How to Snorkel Your ATV: A Comprehensive Guide for Off-Road Enthusiasts

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If you’re an off-roading enthusiast with an ATV, you’ve likely encountered situations where crossing deep water or navigating muddy terrain has challenged your vehicle’s capabilities. One solution to enhance your ATV’s performance in such conditions is to snorkel it.

Snorkeling your ATV involves extending various air intake and exhaust systems to prevent water and debris from entering the engine, thus allowing your vehicle to traverse deeper waters and muddier areas.

It’s important to understand why snorkeling your ATV is beneficial and how to snorkel your ATV yourself. Many riders opt for snorkel kits, which contain all the necessary components and instructions.

However, some prefer a more hands-on approach and choose to snorkel their ATVs using DIY methods.

Regardless of the method you choose, it’s crucial to be knowledgeable about the process, the materials required, and the safety precautions needed to ensure your vehicle’s longevity and optimal performance.

Key Takeaways

  • Snorkeling your ATV enhances its ability to navigate through deep water and muddy terrain.
  • Choosing between a snorkel kit and a DIY approach depends on your preference and expertise.
  • Proper installation, safety measures, and understanding of limitations are crucial for a successful snorkeling project.

How to Snorkel Your ATV

About ATV

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are popular recreational and utility vehicles designed for off-road use and traversing diverse terrains. These vehicles, typically equipped with four wheels, offer riders the ability to navigate through mud, sand, rocks, and water.

Their rugged construction and powerful engine enable riders to enjoy outdoor exploration while maintaining stability and control in challenging environments.

What is Snorkeling?

Snorkeling, in the context of ATVs, refers to the process of installing a snorkel system on your vehicle. This system allows your ATV’s engine to receive and release air even when submerged in deeper water or mud.

By installing a snorkel, you enable your ATV to cross deeper bodies of water and operate more efficiently, as well as prevent damaging fluids like mud and water from entering the engine.

A typical snorkel system consists of tubes, risers, or stacks that extend above the water line, ensuring air can be captured or released safely during aquatic traversal.

There are two main options when considering snorkeling your ATV: purchasing a pre-made snorkel kit or creating your custom snorkel. The choice usually depends on your budget and the desired completion time.

Overall, snorkeling your ATV can provide a significant advantage in traversing watery landscapes and protecting your vehicle from potential damage.

By understanding the basics of ATVs and snorkeling, you can make an informed decision on whether to snorkel your ATV and enjoy even more adventure possibilities.

Benefits of Snorkeling an ATV

Increased Engine Life

By installing a snorkel on your ATV, you are effectively protecting the engine from water and mud damage. A snorkel raises the air intake above water level, allowing your ATV to draw clean air into the engine and preventing damage from submerged or clogged air intakes.

This helps keep the engine free of water and debris, reducing the risk of hydro-locking and ultimately extending the life of your engine.

Moreover, a snorkel allows for better air circulation within the engine, keeping it cooler and improving overall performance. Enhanced airflow not only optimizes the performance but also minimizes the strain on the engine, contributing to its longevity.

Improved Off-Road Capabilities

A correctly installed snorkel gives your ATV the ability to safely traverse deeper water and muddy terrain with ease. With the air intake elevated, the engine can breathe better and maintain its power, allowing you to tackle tough off-road conditions that would otherwise be a challenge or impossible.

Additionally, having a snorkel on your ATV lets you confidently ride through muddier areas without risking the engine’s performance due to potential clogs in the air intake. This ensures that you can explore more challenging trails and get the most enjoyment out of your off-roading adventures.

In summary, snorkeling your ATV offers you numerous benefits, such as extending engine life and improving off-road capabilities. By protecting your engine from water and debris and enabling your ATV to handle more challenging environments, a snorkel greatly enhances your riding experience.

Essential Materials for Snorkeling an ATV

Snorkel Kit

To snorkel your ATV, the first thing you need is a snorkel kit. These kits usually include PVC pipes and connectors that fit your specific ATV model, allowing you to elevate the air intake, clutch belt intake, and clutch belt exhaust effectively.

Investing in a quality snorkel kit can save you time and the hassle of sourcing the materials yourself. However, ensure the kit is compatible with your ATV before purchasing.

Silicone Sealant

Next, you need a silicone sealant to create waterproof connections between the snorkel components. The silicone sealant will be applied to the joints where the PVC pipes connect and where the snorkel attaches to the airbox or clutch belt housing. Good-quality silicone sealant will ensure that no water enters the system, preventing damage to your ATV’s engine.

Tools Needed

To properly snorkel your ATV, you need the right tools. Here’s a list of some essentials:

  • PVC Pipe Cutter: A PVC pipe cutter is necessary for cutting pipes to the correct length according to your ATV’s needs. Make sure the cuts are clean and even for a proper fit.
  • Drill and Hole Saw: These tools are used to create holes in the airbox, clutch belt housing, and possibly in your ATV’s bodywork for the snorkel pipes to pass through.
  • Measuring Tape: Accurate measurements are crucial for a good snorkel installation. A measuring tape will help you determine the correct length of the pipes and the placement of the holes.
  • Pliers and Wrenches: These tools will be helpful for tightening connections and adjusting clamps that secure the snorkels in place.

By gathering the proper materials and tools, you’ll be ready to snorkel your ATV safely and effectively. Be sure to follow the instructions for your specific snorkel kit and your ATV’s manual throughout the process.

Step-by-Step Guide to Snorkel an ATV

Choosing the Right Snorkel Kit

Before beginning the installation, do your research and choose the right snorkel kit for your specific ATV model. There are custom kits available for various models, or you can create your own using PVC pipe.

Consider factors like the height you need, the type of terrain you will ride on, and the level of protection required.

Installation of Snorkel Tubes

Once you’ve chosen your snorkel kit, carefully follow the instructions provided. Start by installing the snorkel tubes in the appropriate locations. These will typically be for the air intake, clutch belt housing intake, and clutch belt housing exhaust.

Ensure you securely attach the tubes at their highest point so they stay out of water and mud during off-road adventures.

Sealing the Airbox

To create a watertight seal, you’ll need to modify your ATV’s airbox. This may involve cutting a hole in the airbox to insert the snorkel hose connecting it to a higher elevation, such as under the handlebars.

Use silicone sealant or a rubber gasket to ensure a tight seal and prevent any water intrusion.

Testing the Snorkel System

Before taking your ATV out for a spin, test the snorkel system thoroughly. Turn on your ATV and let it idle for a few minutes to check for any air leaks or unusual noises. Additionally, perform a short test ride to see how the snorkel performs under different conditions.

Keep an eye on your engine and clutch temperatures, ensuring they stay within the normal range. Finally, inspect your ATV after testing to validate that no water or debris has entered the airbox or other components.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a safer and more enjoyable off-road experience with your snorkel-equipped ATV.

Post Installation Checks

After successfully installing a snorkel on your ATV, it’s essential to perform some post-installation checks to ensure everything is functioning properly and your ATV is ready for those challenging water crossings.

First, start your ATV and let it idle for a few minutes to confirm that there are no air leaks in the snorkel system. Pay attention to any unusual sounds or changes in how your ATV is running, as these could indicate potential issues.

Next, check all clamps, connections, and seals, ensuring they are snug and secure. Loose connections or improperly sealed joints could allow water to enter the system, negating the benefits of the snorkel.

Prevent possible leaks by tightening any loose parts and resealing joints if needed.

Further, inspect the routing of your snorkel system. Make sure it doesn’t obstruct your view or interfere with other components of your ATV. It should be mounted securely, without any excessive movement that might cause damage or disconnections during your rides.

Don’t forget to examine the snorkel’s air intake, especially if you built the snorkel yourself. Ensure that it is raised high enough to avoid water ingress during rides. Most commercial snorkel kits will have this pre-planned, but it’s always a good idea to double-check.

Finally, while not mandatory, it’s beneficial to test your newly snorkel-equipped ATV in a shallow water area. This allows you to ensure everything operates as expected without the risk of damaging your vehicle in case of unseen issues.

If you notice any problems, address them immediately before venturing into deeper waters.

By diligently performing these post-installation checks, you can confidently and safely enjoy your ATV adventures, knowing that your snorkel is correctly installed and functional. Happy riding!

Safety Measures and Precautions

Before you begin snorkeling your ATV, it is essential to take certain safety measures and precautions. These steps will ensure a smooth process and protect both you and your ATV from any potential danger.

Firstly, ensure that you have the correct gear for snorkeling your ATV. This includes a high-quality snorkel kit designed specifically for your ATV model, and it should have all the necessary components to elevate the intake and breather hoses.

When installing the snorkel, make sure to seal all connections tightly to prevent water from entering your engine. Pay close attention to the clutch belt housing intake, clutch belt housing exhaust, electrical connections, crankcase breather tube, differential vents, and carb vent tubes.

Using waterproof sealants and properly maintaining these connections will help to keep your ATV functioning correctly in deep water.

Choose the right location for testing your ATV after snorkeling. Avoid areas with boat traffic, submerged hazards, or murky water. Instead, look for a spot that has a clear view of the underwater environment and a sandy bottom, as recommended by DesertDivers.

This will ensure the safety of both you and your ATV as you navigate deeper waters.

Finally, be conscious of your ATV’s limitations. Snorkeling your ATV may allow it to operate in deeper water, but it does not make it invincible. Know the depth limits of your snorkel kit and your ATV, and never push beyond those boundaries.

By following these safety measures and precautions, you can enjoy your ATV snorkeling experience to the fullest and minimize potential risks.

Understanding the Limitations

When considering snorkeling your ATV, it’s essential to understand the limitations that come with it. This will help you decide whether this modification is suitable for your riding needs and style.

Firstly, while a snorkel allows your ATV to handle deeper waters, it doesn’t make your vehicle entirely waterproof. You should still exercise caution when crossing deep water, avoiding excessive speeds and making sure your ATV is properly maintained.

The electrical components and fuel system might still be vulnerable to water damage, which can lead to costly repairs.

Another limitation is the potential for reduced airflow to the engine. Although the snorkel raises the intake point, it might restrict the air supply, affecting the engine’s performance.

Proper installation and tuning can mitigate this issue, but you could still experience some power loss.

Snorkeling your ATV may also invalidate your manufacturer’s warranty. If you decide to install a snorkel, make sure to research your vehicle’s warranty terms and consult with a professional to ensure proper installation, minimizing any potential problems.

Finally, the addition of a snorkel can affect your ATV’s aesthetics, particularly if the installation requires drilling holes or cutting into the plastic bodywork. Some riders might not mind the change in appearance, while others could find it unsightly or impractical.

It’s a matter of personal preference, but it’s worth considering how important your ATV’s appearance is to you.

In conclusion, snorkeling your ATV comes with some limitations that you should be aware of while deciding if it’s the right move for your vehicle. Consider the risks, benefits, and how much the modifications impact your riding style.

Maintaining Your Snorkeled ATV

Keeping your snorkeled ATV in good condition is crucial to ensure its performance and longevity. Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent water damage and other issues.

Here are a few essential steps to follow when maintaining your snorkeled ATV.

1. Check your snorkel regularly: Inspect the snorkel components, such as the air intake, clutch belt intake, and clutch belt exhaust, for any signs of damage or blockages. Make sure the connections are secure, and the hoses are free from cracks or holes. Clean any debris that may have accumulated inside the snorkel and hoses.

2. Replace air filters and fluids frequently: Riding through water and mud can cause your ATV’s air filters and fluids to become dirty and less efficient. Change the air filters regularly to ensure proper airflow to the engine. Additionally, replace your ATV’s engine oil, transmission fluid, and coolant as recommended by the manufacturer.

3. Inspect the seals and gaskets: Snorkeling an ATV can put extra stress on seals and gaskets. Keep an eye on these components for any signs of wear, damage, or leaks. Replace them as needed to prevent water from entering critical systems.

4. Monitor your ATV’s performance: Pay attention to any changes in your ATV’s overall performance. If you notice a decrease in power, strange noises, or other unusual behavior, it could indicate that water or debris has entered your engine or other components. In such cases, have your ATV inspected by a professional.

5. Clean your ATV thoroughly after rides: After using your snorkeled ATV in wet or muddy environments, it’s essential to give it a thorough cleaning. This can prevent mud and other debris from building up and causing issues in the long run.

In conclusion, regular maintenance and proper care of your snorkeled ATV can help you avoid potential problems and ensure that your off-roading adventures remain trouble-free.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to enjoy your ATV to its fullest in various terrains and conditions.


In summary, snorkeling your ATV allows you to safely navigate deeper waters and muddy terrains. By installing a snorkel system, you’re ensuring that essential components such as the air box, intake, and exhaust portals receive adequate air, enabling your ATV to function efficiently in challenging environments.

Yet, it is essential to consider the potential downsides, such as warranty issues and the risk of increased injuries during installation and use.

When opting to snorkel your ATV, make sure you follow the proper procedure or engage the services of a professional to ensure a seamless and safe installation.

As an ATV owner, you should also be aware of the specific requirements for your vehicle, as each ATV model might have variations in its setup.

Regular maintenance checks and appropriate upgrades are crucial for the longevity and performance of your vehicle, especially when tackling off-road adventures.

Ultimately, the decision to snorkel your ATV rests in your hands.

With a clear understanding of the pros and cons, you can confidently determine if this modification is suitable for your riding needs and preferences.

Safe and enjoyable off-roading experiences await!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the essential materials for a DIY ATV snorkel kit?

When building your own DIY ATV snorkel kit, you will need some essential materials, such as PVC pipes, flexible rubber couplings, pipe elbows, and end caps. You should also have a sealant or silicone to create a watertight connection around the joints.

Also, you will need cable ties or hose clamps to secure the snorkel to your ATV’s frame.

What are the steps to snorkeling a Honda Foreman 520?

To snorkel a Honda Foreman 520, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the air intake, exhaust, and other vulnerable components.
  2. Measure and cut the required lengths of PVC pipes.
  3. Assemble the pipes and fittings into a snorkel system.
  4. Seal all joints with silicone or sealant.
  5. Route the snorkel pipes to an appropriate location, like above the handlebars.
  6. Secure the snorkel system to the ATV frame using cable ties or hose clamps.

Please note that these instructions are an overview; refer to a model-specific guide for more details.

How do you install a snorkel kit on a Polaris Sportsman 450 HO?

Installing a snorkel kit on a Polaris Sportsman 450 HO involves:

  1. Removing the necessary body panels to access the air intake and other components.
  2. Assembling the snorkel kit according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Routing the snorkel tubes to a suitable location, like behind the handlebars.
  4. Securing the snorkel tubes and fittings to the ATV using the provided mounting hardware.
  5. Reinstalling the body panels and ensuring a proper fit with the new snorkel system.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific snorkel kit and ATV model.

What are the benefits of having a snorkel on an ATV?

Having a snorkel on your ATV provides several benefits, such as protecting your engine from water damage when riding in deep water or muddy terrain. By raising the air intake, a snorkel ensures a continuous supply of fresh air to the engine, preventing water ingestion and potential engine damage.

It also safeguards the transmission and other sealed compartments from water intrusion.

How does a snorkel connect to an ATV’s engine?

A snorkel connects to your ATV’s engine by extending the air intake, exhaust, and other vents to a higher location. Typically, a snorkel system includes PVC pipes and flexible rubber couplings that connect to the original airbox, CVT intake and exhaust, and other crucial components.

This setup allows your engine to draw in clean air while avoiding water intake during water crossings or muddy rides.

Is there any downside to snorkeling a four-wheeler?

While snorkeling a four-wheeler has benefits, it may also have some downsides. One potential issue is that, depending on your expertise, a DIY snorkel installation could cause leaks or other problems if not done correctly.

Furthermore, snorkeling can sometimes void your ATV’s warranty, so it is essential to check with your manufacturer beforehand. Lastly, a poorly placed or mounted snorkel can interfere with your vision or maneuverability while riding.

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John Lawrence

John Lawrence

Hello, my name is John Lawrence, and I’m an adrenaline junkie.
My whole life, I’ve been drawn to activities that get my heart racing, from Bungie jumping to parachuting, motorcycles, and even water skiing, and there’s nothing that does that quite like ATVing.

About Me

ATVs are a lifestyle – I’m sure you know.
Lucky for me, my son (who got the bug from me LOL) just got a job with an ATV dealer, so I can get the insider’s secrets – but I’ll share it with you!

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