Snorkel Shock

Jp Magazine - - Mailbag -

I love Jp and ea­gerly await ev­ery issue. I have a ’65 CJ-5 and a ’99 WJ. There is not much cov­er­age of these Jeeps any­more, but I read ev­ery ar­ti­cle to learn what is tran­spir­ing with the brand as my trusty WJ will need re­plac­ing in the next few years.

What is the deal with the snorkels I see these days? I have been read­ing Jp for five years and don’t see any info on them or even ads for them. I know old mil­i­tary Jeeps could be fit­ted with river ford­ing snorkels, but they needed sealed ig­ni­tion sys­tems as well. My old CJ-5 even has the hood cutout for one. I sus­pect they are just an­other ex­pen­sive doo­dad to make a Jeep look cool. Is there any ac­tual jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for this mod­i­fi­ca­tion? Keep up the good work!!

Gard­ner Fey Canon City, CO

There are sev­eral com­pa­nies that of­fer in­take snorkels for the more pop­u­lar Jeep models and other 4x4s. These com­pa­nies in­clude AEV (aev-con­ver­, ARB (ar­, K&N (kn­fil­, Mopar (, Rugged Ridge (ruggedridge. com), and Volant ( The prin­ci­pal idea be­hind a snorkel kit is that it raises the en­gine air in­take to get it up and out of any po­ten­tial deep wa­ter. The fac­tory air in­take on some Jeep models is not well placed for wa­ter depths and splash­ing be­yond head­light height. A snorkel kit will gen­er­ally keep wa­ter out of the en­gine safely dur­ing wa­ter cross­ings that reach the bot­tom of the wind­shield. Of course, there are many other com­po­nents to worry about. As long as you pass through the wa­ter rel­a­tively quickly, very lit­tle wa­ter will make it past the door seals into the in­te­rior of a new Jeep where it could wreak havoc on the elec­tri­cal sys­tem. Longer deep wa­ter cross­ings and get­ting stuck in deep wa­ter pose quite a dif­fer­ent prob­lem. As for the ig­ni­tion, all cur­rent Jeep en­gines fea­ture dis­trib­u­tor­less ig­ni­tions and are sealed rel­a­tively well, so they are far more wa­ter re­sis­tant than an older en­gine with a dis­trib­u­tor-type ig­ni­tion sys­tem. Although, with a bit of in­ge­nu­ity, some grease, and sil­i­cone, even a tra­di­tional dis­trib­u­tor can be made nearly im­per­vi­ous to wa­ter in­tru­sion.

In most cases today, the snorkel has be­come lit­tle more than a visual ac­ces­sory on an over­land-themed Jeep. They give a Jeep a more out­door ad­ven­ture look than a Jeep with no snorkel, re­gard­less of the fact that all of the avail­able af­ter­mar­ket snorkels are fully func­tional for deep wa­ter cross­ings.

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