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How Does an Off-Road Snorkel Work? Detailed Guide

While snorkels are useful for many off-road applications, crossing water is obvious. After all, they’re called snorkels. The use of a snorkel is necessary if you are crossing water up to your engine. How does an off-road snorkel work?

Off-road snorkels are essential in completing the fuel combustion cycle. Snorkels allow your vehicle to access more air which in turn makes the vehicle breathe cleaner and cooler air free from contaminants. You don’t have to worry about your airbox getting wet with a snorkel even in the rain.

The snorkel is a great way to make your car more efficient. It allows the engine air intake to be in a cleaner, cooler, and better position than before so that you don’t have as many issues with water entering or dust kicking up while crossing rivers/high tides!

How Does an Off-Road Snorkel Work?

The grid at the opening of the snorkel causes rain and moisture to hit the walls of the air ram, according to Bryan of Safari 4×4 Engineering.

The water then slides down the walls and out the strategically placed holes at the end of the snorkel. Moisture-free air enters the intake and engine by allowing water to pass through and exit the air ram. Your engine remains dry even in the pouring rain.

The snorkel system is installed onto the air intake, creating a seal to keep water out while allowing the air intake.

The snorkel pipe runs through the hood and up the passenger side windshield post where it is securely mounted. With an opening extended high above the roofline, a chance for sucking in water is low.

The below video is a great way to understand the working principle of snorkel:

Benefits of a Snorkel During Off-Roading:

Snorkels can be an excellent upgrade for you if you do a lot of off-roading. Besides enhancing the aesthetics of your rig, snorkels can also improve fuel efficiency, increase performance, and reduce wear and tear. 

1. Protection from The Elements:

No matter what the weather, a snorkel offers protection from the elements. Despite the inconvenience of seeing your truck cut up, you can more than make up for it by improving its reliability. 

2. Protecting Filters in Snow Areas:

When operating in snowy environments, the opening of the air ram can be reversed to prevent snow from melting into the filter and clogging the snorkel. Therefore, a blocked air ram will cause the paper filter elements to fail.

3. Boost Engine Performance:                                                  

Due to its elevated position, a snorkel can enhance engine efficiency by drawing in cooler, cleaner, and uncontaminated air. A vehicle’s engine bay is typically filled with hot air that can contain dirt, grease, and dust as it drives. When needed, this translates to better power and performance.

4. Prevents Engine Clogging:                                                    

Humans protect themselves from being inhaled by dust and dirt by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). Imagine what dust would do to the internals of your four-wheel drive if it required a mixture of fuel and oxygen. A snorkel is a kind of personal protective equipment.

5. Improved Fuel Efficiency:                                                      

Snorkels keep particles like dust and water from entering your engine. Snorkels come in various models and sizes. With a snorkel installed at roof height, cleaner and cooler air are taken in, enhancing fuel efficiency and keeping your air filters clean.

6. Maintenance is Reduced: 

Cleaning the air filters means less wear and tear and less maintenance.

Recreational 4×4 Driving with Snorkel:

From the roof level, the air is pulled in. The air is cooler and cleaner at that level because it is less disturbed. It’s not advisable to use the air closer to the engine because it’s hot and full of contaminants. Therefore, trucks are designed with tall and thin snorkels. 

Snorkel Materials And Head Types: A Rundown:

How Does an Off-Road Snorkel Work

A snorkel elevates the air intake, allowing you to draw in cleaner and cooler air than the air drawn in around your engine bay.

If you’re looking for the perfect snorkel for your rig, there are many great options.

The Materials of Snorkel Include:

  • This type of Plastic – known as linear low-density polyethylene (aka Plastic) – resists the sun’s rays adequately. When coated with a black carbon additive, the material becomes even more resistant to sunlight.
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Plastic is a very cheap, low-quality plastic used to make DIY snorkels.
  • Stainless steel is very durable and expensive but not as rust-proof as mild steel.
  • Stainless steel is the most expensive option if you want a durable snorkel.

What is Off-Road Exhaust?

Snorkel Types:

How Does an Off-Road Snorkel Work

There are two kinds of snorkels for vehicles, one with an air ram head and the other with a vortex head. Both filter water and dust. However, the purpose of the filtration process is what differentiates one from another.

1. RAM Snorkel:

Dirt and water are forced inwards until the air ram snorkel flushes out their upper vents. The remaining purified air is then forced and eventually reaches the engine.

2. Vortex Snorkel:

Snorkels with Vortex Blades – Push dirt and water upwards with a circular force created by the blades. Through small holes, dirt and water are gradually sucked out until nothing is left but clean air.

3. Mushroom Snorkel:

Slits and tightly enclosed design allow easy removal of dust and water from mushroom snorkels—an amalgamation of Ram and Vortex variants.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know before you buy whichever snorkel looks good on your four-wheeler.

Safari Snorkels:

Safari’s range of recreational 4x4s and commercial 4x4s represents the latest engineering innovations in automotive engineering. Each product release results from an extensive research and development program that produces a totally engineered and thoroughly tested package.

Safari 4×4 Engineering has been designing and manufacturing automotive snorkels and 4WD performance systems for decades to enhance the performance, durability, and driveability of 4×4 vehicles.

For decades, Safari pioneered automotive snorkels seen on classic Fords, GM Isuzus, Jeeps, Land Rovers, Mazdas, Mercedes, Mitsubishis, Nissans, Suzukis, Toyotas, and Volkswagen four-wheel drives.

Safari’s trademark lies in the quality and durability of its components, the attention to detail in every system, and the belief that “product performance must always be reliable.”

Best Snorkel for Jeep Wrangler JL and Gladiator JT (2018 to 2022):

How Does an Off-Road Snorkel Work

With a snorkel, you won’t need to cut any panels on your Jeep Wrangler or Gladiator. The snorkel is placed over the existing hood panel after the existing panel has been removed. Snorkels for the Wrangler and Gladiator (2018-2022) can be interchanged. 

The snorkel has been designed to make waves by being over-engineered to be less invasive, perform better, and install easier than any other snorkel we’ve ever designed. As if they were part of the original design of the Jeep, the entire system and its components look right at home. In this regard, the snorkel excels. Defy water crossings with the High Mount Intake by swapping out the low air intake.

Best Snorkel for Toyota Tacoma (2016 to 2022):

How Does an Off-Road Snorkel Work

You can relocate your engine’s intake air point from under the hood, where it is relatively low and vulnerable, to a higher and safer location where you’ll have access to a constant supply of cool, clean, dry air. Safari snorkels are made from polyethylene that is incredibly resilient and UV stable. Before your next trip, install a safari snorkel to protect your engine.

It fits perfectly and comes with a complete mounting kit that includes all the necessary fasteners.

Snorkel Installation:

A snorkel is the best way to ensure your engine gets the cleanest, purest air possible, whether you’re on or off-road. When you’re driving through heavy rain or dusty terrain, a snorkel can still be beneficial even if you’re not crossing rivers or battling high tides.

The engine is supercharged by;

  • Reduce the possibility of water entering your engine by raising the air intake level
  • Cools your engine by allowing cooler air to enter
  • Ensures less dust enters your engine

It is relatively easy to install a snorkel over the weekend.

As you will need to cut through some part of your 4×4 to install a snorkel, that will be the hardest part. The fenders and even the hood might need to be cut.

The wading height and ground clearance of your 4×4 are two things you need to consider before installing a snorkel.

  • In terms of water resistance, the wading height is the height of your 4×4. You can protect your vehicle’s engine and other vital parts, as well as the cabin, from water intrusion, by determining the leak instantly.
  • Terrain clearance describes the distance between your 4×4 underside and any given terrain. This awareness will help you gauge the distance between your vehicle’s bottom and the muddy or watery surface.

Due to this, snorkels provide an obvious advantage in crossing water since most vehicles only go three-quarters of the way up to the tire. In the event of water ingress into the engine, you cannot dig deeper than the top of the tire. A rebuilt diesel engine is therefore necessary.

The most common misconception regarding snorkels is that they're only used for crossing water; in reality, they're mostly used for driving in a lot of dust and getting cooler, fresher air into an engine. In addition, they can be used to deal with snow when the vehicle's top is covered with a lot of snow.

Do Snorkels Reduce Airflow?

Snorkel does not reduce airflow; rather snorkels are designed in such a way that airflow is increased. You can also turn the air backward to get a cooler, cleaner air flow into the vehicle if snow accumulates in the intake or across the radiator. Our wheels turn up dust when we travel down dusty roads for hours on end, which is why our air intake comes in handy.

Safari snorkels have very clean and very cool air coming from the top, and the air that goes into your car’s engine is of much better quality and much cleaner air, which is much better for your car.

Snorkels are a great way to increase airflow and keep your engine from having as many problems. The ‘ram effect’ of moving forward creates fresh, clean air which goes right into the combustion chambers.

Also Read:

What are The Best Winches for Off-Roading?
Why Airbags Are Useful During Off-Roading?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How does a snorkel affect fuel economy?

Snorkels ensure that the air entering your engine is clean and cool – keeping out any particles that would interfere with the engine’s performance as well as taking the strain off your air filters.

The engine usually draws air from the engine bay, so snorkels provide more air. The snorkel helps your engine run more efficiently by allowing it to breathe better.

What is the effect of snorkels on airflow?

By using forward motion to push clean air into an engine, snorkels increase airflow to the engine.

Moreover, with forced-air intake instead of the engine sucking in air, your engine receives more of what it needs.

What is the reason for some snorkels facing backward?

Some drivers have chosen to face the snorkel’s grid in the opposite direction, even though it has the ram effect.

If there are extreme circumstances such as dusty roads, heavy tropical rain, or heavy snow – enough snow may block the intake grid and starve the engine of air – then the snorkel should be placed forward.

Is it possible to drive in the rain while wearing a snorkel?

It is possible. Snorkels are designed to keep rain and moisture out with their shape and grid at the opening.

Water that enters the air ram travels along its walls to drain slots below. The slots prevent the water from getting close to the engine.

What is the exact function of a snorkel?

The air is drawn in from the roof. As a result, air at that level is cooler and cleaner since it is less disturbed. 

The air is hot and full of contaminants close to your engine, so it can’t be used. Therefore, truck snorkels are tall and thin.

By doing this, your vehicle benefits because a computer on it, or modern vehicles at least, measures the input it receives. You get more power and fuel economy from the cooler air.

What is the cost of truck snorkels?

Snorkels don’t cost that much, despite your expectation of a price of several thousand dollars. A truck snorkel kit costs between $400 and $700, according to 4WP.

Considering it looks cool and is also a conversation starter, that’s not bad at all. There’s no doubt you’ll get a lot of questions about these devices if you install one.