A snorkel is an attachment for your 4x4 car. It is very typical to see one in Australia, as it is essential for touring in the outback. The main two reasons to have one are:
1. Reduce dust
1. Prevent water intake
A third possible benefit is the Cold Air effect, though this is different for each car and may or may not be present in yours.
What are the benefits of a Snorkel:
While touring off road or on dirt roads, dust will be harmful to your air intake. The snorkel can solve this problem two ways:
1. Elevated height
The elevation of a snorkel will shift the air intake from the majority and thickest of dust clouds which are closer to the ground. The particles which will get into the intake will be thinner and less numerous which the intake and engine will appreciate.
2. Filtration systems
Snorkels have filtration systems which remove dust and dirt which happens to get into it. These methods are different for the Ram and Vortex snorkels - generally the Vortex snorkel will be more effective at removing this dust.
One of the funnest parts of touring is crossing streams or rivers in your 4x4. This poses an obvious danger to the engine - the air intake sucking in water. This will greatly reduce power output and can damage parts. Snorkels solve this issue. They are positioned high at the top of the car, and contain a filtration method to avoid this.
Cold air intake:
The idea of a cold air intake is to move the intake further from the engine to increase power. This is because the intake is now drawing in cooler air as it is away from the heat generated by the engine. Cooler air is more dense and has more oxygen, which is why it can improve horsepower. Actual benefits can vary, but generally this will have only a small effect on your engine (a few additional horsepower, depending on your car). Supercharged and turbocharged cars will have larger benefits for this effect.
There are two main snorkel types, the Ram Snorkel and Vortex Snorkel. Both have the same purpose, with minor changes for operation and complexity.
Ram Snorkel VS Vortex Snorkel - efficiency, advantages, cost, etc.
A Ram snorkel is the basic design of the two types, meaning it is more common and can be cheaper. The head is shaped like a shovel and is typically forward-facing. The filtration system works because contaminants such as dust are rammed (where the name comes from) into the back of the shovel shaped head , and then forced outside of the system, while the clean air is forced through the system and into the engine. The Ram snorkel can only work when the car is moving and will operate more effectively when the car is travelling at higher speeds.
Ram snorkels can face forwards or backwards. The backwards facing snorkel is typically used during intense weather conditions where there is large amounts of dust because the majority will pass by without being drawn in. Many ram snorkels can be turned around just by hand when required.
A vortex snorkel is more complex, less common and can be more expensive. It also contains a turbine. The head is shaped like a flat cylinder. The method of filtration can be summarised four stages:
1. Air enters the turbine which causes it to move in a vortex (hence the name)
2. The air spirals around a cone shaped piece, which has a large hole at the top of it, giving the appearance of being cut in half.
3. The forces involved in the air spiralling throw the contaminants to the outside of the tray.
4. Once the air reaches the top of the head, it flows in the reversed direction, downwards, through the hole in the cone-shaped piece, and into the engine.
A vortex snorkel will be much more efficient at collecting dust and moisture than the ram snorkel. This means it is more reliable in an extreme-weather condition. Often a vortex type snorkel will be more durable than a ram type snorkel lasting longer.
Installation and Choosing the Right Snorkel:
At Suncoast Vehicle Accessories, our experienced staff are happy to talk about installing a snorkel for your next touring adventure. We understand that different cars need different parts. Contact Us for advice on choosing the right snorkel for you.
Will a snorkel provide more power to the engine?
Not necessarily. It is different based on your car, and the boost can only be in the range of a few horsepower. However this isn’t the main idea of a snorkel. The purpose of a snorkel is to protect your engine from dust and water which can otherwise be harmful.
Why do most ram snorkels face forward?
Ram snorkels will often face forward because otherwise the air isn’t being rammed into it, which is required for the filtration system.
Why do some ram snorkels face backwards?
Snorkels often face backwards when it is more beneficial to have dust pass by than use the filtration system. This is mostly during intense weather conditions.
Will the snorkel be damaged during a car wash?
It may or may not be damaged during a car wash. It is typically a larger issue for ram heads as they are more exposed. Some car washes will restrict 4x4s from entering, but this is more because of rare cases that may happen rather than what will. Definitely do not hose down the snorkel head, but regular car washing should not be an issue. Contact us if you have any concerns.