Do You Need A Snorkel On Your 4WD?

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Snorkels do more than make you look the part, they help keep possibly destructive water out of your engine by raising the air intake to your roof height. But did you know they can also help reduce dust intake and, in some cases, increase performance?

Ever notice most big trucks have a snorkel yet they rarely cross rivers? This is partly because when following on a dusty outback road, the densest dust is lower to the ground so the higher your intake the better for clean air.

The other benefit of a snorkel beyond keeping water out is the ram effect a forward-facing snorkel can create. Most snorkel tops, or hats as they are commonly called, face forward so when you are driving on the highway, the air is being forced down into your airbox. This is not a big help for modern turbocharged engines but older, naturally aspirated engines can get a performance benefit from the added air pushed in.

Then, of course, there is safety and confidence in your 4X4’s capability. Most manufacturers have intakes in the guards, near the headlights of your fourbie. This is to capture clean, cool air from the front as you drive but that also means they can gulp water when you cross a river.

Engines and water do not mix. Even as little as a cupful of water can cause catastrophic damage to the internals of some engines. A snorkel reroutes the path of air down from the hat, through your guard (typically) and into your airbox.

But how do they deal with rain? Good question and one that has a simple answer. As water is heavier than air, as it goes down the snorkel, it travels to the outside of the snorkel and intake and out specially designed drains, another reason to get a top-shelf product.

It is highly recommended that you get a snorkel from a leading manufacturer and have it professionally installed, as your snorkel is only as good as the seals in the joins to your airbox.


Tim van Duyl

Avid outdoorsman for Emprise Group, Tim is the Editor for Trade-a-Boat magazine and their content specialist overseeing major trips and events all-round Australia. With experience garnered from travelling the breadth and width of his home country New Zealand in all manner of ways, his mission is to see all Australia has to offer. Having already sampled Cape York, Murray-Sunset National Park, Wilsons Promontory and the bulk of Victoria’s West, he has plans to add to the small parts of WA and NT already seen. When not on the road you can find Tim passing time at lakes around Australia or in the high country camping with his close friends and family with the Murrindindi a popular spot.


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