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Old 08-03-2015, 10:18 AM   #1
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Default bellows leak?

I am slowly taking on water with oily sludge .I'm thinking bellows leak washing out gimble grease.Would you agree?? Got any idea how much it costs to have this new bellows done? i know (if you have to ask....)
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Old 08-03-2015, 11:28 AM   #2
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Hey Rick I was just by your way yesterday and wondering how the boat was doing, guess I got my answer here.

Have you checked to see if the engine oil level is not going down? Had to ask as I recall your intake leaking 2 years ago and another member here had the same issue and his just failed again.

Bellows kits go for $300 - $500, these include all 3 bellows, water hose, lube hose, gimbal bearing, and shift cable. This is the time to replace the trim limit switch and sender which runs another $100.

Inspect the driveshaft bellows for cracks in the folds.
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Old 08-03-2015, 07:43 PM   #3
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Bellows sounds likely. Check if the water flow rate is different drive down vs. Drive up. Usually a good indicator.



Here in Northern Florida, I was looking at about $1000 for a bellows job, including haul out. Not sure if you need that part.



Don't run the boat with a leaking bellows. You could force water into the drive and destroy it. I learned this lesson the hard way.
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Old 08-03-2015, 10:04 PM   #4
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Thanks for your input.Mike,good to hear from you . the engine is running great .we went to millers island yesterday .temp is a steady 150 oil pressure 50 60 cruising at 3200 25mph with 4 adults.a little slow getting on plane.the leak has been an ongoing thing and I thought the sludge was from the motor intrusion that happened past but I cleaned the bilge this spring.The oil level is always full (no leaks)and both pumps are not leaking.that leads me to believe it is gimble grease.The bellows looked ok but I didn't do a real thorough inspection
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Old 08-03-2015, 11:39 PM   #5
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My bilge was slowly filling with sea water a few years ago and found out it was the tiny shift cable bellows (Mercruiser) It can fail causing water to enter the bilge at a fast rate.....
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Old 08-03-2015, 11:42 PM   #6
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Shift bellows wont bring in grease. The front seal of the drive is designed to keep oil in, not water out. You're taking a $2000 gamble on wrecking your drive by operating with a suspected failed bellows.
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Old 08-04-2015, 12:41 AM   #7
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Kevlar is correct about upper drive design only have a seal with lip inward to keep lube in and not a second seal with lip outward to keep water out like the prop shaft has.

Basically $500 for material and $500 for labor if you have a mechanic do it.

Do you still keep it on the lift? If so only concern is when in use although the more corrosion the harder to remove the gimbal bearing.

Up to if you want to gamble on waiting for the end of the season.
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Old 08-04-2015, 01:49 AM   #8
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I definetly will not run it like that . I will probably be pulling it tomorrow.I have done this job several times in the past .I have the pullers and special tools and I know it's a pain in the butt job
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Old 08-04-2015, 02:57 AM   #9
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This is also time to check the play in the swivel shaft to see if it needs replacement as well. If worn the steering will have slop and it will allow water to leak around its seal.
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Old 08-09-2015, 04:16 PM   #10
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i pulled the drive and the bellows were bone dry.so now i put it back together and degreased the hull from the front (cabin )and flushed the hull area and the transom .we will see what happens today.Tuesday I will use a endoscope camera and see if I can find out where the leak is.All the bellows look good .perhaps the oil is residual oil from when the engine filled with water.Hoping for the best...
By the way,it has never leaked enough to even cause the bilge pump to run.
Rick
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