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Safari Engineering was launched in 1981 in Melbourne, Australia. The company set out to improve the versatility of 4×4 vehicles in wet or dusty conditions, and has gone on to become the world market leader in their field with hundreds of kits available. But how did this product come to be designed? The origins of the modern snorkel kit are well outside of the 4×4 world.

The snorkel was developed in 1916 by James Richardson while he was working at Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering. Richardson was part of an early submarine development project, and although his invention never saw active military use he is still credited as the pioneer of this invention. By World War 2, snorkels on submarines finally became a common feature, as a means of bringing fresh air into the vessel at shallow depths.

Within the 4×4 and wider automotive market, Toyota started to offer snorkels as an option on their commercial models in the 1970s. These early kits were made of a lightweight material and were actually not intended for the purpose which is today most associated with the product. While most 4×4 builders and adventurers think of snorkels as an air intake for wading or crossing swamps and rivers, the product was actually designed to minimise the amount of dust which the engine filter would ingest when driving in the Australian outback or crossing the Sahara.

Indeed, while Snorkel Kit is the accepted modern name for this innovation, this is actually a colloquial term and the correct description is Raised Air Intake. Since the early kits were intended for dusty conditions and not for water crossings, the products were not generally sealed and just acted as a tunnel to deliver clean and cool air to the engine.

Another advantage of having a snorkel or raised air intake fitted is the ability to deliver cooler air to the engine. Whatever the conditions outside, engine bays obviously contain heat and are not a great source of large amounts of cool, clean air. Taking your combustion air from roof-height means more effective and cleaner combustion, which has all sorts of benefits for your engine.

Modern snorkel kits are designed to be full sealed systems, which allows for air to be delivered to the engine from a higher point during water crossings. However, it is important to consider that other parts of the vehicle may still be damaged by water ingress, such as the alternator, electrical system, and in particular the axles and transmission. These assemblies have their own breathers and we sell separate kits to protect these parts against ingesting water and dirt.

The Safari range is huge, and every kit is made form the highest quality and most durable materials available. With so many cheaper kits now on the market, it is not hard to see why Safari are the world market leader. With their offerings for models including the Hilux, Land Cruiser, Ranger, D-Max, Land Rover, Jeep Wrangler and more, Safari products will keep your investment running – whatever the conditions outside.

4×4 Works are proud to be the UK’s largest Safari Snorkel dealer. With huge stocks and even kits for many legacy and specialist models, we have in-depth product knowledge and are here to help you find the right kit for your needs.

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