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Replacing an engine wiring harness on a 98 Subaru Outback (cost?)

Hello everyone. I’ve listened to the show for a while now and it just occurred to me to ask my question here so here goes.

My wife’s Subaru just died on us. 98 Outback Legacy with quite a bit of miles on it. It was running fine, she took it to the store and then it would not start. It would crank but not fire. Internet searches led me to believe that it was a cam or crankshaft sensor. I go to pull the plug off and the weather beaten wires just snapped…

Back to the internet…

Turns out my option is splicing a new plug on or replacing the wiring harness. Now, SHOULD we decide to just replace the wiring harness does anyone know what kind of ballpark price we’re looking at? The reason I ask is if those wires were so brittle others may be. I called a mechanic near me and got quoted about $850. Is that a rip off?

Thanks for the info,


I’m sure that’s a fair bit of work because it goes all over the place. It could be legit.

Are you half way handy with a soldering iron?
If so, how about going to the junk yard, asking them to cut the offending connector out of a junked car along with a length of the loom. They usually don’t recycle looms and are probably glad to do it for you for a minimal charge.
Just splice it in, solder it on and put shrink tubing around the wires. I’m sure it will be as strong as the original but for a fraction of that cost - providing the rest of the loom is okay.

Replacing an entire wiring harness is a big job. IMHO $850 is not unreasonable.

Your logic is excellent, but perhaps that sensor was in a hot area. I"d strip the wires back as far away form the heat source as possible, or at least past the embrittlement, and splice the wires there, even if it required a bit of added wire. I’d be highly reluctant to consider changing an entire wiring harness unless I were restoring a vehicle, and then I’d consider a “Painless” wiring kit.

You can buy new connectors. has a bunch of them at least they did when I replaced most of them in my Riviera.