I pulled the exhaust elbow off last week. My exhaust is only 42 years old but not as well made as yours Tom. It's made from iron plumbing with the water injection welded on. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be to remove but now I need to find the parts to rebuild it.
I thought I had smelled exhaust at one point but wasn't sure if it was just from wind coming from astern blowing it in. After removing it I poked around with a screwdriver and found a soft spot that may have been leaking so it was definitely time to replace it.