Originally Posted by Mon Amie
I bought the Lehr 5hp short from West Marine when they first came out to replace my Merc 6hp and get the gas off my sailboat. It is Chinese made and parts are cheap plastic. I used it about 4 times. The last time it died when the propane hose to the carb blew off and ended up paddling back. My list of complaints are as follows; cowling doesn't fit, hard to start, excessive vibration, sliced my hand changing the propane tank, and the plastic handle that keeps the motor from turning broke off. I took it home and got it running again after checking for loose bolts and hoses. However as I know longer have any faith in it, it still sits in my garage. I put my 12 year old Mercury 6 back on my boat for use on my dinghy. If you read the reviews on the West Marine site, you will know I'm not the only one. Now looking at electric outboards (Torqueedo) as an alternative.
I spoke with Lehr about it and told them to build a better outboard with quality parts. It doesn't look like it would last long in a salt water environment.
I've posted several times about our experiences with a Lehr 5 HP that we bought in June - not sure in which of the several threads that are going, but the comments from Mon Amie (quoted above) are a good place to catch up and share some new information. We have the Lehr on our Beneteau 210 that lives in a slip on a relatively large (3 mile by 9 mile) lake. We daysail, though at some point plan to anchor in a cove for the night.
Until today, our experience with the Lehr has been reasonably good. Starts right up, runs relatively smoothly, and eliminating the need for gasoline on the boat has been quite convenient - not to mention avoiding the regular carburetor rebuilds necessitated by ethanol additives. Yes, we have had the same problem Mon Amie mentions attaching the cowling. Yes, the metal edge of the clip that holds the propane canister is sharp. We had been putting up with those flaws as best we could - again, appreciating how we don't need gasoline on the boat.
Today - the first day in a month with decent 10-15 knot winds, and temperatures under 90F - we arrived at the lake looking forward to a great time on the water. My wife and I pulled off the sail covers, attached the halyards, donned our pfds and planned how we would exit our slip with a fair wind on our port side. I lowered the Lehr into the water and pulled the starting cord. Nothing. Again. Nothing. And so on. What gives?
My first thought was a faulty propane canister that had leaked to empty during the three weeks since we last were aboard. I loosened the clip, unscrewed the canister, and sure enough it was empty. Grabbed a full one, jockeyed it into place, and then realized that the brass screw-on fitting had separated from the line feeding propane to the engine. It was lying loose in the area where the canister rests. Removing the cowling and digging around I was able to find the fuel line. OK, I thought, let's reconnect things. At the end opposite the brass screw-on there is a ribbed metal end that is to be forced into the end of the fuel line. After 30 minutes fussing, I realized I couldn't do it - not enough leverage with the tools available. So, just as Mon Amie's fuel line separates at the carb mine does the same at the tank. Easily separated, but next to impossible to reattach.
I'll get it fixed, but cannot trust the fuel delivery system to work reliably. I'm now thinking maybe a small aluminum propane tank to put in the lazaretto would be a better solution - provided that I can confirm that the quarter-sized hole at the bottom will provide sufficient ventilation.
What looked like a great idea seems to be suffering from sloppy execution.