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1997 Legacy slow start in cold; starter remains engaged

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Hi all,


This is my first post after having lurked these forums for a while.  


I have a 1997 Legacy Outback that has been slow to start this winter.  When I start the car for the first time of the day, there is generally a fraction of a turn over, but it won't start.  It seems like something is "sticking", and that after a few tries, it unsticks.  I try this somewhere between 2-6 times, and it will finally start and run just fine.  Then, throughout the day if it hasn't gotten too cold, it will start right up on the first try.  


This morning I had the same issue in which it took about 6 attempts before it fully turned over and started right up.  I then went to the gas station and filled up, and had the same issue trying to start it at the gas station.  However, this time, it seems like the starter stayed engaged.  It made a lot of noise while I drove it for about a half block before pulling over and turning off the car.  The car continued to try to start for a few seconds after I removed the key.  I let it rest a few seconds, and then started it back up just fine.  Now, I have the check engine light on.  


Any input on what this could be?  I've tried to narrow it down to a starter solenoid, or maybe the starter relay, but I wanted to share my specific symptoms and see if you all had any ideas.  


Thanks for your time!

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