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Old 18-09-2014, 11:09   #1
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Lehr 5hp Outboard - Quality Issues

I bought a Lehr 5 hp motor for the 2014 season in New England. The motor came highly endorsed, including accolades from the publication Practical Sailor. I bought into the Lehr story and the environmental angle, etc. I ended up highly disappointed. I purchased my motor from Defender Industries. My experience with Defender, relative to my purchase and ultimate return of the motor, was disappointing as well, but that is not the focus here. Below you will find the issues I had after just 10 hours of operation. The idea of a propane outboard is quite intriguing. I suggest waiting until Yamaha, Honda or Tohatsu start building them. An opportunity for you learn from my mistake. In the end I just felt the product was something would not last. For reference my 5p Nissan (Tohatsu) 2 cycle is 17 years old and still works very well, but I was looking to get a new motor.

1) Dropping significant amounts of crankcase oil. Mostly during and shorty after running. Conversations with Lehr customer service implied that I was overfilling the crankcase, although I never filled above the upper fill line. Clearly, I was not overfilling the crankcase.

2) Motor connection assembly for large fuel tank fell apart when I went to attach it to the tank for the first time. I believe that this is a potentially significant safety issue because of the serious consequences of a propane leak. I reattached the assembly from both sides. It is virtually impossible to get a wench on the external fitting to make sure it is secure against the external backing plate. What prevents this coming loose again? A big concern from my perspective.

3)Throttle friction block assembly. 2nd one has failed. Threading metal machine screw into a plastic block will not last very long. Other motor manufacturers thread metal to metal on their friction blocks.

4) Engine rotation Friction lock assembly. Frozen in place. I tried to adjust the lock with the finger pads. It would not work. I then attempted to loosed it with light grip of channel locks, and the finger pads cracking are now cracking.

5) Engine to Engine cover seal strips. Lifting on both sides. It is hard to believe they will last for the life of the motor.

6) Engine Cover attachment clips. Front and rear don't align. Again, it is difficult to believe they will last.

7) Safety key attachment , red rubber boot is torn. That should not happen with this little use.

8) I haven't been able to get the motor to idle properly. That is a big negative compared to other out boards I have owned.
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Old 18-09-2014, 11:32   #2
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Re: Lehr 5hp Outboard - Quality Issues

hhmmm your issues sound like some of the issues a friend said were exactly why he should have waited another year or two before purchasing his.. (encountered him n his motor in zihuatenejo) but ye read ps and went for it due to that... ymmv, btw-- hope it repairs well for ye.
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Old 18-09-2014, 11:37   #3
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Re: Lehr 5hp Outboard - Quality Issues

Thanks for the review. It is definitely some food for thought
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Old 18-09-2014, 12:21   #4
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Re: Lehr 5hp Outboard - Quality Issues

Just curious, are these engines made in China?
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Old 18-09-2014, 12:43   #5
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Re: Lehr 5hp Outboard - Quality Issues

Good to see a review on something new, with specifics...
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Old 18-09-2014, 14:26   #6
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Re: Lehr 5hp Outboard - Quality Issues

Ditto what Cheechako said. It is great to see a review that details specific issues instead of the usual "this thing is a piece of junk, don't buy one," which is really not at all helpful. Sorry you had these problems.

I admire Lehr for bringing out this product. I think a propane powered outboard is a great idea, for a number of reasons, and the first to market with something like this is always taking a big risk. I hope that Lehr can fix their problems, or that someone else can come out with one that doesn't have these issues.

In any case, again, thank you for the informative review.
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Old 18-09-2014, 15:54   #7
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Re: Lehr 5hp Outboard - Quality Issues

I believe all the Lehr motors are made in China. While some of my problems were clearly a result of manufacturing quality there was more to it than just that. Through my time with the Lehr motor I became more concerned about the overall design, build quality and fit/finish of the product. As mentioned I have a 5hp Nissan (Tohatsu) 2 cycle. It is 17 years old. It is Well built, intuitive to work on and simple to operate.
How long will the Lehr motors last? Only time will tell. Corrosion in salt water could become a notable issue.


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Old 19-09-2014, 08:51   #8
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Re: Lehr 5hp Outboard - Quality Issues

Mine was in the shop after just 2 hours of operation, but the mechanic fixed it in 10 minutes and gave me some hints not in the mammal to avoid at least that problem. He said though that it is a Yamaha with Lehr's carbueration installed.
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Old 19-09-2014, 09:02   #9
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Re: Lehr 5hp Outboard - Quality Issues

somebody on CF is a Lehr dealer. I can't remember who though. Wonder if they have any insider info or fixes. I can't imagine Lehr is going to give up on their design without trying to rectify all of this
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Old 19-09-2014, 10:15   #10
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Re: Lehr 5hp Outboard - Quality Issues

HopCar is a dealer. He assisted me when I was getting used to my new Lehr 15 hp engine. These are new units, so I expected a few hiccups. Hiccups are over now and I am very glad I made the change. I found the service folks capable and the sales people supportive. I got mine at West Marine.
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Old 19-09-2014, 10:36   #11
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Re: Lehr 5hp Outboard - Quality Issues

I was an early adopter too. I bought my 5hp the first month it was out. There were a few minor issues. I had to return the first one due to shipping damage - not Lehr's fault and really a non-issue. Defender was very responsive and they and Lehr were interested in my comments regarding the packaging. I also had the issue with the cowl latches and Lehr promptly sent me new SS latches. Operationally the motor has been flawless for three seasons and customer service has been great. I really enjoy not dealing with gasoline. And keep in mind, this is not new technology to Lehr. They've been producing propane powered lawn and yard care equipment with the same fuel system for many years. I'm confident that they'll work out the bugs. [No affilliation, just a satisfied customer.]
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Old 19-09-2014, 10:51   #12
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Re: Lehr 5hp Outboard - Quality Issues

I have the 5HP. No issues to report yet, although it hasn't seen a lot of use yet. I'll subscribe to this thread.
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