Patents Examined by Eric D. Culbreth
  • Patent number: 6086074
    Abstract: A steering lock mechanism for a steerable axle assembly. The mechanism includes a fluid-actuated pin mounted within a cylinder. The cylinder is carried by a plate attached to a steerable wheel end. The pin carried by the cylinder has a tapered end which engages a tapered hole. When these tapered components are in engagement, steering motion of the steerable wheel end is prevented. The mechanism has several significant features, one of which is a fail-safe design in which a mechanical spring urges the pin to assume an extended or locking position in the event of failure of the pneumatic actuating system. The mechanism is designed so that the pin will find the hole as the steered wheels sweep past the straight ahead position, in the event of a failure of the fluid actuation system used to retract the pin.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 14, 1996
    Date of Patent: July 11, 2000
    Assignee: Oshkosh Truck Corporation
    Inventor: Eric E. Braun
  • Patent number: 5975565
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) includes a seat frame (20), an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (18), and a reinforcing assembly (80). The frame (20) has a bottom portion (24) and a back portion (22) which is pivotal relative to the bottom portion (24). The protection device (18) is mounted on the back portion (22) of the frame (20) for rearward deployment from the back portion (22). The reinforcing assembly (80) includes a rigid brace (82) with an upper end portion (86) adjacent to the back portion (22) of the frame (20), a lower end portion (88) adjacent to the bottom portion (24) of the frame (20), and an intermediate portion (90) joining the upper and lower end portions (86) and (88). A fastener structure (92) fixes one portion (22 or 24) of the frame (20) permanently to one end portion (86 or 88) of the brace (82). A locking device (84) interlocks the other portion (24 or 22) of the frame (20) releasably with the other end portion (88 or 86) of the brace (82).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 27, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 2, 1999
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Jess A. Cuevas
  • Patent number: 5975564
    Abstract: An airbag cushion which forms a linear arrangement of a plurality of compartements having a rectangular cross sectional shape with opposed longitudinal and lateral surfaces is provided. Each of the compartments is formed by the joinder of at least first and second panel members to form an interior chamber adapted to be filled with an inflation fluid upon deployment of the airbag cushion and a planar partition wall separating the interior chambers of adjacent compartments. The joinder of the at least first and second panel members for each of the compartments is effected from the outside of the compartment interior chambers. A method of fabricating an airbag cushion in the form of a linear arrangement of a plurality of compartments having a rectangular cross sectional shape with opposed longitudinal and lateral surfaces is also provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 24, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 2, 1999
    Assignee: Autoliv ASP, Inc.
    Inventors: Bradley W. Smith, J. Kirk Storey, Brent K. Olson, Kelly S. Van Hooser, Pratricie G. Cochran
  • Patent number: 5967547
    Abstract: In order to reinforce the opening of an air bag container against excessive deformation, laterally extending ribs of beads are formed on the upper and lower surfaces of the container. Vertically extending connection flanges which are arranged on the inboard edges of the container are arranged to be merged and/or rigidly connected with the ribs. Openings in the flanges through which bolts are disposed are arranged proximate the ribs.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 28, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 19, 1999
    Assignee: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Masanori Narita, Yasuki Matsuura
  • Patent number: 5957231
    Abstract: A vehicle cab suspension unit has a foundation which is secured to an outer rail of the frame of the vehicle and pivotally connects one end of a track arm. The other end of the track arm is supported above the foundation by an air spring, and a cab support yoke is pivotally connected between the ends of the track arm so as to support and secure the cab at a position along the track arm between its ends. Shock absorbers are provided between the foundation and the cab support yoke on both sides of the track arm. A height control valve maintains the height of the suspension unit and elastomeric snubbers on the foundation provide limits to the range of travel of the unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 28, 1999
    Assignee: Applied Power Inc.
    Inventors: Richard L. Conaway, Douglas G. Stuyvenberg
  • Patent number: 5954149
    Abstract: An apparatus (30) which controls the motion of a cab (12) of a vehicle relative to a frame of the vehicle includes a cab motion control motor (38). A pair of motor control valves (70 and 72) are provided to control fluid pressure conducted to the cab motion control motor (38). The motor control valves (70 and 72) are supplied with fluid under pressure by a power steering pump (22). The power steering pump (22) also provides fluid under pressure to a power steering motor (20) which is operable to turn steerable vehicle wheels (18).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 11, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 21, 1999
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Daniel E. Williams
  • Patent number: 5954151
    Abstract: A wheel restraint safety system has a frame having a perimeter size to surround a wheel assembly, and mounted for spacing the frame about the wheel assembly. The frame has a pair of sidebars connected to a pair of end gates forming a generally rectangular outline. The end gates are hingedly connected to one of the sidebars and releasably lockable to the other of the sidebars. The gates provide access to the wheel assembly. The frame has a sensor for detecting unbalanced rotation of a wheel of the wheel assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 6, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 21, 1999
    Inventors: John Gary Cochrane, Gordon Douglas Lee
  • Patent number: 5947518
    Abstract: A bracket includes a hollow base that can be welded to a frame rail of a vehicle. The base includes opposing U-shaped retainer arms that face each other and that define a bolt passageway therebetween. A plate including an internally tapped cylinder having a diameter less than the bolt passageway is disposed in the base between the arms, with the tapped cylinder positioned in the bolt passageway and the plate floatingly retained between the arms. With this combination of structure, the plate can move in the base. Consequently, a bolt can be engaged with a component of the rear suspension of the vehicle and advanced into the bolt passageway, and then the plate with cylinder moved as necessary to threadably engage the bolt to couple the suspension to the frame rail while absorbing minor manufacturing tolerance variations.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 11, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 7, 1999
    Assignees: DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Deluxe Stamping and Die Company
    Inventors: Forrest C. Redman, Max A. Corporon, Larry E. Nelson
  • Patent number: 5947520
    Abstract: A sacrificial fairing is an elongated, arcuate trough-shaped panel member having a leg which detachably mounts to a rear edge of an elongated side fairing of a truck between the side fairing and a wheel well. The sacrificial fairing extends only partially around the wheel well. The sacrificial fairing can be easily detached from the side fairing. As a result, the sacrificial fairing can be easily replaced in case of damage from rocks, debris, chains, or the like.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 27, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 7, 1999
    Assignee: Freightliner Corporation
    Inventor: James Vincent McHorse
  • Patent number: 5934702
    Abstract: A vehicle safety apparatus (10) includes an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (40) and an inflator (30). A cover (70) includes first and second cover parts (78, 80) releasably interconnected by a rupturable portion (82) of the cover. The cover (70) is movable from a closed condition to an open condition in which the rupturable portion (82) of the cover is ruptured and the first and second cover parts (78, 80) are spaced apart from each other to enable inflation of the inflatable device. An electric current carrying structure (100) is operable to actuate an electrically actuatable device (102) of the vehicle. The structure (100) includes first and second parts (140, 142) releasably interconnected by a rupturable portion (144) of the structure. The structure (100) is molded into the cover (70). The rupturable portion (82) of the cover overlies the rupturable portion (144) of the structure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 10, 1999
    Assignee: Trw Inc.
    Inventor: Daniel E. Coleman
  • Patent number: 5931485
    Abstract: In a support arrangement for a steered vehicle wheel mounted on a wheel carrier which is supported by a transverse link by way of a ball joint with a flange pivotally supported and mounted on the transverse link by clamping screws extending through spaced mounting holes in the transverse link and the mounting flange, the mounting holes in one of the transverse link and mounting flange is formed by at least three different receiving bores disposed at different distances from the pivot point of the flange for receiving the clamping screws and the mounting holes in the other are holes elongated along a line extending through the pivot point between the transverse link and the flange and forming jointly with the screws stops which provide for positive engagement between the transverse link and the flange in each of the different relative pivot positions between the two.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 24, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 3, 1999
    Assignee: Daimler Benz AG
    Inventors: Wolfgang Modinger, Thomas Schneider, Bernhard Lehmann
  • Patent number: 5931497
    Abstract: A gas bag for a vehicle occupant restraining system is inflatable from a folded to an inflated state in case of an accident. The gas bag includes a gas bag wall which is defined by several fabric layers being superposed in the inflated state. The gas bag has at least one discharge opening with a cross section. The fabric layers have openings which overlap each other to define the discharge opening and can be displaced relative to each other dependent on the internal gas bag pressure to vary the cross section of the discharge opening.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 22, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 3, 1999
    Assignee: TRW Occupant Restraint Systems GmbH
    Inventor: Anton Fischer
  • Patent number: 5924725
    Abstract: A steering wheel unit for mounting on a steering column of a motor vehicle has a steering wheel including an inner frame with a steering wheel rim and with at least one spoke connected to the steering wheel rim and extending radially inwardly toward a steering column. The steering wheel includes a molded plastic envelope enclosing the inner frame. An air-bag anti-impact device is mounted on the steering wheel. A cap for covering the air-bag anti-impact device is provided. The air-bag anti-impact device has a folded air-bag and a gas producer for inflating the air-bag when tripped. The air-bag has a delimiting edge and is connected with the delimiting edge to the steering wheel to thereby delimit a gas inlet opening for gas produced by the gas producer upon tripping. The cap is opened by the force of the air-bag when being inflated by the gas producer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 30, 1996
    Date of Patent: July 20, 1999
    Assignee: Autoliv Development AB
    Inventors: Michel Kozyreff, Bernd Werner, Josef Egger, Sonja Kuchler
  • Patent number: 5924513
    Abstract: A trailer tire retaining rail is provided including a trailer having an axle with at least one inflatable wheel rotatable mounted to each end thereof. A plurality of rail assemblies each have an outboard member mounted to the trailer adjacent to an outboard end of an associated wheel and an inboard member mounted to the trailer adjacent to an inboard end of an associated wheel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 19, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 20, 1999
    Inventor: Allan E. Jones
  • Patent number: 5924717
    Abstract: The invention relates to an arrangement for changing the hardness, elasticity or rigidity of a sliding device for snow, which sliding device has a level of convexity which is predetermined during manufacture, having a stiffening device which can be fitted on the sliding device and can be changed, in terms of its action on the sliding device, by a control mechanism. The aim of the invention is, by changing the level of convexity, to be able to adapt the travelling properties of the sliding device to the respective skiing/snowboarding conditions in a particularly effective manner.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 8, 1996
    Date of Patent: July 20, 1999
    Assignee: HTM Sport-Und Freizeitgeraete Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventors: Andreas Janisch, Hubert Wuerthner, Karl Stritzl, Helmut Wladar
  • Patent number: 5921578
    Abstract: A shock absorbing stroke in the front portion of a vehicle body is to be made large. Between right and left front wheels are disposed longitudinally extending side beams and center beam, and these three beams are integrally connected by connecting members in front of a cross member. A shock dispersing plate is attached to the said integral connection and the back thereof is brought into abutment with a floor portion formed of a resin.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 23, 1997
    Date of Patent: July 13, 1999
    Assignee: Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Takahito Sekita, Kiyotaka Fujihara, Masao Ogawa
  • Patent number: 5915700
    Abstract: A pseudo four-leg leveling system for a vehicle, such as a recreational vehicle or the like, includes four jacks in the form of hydraulic cylinders mounted to the vehicle frame. Two jacks are located adjacent to the rear the vehicle and two jacks are located adjacent the front of the vehicle. A manually operated control mechanism is located within the vehicle, and a power system interposed between the control mechanism and the jacks supplies hydraulic fluid to extend and retract the jacks thereby adjusting the attitude of the vehicle relative to level. Hydraulic fluid supplied to the rear jacks is controlled independently from the other jacks. The front jacks are in fluid communication with each other, and hydraulic fluid supplied to the front jacks is controlled independently of the hydraulic fluid supplied to the rear jacks. The invention minimizes frame twist when leveling the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 12, 1996
    Date of Patent: June 29, 1999
    Assignee: Versa Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert H. Schneider, Jon D. Jacobs
  • Patent number: 5913535
    Abstract: The present invention provides a manufacturing method for an air bag which can simply form an inner bag inside a outer bag. Cloth members of the inner bag are mounted within the outer bag and the outer bag is sewn together along its peripheries except its folded portion and a gas inlet hole for introducing gas from an inflator, by using threads. Thereafter the cloth members of the inner bag are put into the outer bag, and the cloth members of the inner bag are pulled out of the outer bag through the gas inlet hole. Thereafter, the cloth members of the inner bag are sewn together along their peripheries by using a thread. Thus, the cloth members of the inner bag are formed into a bag. Finally, putting the inner bag into the outer bag makes the air bag completed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 9, 1996
    Date of Patent: June 22, 1999
    Inventors: Masahiro Taguchi, Tomoji Suzuki, Shoichi Yamanaka
  • Patent number: 5913536
    Abstract: An air bag module (80) mounted in a vehicle seat back (22) includes a single air bag (90) which has a thorax portion (110), a neck portion (120), and a head portion (100). The head portion (100) of the air bag (90) is mounted on a support tube (260) for sliding movement relative to an inflator (240). Upon actuation of the inflator (240), the thorax portion (110) of the air bag (90) inflates first, in a forward direction out of the seat back (22). The head portion (100) of the air bag (90), and the support tube (260), move upward out of the top of the seat back (22). The head portion (100) then inflates in a forward direction after the thorax portion (110) inflates, into a position to protect the head of the occupant. The neck portion (120) of the air bag (90), when inflated, has a relatively small width as compared to the head portion (100) and the thorax portion (110).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 7, 1996
    Date of Patent: June 22, 1999
    Assignee: TRW Vehicle Safety System Inc.
    Inventor: Louis R. Brown
  • Patent number: 5913525
    Abstract: A system for leveling a vehicle such as a recreational vehicle or the like includes three jacks in the form of hydraulic cylinders mounted to the vehicle frame. A series of manually actuated switches, oriented in a diamond pattern, are located within the interior of the vehicle and are interconnected with the jacks to provide selective extension of the jacks to adjust the attitude of the vehicle relative to level. A level sensor is mounted to the vehicle and is interconnected with the jacks and the switches, and an operating system is responsive to the level sensor for controlling operation of the jacks and providing information to the control panel. The operating system alerts the operator as to which of the switches should be actuated in order to level the vehicle, and also functions to cut-off extension of each jack when the level sensor has detected that the vehicle in the vicinity of the jack has attained a level condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 12, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 22, 1999
    Assignee: Versa Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert H. Schneider, Jon D. Jacobs