Maybe you’re new to the off-road community and you’re just starting to notice that a lot of your off-roading buddies have snorkels on their Jeeps. But what do those do? To save you from having to ask the club of experienced off-roaders, we’ve put together a guide to explain what they are, how to choose one, and what installation typically involves. Here’s what you need to know about air intake snorkels as a beginner.
What Does an Intake Snorkel Do?
You’re traveling with a convoy on a dusty road, and you’re stuck in the middle or back. Each vehicle ahead of you is stirring up dust and debris. Just guess where all that is going. Straight into your air filter. From there, your air intake is working overtime to provide small pockets of clean air for your engine. Or maybe you’re about to head through a river crossing; your air intake is about to be in serious risk of water ingestion.
Anyone who has spent time off-road can think of a hundred different scenarios where the elements are working against your air intake filter and seriously testing your system. This is where the air intake snorkel system helps out. It’s a solution to this problem before these off-road elements damage your engine.
An air intake snorkel moves your air intake point from the engine bay, where it’s low and vulnerable, to a much higher position. This new position is much safer as it pulls in air that’s cleaner, cooler, and drier.
In basic terms, the air intake snorkel is a pipe that runs outside of the hood to offer more height to pull in air — avoiding any dirt and water coming over the undercarriage.
Choosing a Snorkel for Your Rig
Determining which air intake snorkel setup is best for your vehicle depends on what you intend to use it for and how. The main difference you’re going to run into from one snorkel to the next will be the height of the snorkel. This will start from short extensions to heights extending the roof line of your rig.
Another thing to consider is where you want to mount the unit. Unless you want it to come through the hood, your best option is a kit that comes out from the inside of the wheel well, runs along the hood/fender lines, and sits next to the windshield.
However, there are certain vehicles that have more mounting options. If you drive a Jeep, you have more options for mounting — various models have knock out panels, space before the windshield, etc. Then you can choose based on height instead of mounting ease.
Installing Your New Intake Snorkel
Installation will depend on your vehicle and type of kit you’ve purchased. As far as how it matches up to the intake, it usually works by attaching to the intake with a coupler. From there, you’ll need to cut a hole where you intend on having it exit the engine bay. This could be the hood, inner fender/wheel well, or the outside of the fender.
Vehicle specific kits will instruct you on how to cut this hole and run it out of the engine bay. Then you’ll seal the hole off to protect the engine bay. Thinking about getting around cutting? There’s really no way to compromise here. There are kits that require minimal cutting, but you’re going to have to realize that cutting through the fender or hood is easier than having a hydrolocked engine.
Once you get the snorkel attached to the intake and running out of the engine bay, it will mount according to the manufacturer and your vehicle. Most kits provide mounting hardware. Installation time should take between 45 minutes and two hours. Don’t rush it!
Using a snorkel on your SUV or truck is a great way to open up new paths without putting your engine at risk. Pick one up and you’ll be able to travel on trails of dust, mud, or water without worry!