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Old 19-04-2014, 20:34   #1
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Propane Availability Outside the US

We are getting set to cruise the South Pacific and considering the Lehr 15HP.
For those of you who do not know, the Lehr's run on propane and have great reviews.

My question, to cruisers, is specific to the availability of propane.

That is, would you rather refill your gasoline tanks or set out and fill propane tanks?

Thank you all
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Old 19-04-2014, 20:46   #2
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Re: Propane Availability outside the US

Cruising......gas any day. Weekend use propane wins. Our experience has been that finding gas is easy, propane is usually also easy, but on a very different timeframe. Also our OB gave us 0 trouble until it we returned to the US and shut it down for a month at a time.
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Old 19-04-2014, 20:59   #3
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Re: Propane Availability outside the US

My understanding is that propane is widely available but often not near the shore. This requires you to figure out transport while gasoline is usually available from a dock or very near the water.

It is not as available as gasoline, but any town big enough to have a forklift will probably have it. If you go with the propane engine, carry a little extra and don't miss an opportunity to top up.

With the Lehr 15 you'll want to feed the engine with liquid propane, not propane gas.

I'm building a little boat that will be powered by a Lehr 15 and I plan to use a forklift propane tank as they are designed to supply liquid propane.

Another way to supply liquid propane is to turn a regular tank upside down. I wouldn't leave it upside down as this defeats the overpressure vent. An upside down propane tank in a fire will vent liquid instead of gas and will create a much bigger flame.

Lehr sells fiberglass tanks which are really nice on a boat. They are lighter than metal tanks and you can see the propane level in them.

I'm a Lehr dealer and I would love the opportunity to quote you on one if you decide to go with a Lehr.
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Old 19-04-2014, 21:12   #4
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Re: Propane Availability outside the US

G'day, Mate. In New Zealand you will find what is referred to as LPG. It has a higher butane content, so may not be an option for your situation. There is higher propane gas available, but you may have to drive a considerabler distant to get it. In most propane ovens and stoves, the LPG will work, but you will get a lower temperature and some black residue on the bottoms of your pots.

Oh, and regardless, Kiwis are strict on your inspection dates on your tanks when you go to get them filled. They have to be current. All the best. Cheers.
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Old 19-04-2014, 21:22   #5
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Re: Propane Availability outside the US

If you decide on propane just be aware that not all countries will allow you to fill your tanks, some have specific requirements and tanks must be "In date", i have seen many frustrated people having to change tanks because of this.

In Australia the tanks will need to pass our standards and be in good condition and be stamped with a retest date for the tank before some will refill them, our standards are the same for New Zealand and a few of the pacific islands.

i don't know if this is world wide, but we also have to have european boats propane lines (plastic) replaced in Australia with copper before the boat can be imported.

LPG is widely used in Australia and NZ propane is only available at specific gas shops, so if your motor will only run on Propane forget it here as you will have problems finding it easily in all but the major centres
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Old 19-04-2014, 21:39   #6
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Re: Propane Availability outside the US

Whereas LPG isn't hard to find, gasoline is much easier plus its easier to borrow or lend from/to other cruisers.

The overall reliability of outboard engines has soared - our Honda 15 is in it's 14th year and still going strong despite the abuse we gave it in the South Pacific, Indonesia, etc.

By the way, neither New Zealand or Australia will fill fiberglass LPG tanks.

Have a great trip. Fair winds and calm seas.
S/V Rutea
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Old 19-04-2014, 21:43   #7
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Re: Propane Availability outside the US

Stochastic,

I wouldn't recommend it for the South Pacific. Gasoline (called petrol most places) is readily available. Butane is pretty available and will work in most propane stoves, although some require new jets. But to me, the big deal is that the small places out here would find the Lehr a curiosity; they won't fill fiberglass tanks; they know how to fix regular outboards most places, but not the Lehr.

IMO, your dinghy needs to be a bit like a reliable old friend roughish pickup truck: you haul stuff in it ranging from boat parts and dive gear to laundry and groceries. You want a simple setup , easy for you to maintain. Or wait till you get to Mexico and buy a 2 cycle Mariner or Yamaha there. Yes, you're not supposed to use them in the US, but they're all over out here; and more reliable than the 4 cycle motors we've seen.

Just my 2 cents.

Ann
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Old 20-04-2014, 00:35   #8
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Re: Propane Availability outside the US

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Originally Posted by nhschneider View Post
By the way, neither New Zealand or Australia will fill fiberglass LPG tanks.
I think you would do better to say that New Zealand and Australia LPG filling stations will only fill fibreglass or composite tanks if brand/model of tank has been registered with NZ and Aus authorities.

Some compressed natural gas tanks and liquid petroleum gas tanks in CNG-fuelled taxicabs and private vehicles in Australian cities are of composite construction.

Small number of composite tanks in Aus and NZ is likely because of small size of market. Tank manufacturers have to register their tanks. Not a priority for many companies, when Aus + NZ marketplace is tiny in size.

You can peruse current register of tanks approved by NZ and Aus authorities at several sites and even download Excel spreadsheet (which gets updated most every month) from: www.epa.govt.nz/Publications/Gas_Cylinders_Register.xlsx

Not many composite tanks, but a few.

Al
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Old 20-04-2014, 02:18   #9
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Re: Propane Availability Outside the US

You can't get bottles filled in Tonga at all..they have their own strange bottles and its on a swap basis.
Fiji and Vanuatu are easy....no problem to fill propane, butane or LPG bottles .
New Caledonia, only butane is available and bottle filling is strictly controlled and expensive.
I would leave the propane outboard at home and get a petrol driven one.
BTW in most pf the south pacific if you say "gas" it means propane, LPG or butane. Gasoline is called petrol....so your Lehr is a "gas" outboard, not a petrol one.
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Old 14-05-2014, 06:15   #10
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Re: Propane Availability Outside the US

I hope this thread is still alive enough to ask about what type of propane tank would be best to carry in the S Pacific. We plan on traveling that way in about 2 years. If one follows prudent practice, steel tanks would be less than desirable due to the corrosion issue. Aluminum would be less susceptible to that problem and composite being optimal. However, I also note here and elsewhere that filling may be difficult with swapping being more likely. I certainly don't want to invest in the more expensive tanks only to lose them the first time I go to have them refilled.

On my current boat I use the small propane bottles for my grill and use alcohol in an Origo one burner but will be going "all gas" when we venture out on the vessel I am restoring. We cruise on that large body of drinking water known as the Great Lakes and don't deal with that salty corrosion issue at this time. What have you more seasoned sailors encountered and what are your suggestions. Are there easy ways to protect steel tanks from corrosion knowing you will likely be handing them over when empty? Thanks!
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Old 15-05-2014, 03:44   #11
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Re: Propane Availability Outside the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albro359 View Post
You can't get bottles filled in Tonga at all..they have their own strange bottles and its on a swap basis.
Fiji and Vanuatu are easy....no problem to fill propane, butane or LPG bottles .
New Caledonia, only butane is available and bottle filling is strictly controlled and expensive.
I would leave the propane outboard at home and get a petrol driven one.
BTW in most pf the south pacific if you say "gas" it means propane, LPG or butane. Gasoline is called petrol....so your Lehr is a "gas" outboard, not a petrol one.
Whilst I agree regarding not using a propnae outboard in the SP, when did Tonga stop filling gas bottles? 2008 we refilled our bottles in Tongatapu, Ha'apai and Vava'u no problem? Using standard 3/4" LH thread female connections.
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Old 18-05-2014, 21:31   #12
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Re: Propane Availability Outside the US

Hi,
I have cruised the Pacific and Oz - now based in Thailand - BTW, I have a steel ketch and corrosion, once understood is not the bogeyman you lake sailors believe it to be! Vigilance and timeliness are key.
Galvanised gas tanks (LPG) would be my choice. Resurvey requirements vary between countries, but Australia has 5 (or is it 10?) years between resurveying a LPG tank.
Propane will require an adaptor to fill outside of the US areas more than likely - if you can get it at all. It seemed to be hit and miss in Australia, with some of the US cruisers I encountered, as to whether they could get the tanks filled, even when Propane was available.
If you get new tanks with a date stamp there should be no issue in filling them. Do not - if you have gone to the trouble of getting your own galvanised tanks - fall for a swap and go deal, those tanks will rust beyond recognition in no time.
You will need to re-jet cookers for LPG Vs Propane (due to BTU/Kg variation in the gasses). Most gas or cooking unit suppliers can source them for you and changeover is simple.
An Alden - I am turning green...... Fair winds
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Old 18-05-2014, 23:44   #13
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Re: Propane Availability Outside the US

I like the idea of galvanized tanks - better than plain steel anyway. There is an outfit nearby that has galvanized a few things for me and they are reasonable. I have checked and don't see any galvanized propane tanks - not even LPG tanks in the states.

Not afraid of a steel ship anywhere - I built 1000' lake freighters in the states - they last for a hundred years in fresh water - decades even on salt water, as you said, if you take care of them. I would even build one if I hadn't found this old Alden and fell in love with her.

Fair winds to you, sir.
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Old 24-05-2014, 20:09   #14
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Re: Propane Availability Outside the US

thank you all for the posts - Very helpful in making my decision.....which is....to go traditional. the idea of blazing a trail will have to wait a bit. Great advice all around.

Fair winds all....
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Old 24-05-2014, 20:50   #15
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Re: Propane Availability Outside the US

I have run into some posts covering US tanks outside of the US. There are adapter fittings you can acquire. Some places will only sell you an exchange tank. People use the adapters to mate these to their system. Some even use the new exchange tanks and adapters to partially refill their own permanent tanks. This is time consuming and requires proper technique. Sorry I can't seem to retrieve the in-depth article.
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