Yep, it was a broken wire (keeping my rear wiper from working). I just pushed some 3-conductor stranded stuff (I had lying around) through the boot. Two to spare. If more than two more break (or maybe if any do) I'll just cut the entire harness on each side of the boot and pull however many wires (10 ?) through there and reconnect.
Shameful quality. Subaru becomes more American every day !
Folks, PLEASE do as I just did, and go to www.nhtsa.gov
and file a complaint. It takes 5-10 minutes. You will need your VIN. Hopefully there's a good chance that Subaru will issue a recall if enough of us report our experience. I said that electrical, lighting, and something else (safety equip ?) were the affected components and entered the following description (probably best not to copy it verbatim):
Rear wiper ceased functioning. The problem was due to broken wire(s) in a wiring harness that passes through a rubber accordion boot between the car body and the tail-gate (near the right-hand tailgate hinge). Many of the other wires, affecting upper brake light, license plate lights, backup lights, and tailgate latch/lock, were frayed and were replaced due to imminent failure of the above listed components. Research at an online forum for Subaru owners showed that many other owners (of 2005 and 2006 Subaru Outbacks) have experienced similar failures due to broken wires in this wiring harness. I suspect that it is an under-reported problem. I believe that Subaru should be asked to issue a safety recall notice.