Mark D Stephens: Adventurer, writer, photographer, ambassador of the sonoran desert
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Equipment Review and Evaluation:
ARB Safari Snorkel

Old Man Emu jeep suspension review

Locate a dealer from ARB USA:
www.arbusa.com

First impression
This is an exciting thing to purchase for sure. You'll be thinking, "I'm going to look cool now!"

. . . And then later, "The hole in my fender has to be HOW BIG?!?"

Installation
Very straightforward, but commiting. Get your holesaw sharpened up and say a prayer for your Jeep body, because it will never be the same again.

Specialty tools needed: rivet gun (for modding the air box). The process is easy, I promise. Retail value on a rivet gun is about $15 or so.

Performance
ARB safari Snorkel for the Jeep TJ wranglerAs far as protecting the engine is concerned, the snorkel has paid for itself a few times over. I've crossed impromptu flash flood rivers 3 times, and embarked on a handful of random perrennial river crossings. And I know 2 people who have killed their vehicles by getting water in the intake during a river crossing. It's no myth, it happens. So a snorkel - for this reason - is a practical piece of gear.

While you get a good amount of air flow, you also get the fun of a surprise in every air filter change. Bugs, leaves, straw wrappers, and once I even found a condom package.

This, the joy of snorkel ownership.

Value
Value is a tough little doo-dad. I get a dirty air filter very frequently, and funny looks from strangers who actually think that this thing is designed to take you under water past the windshield. And random conversations with macho dudes. "Nice snorkel. I guess you don't actually do any real Jeepin' do ya?" If only the snorkel had a quick disconnect so I could use it as a bat...

The cool-factor and added intake security come at a price; this is the yin-yang effect. But I'd still do it again. I can handle macho guys in the parking lot. Three stars only because the benefits come with a trade off.

Evaluation

The ARB Safari Snorkel installs easily, it's well designed, and it's built with attention to detail. No doubt about that. The R&D department obviously made excellent strides to make sure that this is an improvement to the intake system - not just a fancy cool-looking thing to bolt onto the Jeep.

In addition to the snorkel body, the kit includes hose and hose clamps for connecting the snorkel to the air box. Yet, the box needs some work done to it - and the Safari snorkel includes all the equipment needed - a cover plate for patching the hole where the OEM "trumpet" came out the front of the box, and a new plate to go on the side of the box where the hose connects.

A photo of the modified air box is to the left. Click it for a larger photo.

Once upon a time, my friends and I compiled the reasons to have a snorkel on your Jeep. We came up with five.

Here's our quintet of reasons to have a snorkel:

  1. Cleaner air
  2. Cooler air
  3. More air
  4. Dry air
  5. It looks really cool

The part about cleaner air is exemplefied in the photo to the right. And since the intake is no longer inside the engine bay, you're definately getting cooler air than before. Perhaps this is a true cold air intake? I think the jury is still out on the idea of more air. I just don't know.

Dry air? You know, river crossings. You ain't sucking up water with one of these bad boys.

What about "it looks really cool?" Well, cool is in the eye of the beholder. So this one's up to you to decide. I think they look cool. There, I said it.

Snorkels look cool. Which must be why you'll catch some flack from macho punks in parking lots.

So, the ARB Safari snorkel is a high quality piece of equipment, and it does the job it's intended to fulfill. But it's value is up to the user to decide.

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Another thing to note: Crossing a body of water has more to do with the technique you use to get across than it does with the kind of equipment you have. A paced, controlled, and planned-out method of driving is far more important than a snorkel.

One technique is called the "bow wave." Check it out:

This driver is moving at a controlled, yet moderately aggressive pace that creates a wave in front of his vehicle. He has a pocket of air within the engine compartment thanks to the displacement of water. His speed is not too fast, and not too slow.

Equipment will never take the place of knowledge, experience, and decisive driving.

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Mark D. Stephens: Adventurer, Writer, Photgrapher and Ambassador of the Sonoran Desert