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MedSailor 03-25-2012 04:58 PM

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.


skygazer 03-25-2012 07:48 PM

Re: Got my hands on the new propane outboard today...
Interesting, I'd never heard of these. Thank you.

Lake Superior Sailor 03-25-2012 08:38 PM

Re: Got my hands on the new propane outboard today...
Yes;it is interesting & I'll keep watching as I'm not sold yet!But; I've been wrong before, so we will see. Spend your dime & let me know how it goes.. Dale

eherlihy 03-25-2012 08:44 PM

Re: Got my hands on the new propane outboard today...
Thank you for the update!...

elvishessler 03-25-2012 08:46 PM

Re: Got my hands on the new propane outboard today...
Thanks for the update. Having Yamaha parts sounds like a winner.

RobGallagher 03-25-2012 09:27 PM

Re: Got my hands on the new propane outboard today...
Interesting, Thanks for the info.

MedSailor 03-25-2012 10:59 PM

Re: Got my hands on the new propane outboard today...
One of these sure would go well with the unit.
Composite LPG Tank
It's a composite propane tank that weighs 7.5lbs empty and holds 11lbs of propane. 18.5lbs total weight for the tank (when full) is much lighter than the motor itself and light enough to pass down by hand to the dinghy. No steel to rust all over your dink either.

11lbs of propane would give you 11hrs of motoring wide open and 26.5hrs at 1/2 throttle. The tank is also see-through so you can easily assess your fuel level.

I think I'm going to end up going the propane route.....


oceangirl 07-18-2013 01:24 PM

Re: Got my hands on the new propane outboard today...
Any updates on the motor?

capecodda 07-18-2013 04:07 PM

Re: Got my hands on the new propane outboard today...
Thanks for this post. I assumed that these things would eat propane so fast they'd be worthless, but the numbers indicate they go quite a while!

Add to that that the 3 small outboards I take care of all have occasionally had carb issues associated with methanol. Maybe next dingy outboard, this will be the ticket?

Neosec 07-19-2013 07:42 AM

Re: Got my hands on the new propane outboard today...
Seems like a cool idea. I have a Propane heater (Mr. Heater) that uses disposable green propane bottles. I refill them using an adapter...

The disposable bottles are 3-4 dollars but refilling them costs about 75 cents.
I've had the disposable bottles off-gas a bit out the pressure relief valve as they warmed up after being (over)filled. So be sure to store them in a well ventilated area. Also remember Propane is heavier than air and will sink and pool (as a gas) on the floor or at the bottom of a locker/lazarette if the tank leaks. :eek:
Refill these at your own risk as they were not designed for doing so. I've heard the trick to refilling them is to bleed off the gas so the tank fills with liquid propane from an inverted 20lb cylinder...

A bit more info on propane vs gas. This link refers to running a generator but the math is the same for an outboard. Propane has less energy than gasoline so requires more of it to go the same distance...


Gasoline 1 gallon = 125,000 BTUs

Natural Gas 1 CCF = 100,015 BTUs (CCF=100 cubic feet)

Propane 1 gallon = 91,700 BTUs

Propane approximations
1 gallon = 91,500 BTU
1 cubic foot = 2,500 BTU
1 pound = 21,500 BTU
4.24 lbs = 1 gallon
36.39 cubic feet = 1 gallon

If we then enter the prices:

($2.65) x (10) for gasoline; ($.95) x (12.5) for natural gas; or, ($4.00) x (13.6) for propane

The cost for running the generator 24 hours is:

$26.50 for gasoline; $11.88 for natural gas; or, $54.40 for propane

His propane cost seems high to me but I didn't research it.

The Relative Efficiency of Gasoline, Natural Gas, and Propane Fuels For Back-Up Generators

Propane is neat and clean and if you already has propane on board it seem like a good idea.

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