Dealing with Dusty Roads


New member
I’ll be driving my 2006 Ford E350 6.0l SMB to Belize soon and got thinking about the air filter. Belize has only two paved roads - one North to South and one East to West. The rest are basically dirt roads with lots of dust. I am researching:

1. How often to change or clean the air filter
2. Symptoms of a dirty air filter
3. How easy to change the air filter in a 6.0l van
4. Any mod that might prolong the air filter - prefilter?
5. Finally, do they make a snorkel for the Econoline diesel?

Any experienced dirt readers have advice?
I have the same setup but not a SMB and I travel yearly to the territories of Canada. Most of those roads are very dusty when they aren't muddy. Usual trip length is 10K from Salt Lake City. I've found that unless you have a lot of traffic stirring the dust you don't need to worry much about the filter. I tend to check mine occasionally and just knock it off it it looks dirty. I also carry a spare. There's 4 clips that secure the cover and with a long screwdriver (if you have big hands) its easy to remove. Cant really speak about the snorkel. Barry


I travel mainly dirt roads with my 2007 E350. The air intake being where it is, it is not ingesting dirty air unless you are traveling close behind another vehicle. In 50 years of driving Nevada dirt roads I've not found keeping the air filter clean a problem. If you want to carry a spare, as lonepeak said above the filter is easy to access and change or clean.

The bigger problem is keeping dust out of the interior of the van. And the best solution I've found for that is to pressurize the interior (close all windows and keep the fan on high). Which I detest because I like driving with windows down!


2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
Being a desert person who often travels in groups I can say I deal with dusty filters often.
That is another use for my on board air setup, in camp at night or the morning before leaving, pop out the filter and use the air compressor to blow it out. I also do that with the interior to get rid of dust from the trail when I first get to camp.


My LR air intake is just behind the right front wheel, stock location. I installed a snorkel to intake the air a bit higher to lessen the dust taken in by the filter. CO roads are often dusty and I am often the tail position. Having to ride far behind for minimum dust and visibility. The snorkel limits the amount of dust the filter grabs but still I take the filter out occasionally and blow it out with the compressor, usually at home after the trip. I do carry a compressor to do this on my trips as well.
I did get a DeWalt battery blower to clean off the back before opening the tailgate door to lessen what gets inside.