A snorkel would allow for greater depth while water fording, but I've seen many of those malfunction causing the engine to become hydrolocked anyway. I would be very careful about traversing too deep of water and if you have to, make sure to be going slow as not to cause waves of water going over your hood.
Also think about your other components. Your axles, transfer case & transmission all have oil and air in them. When you drive it heats up and expands and when driven through water, it contracts. There are air vents and vent hoses that allow for this otherwise the seals would suffer. If the vent hose is under water as the cooling takes place, chances are water will be drawn in. Especially bad for an auto tranny.
There's really no magical number here... use common sense and keep it well below the intake and breather hoses.
I ran a snorkel and had breather extensions on my jk and still hated the deeper water crossings... nothing is 100% and with all the electronics on jk's I was more worried about water screwing with them than getting in my engine.
The book indicates no more than 30" and not moving faster than 5 mph. However, I totally agree with marslim. If you're going to be doing water crossings on an on-going basis you need to be properly equipped for it. IMO, a "stock" JK shouldn't move through more than 2 ft of verifiable water height at no more than 2-3 mph.
Awesome! Sorry for the late reply. Thank you all for the great info. I probably won't dump the money into that aspect then. It's not something I will see often. I was more so curious as to what I could handle without jacking her up too much.
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