Snorkel Upgrade Pre-Cleaner Filter Provides Cleaner Air For Your 5th Gen 4Runner: Trail-Tested Review and Product Overview
If you have a snorkel, you’ve likely noticed a cleaner air filter compared to stock, especially if you are off-roading in areas that are more sandy and dusty than others. However, you’ve probably felt it should be a bit cleaner than it is and thankfully Snorkel Upgrade has a fix for that with the Sy-Klone pre-cleaner.
Who is Snorkel Upgrade?
Snorkel Upgrade is a company based out of Florida that has tested many different snorkel pre-cleaning options on the market to give us off-roaders the best possible option in keeping our air filters clean during off-roading.
Why Snorkel Upgrade?
I went with Snorkel Upgrade because they do all the hard work for you. You simply do a measurement and from there run it across their website and they send you everything needed for your specific setup. It was hassle-free and I knew I needed a way to keep my airbox cleaner than what came stock with the Dobinsons’ Snorkel.
How Does It Work?
You are probably wondering how the pre-cleaner works and how it’s going to be better than your standard snorkel head from Dobinsons or ARB snorkel. This is obviously an important question and something to think about when purchasing it.
Unlike the standard heads you find on snorkels, the Sy-Klone brings in air from underneath the pre-cleaner. That means the entire face of the pre-cleaner allows nothing to enter the airway. Even underneath where the air enters, the gaps are much smaller than those large half-inch openings on the snorkel head. Because of this design, it helps eliminate insects to enter just from standard driving down the road, but also rain and snow.
On the inside of the pre-cleaner, there is a blade…think of an airplane propeller. As you drive, the propeller spins and creates a tornado-like wind chamber. Just like a tornado, the outside kicks out the dirt and moisture that does manage to make its way under the pre-cleaner.
The backside of the pre-cleaner has a small gap and this is where the propeller kicks out the dirt, dust, and moisture that manages to make its way into the pre-cleaner. You can actually hear it in action. As you drive and give it gas, especially under heavy throttle pulls, you’ll hear it spinning quickly inside.
Find it Online
- Sy-Klone Series 9001 (gas motors under 4.8 liters) 3.5-inch Reducer Adapter: Check Price
- Sy-Klone Series 9001 (gas motors under 4.8 liters) 4-inch Inlet Size: Check Price
- Sy-Klone Series 9001R (gas motors over 4.8 liters) 3.5-inch Reducer Adapter: Check Price
- Ratchet with Socket
- Measuring Tape
If you haven’t taken a look at your air filter in a while, you might want to go check it out. Odds are, it’s much dirtier than you would believe. That doesn’t mean your snorkel isn’t working; odds are, it’s keeping it cleaner than it would be without it, however, the snorkel heads, in general, aren’t designed to keep everything out.
For instance, with the Dobinsons snorkel, they claim you can drive in both rain and snow as long as it’s not a complete downpour or blizzard, without having to worry about flipping the snorkel head backward. The problem with this is you never want to flip your snorkel head backward as this restricts airflow to the vehicle. It certainly won’t kill it, but depending on location and elevation, it can cause your vehicle to work harder.
Secondly, as I have found out a few times now, during light rain and snow the Dobinsons snorkel head eats up everything. This means your airbox will get water in it. While it might not be a lot, it can be if you plug your airbox drain hole as I did. This isn’t a requirement, however, I decided to in case I ever had to attempt a deep water crossing as a last-second resort.
The first thing you need to do is remove the old snorkel head on your Snorkel and measure your inlet size. This is done by measuring the outside plastic to outside plastic. This is where the pre-cleaner will attach (just like your old snorkel head). If you measure only the inner, you will end up with too small of a pre-cleaner that will not fit on the snorkel.
Be sure you do not skip this step nor depend on others for their measurements as each snorkel brand is different and requires different pre-cleaners.
After you have done your measurement, go to the Snorkel Upgrade website and find the pre-cleaner that fits your vehicle best. This is done by finding the inlet size and the liter size that match your vehicle.
The first thing you want to do is clean off the inlet of your snorkel. This area usually gets a little bit dirty and can be cleaned with just about anything. It is also recommended to clean out your air box as well as the holes on your standard snorkel head invite all sorts of things into the airbox. I’ve found things as small as sand to as big as moths. Be sure to clean all of these out while doing this just so you can see the difference the pre-cleaner makes.
You then want to slide the hose clamp over the bottom of the pre-cleaner and then insert the rubber adapter into the pre-cleaner. If you put the rubber adapter before the hose clamp, the clamp will not fit over the adapter without loosening it completely.
After this is done, just install your pre-cleaner like you would your normal snorkel head and tighten down with the bolt included. Depending on the size of your pre-cleaner, the nut to tighten down could be smaller or larger; mine was the infamous 10mm.
It’s important to make sure that the opening in the back of the pre-cleaner is facing the rear of the vehicle as this is where dirt and moisture will be ejected from the pre-cleaner if it manages to enter. Having it facing forward will make it difficult to get removed, but can also allow more to enter the pre-cleaner.
One thing to note when fitting your new Snorkel Upgrade Sy-Klone pre-cleaner is that it should sit flush with the inlet. However if you have your snorkel bolted into the a-pillar as I do, you could run into an issue where the pre-cleaner lip is touching your a-pillar. If you have this issue like I did you have two options to fix it.
You can either find another adapter that allows the pre-cleaner to sit a tad bit higher, or you can slightly raise the rear of the pre-leaner up before fully tightening it down. Because I had a trip to Death Valley a few days later I decided to lift the rear up slightly. It wasn’t much space needed, perhaps a 1/4” tops to get the space I desired, so I left it at that and had no issues. That was running 70-80mph consistently for the first 5 hours to get to the Park, and then the countless washboard roads for over 100 miles. It did not move at all nor came in contact with the a-pillar.
If you did not attach your snorkel to the a-pillar odds are this won’t be an issue for you, but for those who did, depending on your brand, this could be an issue you run into.
Before my trip to Death Valley National Park, I threw in a brand new Toyota OEM air filter to see how well this pre-cleaner actually worked. Would it work as they claimed? Or would it be a selling gimmick, such as the claim to not need to move the standard snorkel head backward during the rain?
Did it work?
Over 500 miles were driven in the dirty Central California air, as well as the areas around Death Valley which supposedly have the worst air in the entire country. Then there were the 30 mph winds that were blowing anything and everything around, as well as the 100 miles we did on the dirty washboard roads in the Park.
While a lot of people buy snorkels for the water, I bought mine for the desert runs I like to do. These areas wreak havoc on your air filters and easily can cause them to need to be replaced after a single trip. While the Dobinsons standard snorkel head did indeed provide cleaner air for the snorkel in these areas, it still allowed more dirt than you would expect out of a snorkel.
Yeah, It works
Much to my surprise, when I got home and opened my airbox, it was still as clean as it was after I put the new air filter in. I took the filter out, inspected it, and besides two small insects, I noticed no other bugs that made their way in. Typically on a trip like this, I would have at least a few moths and larger flying insects in there. This was not the case this time.
I also made sure to smack the filter against the trash can to see how much dirt would fall out. To my surprise, literally none. Nothing came out besides those two insects. While 100 miles may not seem like a lot, on dirt it is, and I was shocked I didn’t have anything come out. I was fully expecting some to come out, which I still wouldn’t have been upset about, but this was literally a game-changer for those who do desert runs.
There’s a reason the military uses these pre-cleaners on their vehicles, as well as other large-scale operations around the world. They are indeed the real deal and you can count on them to keep your vehicle clean, especially in desert areas.
I honestly don’t understand why these types of heads don’t come stock with snorkels. Perhaps it’s to keep production costs down, but if you own a snorkel or are thinking about purchasing one, you should absolutely make sure to purchase one of these from the start. I fully expect my air filters to live their full life now, rather than needing to change them after every trip.