There are many accessories that a 4×4 enthusiast can fit to improve their experience and assist their vehicle to conquer mother nature!
In my opinion, one of the cheapest and most effective products is to fit a snorkel to your 4×4.
Firstly a 4×4 looks awesome with a snorkel fitted – it lets everyone know you mean business! It is a big head turner!
Secondly, which is the important reason is that is allows cooler and cleaner air to be sucked into your engine. Most modern 4×4’s have the air intake pipe hidden within the front fender or under the bonnet. This is all very well for normal on road driving conditions, but on dusty gravel roads and the great outdoors, it is a dust trap that sucks the dusty and hot air into your air intake – which ultimately clogs up your air filter much quicker. One of our customers had to replace his air filter 3 times on his Botswana trip before he had a snorkel.
I personally am trying to break the myth that says: Fitting a snorkel allows you to wade in deep water! If you want to swim, rather get out and scuba dive! The general 4×4 rule with water crossing is to get out and walk it first. If it is too deep for you, it is too deep for your vehicle.
Just think about it? What about all the other parts on your vehicle that do not like getting wet – electrics, computer box, even your diffs need breather pipes to avoid sucking in water. If your snorkel is fitted correctly and sealed at all joints and your air intake box drainage hole is blocked off then theoretically you should be able to wade deeper with a snorkel – at least for diesel engines. If this is the only reason you want a snorkel, then I would advise you against purchasing and fitting a snorkel.
There is also the topic of better fuel consumption with a snorkel fitted! Although this is the case, I do not believe it will be a noticeable difference when you fill up your tank after you have fitted a snorkel but should give you a better acceleration at hi speeds, like overtaking. Note this is marginal and differs from vehicle to vehicle.
What about driving in the rain? The snorkel head is designed to disperse the rain drops down and out the vents at the snorkel head. So driving in the rain is not a problem unless you are driving in extreme rainy weather. You can turn your snorkel head around if you do water crossings to avoid splashing or in extremely heavy rains (but technically you would not be able to drive in these conditions in any event).
Things to remember once you have fitted a snorkel:
1) The car wash is out of bounds. Due to the machine brushing against the vehicle it might knock off or even damage the snorkel head. If you do intend using a car wash, rather drive in and remove the snorkel head and cover the snorkel opening at the top with a plastic bag and secure. This will avoid water being forced into the snorkel through the washing process. Just remember to remove the plastic packet before driving out again.
2) Our 3 year old boy, loves washing our 4×4 with the hose pipe. I almost forgot and said sure my boy – go wash the car for daddy! Lucky I stopped him as I am sure the snorkel head would have been the area of focus to squirt down!
Other than the above, it should be an “install and forget” product that adds character / personality and functionality to your vehicle for years to come!