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The easiest way without taking anything apart is by measuring their temperature when the engine is warmed up using an infra red temperature gun. Even a cheapie 20 dollar harbor freight one will do. What you want to do is scan the and get an average temperature. The risers should run cooler than the engine. A brand new set will probably measure in the 110F range. As they wear and tear and clog up with rust, the temps will go up. If they get to the point when they are 160F or hotter then it is time to pull them for replacement. Also, when doing this is, it is normal to see 1 side 20 degrees hotter or so. So if you get a reading of say 130 on one side and 150 on the other, that would be normal.
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Are you talking about the part in the picture with the zip tie and the plastic target bag, is that where it is leaking?
To answer one part of your question the boat will have to be hauled out to replace that lower bellow. If you try and pop that off with the boat in the water, water will rush in faster than the pumps can keep up with it, and the boat will sink, so it definitely has to come out.
As to why that area melted. Usually it's a lack of water flow all together that does that. When was the last time the impeller was changed out?
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