas heat and my shop replaced them at 120k miles with Toyota-made ones (I guess they fit!) and the job came out to $200 in Southern California. For a price comparison, three days wait and $450 for a Subaru replacement, $350 for a low-quality (AutoZone-brand) piece or the solenoids for $200. The starter motor on my model was solid. The trick to see if it is the solenoids is to quickly repeat the key turn until it starts. I learned that you get it hot and moving. I did get a new alternator at 105k as I was warned that the 98 Outbacks have a tendency to fail young, same with the water pump.