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Old 08-13-2021, 11:04 PM   #1
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Are propane out boards worth considering?

I am considering a Mercury or Tohatsu propane outboard. Every time I convince myself to order one I read another negative review. It seems people either love them or hate them. There didn't seem to be any middle ground.

Does anyone have any first hand experience with either of these?

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Old 08-14-2021, 09:53 PM   #2
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Gas is everywhere and usually blessed with easy access. Propane can be harder to obtain. At my marina, I can get gas or diesel easily, for propane I need to take a taxi.
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Old 08-14-2021, 10:27 PM   #3
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Sorry, no first hand experience with propane outboards but if your boat already uses
propane for cooking /heating then using it in an outboard would seem to be a no-brainer.

The devil is in the details of course. If the outboards are well built I wouldn't worry.
I currently have a gasoline Tohatsu 18 HP that I am having a fuel related issue with...
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Old 08-14-2021, 11:33 PM   #4
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I have completed one year with the 5HP Propane Mercury. BTW the 5HP Mercury is made by Tohatsu. I think they are working on a 15HP for Mercury.

Anyway any negative comments on propane outboards have been towards the Lehr. Unfortunately when they found success and had more orders than they could handle they outsourced to China. That brought warranty claims and put Lehr out of business.

A year latter it starts by the 3rd pull. part of a priming I guess.
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Old 08-15-2021, 04:42 AM   #5
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LP has less energy per gallon
and seems generally harder to get, so ......
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Old 08-15-2021, 08:08 AM   #6
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I like being able to let the propane motor sit for a year and then starting on the first or second pull. No fuel in carburetor gunking issues. Also, storing propane is a lot safer than storing gasoline. I really don't like gasoline on a boat.

I'd rather have no propane either - diesel only. So I'm looking at diesel outboards.
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Old 08-15-2021, 08:49 AM   #7
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I just sold a Lehr outboard and honestly it was awesome for what it was. I think propane outboards have a very specific use that they shine in and for virtually everything else there are better options. They sit for extremely long periods of time unattended and will start and run with no issues. In my opinion if you want to carry a spare outboard or rarely use your skiff like only a few times a month and don’t want to go fast a propane outboard would be an exceptional choice to go with. Other than that I think a regular gas outboard is better In almost every respect. I was quite impressed when my propane outboard started up and ran great after 3 pulls on the cord after sitting for 7 years outside in the fl keys. For limited use, slow speed, and short distances they fall into the same catagory as electric outboards without the weight or hassle of the battery. Overall Definitly not an option for a heavily used dingy or one that is intended for exploration. Hard to beat a small gas outboard. I’d love a diesel outboard but they are so heavy for what they are. And very very expensive. I have a hard time spending 9k on a 30hp outboard built in the 90s century Ben if it’s a rebuilt one.
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:02 AM   #8
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Are propane out boards worth considering?

No experience with a propane outboard, but Iíve been experimenting with this Epropulsion Spirt 1.0 plus outboard, and have been impressed so far. Starts on the first pull! 🤣

This video shows it mounted on my heavy FG displacement mini pontoon boat and it pushes it fine at 3-4 mph. I assume it would push a rib or other dinghy a little faster, but itís not going to plane obviously. Itís supposed to be around 3 hp I think. I also use it on a little sailboat I have and it pushes it really well.

https://youtube.com/shorts/Vtg_TXpAx1k?feature=share

Click image for larger version

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The battery snaps off the lower drive unit making it pretty light and very easy to mount. With the fast charger it will recharge the battery in about 3 hours if about 75% dead. Slow charger takes like 8 hours. There is also a solar charger hook up.

Itís not cheap however at $2200!

I have no affiliation with the company. Just thought it was a neat little motor.
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:41 AM   #9
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Speed is relative. We have a 2 stroke Mercury 2.5hp that we use on both our hard dinghy and an inflatable. Neither dinghy sets the world on fire speed wise. We are going from an 8 foot roll up to an 11 foot air floor (should be delivered this coming week hopefully) and wanted to go up in hp on the motor. I don't think I want to deal with the weight of the size motor we would need to plane the dinghy.

I do consider propane safer and easier to store than gas on a boat but the only thing propane on our boat is the bbq grill. Galley is all electric. Then again the only gas on board is for the dinghy.

If I go with the propane outboard I would use the 11 lb composite tanks. The mercury does not have the option of using the small canisters. Getting the tanks refilled in the Bahamas could be a problem. Never had propane on any of my boats so never paid any attention to availability.

An electric outboard would be great except for high initial cost, short range and the 15 hour recharge time (Torqeedo) I don't want to run the generator that long!

Compromises aren't fun.
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:59 AM   #10
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I went to the Epropulsion site. That motor looks great. It showed it being recharged with solar panels. Hadn't considered that. That would mean a lot less generator time. Having a second battery recharging while you are using the first one would be ideal.

This deserves consideration.
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Old 08-15-2021, 10:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardude01 View Post
No experience with a propane outboard, but I’ve been experimenting with this Epropulsion Spirt 1.0 plus outboard, and have been impressed so far. Starts on the first pull! ��.
An electric motor that starts on the first pull?

I bought that same outboard and am happy with it. Turn the handle and it goes forward. Turn it back and it stops. Turn it the other way and it goes in reverse. No transmission, no centrifugal clutch, no turning the entire motor to go backwards.

No oil changes, no lower unit oil changes, no impeller, no spilling gasoline.

Best of all (and the reason I replaced my Honda 2 HP 4 stroke with it), no carburetor gumming up from letting fuel sit in it for more than a couple days. It can sit unused as long as I want and it will start and run.

Yes, the battery has to be charged and it doesn't have the unlimited range of a gasoline outboard. But it does well for my use, from the mothership to shore and back. As for "range", the range is greatly affected by the speed so if you want to go further, just go slower. I don't have the information handy, but it will go several miles provided you don't go WOT.


Edit: As for recharging, I have an inverter powering my boat's AC outlets so it's just a matter of plugging the charger into an outlet. I believe they sell a charger that works from 12 volts DC and that would work for someone who doesn't have an inverter. There's certainly no need to run a genset for fifteen hours. Solar is another option, either directly charging the ePropulsion battery or replenishing the boat's 12 volt batteries.
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Old 08-15-2021, 10:06 AM   #12
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Exactly i love my lehr for the reasons below. didn't even know they are out of business.

Oh wait and i am one of the few that have 27HP yanmar diesel kicker on my 32 footer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmarsh203 View Post
I just sold a Lehr outboard and honestly it was awesome for what it was. I think propane outboards have a very specific use that they shine in and for virtually everything else there are better options. They sit for extremely long periods of time unattended and will start and run with no issues. In my opinion if you want to carry a spare outboard or rarely use your skiff like only a few times a month and don’t want to go fast a propane outboard would be an exceptional choice to go with. Other than that I think a regular gas outboard is better In almost every respect. I was quite impressed when my propane outboard started up and ran great after 3 pulls on the cord after sitting for 7 years outside in the fl keys. For limited use, slow speed, and short distances they fall into the same catagory as electric outboards without the weight or hassle of the battery. Overall Definitly not an option for a heavily used dingy or one that is intended for exploration. Hard to beat a small gas outboard. I’d love a diesel outboard but they are so heavy for what they are. And very very expensive. I have a hard time spending 9k on a 30hp outboard built in the 90s century Ben if it’s a rebuilt one.
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Old 08-15-2021, 10:11 AM   #13
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Are propane out boards worth considering?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
An electric motor that starts on the first pull?

Sorry. I was attempting a joke there.

I also bought this Epropulsion outboard to replace a fairly new 3.5 Tohatsu outboard that required constant carb overhauls to run correctly, and I always use fuel stabilizer in the gas. I just could not rely on it anymore.
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