If you plan on driving your ATV through deep water or mud, getting a snorkel on your machine is something you might want to consider. A snorkel will help keep water out of your engine, so you can get through some pretty nasty areas on the trail without damaging your ATV.
If you get yourself into some deep mud or water for too long, your engine could stall. Your air intake could take on water causing major problems and costly repairs. I’ve done this before, as you can see in the picture, and that quad didn’t have a snorkel on it.
Luckily I was able to shut the engine off before major damage was done, but still it ruined the day of riding for us. I need to be towed out of the muddy water, then we had to open the air box and wait for everything to dry out before we were able to get the quad running again. If that ATV had a snorkel, there would have been no problems.
What Is An ATV Snorkel?
Snorkeling your ATV is when you install a system onto your engine that will allow air to get where it needs to even in deeper water or mud. You will most likely see risers or stacks sticking up from the quad to capture or release air safely above the water line.
After you install a snorkel on your machine, the only part you need to worry about keeping above water is the opening of those stacks.
Snorkeling your ATV is most useful for getting though deep water or mud. It will keep water out of the most important parts of your engine that are only supposed to subject to air. Feeding clean air safely to your engine to keep you riding through wet environments.
What Needs To Be Snorkeled?
The main components you will need to snorkel are the air box, your clutch belt intake, and clutch belt exhaust. The clutch belt intake and exhaust will both need their own snorkel. If you try to connect them, the intake will be getting the heat from the exhaust and will overheat and wear out your clutch belt.
You may want to snorkel your exhaust ports as well. If you’re giving the engine enough gas going through the water, that pressure should prevent any water from entering the exhaust. But if by chance water does enter through your exhaust it could cause major problems. This will most likely happen if plan to sit idling in the water.
It’s also a good idea to water proof your electrical connections. I’ve heard of people snorkeling their electrical box, but that seems like overkill. The point is to just prevent water from getting to the electrical parts of the engine.
Other areas to snorkel might include thing like your crackcase breather tube or differential vents and carb vents. If you’ll be hitting the occasional mud pit or stream crossing, the air box, clutch belt, and electrical stuff need to be taken care of as well as the carb breather if your engine has a carburetor.
ATV Snorkel Kits
There are some pretty good kits available on the market for most machines. The snorkel kits will vary from quad to quad because they are all set up a bit differently. A snorkel kit will be more expensive than making your own, but will come with everything you need and make for an easier quicker install. Plus the kits might even come with some kind of warranty.
You can use this link to find a Good ATV Snorkel Kit on Amazon. Just be sure to get the right one for your machine. They kits will vary a bit and the parts are custom made for each different engine.
I don’t need to go over installation here because the snorkel kits come with instructions that are really easy to follow along with. You will need some basic hand tools to get the snorkel kit installed and you’ll be all set.
Make Your Own ATV Snorkel System
Making your ATV snorkel can be fun and won’t cost you too much money either. I’ll admit, a lot times it won’t look as nice as the professional snorkel kits you can buy, but if you do it right it will work all the same.
The cheapest thing to use is just some good old pvc pipe. You can find pvc pipe at any home repair store like Home Depot or Lowes. It’s best to know the path you’re going to take first and plan out how many bends, how much pipe, and how many 90 degree connectors you will need.
First, locate your air box and see what you’re going to need to snorkel it. A lot of quads already come with a factory snorkel, they just don’t go very far. In this case you can hook some pvc right to that factory snorkel and just extend it up as high you’d like.
I’ve seen some people use pool hose to navigate around the engine easier than you could with pvc pipe. It looks a little raggedy with the duck tape and all in this picture, but i’m sure if you secure it right and use some better connectors you can get a decent looking snorkel system going.
If you have a carburetor on your engine, it’s pretty easy to just extend the carb breather tube that’s already existing on the quad. You can find little tube connectors at most auto parts stores like Napa or Autozone. The just get some tubing and extend the carb tube up to a safe area on the machine.
Do the same thing for the front and rear differential breather. These lines are usually already ran pretty high up onto the quad up near the handle bars. But if you want them to be even further up out of the water it won’t hurt to extend them.
Snorkel kits or snorkeling your ATV may be illegal in some states. I think for the most part it’s allowed on private property either way. But some states don’t allow snorkeled machines on public land.
Check your local laws before riding any modified machines on public land.