When it comes to getting the best performance out of your off-roader, snorkels and exhausts can make a world of difference. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the right set-up for your vehicle? In this month’s Price Watch, we take a deep breath, and dive in to find out
Focus on… OEC International Difflock
Devon-based OEC International sells Safari snorkels for a range of 4x4s. The company specialises in preparing vehicles for overland adventures, where trips through dusty deserts are likely to be de rigueur and snorkels are therefore a much-needed accessory. Whatever your off-road needs, OEC can provide products to suit. It has recently re-launched its website, where it provides details of its range of Safari snorkels as well as a host of other products designed to enhance your muddy fun.
Even better, OEC is clearing its stock of Airtec snorkels, and selling them for as little as £180 on its Difflock online shop. For more details, visit http://shop.difflock.com/snorkel-clearance-sale-p-324.html.
Focus on… Extreme 4×4
Land Rover specialist Extreme 4×4 sells Safari snorkels that are suitable for fitment to Defenders, Discoverys and Range Rovers. In addition, it markets a range of UK-built custom exhausts, which are designed to maximise performance and withstand the rigours of life off-road. Extreme 4×4’s range of exhausts includes upgraded manifolds for Land Rover V8 engines, as well as straight-through systems and side-exiting tailpipes. The company’s philosophy is to ensure that customers get the right product for their needs – which means you can be assured of well-informed advice that is tailored to you. Prices for exhaust components vary, so you should contact Extreme 4×4 for more details.
Focus on… Arbil 4×4
Arbil 4×4 is the UK distributor of Safari snorkels. Safari is justifiably one of the most popular brands of snorkel available to UK off-road enthusiasts. That’s because Safari snorkels are well-built, meaning they are capable of withstanding the rough treatment that comes with life on a serious off-road vehicle. As well as buying a Safari snorkel directly from Arbil 4×4, you can also source one from many of the other suppliers listed on these pages, including Extreme 4×4, OEC International and TBR UK. Prices for Safari snorkels start at around £200.
Focus on… TBR UK
Taubenruether is a globally-recognised supplier of hardcore off-road equipment, providing for every kind of mud-bashing need. TBR UK markets its range in this country – and that includes selling Safari snorkels. Contact the team for informed advice about modifying your 4×4. TBR UK can help you prepare for any kind of off-road adventure, from a long-haul overland trip to a weekend run around your local Pay and Play site.
Focus on… A-L Tuning
Even if off-roading isn’t high on your agenda, you might still be keen to maximise your engine’s efficiency by fitting an upgraded exhaust system. If so, A-L Tuning’s range of Meisterschaft exhausts could be just the ticket. These exhaust systems are intended for premium vehicles, including Land Rovers, Audis, VWs and BMWs. They promise an enviable combination of performance and reliability, and deliver a sporty exhaust note that will really help your vehicle to stand out from the crowd. Because Meisterschaft exhausts are custom made, prices vary.
Focus on… Fox Exhausts
Fox Exhausts sells a range of upgraded exhausts for off-road vehicles, including many double-cab pick-ups. It’s just launched an aftermarket exhaust for the Volkswagen Amarok, costing £546.88, which is intended to improve performance as well as enhancing the vehicle’s aesthetic qualities by virtue of a chromed tailpipe and a deepened exhaust note. Fox exhausts are crafted in Germany, which means you can be assured of their quality and longevity. They are sold in the UK through an extensive dealer network – so you shouldn’t struggle to find a Fox Exhaust near you. www.fox-exhaust.com
IT professionals use the phrase ‘rubbish in, rubbish out’ to talk about the importance of not clogging computers up with useless data, which impairs performance and makes them run slowly. The phrase might just as easily apply to 4×4 vehicles – especially if they’re regularly used in the rough stuff.
The mucky world of mud-bashing puts considerable strain on a vehicle’s power plant. With dust, dirt and grime always around as you enjoy your all-terrain high jinks, the quality of air being sucked into your vehicle’s engine is likely to be very poor.
Add the further risk of water ingress into the equation, and everything points to the wisdom of fitting a raised air intake, or snorkel, to your truck. This will enhance its performance, by helping better-quality air to reach the engine bay.
But what comes in must go out, as the saying goes, and that’s where a decent exhaust system can help improve things even more. With your vehicle’s engine likely to be under no small amount of stress as you stamp on the throttle in an effort to surmount the latest hill climb, it pays to get rid of the by-products of combustion as efficiently as possible. So if you want to ensure your off-roader is performing as efficiently as possible, and your off-road tastes mean that the purchase of some rough ’n’ ready hardware is on the cards, then a decent snorkel and exhaust set-up should be very near the top of your wish-list.
Snorkels come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Essentially, they all do the same job – and that’s to raise the air intake of your vehicle so that it is up high, and out of harm’s way. It’s vital you realise that fitment of a snorkel doesn’t make your off-roader amphibious. So you should still exercise a good degree of caution before sploshing off on a watery adventure. But a snorkel will help to prevent water from entering your engine, and that does mean you can hit some deeper river crossings with a heightened degree of confidence.
Keep an eye out next time you’re on a journey, and you’ll see plenty of 4x4s with snorkels fitted. When travelling over dry ground at relatively high speed, the top of a snorkel should be pointed backwards, to face a vehicle’s rear. This is so that any dust or grime in the air does not enter the intake, ensuring that the cleanest possible air goes into the engine bay as the vehicle travels along. The time to twist the top of the snorkel around, so that its opening is facing the front of a truck, is when wading is on the cards. Many off-road enthusiasts leave their snorkels in this position all the time – but it means that the component isn’t doing its job when travelling in drier conditions.
Direction of travel
It’s much easier to get the set-up of your exhaust system right – because there’s really only one way for the dirty air to go. Even so, off-road enthusiasts like to experiment with the precise configuration of their exhausts – especially when it comes to their exit points. An exhaust tailpipe at the rear of a car is prone to sustaining damage over undulating terrain. That’s why some off-road drivers choose to modify their vehicle’s exhaust so that it exits at a higher point, or goes off to one side. Such modifications are usually custom built, and can make a 4×4 significantly less vulnerable when the going gets tough.
Other common modifications to exhausts include the use of straight-through pipes. These expedite the removal of grubby air from the combustion chamber and make way for the oxygen-rich air that a snorkel sucks in. Aftermarket specialists also sell exhausts that are made of thicker metal, or have wider bores, in order to improve performance and strength.
Helping your 4×4’s engine to breathe efficiently is key to maximising its performance, both on and off-road. So if your trips away from the asphalt are becoming more frequent, and you want to be sure that your vehicle is prepared for the adventure, check out the range of snorkels and exhausts available for vehicles of every description.
Not only will you find your off-road trips enhanced. You’ll also give your vehicle a gnarly, truck-of-the-wild appearance. Even better, with a new exhaust system in place, it’ll have a soundtrack to match. 4×4