What Does a Snorkel do?

And How Does it Work?

So, you've just lifted your truck, added giant tires, and are ready to hit the trails, right? Well, what are you going to do when you come to a creek or river?

Surely, you are not going to turn around and go home.  Which is why you will probably need one more off road accessory, before you hit the trail. 

As you've already clicked on this article and read the title I'm sure you know that the accessory is a snorkel.  Continue to read to find out what a snorkel is, how it works, and why you need one!

What is a Snorkel?

A snorkel is an accessory for off road trucks and Jeeps.  It attaches to your engines air intake, and raises from under your bonnet to roof height. This offers two main advantages.  One being access to cleaner and cooler air, and the other being less of a chance of water entering the engine when crossing those creeks and rivers.

The intention of a snorkel is:

  • To raise the level of the air intake to reduce the chance of water entering your engine when crossing water
  • A higher air intake will reduce the amount of dust entering the system
  • To allow cooler air to enter your engine
  • To produce a ‘ram effect’. The air is rammed into your engine using your vehicles forward motion rather than the engine sucking air in.

    Snorkel Types

    There are 2 main types of snorkel Ram Snorkel Vortex Snorkel.  The snorkel heads Both are designed to achieve similar results, but they do so in different ways.

    Ram Snorkel

    When the vehicle is stationary, air is sucked into the engine through the snorkel as usual. Air filters etc clean the dust and moisture out of the air.   As the vehicle starts to move forward, air is rammed down through the ‘scoop’ of the snorkel. The heavier dust and moisture particles are forced against the back of the snorkel head and are then vented through the drain holes at the bottom of the snorkel head.   Clean, moisture free air is rammed into the air intake. Additional cleaning of the air is performed by the standard air filters in the engine.

    Vortex Snorkel

    When the vehicle is stationary or in motion, air is sucked through a series of ‘blades’ at the bottom of the snorkel head. These blades cause the air to rotate around the snorkel head. Centrifugal force then throws the particles aside where they are collected in the bottom of the bowl. The clean, moisture free air is then drawn into the snorkel and down into the engine.


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