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Posted by on Oct 24, 2012 in Boat Show, Engines, Environment, Fuel, News and Events, Powerboating, Sailing, UK, US | 5 comments

Lehr 9.9 Horsepower Propane-Fueled Outboard to Debut at Fort Lauderdale Boat Show

The new fuel-efficient and eco-friendly 9.9-hp model is likely to be competitive in a big segment of the boating market.

A new propane-fueled Lehr 9.9 outboard motor will debut this week at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and reach the market in January, 2013, according to company president Capt. Bernardo Herzer, who just called me from California after completing a 40-mile, round-trip blast from Long Beach to Catalina and back in a 12-foot Lund boat powered by the Lehr 9.9 motor.

Lehr 9.9 propane outboard

The Lehr 9.9 during a test run in Southern California.

“We ran wide-open all the way with no problems,” said Herzer. “We think this motor will really demonstrate the potential of propane fuel for a marine engine.”

The new twin-cylinder 9.9-horsepower model will be offered alongside the single-cylinder 2.5- and 5.5-horsepower Lehr motors that were introduced in 2012 and won an Innovation Award at the Miami International Boat Show and the Green Product of the Year Award from West Marine. The 9.9 will take Lehr into a much larger market segment at a very popular power rating. The 212-cc four-stroke motor features F-N-R shifting and weighs 87.7 pounds in its lightest version, about five pounds more than a Mercury 9.9 FourStroke. It will be offered in both 15-inch and 20-inch lengths, with tiller or remote steering and optional electric starting. Pricing will start at $2,599.

Unlike the Lehr 2.5 and 5.0 models, the new Lehr 9.9 will not have a provision to be fueled from a one-pound “camp stove” propane canister mounted on the motor. At this horsepower rating that small fuel supply would be impractical. The Lehr 9.9 will be fueled by a 10- or 20-pound portable cylinder carried in the boat, which will be sold separately. A steel tank like those used for backyard grills will work, but Lehr dealers will sell private-labeled see-through composite tanks manufactured by Lite Cylinder  that are lighter than steel, non-corrosive, and probably a better choice for marine use.

Lehr 9.9

The new propane-powered Lehr 9.9 is similar in size and weight to a gasoline-powered outboard.

According to Lehr, the 9.9 model burns 0.44 gallons per hour at a 3,000-rpm cruise speed, and at that rate would operate for 10 hours on a 10-pound fuel cylinder. Herzer says the new motor was designed by the Lehr engineering staff, and will be assembled in China with components sourced around the world. A key component is a patented fuel-metering system that replaces the carburetor or fuel injection found on a gasoline-powered outboard. Because the propane is delivered under pressure, Lehr says owners can expect easy starting in hot or cold conditions.

Derived mostly from natural gas, propane is currently cheaper than gasoline in some markets when purchased in bulk. Propane is clean-burning, non-toxic, produces no evaporative emissions, and will not damage marine life. It’s also much cleaner and perhaps safer to have on board than gasoline for auxiliary power, a reason Lehr says its 2.5 and 5.0 models are attractive to sailboat and trawler owners who need auxiliary power, would rather not have gasoline on board, and may already carry propane as cooking fuel.

“Imagine boating without gasoline,” said Herzer. “No more ethanol problems, no more fuel additives, no more spilled fuel in the water. This is all attractive to the green consumer, but I think propane power offers advantages any small boat owner will appreciate.”

Herzer says the Lehr 9.9 will be sold through West Marine and other marine specialty retailers, and through independent marine dealers.

For more information, visit Lehr.

Charles Plueddeman


  1. I wonder how many horse power it would take to push a 17,000 # trawler at, say 5 knots? The fact that you don’t have to have gasoline on board is huge! The Lehr “kicker” could be mounted on the swim platform. Also, the fact that stored LPG doesn’t degrade with age is great for trawlers and their limited dinghy use.

    This is an exciting engine!

  2. Good work, Joe! I, too, live in NYC but take my Sea Eagle out when I can. I’ve had it as far afield as a solo river run just oustide of Glacier National Park in Montana, but trips closer to home have been just as great. A couple of summers ago I bungeed my 330 to a sturdy little folding cart, walked to the subway, rode up to the Bronx River (the only true river i.e., not a tidal inlet, etc. in NYC), inflated the kayak, paddled down the Bronx River, through the Bronx Botanical Gardens (portage past the falls at the old mill) and the Bronx Zoo (pulled out to rest a moment and found myself facing a dozen bison luckily there was a fence between, and luckily I didn’t pull out in the middle of the big cats paddock ) until finally pulling out in a riverside park, deflating, strapping all back on the unfolded carton and subwaying home. Urban adventure at its best! Cheers,Ken

  3. We would like to know if these motors will be suitable to push a heavy load. Our houseboats are 20 ton and we currently use the 2 x Yamaha 9.9 high thrust motors giving us about 5 knots with a prop size of 11 and 3/4 inch with 9 and 1/2 pitch and gearbox ratio of 2.92/1. Would these engines give us this result? What prop size and gearbox ratio would you use to push this heavy load?

  4. From our Outboard Expert, Charles Plueddeman:

    The Lehr 9.9 has a gear ratio of 2.08:1, so that’s going to be an issue to start, and while I don’t know the range of props offered by Lehr, I don’t think there’s a low-pitch option. The Lehr gearcase is not big enough to take the large-diameter prop you need for extra blade area.

    Your Yamaha and the Mercury Bigfoot models are designed specifically to push heavy boats at slow speeds—exactly your situation. The Lehr is designed as more of a sport/all-around motor. Unless you have a reason to run twin motors, you could consider switching to a Yamaha 25-hp High Thrust or even a single Mercury 40 Big Foot, which also has a larger gearcase designed to run a large-diameter prop with low pitch.

  5. Does the Lehr 9.9 electric start have shallow water drive or manual trim capabilities like the Mercury does? Also, can I run electronics with the manual start motor, or do I have to have the electric start motor for the battery charging function? Thanks for any and all info regarding these questions. Paul