Close your eyes and imagine every famous off-road capable vehicle. Chances are the vehicles in your mind has large tires, aftermarket bumpers, roof racks, and most importantly a snorkel. Snorkels have been on off-road vehicles for ages due to their ability to provide your engine clean/ dry air while romping through desert trails and river crossings.
Hopefully this article will give you some valuable information if you are on the fence about adding a snorkel to your vehicle. You'll see what it takes to install the ARB Safari Snorkel on a 2016 Toyota Tacoma and a year one impression review.
In the off-road community snorkels are often seen as unnecessary modifications which are just made for looks and not actual functionality. The reasoning behind that is most vehicles are never in deep enough water for a snorkel to make an actual difference. Chances are if the water line is above the hood, there is water already entering the cabin and probably will reach your ECU which will render your vehicle into a large paper weight.
Contrary to popular belief a snorkel actually serves multiple uses. The raised air intake is not only effective in high water but also in dry desert environments. If you have ever followed a vehicle on a dirt road you quickly become aware of just how much dust can be kicked up in the air. After a week of driving on remote dusty tracks in Big Bend National Park my air filter was filled with dust.
The instructions direct you to start taking out the inner fender splash guards in order to gain access to the inside of fender. This single step takes the longest amount of time and requires a lot of patience. Since all the plastic retention clips need to be reused you have to be careful when prying them loose.
Measure twice, cut once. Right? I kept repeating that phrase out loud as I taped down the template provided by ARB onto my trucks fender. The engineers from ARB did a fantastic job at designing this template since it fit perfect on the fender. There was little guess work to how the edges lined up and all required holes were easily identified.
Your fender is taped up and the template is in place. Take a long look at your fender because it's never going to look the same. Take this time to double check your template placing because once you start drilling or cutting there's no turning back. An important tip to follow which ensure clean and accurate holes is to use a center punch tool. This little tool uses a spring loaded sharp metal object to place a small indention on the metal surface. This ensures the drill bit does not 'walk' along the surface while you start to drill. In addition a step drill bit can also be used to drill into thin sheet metal like a truck fender. This special drill bit gradually makes a larger hole without making a dent in the surrounding metal from the pressure applied on the drill/ surface. If you don't have a step drill bit you can simply start with a small drill bit and work your way up to the size required using multiple bits along the way. Taking your time and using these methods will ensure a great finish.
After the mounting holes are made you can move onto the air intake hose access hole. Once again you will need to drill a large hole, about an inch in size in order to allow access for a jig saw blade. Once you can fit your blade in you can simple follow the template lines and cut out the required material.
Well there's a fist sized hole in your fender now. Might as well finish this project. All holes will need to be de-burred and then painted in order to prevent rust. Now is a good time to take a break since you will need to let the paint dry before mounting anything on the fender.
While the paint is drying there are a number of other things you can do. The instructions require you to un-mount the factory air box and make a few precise trims around the collar area which leads into the fender area. This can be accomplished with a simple file. Be sure to dry mount the ARB intake hose into the air box while you have it outside the truck in case you need to file more material off the collar.
The Safari Snorkel also provides a bracing bracket which mounts to the truck's A pillar. There's plenty arguments on both sides of the table which give logical pros and cons. I opted to not install this bracket since I didn't want to drill into my A pillars and potentially introduce water leaks into the cable a few years from now.
After you mount the snorkel there a few compression washer and nuts to bolt down. Be sure to use the loctite when inserting the bolt studs into the snorkel. This will ensure the bolts do not spin loose when removing the snorkel in the future. While the snorkel is mounted be sure to tighten to the two hose clamps on each end of the intake hose. Once all this is mounted you can re-install the fender wheel splash guard and clamp down the snorkel filter head.
Take your time during this installation and be sure to let the paint dry. The materials used and fitment of the ARB snorkel results in a fantastic look that looks like a factory option. The plastic finish matches the TRD fender flares perfectly and have held up to the Texas summer suns well. Mud and dirty are easily power washed off the snorkel's surface without any need for scrubbing or detailing. The snorkel provides piece of mind while taking on river crossings and traveling down dusty roads. In combination with a rear differential breather extender, this modification can make your vehicle even more off-road ready.