Okay, so a snorkel might not help us to drive through oceans on our world-wide road trip, but it will definitely help at river crossings and to improve our fuel efficiency. Here’s how we installed our snorkel ourselves for a quarter of the normal price.
We’ve actually now installed a snorkel on our van twice – we had to replace the first snorkel after it was damaged in our unfortunate crash a year before departure.
The first time we tried at installing the snorkel it was a super painful and tedious task. It turned out the template that came with the snorkel wasn’t properly designed for the car and I ended up having to modify the snorkel to make it fit. This time, however, I was a bit more careful and the whole process was a lot easier.
I followed the instructions from Andy Dodd’s video on youtube (see below). His idea of fixing the template to the snorkel first and then transferring it to the car made all the difference. It means there’s a very low risk of getting it wrong.
Before you start
The round edges of the Delica make it quite tricky to get a perfect fit for the body. So if you are not confident with what you are doing you might want to get a professional to do it for you.
As Vanda already had a snorkel before, I didn’t need to remove the air intake part that goes under the fender. So I went straight into drilling the hole into the body. I did it from inside out (just until the centre drill made it through the body) and then continued from the outside.
A friend of mine once said it’s easier to feel comfortable drilling the hole after you’ve had a bottle of beer. I try not to mix alcohol and tools, but if you wanna try that, give it a go at your own risk!
Now it was time to mark the spots where you need to drill the holes for the fixing bolts. As per the video above I decided to stick the template to the snorkel and then transfer it to the body. And I reckon this is the way to go.
Once you have the template attached to the snorkel all you need to do is to take it to the car and position it so it fits nicely to the body. This is probably the trickiest part of the whole installation.
As I mentioned before, the round curves of the Delica make it really hard, but patience is key here. I just tried to make sure the whole thing was sitting close enough to the car so that the bolts would be long enough.
Once you are happy with it you can use duct tape to secure the paper in place. Then remove the bits that hold it to the snorkel. And voilà! That’s probably as good template placement as you will be able to do.
If you have a series 1 Delica like I do, you will notice that the lower-most bolt actually goes over the indicator light. We will simply just have to forget about using that bolt.
Using a hammer and a centre punch – or a hammer and a screw driver if you don’t have a centre punch – you can mark the spots before you start drilling the holes. This will assist the drill bit to stay in place while drilling.
Grab a 12-13 mm drill bit and start making the four holes. If you are lucky enough your snorkel should fit perfectly after that. Otherwise keep adjusting the drilling so the holes will match where you bolts will touch the body.
Once you are done it’s a good idea to apply some rust proofing paint to the exposed metal before you put it all together.
A bit of sealant around the holes to make it water tight is the last thing missing before you can start bolting it on for real.
Send the kids somewhere else before you fit your arm through the wheel arch to tighten the bolts from the inside. Cursing is inevitable!
At least at this stage you are close to having it all done!
Waterproofing the air box
Your snorkel should be installed by now. But to ensure the whole thing is water tight you will need to seal some joints and holes.
Start applying kitchen/bathroom sealant to where the new snorkel joins the existing air box tube.
In addition to that you will also notice two little holes at the bottom of the air box. Those are meant to let moisture out after those rainy or cold days. However, they would also let water in and need to be blocked. I just used sealant here as well.
Be aware that now that the draining holes are blocked moisture will accumulate at the bottom of the air box eventually. So it will be a good idea to open it up to dry / clean it every now and then. Mine has been blocked for nearly one year now and it is still fine.
Now it’s time for you to get out there, find a deep puddle and give it a go! But remember, DO IT AT YOUR OWN RISK!