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Clean Air Systems

A look into clean air options for any overlander.

I am at 20,000 miles and I feel like my engine is at 100,000 miles. I was doing 500+ off-road mile desert trips and sometimes having to change my filter on the trail every other day. My airbox past my filter looked like the vehicle had over 1 million miles. At the end of my last trip my engine was jerking and starting rough. I said enough was enough and decided it’s time for some changes.

Why AFEPower cold air intake?

  • Its main air entry point is in the same location as stock making an easier transition into a snorkel.

  • It works with their Pro Guard 7 filter, which is the best filter I found for stopping dirt. (Photo shows their Pro 5R filter as Pro Guard 7 is on backorder).

  • It has a secondary (sealable) air intake under the engine.

  • I can run the 5R filter with secondary intake port open on the streets and the Pro Guard 7 with port closed off-road.

Why Safari Snorkels?

  • An improperly made snorkel can limit airflow and hurt your engine. I chose Safari as they are a well-known and trusted brand. I assume they have done all the proper testing.

  • After install, I was not impressed with their mounting bracket or template. I believe they could have done a much better job on aesthetics. I would personally not recommend them because of this. I will create a write-up in the future on how to fix these issues.

Why Snorkel Upgrade

  • This type of system has been around for decades and has proven to work in industrial applications to filter out dirt prior to entering the intake.

  • I am personally not confident in its abilities at collecting air at high speeds (above 60 MPH). However, I plan to keep my AFE engine intake port open for highway driving so this is not an issue for me.

Sidenote: I was a test pig for RippMods superchargers in 2008 with my Wrangler JK. At that time, I had a River Raider snorkel. During supercharger testing we learned that on the Dyno everything worked perfectly but on the highway it did not. At speeds over 60 MPH not enough air was entering the snorkel due to the aerodynamic design of the snorkel. We drilled 6 small holes in the rear of the snorkel intake and that solved the problem. It would force air to enter the snorkel head and get trapped rather than moving around the head.

Therefore, I am personally not 100% confident with any snorkel intake system and another major reason why I chose AFE; I can take in secondary air from the engine bay at highway speeds and easily seal that intake when off-road.

This install was unexpectedly difficult. The Safari snorkel template was not accurate and the pillar mounting bracket is not flush. The connection from the snorkel to the cold air intake was not as easy as expected and required a lot of creativity. I will be doing the same exact install on my other 4Runner and will create an install article/video in the near future.


I initially planned on running the Sy-Klone pre-cleaner all the time and just keep my CAI open under the hood for better airflow. However, that has changed now that I used it. It is too noisy for a daily driver (and not pleasant to the eye – IMO). I will only use it on multi-day trips from now on and keep the standard Ram for day trips and paved roads (flipping it in heavy rain).

Issue #1. It is noisy! It’s fine on the trail as you expect various noises on the trail. But daily driving on the freeway makes you not want to open your window because it's not a pleasant sound (to me at least).

Issue #2. It limits airflow on highway driving. I posted earlier that I assumed it would. After various testing on the freeway (closed and open system) with comparison to the standard intake mount from Safari, I can tell you it’s a noticeable difference.

Issue #3. Does it work? I am not sure. I can tell you that it doesn’t pick up lightweight dust/dirt. However, I can assume (and do assume) it is picking up heavier particles. If your expectation is that your filter will be 50-100% cleaner… it won’t. But if you’re trying to prevent larger particles from entering and expanding the life of your filter, I think it works.

My take on the system is this:

Stock I was able to get 2 days of wheeling before I needed to throw in a new filter.

CAI with Pro Guard 7 probably added another 1-2 days.

Snorkel an additional 1-2 days.

Sy-Klone an additional 1-2 days.

You should be cleaning/replacing your filter after every trip. Therefore I can only recommend a Sy-Klone for those that either go out on 5+ day trips or those that don't bother cleaning their filters.

There is no easy answer to keeping your filter clean. For me, I find this system with the option to keep it “open” via the CAI will be my best choice.

I was considering doing a video showing various testing. However I found an excellent series of video by @lockyourhubs4WDing solidifying my conclusions with real testing. Soon he will also be doing a video comparing actual particle collection as well.


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