Heightened Senses - 2017-2020 Ford Raptor Borne Off-Road Snorkel Kit - Concept to Completion

Heightened Senses - 2017-2020 Ford Raptor Borne Off-Road Snorkel Kit - Concept to Completion

In a world of drive-anywhere, tow-anything machines, the Ford Raptor sits atop the throne of capable off-roaders. Yes, some of this truck's utility might have been sacrificed in the name of adventure, but there aren't many complaints. The performance off-road suspension and howling 3.5L EcoBoost under the hood allow the Raptor to bound over sand dunes and tower over most water crossings right out of the dealer's lot, so what could make this machine more formidable? Well, a snorkel from Borne Off-Road, for starters.

A looming off-roader with a snorkel typically elicits visions of a truck digging through water up to its wing mirrors while triumphantly emerging out the other side, wearing the pungent mud like a badge of honor. Yes, a snorkel is what makes this possible, but only with the other necessary preparations made. First, every other part of your induction system needs to be properly sealed since you wouldn't want to take water through a different location. Most importantly, you need to ensure that the electronics in your engine bay are watertight. Also, the alternator requires special care. While mounted high in the Raptor's engine bay, saltwater will cause corrosion on the coils, and heavy mud can clog the entire unit leading to failures. Make sure that your off-roader's alternator is placed high in the engine bay for maximum protection.

Water fording is only half of the equation, and a snorkel addition is essential for protecting your engine on the other side of the moisture spectrum - dirt and dust. The front end of the Raptor, as sleek and aggressive as the design, is flat. That means the stock airbox, which pulls its air from the front grille, is in the line of fire from sand and dust-laden air, especially when you're wheeling in a group. Yes, there is an air filter to safeguard the engine from the onslaught of sand and dust, but it's only effective to a certain degree.

Most air filters are highly effective at blocking particles 5 microns and larger. That's ten times smaller than the width of a human hair and is suitable for when you're on the road. However, on the trail, dust particles can be as small as 0.2 microns and slip past the air filter. What doesn't make it through the filter is also of concern. The constant force of dirt and debris can plug up your filter and leave the EcoBoost gasping for air resulting in power loss.

Snorkel kits do more than just give your vehicle a more rugged look. They're an essential extra layer of protection for your off-road-ready Raptor. Before we dive straight into the install, let's take a look at the concept and design for this kit.

Off the Chopping Block

One of the major downsides to adding a snorkel is the need to cut through body panels to install them. That isn't a big deal on a battle-scarred off-road veteran, but chopping through the body of a $65,000+ truck is an understandable reason to be skittish. So, we plan to significantly limit any hacking needed by channeling our snorkel through the driver's side fender vent.

Since this vent is functional, it makes the ideal location to funnel fresh air through. Only minor trimming is required for proper fitment of our design, with the ability to reinstall the vent cover if you return the vehicle to stock.

With the path determined, our engineer, Ye, worked on designing our system's connection tube. The broad haunches of the Raptor's fenders played to our advantage in the design of this kit and gave Ye plenty of room to nestle the unique design above the fender liner.

Adapting your snorkel to the airbox might sound like a complex task, but we wanted to simplify that. If you already have the Mishimoto Performance Intake installed on your Raptor, then there's no adapting needed. The provided rubber boot will slip right on the airbox's secondary air inlet. Ye engineered a form-fitting adapter that mimics the shape and location of our intake's secondary inlet if you're using the stock box.

Finally, we get to the star of the show, the snorkel. This section is perfectly sculpted to the Raptor's A-pillar for proper airflow through the system while not cutting into the view through the windshield or driver's side window. The unique profile of our snorkel tapers to a standard 4-inch diameter connection at the snorkel head to allow for the installation of a universal cyclone separator if you so desire.

There's more to this snorkel kit than 3D models and the final product. Make sure you check out this video to see everything in between!

Raising the Bar

The Raptor's snorkel design looks excellent on paper, but does it work? Well, we decided to bring this design to life for some real-world fitment and off-road testing. The conception of our tangible snorkel kit took a few phases, starting first as a 3D-printed prototype before emerging in its final form.

Clad in robust cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE), our Raptor snorkel kit is purpose-built for the wilderness. This high-density plastic raises the induction location with a feather-weight mass while standing up to the low-hanging branches or narrow canyons. Additionally, XLPE is extremely UV resistant, so it will look fresh after years of abuse.

Our connection tube design, shown here in its 3D printed, prototype phase.

On the other side of the fender, the construction is the same. Our connection tube utilizes the same tough rotational-molded XLPE and is form-fitted to nestle behind the bulging fender and tucked above the inner fender. Ye locked it in place with a sturdy steel bracket, mounted to an available peg on the frame rail to ensure this vital channel stays put.

Tying into the induction system under the hood is a cinch with this kit. With the fender liner removed, there's a direct route to the Raptor's airbox. As mentioned above, if you opt to install the Mishimoto Performance Intake kit on your Raptor, then the provided rubber connection slips right over the airbox's secondary air inlet. For those lacking this secondary air inlet, this kit provides one to you. Fitting this adaptor does require cutting into your factory airbox, but it's form-fitted to the airbox for OEM-like performance.

For the best results with a snorkel, the factory inlet needs to be sealed off. Don't worry; we planned for this and included a durable rubber plug for the factory inlet. Since we carried over the use of OEM duct with our performance intake kit, this plug is compatible with either intake kit.

There's not much that can slow the Ford Raptor down. No matter the terrain, this truck comes from the factory ready to glide right over it. Well, for the most part. Since the Raptor's natural habitat means it spends a lot of its life on sand and diving through streams, it's only a matter of time before dust or water finds its way into the EcoBoost powerplant. With the Borne Off-Road snorkel installed, the Raptor can stay out of captivity and venture further into the wild. Get yours today!


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