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View Full Version : What Is Real World Life Span Of Drive Bellows?



Carl C
03-18-2017, 05:23 PM
How often does everyone replace the drive and shifter bellows as preventative maintenance? If a bellows does split, how fast does water enter the boat? My '05 22C is fresh water only and is always kept indoors with the drive down. It has the original bellows. Real world input please. Not what the books say.

gcarter
03-18-2017, 06:03 PM
I think that's a long time.
The Minx bellows went in 3 years and I always wondered why so soon.
When it fails, water doesn't come into the boat because of a shaft seal
in the proximity of the gimbal bearing. The downside of waiting too
long is ya have to change the bearing and the water does the U-joints
no good. When it fails, you can hear water trickling into the bellows while it's
sitting still in the water.

Carl C
03-18-2017, 06:10 PM
That's what I thought about the water George, wanted to be sure on that. I pull my drive every year to check alignment and u-joints and bearings. Yours went in 3 years?? :nilly:

gcarter
03-18-2017, 06:34 PM
That's what I thought about the water George, wanted to be sure on that. I pull my drive every year to check alignment and u-joints and bearings. Yours went in 3 years?? :nilly:

The replacement has been in for more than 10 years, if it were mine, I'd change it.
The quick failure must have been a fluke.

Carl C
03-18-2017, 07:20 PM
I'm leaning toward running it one more season and doing it next winter. How often does everyone else replace them as maintenance?

smokediver
03-18-2017, 09:13 PM
I had water leak in around a shift cable when the shift boot wasn't properly seated .

Walt. H.
03-18-2017, 09:38 PM
Hello Carl,
It's been awhile since I've been here,
Anyway this should help answer your concerns: Before waiting another year just do a good visual inspection between the rib ripples of your bellows for any dry cracks - partial tears or punctures, also for any soft spot defects. All you need to do is turn your drive left then right which will stretch each side for better viewing and don't forget lift the drive up to check underneath for the same possible issues.

Hi George,
your three year old bellows most likely was damaged during the installation possibly by a slip of a screwdriver and then finally failed over that time ?

yeller
03-18-2017, 11:38 PM
Hello Carl,
It's been awhile since I've been here,
Anyway this should help answer your concerns: Before waiting another year just do a good visual inspection between the rib ripples of your bellows for any dry cracks - partial tears or punctures, also for any soft spot defects. All you need to do is turn your drive left then right which will stretch each side for better viewing and don't forget lift the drive up to check underneath for the same possible issues.


Have to agree with Walt. I"m still on my originals and they still look great. Of course, my boat has been sitting for a few years, but nontheless they are showing no signs of drying out or cracking.

Carl C
03-19-2017, 06:58 AM
Thanks guys. Thorough inspection coming up. I wonder if spraying the outside with silicone spray lube would help like it does on car door weatherstrips.

tmdog
03-19-2017, 04:36 PM
Mine is a 88 and hasn't been replaced. Never raised the drive to trl. position and raised enough to miss debris on road when being towed. Always stored with drive down. Drive pulled once yr. to check align and grease U's. Clean all grease in bellows and assemble. Would not recommend spraying bellows with any miracle product and try to store ass end of drive in shade. Better yet indoors.

Since we are not meticulous with our preferred maintenance and haven't replaced the bellows, stay away from that "trip" guy on the water. Some people are never happy.:biggrin.:

gcarter
03-19-2017, 04:50 PM
Hi George,
your three year old bellows most likely was damaged during the installation possibly by a slip of a screwdriver and then finally failed over that time ?

Hard to say, maybe.
Also, I'm a big eBay fan, I may have bought it through them.
It may have been sitting on a shelf for years, but it looked fine
when i installed it.

You may know you can remove the spring, and turn the bellows
inside out. After that, you can remove any grease w/a strong
detergent and inspect it.

Carl C
03-19-2017, 07:53 PM
Mine is a 88 and hasn't been replaced. Never raised the drive to trl. position and raised enough to miss debris on road when being towed. Always stored with drive down. Drive pulled once yr. to check align and grease U's. Clean all grease in bellows and assemble. Would not recommend spraying bellows with any miracle product and try to store ass end of drive in shade. Better yet indoors.

Since we are not meticulous with our preferred maintenance and haven't replaced the bellows, stay away from that "trip" guy on the water. Some people are never happy.:biggrin.:

lol. I won't go there. I also rarely raise my drive all the way and store with drive down and indoors. An '88 with original bellows. That's encouraging!

Fishermanjm
03-24-2017, 02:52 PM
Mine's an 01, I am thinking about doin them as a
just because precaution. I'm gettin ready to shed the
winter cover AN start maintainance. Maybe I'll inspect agin an see
first. Gettin excited to go pound the bay!!!

Carl C
03-24-2017, 07:59 PM
I appreciate all of the info and advice. I've decided to inspect the bellows really good this spring and replace it in the fall when the drive comes off anyway.

txtaz
03-25-2017, 01:33 AM
Mine's an 01, I am thinking about doin them as a
just because precaution. I'm gettin ready to shed the
winter cover AN start maintainance. Maybe I'll inspect agin an see
first. Gettin excited to go pound the bay!!!

Mine is a 99 and I just did everything to my drive. Bellows, gaskets, seals, water intake, oil through hull fitting (yep, be careful taking the bell housing off).

I think it's better knowing what you have going forward as far as maintenance is concerned. Unless your George...LOL.

Cheers,
Taz