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Thread: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

  1. #1
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    Default Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    I still don't like propane on a boat.

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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Interesting. I like propane as a vehicle fuel, cheaper and cleaner.

    It would need to be a very well inspected and maintained fuel delivery system on a boat I should think. It will also run on a 16 oz disposable cylinder, which would, in a transom mounted application, put the fuel source on the outside of the boat. No accumulation in the bottom of the boat that way.

    I like it.

    Here is a screen cap of the brochure.
    Last edited by Old Dryfoot; 02-18-2012 at 02:02 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Yeah, it might be OK with the small bottle on the engine, but the remote 5 gallon bottle, nope, not on a boat of mine.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    The small bottle is all I'd need.
    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    i think those small bottles are made of thin steel. Storage on board? Rust? No thanks.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    There is definitely a comfort factor involved with using this.

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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    i think those small bottles are made of thin steel. Storage on board? Rust? No thanks.
    Easy, don't store them on board.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    For boats of 5HP, the cost of fuel is negligible, except maybe if you're buying camper bottles of propane.

    Propane, gasoline and diesel all contain about 20-22,000 BTUs per pound. Of the three, propane in bulk is the hardest to store safely.

    Then there's hydrogen at about 52K BTU/lb. Someone will be along shortly with a fuel cell outboard.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Dryfoot View Post
    Easy, don't store them on board.
    So, only ever take one away with you, and always only a new one. I don't see that working for me.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    What source of sparks do you envision having in a boat that would ignite vapors of whatever kind? Do you smoke?
    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Everyone should do what they think best. I have propane on my boat, a 30lb bottle and a stove. Many thousands of boats cook safely with it every year. I don't think hydrogen is an option, I've been hearing of the "imminent" fuel cell for decades. But I also have no use for an outboard!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    What source of sparks do you envision having in a boat that would ignite vapors of whatever kind? . . .
    Electronics, static electricity, metal-to-metal contact, . . .

    I don't think that sparks are that unlikely, unless some rather extreme precautions are followed. Just think back to the days of black powder aboard warships and the extreme precautions taken to prevent sparks near the magazines.

    If I were to have propane aboard, I would be trusting the integrity of the system to prevent leaks, not trusting that no spark would occur. I would also be sure to have propane detectors in the bilge/low-lying areas.

    Wayne

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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    I've been a chemist in the battery industry since 1969. Fuel cells have always been the "Energy source of the future" and I think that is as close as we are ever going to get. It's a pity really, the concept is terrific but the execution has always been lacking. There have been innumerable laboratory fuel cells but it always comes down to the platinum catalyst in the electrodes. Many other electrodes have been tried but nothing worked as well or as long as platinum. So it comes down to money. NASA (the late great space shuttle had fuel cells) and to a limited extent the military can afford them but fuel cells are a laboratory curiosity and there is no sign on the horizon that this is about to change.

    /// Frank ///
    Last edited by Frank Wentzel; 02-19-2012 at 11:00 AM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Gasoline vapor has a higher density than propane and is just as explosive. Either system is deadly without proper precautions.

    /// Frank ///

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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Originally Posted by rbgarr

    What source of sparks do you envision having in a boat that would ignite vapors of whatever kind? .
    As stated above. Plus, combustion can start with just an inrush of fresh air.
    That said, there are a gazillion gasoline-powered boats out on the water. Gas fumes are highly volatile ( more dangerous than the liquid fuel itself). But these boats aren't all blowing up. Propane is no different. Proper precautions, solid safe installation, and regular inspection of the system will--in fact does, as John S stated--provide all the safety required.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    I think that there are safe applications. I regret the comments that lean toward 'I don't like it for my application, therefore it's a bad idea.'

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    I've just noticed that the 2.5hp Lehr is also priced lower than the Honda BF2. I'll be keeping this in mind and seeing how they shake out durability wise. There may be one in my future once the SCAMP hit the water.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    . . . Propane is no different. Proper precautions, solid safe installation, and regular inspection of the system will--in fact does, as John S stated--provide all the safety required.
    Agreed. I use propane at both houses and in the land yacht without too much concern.

    The land yacht has a propane detector. I think this would be a good idea, too, in a boat with propane, since the plumbing would be subject to greater chance of wear-and-tear compared to a house.

    Wayne

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Dryfoot View Post
    I've just noticed that the 2.5hp Lehr is also priced lower than the Honda BF2. I'll be keeping this in mind and seeing how they shake out durability wise. There may be one in my future once the SCAMP hit the water.
    I expect that reliability will be good.

    There's a company near us that converts small generators, etc., to run on gasoline, propane, or natural gas. http://www.yamaha-propane-natural-gas-generators.com/ Reports are good. No reason an outboard designed specifically for propane should not do at least as well.

    Wayne

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Wayne I think you're correct. I've been around propane powered vehicles since Dad's conversion of a newly purchased 3/4 ton GMC 454 in 1976. Longevity is not suspect in my mind so much from the point of the fuel, it's from the fact that I've never heard of Lehr before.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Propane as a replacement for gasoline has been around for a LONG time. I had an uncle who always had his cars (he drove Mercurys and Lincolns) converted to propane (1950s and 60s). It required a new carburetor and tank.

    The cars started on gasoline and then you flipped a switch and they changed over to propane. There was a noticeable difference in how smooth they ran on propane vs gasoline. The other difference was when you pulled the dipstick. The oil looked like it had just been changed.

    Re propane on a boat. I had a 42 Defever and used propane for the galley stove, refer, and a grill on the aft deck. I installed a sniffer that set off an alarm whenever any petroleum vapors were detected. It was so sensitive that it went off far about a week after I did any inside varnish work. I also used aluminum propane storage tanks to resolve the rust issue.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Re Tanks: I have seen "fiberglass" ( some sort of plastic/composite) propane tanks that allowed visual of the tank level. They would also end the corrosion argument.

    The only down side I can see is that, since gas is easier to find than propane around the water, and Mr Murphy's affinity for boats, that sooner or later you'd be stuck for lack of ability to find a refill.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    I'd like to have a Small, propane-fueled emergency generator for home. No worry about the petrol going off.
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    So,

    "Herzer said the 5-hp outboard will run for 10 hours at full throttle on five gallons of propane; the 2.5-hp outboard will run for 20 hours on the same amount of fuel."

    How long will the 2.5 HP motor run at 75% throttle on a 1 POUND can of propane - not very long (5 minutes would be my guess), does anyone know anyone who has one who would know?

    Still a very interesting product.

    Propane on.

    Joe

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    A 20# bottle, the same type you use on a gas BBQ, holds about 5 gallons of liquid LPG. The figures he is quoting would be for a 20# tank, or 20 1# cylinders, giving you round about 30min at WOT with the 5hp and 1 hour with the 2.5hp. Adjust according to how much throttle you want to use for a ball park estimate of run time on a 1# disposable.

    Just as a little aside, the disposable bottles CAN be refilled so the don't need to be disposable.
    Last edited by Old Dryfoot; 02-19-2012 at 11:40 PM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Once the 1 lb bottles have been screwed on they can't be taken off (safely) until they are empty, correct? Or do they self seal somehow? It's been years since i used one.
    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Yes they seal if you unscrew them, there is a small schrader type valve on the 1lb bottles.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    I use the 1 lb bottles on our camp stove and they can be easily removed. Do it all the time. They can also be safely changed out once they are empty without having to wait for anything to cool.

    I'd be interested to know more about how the 1 lb bottles can be refilled. Our township will accept the empties for recycling, but I have not seen anyplace that will refill them. They cost about $3 to $4 a piece, so they are more expensive than gas for sure (the very rough equivalent of about $20 to $25 per gallon on a per pound basis.

    I think they would be no more dangerous to store on a boat than a liquid gasoline tank or a similar sized outboard with self contained fuel tank.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    You'll probably not find anyplace that will refill them for you. It's something that you'll need to do on your own, but it is a very simple and safe operation. Refilling should reduce the price substantially.

    Leave it to YouTube...
    Last edited by Old Dryfoot; 02-20-2012 at 11:27 AM.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    I would like a Motor that runs on Propane.

    I used propane for a Tar Pot and the small engine that pumps ran on it also.

    The engines always started right up, The Big 30 and 50 gallon tanks ran near a open flame 10 hours a day, In Fact I could not use 5 gallon tanks as they froze so fast.

    The only time i screwed up was when the valve cover was rusted on and the valve opened, I had to knock it loose fast and put my shirt over it and hit it with a hammer , However that was my fault.

    I also found valves will open if tanks are full in hot weather so i never filled them up..

    I wonder if a small disposable tank would freeze up running a outboard full throttle.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    In that case i could see using one of these on my side-mounted bracket for the motor and carrying the small tank in my bag every time I go out and return from sailing. The motor itself (and its bracket) store on other brackets in the open cockpit under a bit of foredeck when not in use.

    Leave the tank in the garage or on the propane barbecue shelf and refill it as above. Not in the house, of course.

    I use the motor so little during a summer that the 'aging' gas/ethanol issue with outboards could well be obviated this way.
    Last edited by rbgarr; 02-20-2012 at 01:55 PM.
    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbys View Post
    I would like a Motor that runs on Propane.

    I used propane for a Tar Pot and the small engine that pumps ran on it also.

    The engines always started right up, The Big 30 and 50 gallon tanks ran near a open flame 10 hours a day, In Fact I could not use 5 gallon tanks as they froze so fast.

    The only time i screwed up was when the valve cover was rusted on and the valve opened, I had to knock it loose fast and put my shirt over it and hit it with a hammer , However that was my fault.

    I also found valves will open if tanks are full in hot weather so i never filled them up..

    I wonder if a small disposable tank would freeze up running a outboard full throttle.
    At work we have issues with the 20lb tanks freezing up too, we are using them for torch on membrane repairs and re-roofs. We found that, if you can find them, the the 20lb tanks with a siphon tube are less prone to freeing. Because we are waterproofers and not roofers we rarely break out the larger sized tanks as it's rare that we will do roof areas over about 200sq-ft. The larger tanks for us come out when we membrane foundations, then we use the 100lb tanks.

    I was wondering if the small 1lb cylinders would ice up too. I think it should be ok as you're not puling as much fuel from them as say a roofing torch would. Full to empty over an hour at WOT with a pound of LPG seems like a fairly slow flow rate to me.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    In that case i could see using one of these on my side-mounted bracket for the motor and carrying the small tank in my bag every time I go out and return from sailing. The motor itself (and its bracket) store on other brackets in the open cockpit under a bit of foredeck when not in use.

    Leave the tank in the garage or on the propane barbecue shelf and refill it as above. Not in the house, of course.

    I use the motor so little during a summer that the 'aging' gas/ethanol issue with outboards could well be obviated this way.
    I really like the idea of having just one fuel on board for both the outboard and for cooking, that seems like a real bonus to me.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Small, propane-fueled, outboard motors

    We've had the 1 lb bottles develop frost on the outside when doing extended cooking, but they have not frozen up so that the stove does not work. However, all our camping with them has been in the summer.

    I wonder how well they would work in really cold weather?

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