I recently won a raffle where the prize I chose was to have a snorkel supplied and fitted to my car – all free of charge.

The raffle was run by the Southsiders 4X4 Facebook group and the snorkel supply and fit was donated Fabwitz Industries, Harrisville, South East Queensland.

Watch the Video of Fitting the Snorkel to Pedro

Dreams of a Snorkel

Ever since I bought ‘Pedro’ the BT50 (derived from Queensland’s former Premier Peter Beatie – I’ll let you work through the connection), I’ve planned to fit a snorkel.

But, like most 4X4 accessories out there, ‘thoughts’ and ‘doings’ are often far apart – especially when you’ve been happily married for some 32 glorious years.

Even harder perhaps when one of the major arguments for fitting a snorkel is to help in deep water crossings. Yep, I can hear the discussion now… I cant even get the Minister for Finance and War to contemplate traversing a gravel road after our visit to the Victorian High Country a few years back. She’s still muttering obscenities.

What is a Snorkel

Quite simply, a snorkel is effectively a breathing tube for your car’s engine that is above the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM’s) standard air intake point.

4WD Snorkel
Snorkel as Fitted to Pedro

So Why Fit a Snorkel

When you scour the Interweb you’ll no doubt find three major reasons for fitting a snorkel to your 4×4 (or even a good tow vehicle).

But, I now think there’s an extra one I’ve come up with and another two that many don’t talk openly about on pages such as this.

So here we go:

My reasons for fitting a snorkel to a 4wd

First, deeper depths. As I’ve said above, just like a snorkel you might take to the beach, the car’s snorkel will allow your car to breath underwater. Well, up to the depth of the air intake in theory anyway.

But don’t push your wading depth to that extreme because there’s heaps of other considerations such as breathers for your differential and gear box etc as well as all your car’s computer gear and electronicals that need to be protected. Not to mention your car floating away and cabin air (or water in this case) intakes through the ventilation system and air conditioning. Just don’t do it.

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Snorkels and air intake

Secondly, breathing cleaner air. Your car’s air intake leads immediately to the air box that houses the air filter. From there, the air goes into the engine via all its management systems and carburettor. This then leads to the ignition of the fuel in combination with the air to drive the pistons and power the car.

The cleaner the air is the less work the air filter has to do; the less the air filter has to do the less the engine needs to suck for air to breath; and the less the engine needs to suck the more it can give on the power stroke; and less heat is generated along the way.

Snorkels draw air from about the height of the top of the passenger cabin. The standard air intake is often from under the bonnet in front of the engine or under the front side guards in and around the front wheels where dust and dirt can be drawn in.

Pelicans on the beach camp and travel

More on air intake

Thirdly, breathing in cooler air. As the snorkel draws air in from higher up (off the road) and away from the engine,  the air being drawn in is cooler. Even if only by a few degrees, this then gives the engine a somewhat small head start for temperatures – especially in countries like Australia.

For me, I’m finding about a 10-15 degrees Celsius drop in the intake air temperature on my car after fitting the snorkel.

Putting a snorkel on a 4wd
Up Where the Air is Clean

Now here’s the extra three I’ve come up with…

Fourthly, not sucking through a straw. The standard OEM intake point has a comparatively small 50mm in diameter compared to the new stainless steel intake of 95mm diameter. This equates to just over 3.5 times bigger. I know which one I’d rather breathe through in a marathon (if I was to run one).

Fitting a snorkel
Pedro’s OEM Air Intake Versus the New Fabwitz Intake

Snorkels look great on a 4wd

Fifthly, they look the goods. An otherwise good looking four wheel drive would be somewhat hamstrung in the appearance stakes if it didn’t have a cool (excuse the pun) snorkel. A snorkel can complete the whole picture.

Fabwitz’s snorkels come in a wide range of shape and colour options.

I’ve even heard (and seen) cases where someone has put two snorkels on their car – the second just for looks.

Dig the sound of a snorkel?

Sixthly, and finally, they sound awesome! That’s all there is to say really… That deep throaty sound just ticks all the boxes and I think the resonance of stainless steel sounds that bit better too. Especially when you know you’re getting safer water crossings, drawing cleaner and cooler air, reduced asthmatic-like respiration and it’s looking good.

For me, my new Fabwitz Industries Stainless Steel Snorkel ticks all the boxes.

Note: In keeping with government safety warnings and a bit of common sense – If It’s Flooded Forget It!

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