Tohatsu 5hp propane outboard?

May 23, 2016
1,014
Catalina 22 #12502 BSC
I see discussions going on regarding propane tank sizes/storage issues, etc. Aside from that, looking for feedback on the Tohatsu 5hp propane unit. In the market to replace our old 4.5 2stroke 80's Merc this fall or next spring and looking for feedback from those with experience with propane outboards. Upsides seem obvious, what are the downsides?

Thx in advance guys!
 

JRT

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Feb 14, 2017
1,970
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
Lehr got a pretty bad rep and seems to have reliability problems. This probably turns off most to propane options. I seriously consider it on my O'Day 25 this year but because the only option was 5 hp and the added cost for a proper marine tank and then dealing with getting it filled I stuck with a Sailpro Ultra long 6hp. Running 100% gas and always running it dry after a sail has made my 2 little Tohatsu great and reliable.
 
Sep 14, 2014
1,066
Catalina 22 Pensacola, Florida
I went same route, 6 HP, comes with alternator, run it on 100% gas, run it dry when done, no start and run problems and sips gas. If you unplug the remote tank when you dock do not be in a hurry to go anywhere, it will run about 10 min plus before running out of on board gas in motor, tole ya it sips!
 
Oct 21, 2015
73
Catalina 22 Lafayette, IN
My other engine was an "original" with the boat........1986 2-stroke Mercury Sailpro. I thought long and hard and decided to go with the Tohatsu 5hp propane long shaft Sailpro (with an alternator). as I understand it, it's basically a Tohatsu gas engine with a different "carburetor" and a slightly different cylinder head. The Lehr did not impress me. I've used it a lot on a rental boat and it seems kind of chintzy.
I like that propane seems to burn cleaner, and there is little or no winterization required. Without liquid fuel there shouldn't be any orifices and jets to clog. I carry my engine in the back of my SUV while trailering long distances, and I like the idea of no spilled gas smell. It starts up super easy, but I assume any new engine should do that. Carrying fuel in metal tanks is a pain, as the tanks add weight and propane costs more than gasoline. I can run it off large tanks or the small (1 lb) portable grill tanks. Changing tanks (even on the fly) is fast, smell and drip free, and the engine restarts immediately. I've run out of propane once and the engines back running in less than 30 seconds. At the end of the sailing season I'll bring the tank home and use the remaining propane on the grill!
My last engine ran 30+ years. I'm 62 so if this runs half that I'll never be buying another one! It's unlikely that I will ever run the engine more than 2 hours straight at any one time, so in general it seems to suit me fine. The wife (boss) said to "go buy yourself a new engine" so I took her at her word! I have used propane engines for non-marine use and they run forever and stay very clean internally. We will see how this all works!

Mike
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,730
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
I'd go with Tohatsu -- my experience with them is first-rate. I just wish they'd do a 2-3 HP ~30lb unit in propane also. I currently use a 30 lb. Suzuki 2.5 I'd like to convert to propane, but TruFuel has been working well for me and the cost isn't an issue for the small amounts I burn.
 
May 23, 2016
1,014
Catalina 22 #12502 BSC
I have an '84 C22, so a plus for us would be propane tank in the port laz (if I can find a way to fit it, see other threads on that), no gas fumes/smell going to the cabin space as is a common issue on original C22's....right now the gas tank for the 2 stroke sits in the aft cockpit...not a big issue, but prefer to have it "stowed"...
 
Feb 15, 2018
12
Catalina 22 12512 WILLIAMSBURG
I have my tank in the port lazzerette and it just fit , even sitting in a milk crate.
 
Feb 15, 2018
12
Catalina 22 12512 WILLIAMSBURG
I love mine ! I was hesitant to spend the xtra $ but with gas issues I'm glad I did . Initial starting takes a few more pulls than a gas model which I imagine is purging air and filling the line since I turn off the tank and run it out at the end of a sail . Once it has run though it is one pull from then on. The motor is mostly the same with the exception of a regulator , throttle body , and head . The parts are Walbro and I figure they should be trouble free unlike fuel pump and carb immersed in gasoline additives all the time.
 
Feb 15, 2018
12
Catalina 22 12512 WILLIAMSBURG
It has the cowl vents only inches away from the tank . I also have checked for leaks with soapy water once in awhile just for afety sake . I used to get gasoline fumes all through the boat with the old tank in there so I no longer have that to deal with as well.
 

jviss

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Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
It has the cowl vents only inches away from the tank . I also have checked for leaks with soapy water once in awhile just for afety sake . I used to get gasoline fumes all through the boat with the old tank in there so I no longer have that to deal with as well.
Cowl vents won't help, propane is heavier than air, goes down.
 
Oct 21, 2015
73
Catalina 22 Lafayette, IN
You need to take care whether it's propane gas, or the fumes (gas) from a gasoline engine. Both flow and sink, both explode!
My propane tank sits on the cockpit floor next to the transom. If there were a leak, it should vent to the atmosphere and or flow out of the rear scuppers. When I shut down my motor, I do it by closing the tank valve till the engine starves itself and quits running. No fuel left in the motor or the supply lines. When not sailing, I store the propane tank(s) at home, just like a spare gas grill tank. If and when I run out of fuel while motoring in the boat, I don't have to lean over a hot, bouncing engine, trying to fill an integral fuel tank, spilling liquid gas over a hot engine in the process. It's all a matter of identifying, mitigating and managing the risks inherent in any fuel. Then deciding whether you wish to accept those risks. A diesel powered outboard would probably be safer overall, but diesels have their own issues. I fly (and work on) airplanes for a living. Most of the job involves managing risk, so I tend to think that way. I like some of the advantages of propane, and I think I am managing the propane risks fairly well, but am always open to further suggestions.... :)
 
Jan 25, 2011
2,228
S2 11.0A Anacortes, WA
“I fly(and work on) airplanes for a living. Most of the job involves managing risk,”

Well, don’t puff your chest up about managing risk on airplanes. I spent 37yrs designing BIG airplanes. We did not “manage risks”. We had regulations defined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that had to be met. It was not managing risks. If we did not meet the CFRs, and had an incident, lawsuits would occur and be lost. ABYC has “requirements” concerning propane. Not sure if they could be called regulations, but, if you had an incident with people aboard, you could be open to liability and your insurance could say Hasta la Vista!! BTW, your “plan” of propane in the cockpit doesnt take into account wind direction... My recommendation is meet the ABYC requirement that insurance requires..If you don’t have insurance and have passengers (friends), you are wide open...Then again, if you are dead, I guess it doesn’t matter..
 
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May 23, 2016
1,014
Catalina 22 #12502 BSC
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greg_m

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May 23, 2017
692
Catalina Jaguar 22 Simons Town
“I fly(and work on) airplanes for a living. Most of the job involves managing risk,”

"Well, don’t puff your chest up about managing risk on airplanes. I spent 37yrs designing BIG airplanes."

Gents, keep it real huh.... I live in South Africa... I have to manage risk in my sleep! ;):beer: