Invisible division bar modular assembly
A surround molding module incorporates an invisible division bar assembly. The invisible division bar includes a support or glass encapsulation that does not extend outwardly beyond the plane of the exterior surface of fixed and movable windows of the vehicle. It provides a butt joint between these window edges. The support also carries a guide member that provides tracking with a guide extending outwardly from a glass encapsulation secured to the movable window. A glass run channel is also secured to the support along the rear vertical edge of the movable window. An effective window guide tracking system is provided that has improved wind noise and a flush window appearance with no off-set.
This application claims priority from, and incorporates herein by reference, provisional application Ser. No. 60/603,977, filed Aug. 24, 2004.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to a window support structure for a vehicle, and more particularly to a sealing system and invisible division bar modular assembly that interfaces between a fixed window and a movable window of a vehicle.
It is known to provide a division bar that extends in a generally vertical direction between header and belt line portions of a vehicle window opening. The division bar is typically attached to or molded into a window encapsulation assembly associated with the fixed window. Unfortunately, known arrangements do not adequately address wind noise, aesthetics or appearance, and are not integrally incorporated into a glass guide tracking system for the adjacent movable window. It would therefore be desirable to provide a flush appearance with no glass offset, and particularly one incorporated into a surround module that adequately seals against the movable window. It would also be beneficial if the window provided a flush appearance with the division bar. Aesthetically, it would create a smoother line that provides a generally continuous glass-look finish between the front and movable window and a rear or fixed window. Moreover, known division bar assemblies extend outwardly from an exterior surface or plane of the windows. Aside from the aesthetic appearance issues noted above, the outwardly extending division bar creates an undesired drag and generates wind noise.
Conventional sealing systems often incorporate multiple components for sealing about the periphery of the window to the vehicle. In addition, these assemblies must provide a smooth transition with the vehicle body, i.e., blend in and provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance with the exterior vehicle appearance. Thus, moldings are provided with the glass run channels to improve the exterior appearance of the glass run channel. Likewise, a separate or inner garnish trim is usually provided to add a pleasing appearance about the window opening along the interior of the vehicle. Again, multiple assembly operations are typically required to secure the glass run channel, belt weatherstrip, decorative molding, inner garnish, etc. Each component adds additional cost and assembly. Thus, it has been proposed by the assignee of the present application to provide a surround molding module such as shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,702,148, the details of which are incorporated herein by reference. As described in the '148 patent, a fixed glass assembly typically incorporates a divider bar, one portion of which supports the glass run channel and a second portion formed of an elastomeric material molded about the periphery of the fixed window.
An improvement of the modular molding assembly that adequately seals about the windows of a vehicle, addresses assembly issues, and provides a division bar assembly with a smooth and flush appearance and that improves wind noise is desired.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
An invisible division bar is provided that spans the interface between a movable widow and a fixed window, and guides and seals the movable window while providing a flush glass appearance, i.e., without protruding beyond an exterior surface of the windows.
A preferred embodiment of the division bar assembly includes a first portion or support secured to a fixed window and a second portion or guide fixed to the movable window. The guide is received in a guide member cavity of the support which includes a low-friction material.
At least one seal lip extends from the support for engaging an inner surface of the movable window.
An inner garnish assembly is provided in a preferred arrangement to provide an aesthetic cover along the interior surface of the vehicle.
The support preferably includes a cavity that receives a glass run channel. The glass run channel in a preferred arrangement includes the low friction material.
The division bar assembly does not have any portion extending onto the external surfaces of the windows.
A primary benefit of the invention is the improved aesthetics associated with the arrangement.
Another benefit offered by the invention is the low profile and reduced wind noise associated therewith.
Still another benefit is the ease of incorporation of the assembly into a surround molding module that facilitates assembly.
Still other features and benefits of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading and understanding the following detailed description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Turning briefly to
As perhaps best illustrated in
The conventional division bar assembly 28 further includes a molded elastomeric material 70 that encapsulates a perimeter edge of the fixed window 32. More particularly, the elastomeric window encapsulation 70 engages opposite first or exterior surface 32a and a second or interior surface 32b of the fixed window 32. For example, the window encapsulation is preferably formed in an insert molding process where the elastomeric material is bonded to the first and second legs 50, 52 and forms a seal against the outside elements. Moreover, a leg 72 of the surround molding 22 is received in a recess 74 between the division bar and the elastomer material to provide an aesthetic cover in the division bar region of the vehicle.
Although this surround molding module has met with commercial success, the division bar unfortunately provides a raised surface at the interface between the movable and fixed windows, i.e., a raised division bar that is unsightly, and also contributes to wind noise because of the extent by which the division bar protrudes from the external surface of the windows.
Secured to the support 84 is a portion of the surround molding, identified here by reference numeral 90. The surround molding portion includes a first portion or leg 92 secured to the support, shown here as extending parallel to and preferably secured by fasteners 94, to the second leg 86b of the support. It will be appreciated, however, that other securing arrangements may be used without departing from the scope and intent of the present invention. Second and third portions 96, 98 of the surround molding are disposed in spaced, generally parallel relation and define a recess or cavity 100, shown here as a pair of spaced legs extending generally parallel to the interior surface of the movable window. The second and third legs 96, 98 defining the recess 100 form a guide member adapted to receive a leg 110 of guide or window encapsulation 112 that is secured to the interior surface of the movable window adjacent the vertical rear edge thereof. The window encapsulant of the movable window can be any suitable material such as a molded rubber, EPDM, TPV, PVC, etc., that is secured to the interior surface of the movable window, for example, adhesively secured thereto. The window encapsulation 112 can also be molded or rubber bonded to the movable window. The leg 110 is dimensioned for receipt in the cavity 100 and serves the function of guiding or tracking the rear vertical edge of the movable window. To facilitate this movement, a low friction material, is provided in the cavity shown here as a generally U-shaped insert 114 interposed between the legs 96, 98 and the guide leg 110. Generally parallel legs 114a, 114b of the low friction material insert may be slightly bowed or curved into engagement with the guide leg 110. This arrangement provides a desired low-friction, sliding engagement for the tracking of the rear vertical edge of the movable window.
Also secured to the molding is a glass run channel 116 that includes at least one and preferably a pair of sealing guide lips 118. The sealing guide lips are either formed of a low-friction material, or include a low-friction material along selected portions thereof to provide the desired low-friction, sliding sealing engagement with the interior surface of the movable window. As shown in
For aesthetic purposes, an inner garnish 130 is provided as a part of the invisible division bar assembly 80. The garnish 130 is a fully molded surround component that is mechanically secured to the invisible division bar assembly, as well as to the remainder of the surround molding. For example, one preferred material is a plastic such as a polypropylene, although the invention should not be limited to this particular type of material. The inner garnish is also shown as being mechanically fastened to the support along the invisible division bar assembly, while along other regions of the surround molding module, the inner garnish may include a leg secured by clips (see left- and right-hand cross sections along the invisible division bar assembly). The inner garnish has overlay or cover portions 134, 136 that provide an aesthetic finish to the assembly so that the individual components of the division bar assembly are visible from the interior of the vehicle.
It will be appreciated that the surround molding 90 is preferably either molded, extruded, or formed separately from the other components, while the glass run channel 116 in the preferred arrangement is molded at the upper B-pillar and molded in the division bar to the header. Preferred materials are EPDM or plastic, although plastic has the additional advantage of reduced cost.
Preferably, the front vertical edge of the fixed window 32 and the rear vertical edge of the movable window 30 are darkened, for example with a black-out frit 140. The frit is provided for aesthetic reasons of masking or hiding the remaining components of the invisible division bar assembly.
Although illustrated in
The invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiments. Of course, modifications and alterations will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art, and the invention should not be limited to the described embodiments.
1. A division bar assembly received between an associated fixed window and an associated movable window of a vehicle, the division bar assembly comprising:
- a support adapted to be secured to the associated fixed window;
- a guide affixed to the associated movable window and adapted to extend from an inner surface thereof; and
- a guide member extending from the support including a cavity dimensioned to receive the guide therein, the cavity including a low friction material over at least a portion thereof.
2. The invention of claim 1 further comprising at least one seal lip extending outwardly from the guide member for engagement with an associated inner surface of the movable window.
3. The invention of claim 1 further comprising an inner garnish operatively secured to the guide and disposed in covering relation thereto.
4. The invention of claim 1 wherein the guide extends from only one face of the movable window.
5. The invention of claim 1 wherein the guide is fixedly secured to the inner surface of the movable window and includes a first leg spaced from the inner surface of the window.
6. The invention of claim 5 wherein the support includes a channel dimensioned to receive the first leg of the guide therein.
7. The invention of claim 6 wherein the support includes at least one seal lip extending from the support for sealing engagement with the inner surface of the movable window.
8. The invention of claim 7 wherein the support extends from only one face of the fixed window.
9. The invention of claim 8 wherein the support includes a first leg fixedly secured to an inner surface of the fixed window.
10. The invention of claim 9 wherein the support includes a second leg that extends between facing edges of the moveable and fixed windows and terminates at an exterior surface of the windows.
11. The invention of claim 10 further comprising an inner garnish assembly secured to the support having a first leg that overlies the first leg of the support and a second leg that overlies the channel.
International Classification: E06B 1/04 (20060101);