I have a 1997 Classic 16' I bought it in 2002.
Our season here in the Midwest is about 7 months. Sparky spends the winter 5 months in the garage.I love it and it has never given me any problems.
My question is this. I estimate there is between 2250 and 2500 hours on the old gal, and I've never changed the drive belt.
It doesn't slip or make any noise. I check the tension at the beginning of the season and it is always adequate. I don't relish the thought of replacing it. It probably involves removing the thrust bearing, loosening the stuffing box and pulling the prop.
Are there usually audible signs before the belt breaks? Is the removal/replacement a big deal?
In my 1996 18'classsic it's easy to change the belt. Loosen the 2 set screws in the link bearing and slide the shaft back. Make sure you find the hole in the shaft when you tighten the set screws.
In mine only one of the set screws has a set hole spot.