Youth Elevated – Snorkel R&D, Part 1: Introduction

This Borne Off-Road Snorkel for the 2018+ Jeep Wrangler JL and 2020+ Jeep Gladiator is now available! Click here to check it out!

When we were 16, our cars were our tickets to freedom and endless possibilities. For many of us, those early days of driving were the basis for a lifetime of automotive passion. It didn’t matter if we were driving our dream car or our grandmother’s 1991 Buick Regal, as long as we were behind the wheel with our friends in the back.

Somewhere along the road from 16 to adulthood, we lost that sense of freedom. Room for friends has been replaced by space for the kids and their bikes. Gas mileage now supersedes a killer sound system in the hierarchy of features. “How comfortable will this be on my 45-minute stop-and-go commute,” has taken the place of “Will my crush think I’m cool in this?”

But growing up doesn’t have to be all car seats and MPGs. Many vehicles, like the 2018+ Jeep Wrangler JL, have the power to make us feel 16 and free from responsibility again. Ever since its great grandfather, the CJ, fought its way back from World War II, the Wrangler has been a symbol of fervent freedom. The Wrangler’s outstanding off-road capability and history of dependability make it ideal for hitting the trail and leaving adulthood behind.

Despite its 76-year history of freeing us from the chains of adulthood, however, the 2018+ Wrangler JL could still benefit from some modification. At Mishimoto, we’ve already developed oil catch cans to keep the JL’s engine clean and performance intakes to extract the most from the air around it. Our next venture will combine the two concepts, keeping the intake clean while you’re blazing new trails and tapping into your inner youth.


Speaking of blazing new trails, Mishimoto is breaking new ground with the introduction of our new brand and product line: Borne Off-Road by Mishimoto. Borne Off-Road encompasses all aspects of the rugged off-road enthusiast, from product design and construction, to branding and packaging. This brand was created to offer a wide variety of high-quality products tailored to the off-road community. With over 15 years of experience engineering performance automotive parts, Mishimoto continues to combine thorough R&D with exceptional design to bring you superior parts with our new brand. We’ve listened to your feedback, and now we’re excited to bring you off-road-ready products under the Borne Off-Road brand.

Raised intakes, or snorkels, are one of the best modifications you can do for your JL if you plan to spend a lot of time off-road. As anybody who’s ever driven on a trail knows, dust and debris are a fact of life off-road. If you’ve followed along with our intake development threads, you’ll also know that the JL intake has a fresh air duct that pulls outside air from between the passenger fender and the hood. But when the vehicle in front of you is kicking up dust, or you’re fording three feet of water, that air isn’t very fresh.

Of course, both the 2.0L and 3.6L have air filters that stop particles 10-times smaller than a human hair from entering the engine, so why install a snorkel? Well, for one, that filter still can’t do anything about water. Splashing through a deep puddle or misjudging the depth of a river crossing can cause trouble if enough water makes its way into the engine. Getting a cheap paper filter wet could mean you’ll be replacing it in the field, or worse, sucking parts of it into the engine.

Water isn’t the only hazard to your intake on the trail. While the stock engine air filter typically removes about 99% of particles that are 5 microns or larger, dust on the trail can be as small as 0.2 microns. Below 5 microns, the efficiency of most filters, even performance filters, drops significantly. Particles under 5 microns aren’t visible to the human eye, but with time they can wreak havoc on sensors, valves, and crucial engine components like piston rings.

Even dirt and debris that doesn’t pass through the filter can be detrimental. An engine is, in essence, an air pump. The amount of power it makes is directly related to how much air flows through it. As the filter collects particulate, it becomes more restrictive, and the engine can’t pull in as much air. Reduced airflow means the engine computer injects less fuel, and the engine makes less power. A dirty air filter can reduce horsepower by as much as 10% on a stock engine and even more with modifications that demand increased airflow. If you’ve spent money and time installing a performance intake, one day on the trail could negate that extra airflow.

The solution to these issues is to move the fresh air inlet higher by adding a snorkel. With a snorkel, your JL’s engine will breathe fresh air no matter what the trail kicks up. Over the next few posts, we’ll look at the development of the Borne Off-Road snorkel from stock intake to the final product. So, keep an eye out for the next post where we’ll share our design process and begin the return to youthful freedom.

Thanks for reading,
-Steve

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