ARB Safari Snorkel Step-By-Step Install On The 5th Gen 4Runner: Full Review & Product Overview
While the majority of 4Runners sold here in North America will sadly spend most of their miles on pavement, there are some that will see a lot of time off-road, either out of necessity or for recreation.
For those on dirt, there are certain modifications that are smart to consider to extend the life and comfort of your 4Runner. Suspension upgrades, tougher tires, bolt-on armor, etc… While all of these upgrades are valid, what upgrades are being made to protect the motor while on the trail? The motor only has a few points of entry or exit that will cause damage or wear over time: the intake and the exhaust. The exhaust side of the equation is less of a concern because it’s pushing gasses away from the motor, so let’s focus on the intake side as its job is to feed the engine with clean air.
Benefits of a Snorkel
The stock air intake on the 4Runner pulls air from the space between the inner and outer front fender on the passenger side. With the plastic fender liner installed, a good amount of dust and water will be averted from the open intake hole. But take a long trip through the dust, or ford a river and you risk a clogged air filter or worse—water in your intake box.
If you have aftermarket front fenders and no longer have the factory fender liner, you can take that risk and increase it. How do you minimize or eliminate the risk? Like many great answers to overland questions — ask the Aussies! There’s no coincidence that one thing you’ll see on many Australian vehicles who spend time off-grid is a raised intake or snorkel. Drawing clean air from a windshield height intake will help prolong your engine life, reduce filter replacement, and eliminate water intake problems. Many vehicle manufacturers offer raised intakes from the factory for overseas applications, but unfortunately, Toyota hasn’t made an option for the 4Runner, but we’re not lost.
ARB Safari Snorkel
Safari Snorkel has been one of the leaders in the snorkel aftermarket for decades and has an extensive product offering that includes our 5th Gen 4Runners. They use a UV-stable polyethylene material that has been CAD-designed for optimal fitment and airflow specific to the 4Runner. Paired with their signature Air Ram head, the snorkel is designed to work in the harshest conditions keeping dirt, debris, rain, and rivers out of your vehicle’s intake.
Find it online:
- Safari Snorkel Kit (Part #SS450HP) 5th Gen 4Runner: Check Price
In the Box
- Safari Snorkel SS450HP
- Air Ram head
- Adapter boot
- Hole/cutting template
- Upper mounting plate
- Miscellaneous hardware
Tools and Materials
- Painter’s tape
- Permanent marker
- Marking punch
- #5 step drill bit
- Miscellaneous drill bits up to 5/16”
- Right angle drill (optional)
- Body saw (air reciprocating saw)
- 80-grit sandpaper
- Deburring tool
- Loctite Blue 242
- Rustoleum black paint
- Silicone sealant
- Rubber mallet
- Body clip tool
Step 1. Prep Surface
To start, go ahead and prep the area you’ll be working on by washing the front passenger side of the 4Runner. This will remove any contaminants and make sure you have a nice “seal” between the snorkel and the body panel when you’re all finished.
Step 2. Remove Airbox
Remove the upper half of the factory airbox loosening the 10mm clamp on the intake hose closest to the airbox, and removing the factory MAF harness from the intake. You can leave the intake hose attached to the throttle body, but put a nitrile glove over the hose to prevent any contaminants from entering the intake while you’re working.
Remove the three 12mm bolts attaching the airbox to the fender, and roll the airbox towards the firewall to gain access to the bottom of the intake wiring harness. There is one clip to undo here. Remove the lower section of the airbox.
Step 3. Remove Factory Intake Duct
While you have the airbox handy, remove the factory intake duct using a small pry tool. This is where the new adapter hose will attach later on. After removing the inlet, give the whole lower section a thorough cleaning from debris that might have been in the airbox from before. This will also allow you to have a benchmark for how well the snorkel is performing after you’ve installed it.
Step 4. Seal Factory Drain Holes
The factory airbox has two drain holes in it, one on the side that faces the front of the vehicle and one on the bottom. It’s optional, but I would recommend using silicone caulking to fill these holes to seal up the intake. This will keep your intake sealed during water crossings, but will also keep any water that goes into the snorkel (unlikely) in the intake. So if you do seal the intake, make sure you check it occasionally if you’re operating in heavy rain or snow to make sure it’s dry. Once the silicone is applied, set it aside and let it dry while you work.
Step 4. Mask Off Work Area
Next, use the painter’s tape to tape off the area of the fender that you’ll be working on. Use the template as a guide, going all the way down to the fender flare. Make sure you add some tape over the seam between the fender and flare so metal shavings don’t pile up in them when you drill. Taping the whole work area will help keep your fender from being accidentally scratched while working. It’s not a required step, but it’s a smart step to take to protect your 4Runner.
Step 5. Put Layout Over Tape
Take the template out of the box and line it up on the back of the snorkel to make sure all of the holes match up. This preventive step helps to ensure you’re not drilling the wrong holes if you were supplied the wrong template! Attach the template to the fender using painter’s tape, aligning the left edge with the door jam and the top with the top of the fender. Make sure you thoroughly tape the edges so everything lines up properly and matches the contours of the fender.
Step 6. Outline Layout
With the template installed, mark the holes with a permanent marker. Once marked, remove the template and set it aside.
Step 7. Install Studs into Snorkel
Before getting into the drilling portion of the install, grab the six 8mm studs from the hardware bag. Apply some Loctite 242 to one half of the thread on the stud, and install them into the snorkel. Doing this ahead of time will allow the Loctite to set a bit before you add the nyloc nuts during install.
Step 8. Remove Inner Fender
Remove the plastic inner fender liner from the front to the back starting with the body screws under the factory bumper working through the plastic clips and screws towards the firewall. Use a body clip tool to pry the factory clips without breaking the heads off. You’ll only need to pull the fender liner a little more than halfway down. Just far enough to be able to reach back to the rear-most mounting bolt.
Step 9. Drill Holes into Fender
Back to the outer fender… With the holes now marked take a marking punch and punch a mark in the center of each pen mark. This will help keep the drill bit centered when you begin to drill. With the center punched, take your step drill and drill the six mounting holes in the fender. Make sure you are wearing safety glasses for this task as metal in your eye will ruin your weekend install. Take your time and once the appropriate diameter has been reached, spin the bit lightly a couple more revolutions to clean up the hole edge. You’ll want to drill to 16mm, or 5/8” for the mounting holes. No turning back now!
When drilling the hole closest to the passenger door, make sure you have enough clearance behind the fender so you don’t hit the inner fender. Have someone you trust poke their head in the fender to watch while you drill. Make sure they’re wearing safety glasses as well.
Step 10. Drill Cut Start Point
With the mounting holes drilled, mark your hole for the starting point for the inlet hole. You’ll need to choose a size that’s large enough to accommodate your saw blade of choice. Make sure when you mark your hole, mark it on the INSIDE of the area to be cut and far enough from the cut line to make sure you’re not drilling into the portion of the fender you’re keeping.
Step 11. Cut Out Big Hole
After drilling the starter hole, it’s time for the main event. I would recommend taking this moment to enjoy some liquid courage as you’re about to cut a big hole in your 4Runner. Beverage consumed (and then some time to re-group), grab your body saw. I used a pneumatic reciprocating air saw for this task because it’s a precision saw that leaves a thin kerf and a very smooth finish. Use good lighting for this job to make the line more visible. Take your time, adjusting your position to get the best stability during the cut. You can use a magnet across a cut section of the hole to hold the inner piece in place when you finish your cut so it won’t fall through. Breathe easy, the hardest part is over!
Step 12. Clean Cut Holes
Use the deburring tool to remove any metal burrs from the holes you just cut/drilled. Lightly use your finger to feel the inside of the holes for burrs. On the larger intake hole, use 80-grit sandpaper to smooth off the edge of the hole, if needed. Remove the painter’s tape when you’ve finished cleaning the holes.
Step 13. Test Fit Snorkel
Take your snorkel with the studs pre-installed and line it up with the fender to check the fit with the new holes. With any luck, you’ll have a perfect fit with no adjustments needed. If your holes are off, use a die-grinder to adjust them.
Step 14. Mark Drill Holes on A-Pillar
Use this time to mark your A-pillar mounting plate. Mockup the snorkel, and look at where you’ll need to apply painter’s tape. Remove the snorkel, and apply the tape with a few inches on each side. Then reapply the snorkel with the upper plate installed to mark where the plate will be attached to the A-pillar. Use your permanent marker to mark the top, bottom, and windshield edge of the plate. Remove the snorkel and the plate from it. You’ll come back to this in a bit.
Step 15. Paint Drill Holes
With the holes cleaned up, use a Q-tip to apply a layer of paint on all bare edges of metal. This will help prevent any rust from eating away your fender underneath the snorkel. Let the paint dry while you move on to the next step.
Step 16. Drill Pilot Holes into A-Pillar
Take the upper mounting plate and realign it with the marks you made earlier. Then using your permanent marker, mark the three holes you’ll need to drill in the A-pillar. With the holes marked, use the marking punch to set the center of the holes to drill. Starting with a small drill bit (1/16”) drill a pilot hole with your right angle drill. You can use a standard drill for this, but the right angle drill will allow for more depth control when drilling. You’ll want to just break the surface with these holes, but you won’t need to worry about any airbags in the A-pillar.
Step 17. Drill Final Holes into A-Pillar
After drilling your pilot holes, you can get ready to drill the holes for the plastic clips supplied in the snorkel kit. My final hole size was 5/16” to where the clips fit snugly with a hammer tap to set them. I would recommend drilling a 9/32” hole first, checking for snugness with the clip, then widening to 5/16” if needed. You want these to be as snug as possible to help hold them in place. Remove the painter’s tape.
Step 18. De-Burr Drill Holes
With your three holes drilled, use the deburring tool to clean up your holes and paint them as you did with the holes on the fender. Let them sit for a good 10-30 minutes, depending on how warm your workspace is. I used a heat gun to help cure the paint a little quicker.
Step 19. Silicone Clips into Holes
Paint cured, grab the silicone that you used for the airbox and apply a bead around the bottom of the clip. Line it up with the hole, and use a rubber mallet to tap it into place. Gently rotate the clip once it’s seated to even out the silicone at the interface. Repeat this for the other two clips. You can remove any silicone residue by lightly wiping it off with a paper towel damp with Acetone.
Step 20. Install A-Pillar Bracket
Install the upper plate with the supplied stainless steel screws by hand. Be sure to not spin too fast or the clip will start spinning. If it does, take a thin pair of pliers to lightly grip the edges of the clip while you screw in from above. Snug up all 3 screws evenly.
Step 21. Remove Stock Airbox Tabs
You’ll need to modify the stock airbox by removing the retaining and alignment tabs where the factory inlet used to be. I used a die grinder to remove the tabs as described in the instructions and smoothed them with some sandpaper to ensure a clean fit. This is where the snorkel adapter will slide onto the airbox.
Step 22. Install Intake Adapter
Set the intake adapter into the fender with the round end through the inner fender. Slide the smaller of the two hose clamps over the end sticking through the hole with the tensioning screw facing up on the forward side of the adapter. Take the lower half of the intake box and set it into place, sliding the round end of the adapter over the intake on the box. Use a little dish soap on the inside of the rubber adapter as a lubricant if needed. Reinstall the lower airbox, along with the wiring harness clips you removed at the beginning. Wait to tighten the hose clamp until after the snorkel is installed.
Step 23. Install Hose Clamps on Adapter
Take the larger of the two hose clamps and install it on the oval end of the adapter in the fender. Snug it up just enough so it doesn’t rotate on the adapter. You’ll want the tensioning screw facing down on the rearward side of the adapter. Take a small amount of dish soap and spread it on the inside of the adapter as a lubricant.
Have one of the upper bracket bolts at the ready. Bring in the snorkel and line it up with the fender, setting it into place. Reach in from underneath to massage the adapter onto the snorkel making sure it seats evenly. Then, grab your bolt and lightly thread it into one of the upper bracket holes to keep the snorkel in place while you get ready to secure it from inside the fender.
Step 24. Install Nuts and Washers
With your six washers and nyloc nuts handy, thread one of each onto the six studs inside the fender. Tighten them evenly with a ratcheting wrench, eventually getting them all snug on the fender. Once the snorkel is secured from inside the fender, add the upper mount bolts on the A-pillar and tighten them until they’re snug.
Step 25. Tighten Hose Clamps
With the snorkel fully secured, tighten the hose clamps with a 7mm socket on both the snorkel and the intake side of the adapter.
Step 26. Install Airbox
Make sure your airbox is cleaned out using a vacuum and rag, then reinstall the filter and upper half of the air box. Tighten the hose clamp (10mm) and reinstall the harness clips/plug before securing the upper airbox.
Reinstall the inner fender liner after you have cleaned out any metal shavings from the drilling using a vacuum. Use the driver’s side if you can’t remember which clips/screws go where.
Step 27. Install Air Ram
Finally, attach the Air Ram head to the top of the snorkel using the provided black hose clamp with the tensioning bolt facing back. That’s it! You’re done!
With the snorkel installed, it isn’t really noticeable from the driver’s seat. You’ll only know it’s there from the grief you get from your significant other when you pick them up from work…ask me how I know.
Aesthetically, the Safari Snorkel will change the exterior appearance of your 4Runner and may look a little out of balance if you have a mostly stock 4Runner. That being said, this is a functional upgrade, first and foremost. If the Safari Snorkel gives you what you need when you need it, who cares what it looks like. On a mild to wild build, this snorkel looks right at home with its black textured finish.
On the road, there is surprisingly no increase in sound from the snorkel either from wind or intake noise. You do get some increased intake noise if you rev the engine while parked, a benefit for overland parking lot meetups…joking.
Functionally, the snorkel has been working well on the 4Runner. I’ve taken it through a number of good water holes that have been covering the trails here in Central Oregon with no water to show in the airbox. I have also driven through heavy rain and snow with the snorkel with no accumulation in the intake, which is promising. The major factor I haven’t been able to test yet is dust, which was my main reason for installing the snorkel. With winter set in here and plenty of moisture in the dirt, I won’t get a good idea for dust until later this year.
I have high hopes for this Safari Snorkel to keep my airbox clean and dry through all of the conditions that I intend to put my 4Runner through in the years to come. It’s big, burly, and built to take a beating — much like the 4Runner itself.