Rugged Ridge XHD Snorkel
- Doesn't stick out to the side
- Doesn't require cutting anywhere visible enabling removal if desired
- Very helpful phone support by the vendor.
- Installation Docs need to be updated (and may have been by now)
- High mount covers lower windshield light mount point
- Minor windshield obstruction
I got my JKU in April of 2012 and shortly there after started looking for upgrades. I loved the look of the Rugged Ridge Modular XHD Snorkel but they only supported 07-11 models 🙁 . I contacted Rugged Ridge a few times to ask when the 2012 version would be out and they put me on an email alert list. It took almost a year but I got the heads up from Jacob at Omix-ada that it was finally in stock and shipping to resellers the week before Easter (last year). I found a good deal on 4wd.com and placed my order only to get an email back the next day saying it was 1-2 weeks back ordered since it was a new product. I replied mentioning that their website should indicate backordered products and I only ordered it with rush processing so I’d get it by the weekend so I could get it installed. (yeah, i’m impatient) I mentioned to Vickie that Omix-ada was located in Atlanta and I was also in Atlanta so could she just have it drop shipped to me from them and save the back and forth shipping. I figured on getting a “we don’t do that” message back but she instead said “I’ll look into this” followed later by “it should drop ship to you later today from omix-ada”. Then to my surprise it showed up overnight. I was thrilled and amazed at the great service I got from both Jacob (for the heads up) and Vickie (for working super shipping mojo). Both companies definitely earned my respect and repeat business.
Now, on to the install.
I work from home and since it was Good Friday (2013) and few people were actually at work or even working that day I pretty much took the day off with just periodic checks of emails and urgent stuff. It was time to get down and dirty with the Snorkel Install
As I was pre-reading the instructions I noticed they appear to use the same pictures from the 07-11 version (17756.20). My suspicions were confirmed later but we’ll get to that.
The instructions are pretty spot on. The pictures provided worked well enough with my 2012 even though there were minor differences here and there. If you have side steps or rock sliders you’ll probably have to take it off of this side to get to 2 of the bolts for the fender removal and if you’ve added the door sill guards you’ll have to remove it or just pry it up a little like I did since you only have to loosen the bolt and not remove it.
Following the instructions the fender comes right off (don’t laugh at the tires, I’ve since lifted and upgraded to 35’s )
The instructions for drilling out the welds are dead on and easy to follow. I definitely recommend using the block of wood like they say to use. It does help. The only problem I found is that one of the drill out points you make is later used to line up the template for cutting the snorkel opening and my far hole wasn’t in the right place like the template indicated.
A quick call to Omix-ADA’s Tech Support line and an email of this pic to Richard and it was determined to be ok to just use the square hole and ignore the round one on the far end. Richard was great to deal with. Another positive experience with this company. I ended up talking to him one more time later on.
Once you get the cut out done (I just used a metal cutting bit in my dremel, took no time at all) and gasket in place you’re read to start ripping out the old airbox and getting the snorkel installed.
The old airbox comes out as easy as they say it does but I did break off one of the stand offs. No big deal but I figured I’d mention it in case you want to be extra careful to not break anything.
It was a PITA to get the aluminum elbow into place. You will definitely need to bang on and modify the heat shield thats in the way like the instructions recommend. The part also comes with a foam cushion around the mounting bracket but I found it caused more problems than it could possibly be solving so I removed it and the part slid into place much easier.
Once you get the elbow in place everything starts coming together rather quickly. It’s a bit of back and forth install and remove to get the new airbox elbow just right for the connection to the front of the aluminum elbow. I used a pair of large “cuts anything” scissors instead of a razor knife. I found that easier to control and reduce the need for (another) trip to the ER and (another) thumb surgery. (long story, all better now except it aches when it rains)
With everything connected you mount the Low Mount Snorkel portion and when they say make it tight up agains the Jeep frame they MEAN TIGHT. To get the bolts to line up and into place I was really leaning on the part pushing towards the windshield while working with the bolts and screws to get it all locked down. Once you get it though it’s a good fit.
After everything is fitted together you can reconnect the air hose to the engine and that is where I found a problem. The picture in the instructions (Step 99 I think it was) shows a nice flexible hose from the airbox to the engine. That’d be cool if that was what the 2012’s have. It’s not. The pic is from the 2011 so back to the phone and Tech support it was. I snapped this pic and sent it to Richard then called him.
The problem lies in the fact that the new air box is much lower than the old one and it’s at an angle. The air hose is not just an air hose either. It’s got all these extra chambers and piping hanging down below that make it look more like a prop from a bad sci-fi movie than a car part. That stiff plastic was the problem. It does not bend at all. After talking to Richard for a bit he went to “the man” to ask about it. I’m serious, thats what he called the engineer, “the man”.
After initially being told “follow the instructions” he went back again and thats when they realized that the new pics didn’t make it into the instructions. Whoops! No biggie though. Richard and “the man” confirmed that it was ok to push down a little and get the first (left) bolt going then the second one (right) would pull down and be easier to install. After doing that everything buttoned up nicely.
When I put everything back together I did find that it was a VERY snug fit for the opening I cut for the Snorkel in the fender. I’m guessing this is by design but my gut says it could probably use another 1/8″ off the front portion and still be a good fit without so much pressure applied to line everything up.
The entire install took a whole afternoon once you factor in the phone calls and emails back and forth to Tech Support. I’m glad I decided to do this during the work week so they were available. It made me more comfortable to get answers to my questions without having to wait for a weekend to be over.
All things considered, this is a great product with excellent vendor support and installation instructions. Taking the issues I’ve mentioned above into consideration this is an easy DIY Install with basic tools and a Dremel w/ cut off wheel.
In the year since I’ve installed it I’ve upgraded a few other parts on the Zombie Jeep and swapped out the snorkel high mount air scoop for a skull.