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K9's Homebuilt Jeep TJ Snorkel

Author: K9Jeep

So you want to be a U-boat commander?? I’ve had many people request details of my Snorkel system, and until now have managed to blow you all off. So.... here is a reference-only guide for building your own Snorkel system on a Jeep platform.

Tools: As Required
Cost: About $60 (Cheap!)
Additional Cost: +$2k (Not so cheap!)
Time: Weekend Project
Difficulty: 3 / 4 - Messing up will really hurt your wallet, but it’s not rocket science!

1. Deliver unrestricted, dry, filtered air to the Engine throttle body
2. To be rugged enough to survive an impact and extreme weather conditions
3. To be Aesthetic pleasing in appearance

Some Background. I’m not a daily mudder, in fact hate mud, but I’ve come close to testing the limits of the current intake system, and it only takes 2 Tsp of water to destroy an engine. Also, a cold air system would be nice to have, and I needed to install the welder too. Snorkel was the solution. I disliked how Chrysler installed a plastic maze of intake (Fig 1) , it took up allot of under-hood space! Additionally, and every aftermarket snorkel reused the original intake system. So I went the direction of building my own system after weeks of research.

(Fig 1 – Hamster Habitat)

****Disclaimer: Adding a higher intake does not automatically make your vehicle water superior, it only provides engine insurance. Search the forums on all that’s involved before submerging your Jeep and the risk involved.****

First objective was filtered air in a serviceable water tight canister. There were not many aftermarket options for canisters; those that were available blew the budget. I went to a local auto store and opened all the K&N filters boxes... I found a desirable K&N filter I wanted and combined it with a Stainless Steel Paint. The two were a perfect match, almost more than a coincidence I feel. (Fig 2) Just these two parts alone could run independently of everything else in case of severe snorkel damage from a roll-over or fire. Built in redundancy!

Filter roughed in
(Fig 2 – Filter applied and roughed-in for fit)

I found 8 clips, which were bolted to the side with lock-nuts and lok-tite. A dried RTV Bead on the opening provided a permanent reusable gasket. The elbow is ABS, and the OEM rubber collar connected it to the Throttle Body. A hole was tapped on the Elbow to allow filtered Crank-case ventilation. (Fig 3) The face (bottom of the can) was reinforced with a layer of sheet metal and RTV for impact strength due foreign objects projected by the fan. Several layers of paint were applied inside, and out, to inhibit rust from forming.

canister assembled
(Fig 3 – Canister Assembled)

Second Objective was to figure out materials involved to connect all this. Choosing a poor material might be hazardous to the engine should it fail. Aluminum, Copper, Rubber, PVC, and ABS were all considered. Of all these materials, I found PVC to be the most dangerous. UV damage, and thin walls simply make it unusable. In the right conditions, would warp from heat. In about a year it would shatter/crack because of exposure to outdoor conditions. Aluminum/Copper was a good choice, but difficult to work with and not very impact resistant unless it was thick, it maybe used in a second generation snorkel rebuild. (Fig 4) ABS was a great choice because of the ruggedness, and all weather spec, it was also widely available. Rubber was also used to allow for engine movement and vibration. 2.5” was a good size after examining other snorkel systems with larger engines. V-8’s can comfortably get away with 3” system provided there is no back pressure.

canister installed
(Fig 4 – Canister Installed)

After assembling the canister, it was obvious where I would need to route the system. Originally, I had conceived the idea of routing into the cab and out in front of the windshield. But I really disliked the idea of trying to make that a clean seal from rain/snow. I also considered just drawing cabin air, but found this to be a very dangerous idea should the engine malfunction and backfire. So I chose to route it to the side, traditional I guess. However, the Charcoal-Gas evaporator canister was in the way. It was relocated to the lower battery tray, and to my surprise, no additional hardware was required to do so, the hoses and wires fell into place. It was another perfect fit. (Fig 5) You can see the evap sits snug below the clutch reservoir and uses otherwise wasted space.

evap relocated
(Fig 5 – Evap Relocated)

Go to snorkel write-up part 2

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