The Wrangler was created with adventuring in mind. It’s one of the most capable 4WD vehicles, which is why you’ll see thousands of Australians riding in one. But even though the Wrangler is capable and durable, any off-road enthusiast will tell you that, in its stock form, it probably won’t be able to withstand everything that comes with the rugged Australian outback. That being said, you might want to consider looking into some Jeep wrangler parts and accessories meant for off-road use before you take on your first adventure out of the urban jungle.
While there are many different accessories, all of which are suited towards fulfilling a different task, there’s one accessory that isn’t talked about enough – the snorkel.
The snorkel is one of the most versatile Jeep Wrangler parts and accessories you can install. It allows your Wrangler to cross deeper water crossings, and it enables clean, dust-free, cool air to filter through to your engine. As a result, you get better performance, longevity and capability. The stock air intake is in the inner wheel arch or right under the bonnet. This means that the air your engine gets isn’t ideal, as it can be affected by things like water, heat and dust. All of this becomes a non-issue with a snorkel. Moreover, these Jeep Wrangler accessories can supply almost 50% more airflow over your stock air-intake system.
Besides being functional, the air intake can improve your Wrangler’s appearance. It’s an aftermarket upgrade that accomplishes a lot without breaking your bank. The fact that it’s also quite easy to install makes it even more attractive for a lot of people. But before you decide to get one, there are a couple of things you need to pay attention to, just like when you buy 4wd accessories of any kind.
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1. Sealed vs Unsealed Snorkels
There are two basic types of snorkels – sealed and unsealed. Sealed snorkels prevent dust and water from getting to the engine, whereas unsealed snorkels are meant to provide greater airflow without water protection in mind. That being said, serious off-roaders who’ll be taking their vehicles through dusty and wet trails will opt for sealed snorkels over unsealed ones, as the unsealed ones won’t offer the necessary protection on rugged tracks.
But regardless of whether you opt for a sealed or unsealed snorkel, make sure you don’t void your vehicles warranty and follow the owner’s manual to ensure you comply with recommendations for general vehicle operation and water wading.
2. Plastic vs Stainless Steel
Besides the construction, there’s not much of a difference between plastic and stainless steel snorkels. Most stainless steel snorkels are made from grade 304T steel. The key difference is style, but stainless steel also offers more robustness and structural rigidity, at the price of cost. Stainless steel is corrosion-resistant and generally a one-piece construction, making it capable of river and desert crossings.
That being said, it’s more important for the snorkel to be made by a trusted manufacturer than anything else. There are cheap imitations that are being pushed nowadays, but they will fail you before you know it. Quality made snorkels are designed to fit specific vehicle models and makes, and suit specific applications. So it makes more sense to pay more upfront in order to have peace of mind knowing the installation process will be seamless, and the snorkel will serve you for quite some time.
In order to make sure you get the right snorkel, buy 4wd accessories from aftermarket brands that specialise in manufacturing snorkels and other off-road accessories. Most of the time, this will mean that the product will come with a lengthy warranty for extra peace of mind.
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Most snorkels will come with step-by-step instructions, so if you’re handy with tools you can fit your own snorkel in a manner of hours. This is especially true for snorkels that are made for your specific Wrangler model and make. Generally, installation won’t take more than three to four hours, depending on the model. However, I understand if you don’t want to drill some holes in the side of your brand new Wrangler, so you might want to consider leaving the installation to the pros.
Ultimately, it will come down to your ability, willingness and confidence. Many people ask their local mechanic to do the fitting, whereas others ask the distributor of the snorkel to do their bidding for a seamless installation. If you’re going to install the snorkel yourself, one thing to keep in mind is to treat the holes for rust protection and ensure all the parts are 100% sealed.
Popular Snorkel Brands
Safari snorkels are made using Uv-stabilised polyethylene. It is an Australian manufacturer, so they make their snorkels based on the needs of Australian off-road enthusiasts. That being said, when installing a snorkel from the Safari range, you’re installing a capable aftermarket accessory suitable for use in the harsh Australian environment.
They’ve been in the snorkel manufacturing business for over 3 decades, so you can rest assured the snorkel you choose for your Wrangler will fit it perfectly and will last as long as your vehicle. Moreover, every product goes through extensive testing in a controlled environment to ensure optimum performance.
Just like Safari snorkels, Ironman snorkels are made using UV-resistant polyethylene. They use stainless steel mounting hardware to ensure structural integrity. The shape of Ironman snorkels is designed to ensure optimum airflow and to complement vehicle features. In other words, the snorkel doesn’t sit too far out or too high in order to ensure it’s compatible with other 4WD accessories such as side-steps, bull bars and bonnet accessories. Ironman snorkels are tested and tried before and after fitment to ensure performance and durability.
This brand makes its snorkels using LLDPE, a material that is compounded with additives, providing utmost hardness, ductility, UV and impact resistance. Every product goes through physical testing and computer simulation, and it takes into account the properties of the design, structure and powertrain of your wrangler. Airflow snorkels are designed to produce a cold air induction effect, which results in greater power and fuel efficiency.
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