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Old 08-02-2013, 18:50   #1
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Lehr Propane outboard: horizontal tank? liquid propane?

I just bought a 5hp Lehr propane outboard and a 20lb fiberglass tank for it. I'm about to mount it but now I'm wondering, can I actually put the tank horizontal? (it's a "normal" cylinder, designed for upright use as far as I can tell) It's fit waaay better on its side.

It seems that if a regular cylinder is on its side, it's pickup will be sucking liquid and not be in the vapour area. From what I've read, most (all?) propane powered devices will go boom or be damaged by liquid propane coming into the line (huge volume expansion on phase change). All the advice I've got so far has been for generic propane devices and they say a resounding NO, mounting a tank the wrong way is bad.

But...both the 2.5hp and 5hp Lehr have a built-in compartment for a regular 1lb propane tank which puts the tank horizontal in normal use.

Link to engine with horizontal 1lb tank (green)

My question then is: are propane engines or even more specifically, the Lehr outboard, perfectly happy with horizontally mounted tanks? Is their carb happy with liquid propane? Are the two possible fuel input ports (the build-in 1lb and external) handled differently?

I know this is a great question for the dealer but we have a long weekend here and I really want to sail...now


Thanks for any info!
(I'll call the dealer as soon as I can and post here in case anyone else is interested)
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Old 08-02-2013, 19:54   #2
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Re: Lehr Propane outboard: horizontal tank? liquid propane?

I had the same question and got two different answers. I first played with the Lehr at the boat show">Miami Boat Show almost exactly a year ago. I pointed out that when running on the small bottle, the engine would get liquid propane and on a regular tank it would get vapor. I was told that the motor could handle either liquid or vapor.

I brought the subject up again at the Ft. Lauderdale show and was told they needed vapor. Maybe I was confused because we were showing the 9.9 which can't be run on the small bottles.

Until you can get an answer from Lehr, I'd keep the tank up right. I'll be working the Lehr booth and selling Lehr outboards in my booth next week. I'm going to nail this down. If you get the answer before I do, please let me know.

I'm going to buy a 9.9 as soon as they are available but I'm going to run it off a horizontal aluminum tank that will deliver vapor not liquid.

Have you started your's yet? Don't forget to add oil! At the Lauderdale show I started and stopped one all day long. On only two occasions did it take two pulls and that was because I was getting lazy!
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:09   #3
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Re: Lehr Propane outboard: horizontal tank? liquid propane?

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I

Maybe I was confused because we were showing the 9.9 which can't be run on the small bottles.

Ummm... there's a data point I hadn't seen (or noticed) before...

Hmmm...

-Chris
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Old 10-02-2013, 20:32   #4
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Same as forklifts?

I just got hold of the dealer I purchased from in Washington. I'm not very confident in his answer.

He didn't really seem aware of the possible problem and after I described it, he said his forklift runs with horizontal or vertical tanks so the Lehr should too. Now I've read that forklift tanks are specially made for this application and deliver vapour regardless or orientation. When I told the dealer this, he then said it didn't matter because the propane will vapourize in the line long before it gets to the carb and even if it didn't the liquid wouldn't hurt anything. I've read that propane liquid can be corrosive and regulators need to be designed to handle it.

So I'm no better off. Will call other dealers this week.
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Old 10-02-2013, 20:41   #5
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Re: Same as forklifts?

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I just got hold of the dealer I purchased from in Washington. I'm not very confident in his answer.

He didn't really seem aware of the possible problem and after I described it, he said his forklift runs with horizontal or vertical tanks so the Lehr should too. Now I've read that forklift tanks are specially made for this application and deliver vapour regardless or orientation. When I told the dealer this, he then said it didn't matter because the propane will vapourize in the line long before it gets to the carb and even if it didn't the liquid wouldn't hurt anything. I've read that propane liquid can be corrosive and regulators need to be designed to handle it.

So I'm no better off. Will call other dealers this week.
These people don't think fork lifts are dual op.

Propane Forklift Cylinders and Industrial LP Gas Bottles

Propane powered forklifts primarily use 33 pound cylinders as their fuel source and are equipped for liquid service. Because the cylinders are designed for liquid service, they have to be placed properly on the lift truck to operate correctly. Improper cylinder installation can result in loss of power and eventually complete loss of engine functionality.
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Old 10-02-2013, 21:02   #6
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Re: Lehr Propane outboard: horizontal tank? liquid propane?

I think Cal40John is correct. The tanks are designed to deliver vapor or liquid depending on the application. If you take a vertical tank that is designed to deliver vapor and put it on it's side you will get liquid at fairly high pressure.

I think the dealer was wrong to tell you it would vaporize in the hose. I know the 9.9 prototype Lehr I played with at the Lauderdale show had a water warmed vaporizer so maybe it wouldn't mind getting liquid propane. I asked why the smaller engines didn't have it and was told they didn't need one. So that still doesn't answer your question.

Lehr will have an engineer at the Miami show this week. I'll try to pin this down. In the mean time keep your tank upright.

If you need the answer sooner, don't bother with other dealers, we're all still learning about these things. Just send an email to Lehr's customer service and ask them to pass it on to an engineer.
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Old 11-02-2013, 16:45   #7
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Re: Lehr Propane outboard: horizontal tank? liquid propane?

Ngermain, The answer is yes you can feed the engine liquid propane.
I passed your question on to the local Lehr sales rep, a nice lady named Margo.
Margo passed it on to Lehr. Following is the answer she got.

Margo,
Yes, the composite tanks (and any tank for that matter) can be laid on its side.
If laid on its side, liquid propane will flow to the engine at first until the liquid level is low enough to be below the tank valve.
But all of LEHR engines can run on either liquid or vapor propane. So the tank can be positioned any way they want.

About the 9.9 -- the 9.9 at extended full throttle will run best if fed liquid from either a Lehr liquid draw tank sitting upright, or a normal vapor tank turned sideways or upside down.
We ship a 10’ hose with the 9.9, so I usually set a BBQ tank up in the bow of the boat, laying on its side with the valve angled down, so it can feed liquid into the hose (at least until the tank is about 1/3 full)

I won’t see you in Miami this year, too much going on to get the (CENSORED BY HOPCAR) going!

Thanks,
David
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Old 11-02-2013, 18:29   #8
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Re: Lehr Propane outboard: horizontal tank? liquid propane?

Thanks very much HopCar! That's an authoritative answer, very helpful. What a great forum.

The tank will fit nicely now, horizontally in the stern.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:03   #9
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Re: Lehr Propane outboard: horizontal tank? liquid propane?

Hoppie, back to that "can't use the small cans on the 9.9" thing...

Wouldn't there be a way to use one of those with a hose to the motor fitting? Just as if it were a large tank?

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Old 12-02-2013, 09:00   #10
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Re: Lehr Propane outboard: horizontal tank? liquid propane?

Chris, yes you could use an adapter to hook a small tank to the hose. In theory you could get about 15 minutes of running at WOT from the one pound container.

" Maybe I was confused because we were showing the 9.9 which can't be run on the small bottles."
When I said that I meant that they didn't have a way to screw in a small bottle like the 2.5 and 5 hp motors do.

After what David from Lehr said about the 9.9 liking liquid propane I wonder if the little bottles can supply enough volume of propane to run a 9.9 at WOT. When I get my 9.9 I'll try it.
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Old 12-02-2013, 16:13   #11
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Re: Lehr Propane outboard: horizontal tank? liquid propane?

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Chris, yes you could use an adapter to hook a small tank to the hose. In theory you could get about 15 minutes of running at WOT from the one pound container.

" Maybe I was confused because we were showing the 9.9 which can't be run on the small bottles."
When I said that I meant that they didn't have a way to screw in a small bottle like the 2.5 and 5 hp motors do.

After what David from Lehr said about the 9.9 liking liquid propane I wonder if the little bottles can supply enough volume of propane to run a 9.9 at WOT. When I get my 9.9 I'll try it.

Thanks, that'd be a useful data point. I wasn't thinking about WOT so much as having a spare "just in case" can... or using small cans when it's just a short putt-putt to the town dock for a restaurant or something...

-Chris
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Old 12-02-2013, 22:13   #12
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Re: Lehr Propane outboard: horizontal tank? liquid propane?

Chris, what kind of boat are you thinking of putting it on?
When you're ready to buy, I'd love the chance to quote you on it.
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Old 13-02-2013, 17:17   #13
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Re: Lehr Propane outboard: horizontal tank? liquid propane?

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Chris, what kind of boat are you thinking of putting it on?
When you're ready to buy, I'd love the chance to quote you on it.

Heh... remember we've been talking in e-mail about it; I'm sorta waiting for your hands-on eval...

The boat is a Walker Bay Genesis 310 FTD.

-Chris
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Old 13-02-2013, 22:35   #14
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Re: Lehr Propane outboard: horizontal tank? liquid propane?

Right! My CRS has kicked in.
I hope to see the Lehr guys tomorrow at the Miami show.
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Old 24-02-2013, 14:26   #15
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Re: Lehr Propane outboard: horizontal tank? liquid propane?

Does anyone know how to flush these engines? All flushing attachments I can find don't come close to fitting the intake port on the bottom. It's not on the side (like the ear muff style flushers can handle) it's right on the back so really no suction cup can seal on that. The manual says "use a flushing attachment" but I can't find a style that could possibly fit. And I don't see anything on the Lehr site.

Am I missing something simple? is there another opening some place where I can get water in?

Or am I being overly anal for wanting to flush and spray fogging oil in the plug hole after each use?
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