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Old 11-18-2013   #1
Read_N_Run's Avatar
Niwot, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 750
Lehr Propane Motors - cool concept

B4otter mentioned Lehr propane outboard motors for rafting and it peaked my curiosity. I'm not at all in the market for a motor but looking at this it seemed very cool. I like the idea of using the same fuel source for the motor and furthermore, not having to deal with gasoline in my raft. Still, I imagine that folks have been using gas for years (longer) in their raft without incident - but then again, there wasn't an option to use propane.

Here's the link to the product and one to a review:

LEHR Propane-powered Outboard Marine Engine, 5HP, Long Shaft at West Marine

Propane-Powered Outboards by Lehr | Boat Trader - WaterBlogged

If I ever needed a motor I think I'd seriously consider this.

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Old 11-18-2013   #2
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 188
Thanks for the new thread! Really interested if anyone has used one of the Lehrs to drive a raft, or fleet of rafts... The engine part is pretty much standard design, just sweeter because of no gas (no choke, no varnish, almost no emissions with propane) - but the driveline (shaft and gear reduction to prop) just doesn't look as stout as my little Honda, which is already pretty thin... on all small motors, say 5 hp and below, that's where you have vulnerability. Plow into a sand bar or ding a rock and you can end up needing a new lower unit, which is just about "totaled" in terms of expense if you have to buy new from a dealer. (If you can locate online or through a clearinghouse, maybe economical to rebuild). The Lehr weighs 52 pounds (5 hp long shaft) versus 65 for my Honda (same), another bonus for old backs... but beyond doubt it's the convenience and safety of using propane that is the attraction here! I'd love to see one in person, but can't find any within 500 miles of SLC and neither the West Marine or Cabela's stores have plans to carry a display model... so interested in whatever anyone who has one can contribute, especially with regard to lower unit.

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Old 11-18-2013   #3
davecosnowboarder's Avatar
boulder, Colorado
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 143
How about converting a higher quality motor?
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Old 11-18-2013   #4
yesimapirate's Avatar
Denver-ish, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 739
sounds like a good option vs paying almost double for the new propane motor. any negatives?
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Old 11-18-2013   #5
Read_N_Run's Avatar
Niwot, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 750
Originally Posted by yesimapirate View Post
sounds like a good option vs paying almost double for the new propane motor. any negatives?
I've done a propane and nat gas conversion for a honda generator and the one down side is that sometime the conversion will preclude you from running gas based on how it's done - I don't think that will be an issue in this case.

Also, the cleaner you start with the engine the better. If the engine has run gas in it before make sure it's run clean. I imagine - similar to the honda gennys there are similar conversion kits for their outboard smaller engines.

One other downside is the amount of energy gen'd for propane vs. gas. Propane can see about 15-25% less efficiency because of this.

There also seems to be a real aversion among many /other/ boaters to have propane on their boats in a fuel source position (rather than stowed). I don't know if this is well founded but if you google you'll see many a folk say they would never, ever use propane as a fuel source....compared to gasoline

I haven't done much digging but I assume there are a bunch of places that will do these conversions for you or offer a kit in order to do them.
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Old 12-04-2013   #6
Brigham city, Utah
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Feb 2013
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I came very near to actually purchasing a Lehr, and switched to Yamaha instead. The Lehr had bad reviews, apparently they are made in china and prone to lots of problems. and the real problem is there are few and far between shops that will even touch them, and getting in parts is near impossible.

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