How A Raised Air Intake Works

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What Is A Snorkel Or Raised Air Intake?

A snorkel is a device often used on an overland vehicle that moves the engine’s air intake from under the hood – usually from the wheel arches – to a position at roof height. The device is connected to the engine’s intake with a coupler and ran out of the engine compartment through a hole in the fender.

From here, the snorkel runs up along the A-pillar before terminating at a point near the top of the cabin. A watertight seal is produced at all joints in the system through the use of gaskets as well as silicone sealant.

How raised air intakes work

Reasons Why You Need A Snorkel

Increase The Vehicle’s Rated Wading Depth

The use that people often associate with a snorkel on a vehicle is preventing water from entering the engine. If water does make its way into your engine it could damage it severely, require repairs or even a rebuild.

The snorkel can prevent this from happening when making water crossings, but the use of snorkels for wading is actually only the secondary purpose.

4Runner in the Sahara Desert

The Main Reason: Cleaner Air For the Engine

More often, overlanders install a snorkel in order to provide the motor with cleaner air. By raising the position of the air intake to an elevated position, a snorkel helps to prevent high density dust kicked up by the wheels from entering the air system.

Dust is kicked up into the fenders while driving and hangs in the air when riding in a convoy. Snorkels are especially useful for the second and consecutive rigs in an overland convoy.

Watch how Andrew St Pierre White explains

The Two Types of Raised Air Intakes

Ram Snorkel

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A ram snorkel offers a front facing intake on the top of the unit. During normal operation, the engine will suck air into the snorkel.

When the vehicle moves, air is “rammed” into the head. Heavy dust and moisture are forced onto the back wall and then drain through vents.

Vortex Snorkel

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A vortex is mushroom-shaped and makes use of angled vanes along the bottom of the head to rotate air.

The centrifugal force generated flings heavy particles onto the walls, while the air makes its way down the snorkel to the intake.

After driving for hours in a dusty convoy, this is how much our air filter was affected even with a snorkel


As one of the first overland modifications you consider, it is important to remember that you will need to cut a hole in the fender for the unit to run through. A properly fitting device will also need to be securely bolted to the fender as well.

The edges of all holes should be prepared so that they do not rust.  If these cuts in the metal are not rust-proof, they may develop corrosion issues down the road.

It is recommended to use a one-piece snorkel if possible. Each joint within the system is a point for potential leaks, and these joints will work themselves loose over time.

Safari Snorkel Intake Kit
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If possible, try to source a raised air intake that was designed specifically for your off-road vehicle. Not only will these parts fit your vehicle body snuggly, they will not require any modifications to your engine’s internal intake assembly.

Finally, it is important to remember that a snorkel alone will not make your rig capable of running in deep water.  It is important to determine what the manufacturer’s wading depth is for your vehicle.

A snorkel will not prevent water damage to cabins, fluid reservoirs, or electrical components.

ARB Safari AirMax Snorkel Intake Kit - SS172HPARB Safari AirMax Snorkel Intake Kit – SS172HP


Avoiding dust, water and snow ingestion is essential for keeping your 4×4 moving down the trail.

Safari Snorkels relocate an engine’s air intake from a low, vulnerable position to a high, safe location where a constant supply of cold, clean air is available. Featuring the new ARMAX design, the new Toyota Tacoma snorkel for the 3rd generation model is the start of a new generation of raised air intakes from Safari Snorkel.

Tested and verified on an airflow bench, each ARMAX design ensures that the airflow through the snorkel meets or exceeds that of the factory inlet design. This ensures that if the owner wishes to increase their engine’s performance (ECU, exhaust, forced induction), the snorkel will meet those needs while providing the cold, clean air that is a standard benefit from any Safari Snorkel model.

The SS172HP ARMAX outperforms the CFM flow of other brand Tacoma application snorkels by 10%. 16-Current Toyota Tacoma; Raises air intake to prevent water ingestion, while also allowing vehicles to utilize clean air when driving in dusty conditions; Vehicle specific design and factory airbox adaption fitment; Manufactured using durable, UV stable cross linked polyethylene material; Unique air ram design acts as a highly efficient water separator to remove rain water form incoming air stream; 10% higher CFM for this application over other brand snorkels; California Residents: WARNING

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Ferenc Elekes has been a devout Overlanding enthusiast for many years. During that time, Ferenc has explored 75 countries on six continents, with overland travel involved in 40 countries on three continents. From his trusty 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with a roof-top tent, he’s blogged about experiences that can only be found in the remotest regions on Earth. Along the way, he's gained in-depth knowledge of the novel challenges overlanders encounter and practical ways to meet them. On his website, he shares informed opinions about everything from the best overland gear to how to get a vehicle unstuck. Ferenc has also written for Ih8mud, the Expedition Portal, the Overland Journal, and he is often invited as a guest to outdoors-related podcasts.
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