Got my hands on the new propane outboard today...
Anacortes was having a "boat show" this weekend, which was really just a chance for boat brokers to show off their stock, but there were a couple local yards and shops with tables out. One of the local yards had the LEHR propane outboards. I gave the 2.5 a good once over. Here's what I learned:
It looks well made and well thought out. There is a removable rubber plug in the cowling to access the spark plug for example and the oil change screw and oil fill are easy to get to. All controls felt strong and positive and seemed to be of high quality. Apparently it's a Yamaha engine and parts will be the same as yamaha 2.5hp parts.
What I was most interested in was run times. He had a chart and apparently at full throttle a 1lb bottle (or one pound worth of a larger bottle) will give you 60min at 4,000rpm which is wide open. 1/2 throttle, which is 3,000rpm (according to the chart) will give you 2hrs and 39min of run time per lb.
Starting is reportedly easy, but 3 pulls are required once you attach a propane bottle to prime the system. After that it's 1 pull till the bottle is empty.
The 2.5 does have a slot for 1lb bottles AND a fitting for attachment to larger cylenders. One very good piece of information is that LHER has a patent on a refillable 1lb bottle that is the same size, shape, and thread pattern as the disposable green ones. They're planning to mass manufacture refillable ones that have a real valve in them. Seems safer than the rubber ball "valve" on the disposable ones. Apparently they're hoping to enter the 1lb bottle market in a big way with exchangeable cylinders like you can now do with your BBQ bottles.
For me, if they have USER refillable 1lb bottles at a reasonable price, that would be enough to make me want to buy it. Have one in the motor and one in the dink and you've got lots of motoring time and you've got no mess, no gasoline spilling, no gasoline smell.
The big purchase budget for this year is already spent and or spoken for so we're not buying an outboard this year but I'll be keeping an eye on these things and touching base with the local seller periodically. I'll keep everyone posted on what I learn.
"True, your boat will outperform mine to windward, but my boat will always outperform yours at anchor." --MedSailor