Tohatsu Propane Motor Cat Canyon Trip Report - Mountain Buzz

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Old 09-07-2019   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2
Tohatsu Propane Motor Cat Canyon Trip Report

Hopefully, this can be helpful to anyone wondering about how much propane or general performance questions of the 5hp Tohatsu propane motors. Here is my trip report from my motors first cat canyon trip.

We had two catarafts (aire lion and 12ft sotar legened) strapped end to end. My lion has an extra wide frame (6.5ft) so we where able to nestle the tubes of the legend inside the tubes of the lion and push it. Here is the motor performance from my trip.

First off there are no fumes, which is very nice compared to the other motor trips I have done with gas engines.

Potash ramp to confluence 47.2 miles in 8 hours - 5.9mph.

We did not have any stops just motored straight down. Throttle position was 3/4, although it seemed 1/2 throttle was about the same speed although I have no data for this. I kept it at 3/4 because I needed to finish breaking in my motor per the user manual.

Gypsum Canyon to Dirty Devil ramp 27.5 miles in 5 hours - 5.5mph

Since the break in period was over we ran at full throttle (why not...), however this probably just burned more gas, but we where facing a upstream wind. I am familiar with the speed limit on displacement hulls.

As for propane usage we burned through 1 full propane tank in 64 miles. I had this tank filled instead of exchanged so I believe it was 20lbs of propane not 15lbs, but I did not weigh it. I brought 3 tanks to be safe but in the future if the trip is just 2 boats I will probably bring 2 tanks and run at ~1/2 throttle. I also have not adjusted my motor for running at high altitude yet once I do that it hopefully should get better "mileage" as well.

On a side note for anyone thinking about going propane. Mercury came out with a propane motor this summer. I bought my motor before this, but I wish I would have waited and got a Mercury, because in Denver even CO there is not really a Tohatsu dealer(there are 1 or 2 mechanic shops that service Tohatsu but no real dealers), while there are a bunch of Mercury dealers. I know Tohatsu makes all the small Mercury engines, so presumably most/all of the parts are interchangeable but doubtful that the part numbers are the same if you are trying to get parts from the Merc dealer. Also if I have a warranty issue I will have to drive pretty far to get to a dealership, if I had a Mercury I would have several options in Denver for dealers.

If you have any other questions feel free to PM me.

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Old 09-08-2019   #2
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 471
Thank you for posting this info.
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Old 09-08-2019   #3
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 45
thanks for the writeup! we are taking ours out in a few weeks! I was wondering about the fuel mileage.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 686
Has anyone ever had a problem laying/storing a four stroke on its side when rafting?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
Hillsboro, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 71
Originally Posted by GeoRon View Post
Has anyone ever had a problem laying/storing a four stroke on its side when rafting?
Most of them, if I remember correctly want them tilted towards the handle side of the motor or directly on its back (prop towards the blue sky).
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
St. George, Utah
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 188
I have the same motor and have laid it on it's with the tiller side down without any problems. Tohatsu recommends that you elevate the power head about 4 inches if you do store it this way.
I drain the oil if it is going to be transported by someone that I don't know. IE: when we have it brought in at Diamond Creek. It is easy to just add oil before stating it up, it only uses 15 ounces.
This spring pushed out a stack of 7 boats from mile 240 to Pearce and used slightly less than 5 gallons last trip running 1/2 throttle.I have done this several times and get similar results each time.

I did Green River State Park to North Wash last October on the Green/Colorado at very low water, about 125 miles with one boat and motored everything except Catatract Canyon. I used slightly over 7 gallons of propane.

Best part is little to no fumes! I have about 400 river miles on this motor now in mostly muddy water so decided to change the water pump impeller. Happy to say it showed little wear but I changed the housing and impeller anyway while I had it apart.
Pretty easy to service this motor yourself if you get the service manual.
Parts are identical to the Mercury and not hard to find online.
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