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The Average Repair Cost to Replace the Boat Bellow

When you hear the phrase “boat bellows” for the first time, you might believe that the bellows are the most underneath proportion of a boat. Actually, these are the parts that protect the engine of the boat from coming in contact with water.

How much does it cost to repair the bellow if water leaks inside the boat?

In case your boat bellows are in a poor condition and you need to replace them along with the Gimble bearing, you should be prepared to spend anywhere between $1,200 and $1,550, including the labor cost. On the other hand, if you are handling the labor job yourself, you will only be responsible for the part, which will cost around $550 or less.

In the table below you will find the average costs of repairing the boat’s bellows.

Bellow repair Cost
U-Joint bellow $100 to $120
Shift cable bellow $50 to $65
Required tools for the job $120 to $175
Gimble $90 to $100
Exhaust bellow $100 to $135

You should spend less than $50 to replace the shift cable bellows, while the costs for replacing the exhaust bellows and U-Joint bellows will be more than $110.

You will spend another $110 or less for the gimble. Most of the parts will come at a cost of around $110. You can rent the tools you need for the job for less than $100.

So, you will spend anywhere between $550 and $650 to replace your boat’s bellows. However, if you want to hire a professional, the costs will be double as the labor costs will be high.

Be prepared to spend around $1,200 for all the essential boat bellow replacement and sealing. Though, in some situations, the costs may rise to more than $2,100.

Boat Bellows Overview

The role of the bellows is to protect your boat’s engine from water and other elements which can cause rust and destroy your boat’s engine. For instance, in a Stern-drive engine, bellows have the role to seal the drive shaft. The bellows remain on the water while you are at rest. The boat can easily sink due to any leakage.

You might also like our articles on the cost of fiberglass boat repair, boat upholstery repair, and boat rewiring.

The bellows save your boat’s drive shaft and engine from such pernicious accidents. In order to prevent the engine to come in contact with water and rust, these flexible gaskets come with watertight sealing.

As the bellows protect your boat’s engine from water, they are very well sealed with waterproof material.

Bellow types

Boat Bellows ReplacementThe type of the boat bellow is defined by the place where it is positioned on the boat, and these can be fixed in three different places.

Shift Cable Bellows

The shift cable bellows are the easiest to replace. All you have to do is to remove all the clamps and clean the housing of debris and rust.

Use the lubricant that is mentioned in the manual. Also, you will have to check and replace the O-Rings and the gaskets.

Exhaust Bellows

These bellows are fixed with two clamps. Firstly, you will have to cut the old bellows and remove the clamps. The rubber may be damaged. The new one will be replaced with adhesive and then mounted on the housing with the screws faced downs.

Finally, replace the front clamps.

U-Joint Bellows

The replacement of U-Joint bellows is similar to that of the exhaust bellows. However, here you will have to check the gaskets and the housing.

Be aware that the housing is very expensive and a good way to save money is by properly maintaining your boat. The housing should be checked for debris and rust as it will cause most of the damage. Also, you will have to look out for the O-Rings.

Signs of a damaged boat bellow

The boat bellows will damage due to wear and tear over time. You should pay attention to any suspicious sounds you hear from your boat and water pouring, as well as any engine problems. Here are some signs of damaged bellows:

  • you may find oil droplets on the driveway underneath the boat;
  • loud noise while the boat is moving;
  • the water leaks inside the boat;
  • overheating problems.

As the bellows stay mostly in the water, they are affected by it. You must check your boat often.

The experts recommend replacing the bellows every two years in order to maintain the performance level of your boat.

You must replace the bellows immediately if they are damaged because several boat parts are related to the bellows.

How to replace the boat bellows yourself

If you want to replace the bellows yourself, you must know the entire infrastructure of your bellows and boat.

First of all, you must release all the parts which are related to the bellows and protect your engine by keeping it away from debris and rust. Then, you have to unscrew the parts and replace the adhesive and the rubber material. After you clean the housing of those parts, you have to re-apply the adhesive and install the parts.

Finally, once the mounting is done, you have to screw the bellows facing the direction of the right screw.


How much should I budget for a complete boat bellows replacement?

Be prepared to spend anywhere between $1,100 and $1,750 for a complete boat bellows replacement, depending on the necessary equipment and the replacement type.

Can I replace the boat bellows myself?

Yes, it is not hard to replace the boat bellows yourself. Plus, this will save you a few hundred dollars.

Can I mount extra rubber sealing to offer additional protection to my boat engine?

Bellows are actually rubber gaskets, so you don’t have to mount extra rubber layers to offer protection. What you can do is check the bellows frequently and replace them if the rubber is damaged or cracked.

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