Subaru Problems? Ask a Mechanic for Answers ASAP
On these old 99's what I used to see all the time was the hatch handle sticking in the open position. Make sure this isn't the case here. You can close it, lock it and unlock it, but the outside handle sticks in the open position and it will prevent you from opening it again. You have to push the handle to the closed position, cycle the locks then try to open it.
Can't be 100% sure this is the problem, however I have seen it cause this type of problem a lot.
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