LOCKABLE BARRICADE FOR CAPLESS FUEL TANK FILLER NECK

- STANT MANUFACTURING INC.

A fuel tank filler neck is formed to include an opening. A filler neck closure system includes a closure and a lock for the closure.

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Description

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/743,389, filed Mar. 1, 2006, which is expressly incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND

The present disclosure relates to fuel tank filler necks, and in particular, to closures for capless fuel tank filler necks. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to locks for fuel tank filler neck closure systems.

SUMMARY

A lockable filler neck barricade comprises a lock mount including a base coupled to a fuel tank filler neck and a lock support unit anchored to the base and arranged to lie alongside the fuel tank filler neck and an access blocker mounted for movement on the lock support unit between a lockout position arranged to overlie an opening into a pump nozzle-receiving passageway formed in the fuel tank filler neck to prevent access to the pump nozzle-receiving passageway through the opening and a refueling position arranged to lie away from the pump nozzle-receiving passageway opening to allow insertion of a fuel-dispensing pump nozzle into the passageway through the opening during fuel tank refueling activity. The lockable filter neck barricade further comprises a lock coupled to the lock support unit and configured to retain the access blocker in the lockout position to block unauthorized access to the pump nozzle-receiving passageway formed in the fuel tank filler neck. In an illustrative embodiment, the lock comprises a key-actuated lock mechanism coupled to the access blocker and to the lock support unit of the lock mount.

Additional features of the disclosure will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments exemplifying the best mode of carrying out the disclosure as presently perceived.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The detailed description particularly refers to the accompanying figures in which:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic view of a lockable filler neck barricade according to the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing an access blocker included in the lockable filler neck barricade of FIG. 1 after the access blocker has been moved to assume a lockout position blocking access to a pump nozzle-receiving passage formed in an underlying fill pipe closure unit adapted to be mounted in an outer end of a fill pipe; and

FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing exposure of a movable appearance door provided in the fill pipe closure unit upon movement of the access blocker away from the fill pipe closure unit to assume a refueling position to allow a user to insert a fuel-dispensing pump nozzle into a nozzle-receiving passageway formed in the fill pipe closure unit by moving the pump nozzle against the appearance door and into a passageway opening normally closed by the appearance door.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A lockable barricade 10 is coupled to a filler neck 12 as shown, for example, in FIG. 1 and includes an access blocker 14 that can be locked in place in a lockout position as shown, for example, in FIG. 2 and, when unlocked, moved to a refueling position as shown, for example, in FIG. 3. In the lockout position, access blocker 14 is arranged to overlie an opening 16 into a nozzle-receiving passageway 18 formed in filler neck 12 to block movement of a pump nozzle (not shown) or other tube (not shown) into nozzle-receiving passageway 18 through opening 16.

In an illustrative embodiment, filler neck 12 includes a fill pipe 20 coupled to a fuel tank 22 and a fill pipe closure unit 24 coupled to an outer end 26 of fill pipe 20 as suggested, for example, in FIG. 1. In an illustrative embodiment, fill pipe closure unit 24 is formed to include opening 16 and an outer portion of nozzle-receiving passageway 18 and fill pipe 20 is formed to include an inner portion of nozzle-receiving passageway 18. Fill pipe closure unit 24 includes a housing 28 formed to include opening 16 and an appearance door 30 mounted for movement relative to housing 28 between a closed position (shown in FIGS. 1-3) closing opening 16 and an opened position (not shown) exposing opening 16. Fill pipe closure unit 24 also includes a ring-shaped exterior seal member 27 coupled to an exterior portion of housing 28 and sized and arranged to mate with an interior wall 31 of filler neck 12 to establish a liquid and vapor seal therebetween.

Lockable barricade 10 further includes a lock mount 32 coupled to fill pipe 20 and to access blocker 14. Lock mount 32 further includes a base provided by pipe flange 34 anchored in a fixed position on fill pipe 20 and a lock support unit 36 coupled to pipe flange 34 by a connector or fastener 38 and arranged to extend upwardly in direction 40 to mate with access blocker 14. Pipe flange 34 is configured and arranged to retain lock support unit 36 in a stationary position alongside fill pipe closure unit 24 and outer end of filler neck 12 as suggested in FIG. 1 and to locate access blocker 14 for movement above and relative to a top surface 29 included in fill pipe closure unit 24 and formed to include opening 16 as suggested in FIGS. 2 and 3.

Fill pipe 20 is formed to include a wide-diameter outer portion 33 and a relatively narrower narrow-diameter inner portion 35 as shown, for example, in FIG. 1. Wide-diameter outer portion 33 is formed to include an interior chamber 37 receiving at least a portion of fill pipe closure unit 24 therein as suggested in FIG. 1. An interior wall 31 of wide-diameter outer portion 33 is arranged to mate with exterior seal member 27 of fill pipe closure unit 24 as suggested in FIG. 1. A mount portion 39 of base (e.g., pipe flange) 34 is coupled to inner portion 35 of fill pipe 20 as suggested in FIG. 1 to anchor base 34 in a stationary, fixed position on fill pipe 20.

Access blocker 14 is mounted for movement on lock support unit 36 between the lockout position shown in FIG. 2 and the refueling position shown in FIG. 3. Access blocker 14 is a flat strip in an illustrative embodiment. In an illustrative embodiment, access blocker 14 is arranged to lie in spaced-apart parallel relation to “flat-plate” portions 34a and 34b of base 34 as suggested in FIG. 1.

Access blocker 14 includes a first end 51 associated with lock support unit 36 and arranged to lie in closely confronting relation to a top surface 49 of lock support unit as suggested in FIG. 1. First end 51 of access blocker 14 is formed to include a lock-receiver aperture 50 as suggested in FIGS. 2 and 3. Access blocker 14 also includes an opposite second end 52 that is configured to lie above opening 16 in nozzle-receiving passageway 18 upon movement of access blocker 14 to the lockout position as suggested in FIGS. 1 and 2 and to lie away from opening 16 upon movement of access blocker 14 to the refueling position shown in FIG. 3. A portion (e.g., second end 52) of access blocker 14 is arranged to overlie and cover at least a portion of appearance door 30 upon movement of appearance door 30 to assume the closed position and movement of access blocker 14 to assume the lockout position as suggested in FIG. 2.

Lockable barricade 10 further includes a lock 42 coupled to lock support unit 36 and configured to interact with lock support unit 36 and access blocker 14 to retain access blocker 14 securely in the lockout position. This locking function of lock 42 blocks unauthorized access by a trespasser to pump nozzle-receiving passageway 18 formed in filler neck 12 and thus to fuel tank 22 via filler neck 12. When access blocker 14 is locked and retained in the lockout position, a trespasser or vandal is unable to insert a fuel-siphoning tube (not shown) into fuel tank 22 or otherwise gain access to fuel tank 22 through opening 16 and through passageway 18.

In an illustrative embodiment, lock 42 is a key-actuated cylinder lock and is mounted in a chamber 60 formed in lock support unit 36 in rotative bearing engagement with an interior side wall 62 defining a boundary of chamber 60. A key (not shown) is inserted into a keyway 44 provided in lock 42 and the key is turned to release access barrier 14 so that lock 42 can be rotated in chamber 60 about an axis of rotation 43 (shown in FIG. 1) from the lockout position shown in FIG. 2 to the refueling position shown in FIG. 3. A pump nozzle (not shown) can then be moved downwardly to contact appearance door 30 and move door 30 inwardly to an opened position (not shown) so that the pump nozzle can be inserted into passageway 18 provided in filler neck 12.

Lock 42 is mounted in lock support unit 36 and arranged to extend upwardly in direction 40 into and through lock-receiver aperture 50 formed in first end 51 of access blocker 14 as suggested in FIGS. 1 and 2. This mounting arrangement exposes keyway 44 formed in lock 42 when access blocker 14 is located in both of the lockout and refueling positions. Lock 42, when unlocked, is able to rotate in chamber 60 formed in lock support unit 36 about axis of rotation 43 relative to lock support unit 36. Access blocker 14 is coupled to lock 42 using any suitable means to rotate therewith about axis of rotation 43 so that rotation of lock 42 about axis of rotation 43 causes access blocker 14 to move in direction 45 between the lockout positions shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and the refueling position shown in FIG. 3.

Lock barricade 10 is adapted to fit inside a body pocket formed in a vehicle (not shown). Pipe flange 34 is configured to support lock barricade 10 on fill pipe 20 and can be adapted to fit lock barricade into many vehicle and body pockets. Vehicle interiors and body layouts are unaffected by lock barricade 10 in that lock barricade 10 does not use or include cable pulls or external body door locks. Lock barricade 10 is a unit separate from filler neck 12 and is well-suited to mate with a wide variety of filler necks or other suitable stationary platforms (not shown) provided in a vehicle.

Claims

1. A filler neck barricade comprising

a fuel tank filler neck,
a lock mount including a base coupled to a fuel tank filler neck and a lock support unit anchored to the base and arranged to lie alongside the fuel tank filler neck, and
an access blocker mounted for movement on the lock support unit between a lockout position arranged to overlie an opening into a pump nozzle-receiving passageway formed in the fuel tank filler neck to prevent access to the pump nozzle-receiving passageway through the opening and a refueling position arranged to lie away from the pump nozzle-receiving opening to allow insertion of a fuel-dispensing pump nozzle into the passageway through the opening during fuel tank refueling activity.

2. The barricade of claim 1, wherein the fuel tank filler neck includes a fill pipe adapted to be coupled to a fuel tank and a fill pipe closure unit coupled to an outer end of the fill pipe and formed to include the opening into the nozzle-receiving passageway.

3. The barricade of claim 2, wherein the fill pipe closure unit is formed to include an outer portion of the nozzle-receiving passageway communicating with the opening and the fill pipe is formed to include an inner portion of the nozzle-receiving passageway communicating with the outer portion of the nozzle-receiving passageway and being adapted to communicate with the fuel tank.

4. The barricade of claim 3, wherein the base of the lock mount is coupled to the fill pipe to retain the lock support unit in a stationary position alongside the fill pipe closure unit and an outer end of the filler neck and to locate the access blocker for movement above an relative to a top surface included in the fill pipe closure unit and formed to include the opening into the pump nozzle-receiving passageway.

5. The barricade of claim 3, wherein the fill pipe closure unit includes a housing formed to include an opening into the outer portion of the pump nozzle-receiving passageway and an appearance door mounted for movement relative to the housing between a closed position closing the opening and an opened position exposing the opening and wherein the access blocker is arranged to overlie and cover at least a portion of the appearance door upon movement of the appearance door to assume the closed position and movement of the access blocker to assume the lockout position.

6. The barricade of claim 3, wherein the fill pipe is formed to include a wide-diameter outer portion formed to include a chamber receiving at least a portion of the fill pipe closure unit therein and an interior wall arranged to mate with an exterior seal member included in the fill pipe closure unit, the fill pipe also is formed to include a relatively narrower narrow-diameter inner portion arranged to lie below the wide-diameter outer portion of the fill pipe, and wherein the base is coupled to the relatively narrower narrow-diameter inner portion of the fill pipe.

7. The barricade of claim 2, wherein the base of the lock mount is coupled to the fill tube.

8. The barricade of claim 7, wherein the access blocker is arranged to lie in spaced-apart parallel relation to a portion of the base upon movement of the access blocker to the lockout position.

9. The barricade of claim 8, wherein the access blocker is an elongated flat strip having one end coupled to the lock support unit and another end configured to lie above the opening into the nozzle-receiving passageway upon movement of the access blocker to the lockout position and a portion of the base is a flat plate.

10. The barricade of claim 1, wherein the base of the lock mount includes a pipe flange anchored in a fixed position on the fuel tank filler neck and a fastener coupled to the pipe flange and to the lock support unit to anchor the lock support unit to the base.

11. The barricade of claim 10, wherein the access blocker is an elongated strip having a first end associated with the lock support unit and an opposite second end configured to lie above the opening into the nozzle-receiving passageway upon movement of the access blocker to the lockout position.

12. The barricade of claim 11, wherein the access blocker and at least a portion of the pipe flange are arranged to lie in spaced-apart parallel relation to one another upon movement of the access blocker to the lockout position.

13. The barricade of claim 11, further comprising a lock mounted in lock support unit and arranged to extend into a lock-receiver aperture formed in the first end of the access blocker to expose a keyway formed in the lock and wherein the lock is configured to provide means for releasably retaining the access blocker securely in the lockout position to block a trespasser from gaining access to the fuel tank filler neck through the opening.

14. The barricade of claim 1, further comprising a lock coupled to the lock support unit and configured to retain the access blocker in the lockout position.

15. The barricade of claim 14, wherein the lock support unit includes a chamber containing the lock, the access blocker is formed to include a lock-exposure aperture, and the lock includes a front face formed to include a keyway and exposed in the lock-exposure aperture to allow a user to insert a key into the keyway when the access blocker is located in the lockout position and the refueling position.

16. The barricade of claim 14, wherein the lock is a key-actuated cylinder lock coupled to the lock support unit in rotative bearing engagement and the access blocker is mounted on the cylinder lock for rotation therewith during movement of the access blocker from the lockout position to the refueling position.

17. The barricade of claim 1, further comprising lock means coupled to the lock mount for retaining the access blocker securely in the lockout position so that the access blocker does not move relative to the lock mount.

18. The barricade of claim 17, wherein the lock means is mounted in rotative bearing engagement with the lock support unit to rotate about an axis of rotation and the access blocker is coupled to the lock means to rotate therewith relative to the lock support unit.

19. A filler neck barricade comprising

a fuel tank filler neck,
a lock mount,
an access blocker mounted for movement on the lock mount between a lockout position arranged to overlie an opening into a pump nozzle-receiving passageway formed in the fuel tank filler neck to prevent access to the pump nozzle-receiving passageway through the opening and a refueling position arranged to lie away from the pump nozzle-receiving opening to allow insertion of a fuel-dispensing pump nozzle into the passageway through the opening during fuel tank refueling activity, and
a lock coupled to the lock mount and configured to retain the access blocker in the lockout position to block unauthorized access by a trespasser to pump nozzle-receiving passageway formed in the fuel tank filler neck.

20. The barricade of claim 19, wherein the lock is located in a chamber formed in the lock mount and mounted in rotative bearing engagement with an interior wall included in the lock mount to define a boundary of the chamber and the lock is constrained by the interior wall to rotate in the chamber about an axis of rotation in response to movement of the access blocker between the lockout and refueling positions.

Patent History
Publication number: 20070215240
Type: Application
Filed: Mar 1, 2007
Publication Date: Sep 20, 2007
Applicant: STANT MANUFACTURING INC. (Connersville, IN)
Inventor: J. Bradley Groom (Oxford, OH)
Application Number: 11/681,066
Classifications
Current U.S. Class: Combined (141/98)
International Classification: B65B 3/04 (20060101);