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Title:
CONTINUOUSLY VARIABLE TRANSMISSION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/183051
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A continuously variable transmission for a vehicle includes a drive clutch, a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch, and a belt extending between the drive and driven clutches. The continuously variable transmission also includes an inner cover and an outer cover removably coupled to the inner cover. At least one of the inner and outer covers includes an air inlet for providing cooling air to the drive and driven clutches and the belt.

Inventors:
NELSON, Stephen L. (2833 50th Ave, Osceola, Wisconsin, 54020, US)
KUHL, Amery D. (7278 378th Street, North Branch, Minnesota, 55056, US)
BEJAWADA, Narender (8426 Arrowwood Ln. N, Maple Grove, 55369, MN)
HERRALA, Bruce E. (7981 County Road 39 NE, Monticello, Minnesota, 55362, US)
HICKE, David J. (5105 Farnham Dr. N, Hugo, Minnesota, 55038, US)
PETERMAN, Jeffrey I. (30025 Hemingway Ave, Stacy, Minnesota, 55079, US)
THOLEN, Ryan A. (1288 Avon St. N, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 55117, US)
AVERILLO, Paul R. (56 Saxon Way, Ashby de la Zouch Leicestershire LE65 2JR, 2JR, GB)
DEMETRIOU, Giorgio (16 Brookvale Avenue, Binley Coventry Warwickshire CV32DG, CV32DG, GB)
Application Number:
US2019/022912
Publication Date:
September 26, 2019
Filing Date:
March 19, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
POLARIS INDUSTRIES INC. (2100 Highway 55, Medina, Minnesota, 55340-9770, US)
International Classes:
F16H57/04; B60K11/06; F01P5/06; F16D13/72
Foreign References:
US20170002920A12017-01-05
US20170268655A12017-09-21
US20170211467A12017-07-27
US4697665A1987-10-06
US7070527B12006-07-04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MEYERS, William S. (300 N. Meridian Street, Suite 2700Indianapolis, Indiana, 46204, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WIIAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A continuously variable transmission (“CVT”) for a vehicle, comprising:

a drive clutch;

a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch, and the driven clutch includes a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave, and the stationary sheave includes a plurality of fins extending axially outward and an angular distance between adjacent fins of the plurality of fms is less than 15 degrees.

2. The CVT of claim 1, wherein the angular distance between adjacent fins of the plurality of fins is approximately 6-10 degrees.

3. The CVT of any of the preceding claims, further comprising a housing generally surrounding the drive and driven clutches, the housing including an inner cover having a first air inlet and an outer cover removably coupled to the inner cover and having a second air inlet.

4. The CVT of claim 3, wherein the first air inlet is positioned adjacent the drive clutch and the second air inlet is positioned adjacent the driven clutch.

5. The CVT of any one of claims 3 and 4, wherein the inner cover further includes an air outlet.

6. The CVT of claim 5, wherein the air outlet is positioned adjacent the driven clutch.

7. The CVT of any of the preceding claims, wherein the stationary sheave of the dri ven clutch is defined by a bell portion and an outer sheave face extending radially outward from the bell portion, and the bell portion includes the plurality of fins, and the plurality of fins includes a first plurality of fins extending longitudinally outward therefrom and the outer sheave face includes a second plurality of fins extending radially outward therefrom, and a number of fins defining the second plurality of fins, and at least a first portion of the second plurality of fins has a length less than that of a second portion of the second plurality of fins.

8. The CVT of claim 7, wherein each of the fins of the first and second pl uralities of fins extends substantially radially and has an axial height approximately equal to that of the first and second pluralities of fms.

9. The CVT of any one of claims 7 and 8, wherein the number of fins defining the first and second pluralities of fins is greater than 24.

10. The C VT of claim 9, wherein the number of fins defining the first and second pluralities of tins is 36.

1 1. The CVT of claim 1, wherein the drive clutch includes a stationary sheave and a moveable sheave, and the stationary sheave of the drive clutch includes a first plurality of fins and a second plurality of fins, and the second plurality of fins has a length less than that of the first plurality of fins.

12. The CVT of claim 1 , wherein the inner cover defines an air channel configured to allow air flow between the drive and driven clutches.

13. The CVT of claim 1, further comprising a windage plate coupled to at least one of the drive clutch and the driven clutch.

14. The CVT of claim 13, wherein the driven clutch includes a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave, and the windage plate is coupled to the moveable sheave.

15. The CVT of claim 1, wherein the housing includes at least two of a first volute generally adjacent the a stationary sheave of the drive clutch and configured to direct air toward the driven clutch, a second volute generally adjacent the driven clutch and configured to direct air toward the drive clutch, and a third volute generally adjacent the driven clutch and configured to direct air toward an outlet of the housing.

16. The CVT of claim 1, wherein the outer cover includes a channel extending along at leas t a portion of a peripheral surface of the inner cover, and the channel is configured to direct air flow from the driven clutch to the drive clutch.

17. The CVT of claim 16, wfierein the channel is configured to direct air flow in a counterclockwise direction.

18. A powertrain assembly for a vehicle, comprising:

a prime mover;

a shiftable transmission operably coupled to the prime mover;

a continuously variable transmission (“CVT”) operably coupled to the prime mover and the shiftable transmission, the CVT comprising:

a drive clutch;

a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch;

a belt extending between the drive and driven clutches; and

a housing generally surrounding the drive and driven clutches, the housing including an inner cover and an outer cover removably coupled to the inner cover; and

a bearing housing positioned intermediate a portion of the prime mover and the CVT and being removably coupled to the CVT and removably coupled to at least one of the prime mover and the shiftable transmission.

- SO -

19. The powertrain assembly of claim 18, wherein the hearing housing is positioned adjacent the drive clutch

20. The powertrain assembly of claim 18, wherein the shiftable transmission includes a plurality of gears positioned within a transmission case, and the hearing housing is integral with the transmission case.

21. The powertrain assembly of claim 18, wherein the housing includes at least two of a first volute generally adjacent the drive clutch and configured to direct air toward the driven clutch, a second volute generally adjacent the driven clutch and configured to direct air toward the drive clutch, and a third volute generally adjacent the driven clutch and configured to direct air toward an outlet of the housing.

22. The powertrain assembly of claim 21, wherein the first volute is adjacent a stationary sheave of the drive clutch and the second volute is adjacent a stationary sheave of the driven clutch.

23. The powertrain assembly of claim 18, wherein the inner cover includes a first air inlet and an air outlet, and the outer cover includes a second air inlet.

24. A continuously variable transmission (“CVT”) for a vehicle, comprising:

a drive clutch;

a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch; and

a housing generally surrounding the drive and driven clutches, the housing including an inner cover and an outer cover removably coupled to the inner cover, and a radial distance between a peripheral surface of the inner cover and a radiaily-outermost surface of the driven clutch increases in a direction of air flow'.

25. The CVT of claim 24, wherein a first distance between a lower portion of the peripheral surface and the radiaily-outermost surface of the driven clutch is less than a second distance between an upper portion of the peripheral surface and the radiaily-outermost surface of the driven clutch.

26. The CVT of any one of claims 24 and 25, wherein the direction of air fl ow' is counterclockwise.

27. The CVT of any one of claims 24-26, wherein the radial distance is minimized along a lower portion of the inner cover.

28. The CVT of any one of claims 24-27, w'herein the radial distance is maximized along an upper portion of the inner cover.

29. The CVT of claim 24, wherein the housing includes at least two of a first volute generally adjacent the drive clutch and configured to direct air toward the driven clutch, a second volute generally adjacent the driven clutch and configured to direct air toward the drive clutch, and a third volute generally adjacent the driven dutch and configured to direct air toward an outlet of the housing

30. The CVT of claim 24, wherein the driven clutch includes a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave, and the stationary sheave is defined by a bell portion and an outer sheave face extending radially outward from the bell portion, and tire bell portion includes a first plurality of fins extending longitudinally outward therefrom and the outer sheave face includes a second plurality of fins extending radially outward therefrom, and a number of fins defining the second plurality of fins, and at least a first portion of the second plurality of fins has a length less than that of a second portion of the second plurality of fins.

31. A continuously variable transmission (“CVT”) for a vehicle, comprising:

a drive clutch including a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave;

a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch and including a moveable sheave and a stationary' sheave; and

a housing generally surrounding the drive and dri ven clutches and including a single air inlet and a single air outlet, and the housing being configured to flow air from a position adjacent the stationary sheave of the driven clutch to a position adjacent the stationary sheave of the drive clutch

32. The CVT of claim 31, wherein the housing includes an inner cover having the single air outlet and an outer cover having the single air inlet and removably coupled to the inner cover, and the outer cover includes a first channel positioned adjacent the stationar' sheave of the driven clutch and configured to flow air into a second channel positioned adjacent the stationary' sheave of the drive clutch, and the second channel is included within the inner cover

33. The CVT of claim 32, further comprising a diverter plate, and the second channel is defined by the diverter plate and the inner cover.

34. The CVT of claim 32, wherein the housing includes a third channel configured to receive air adjacent the drive clutch and direct the air from adjacent the drive clutch towards the driven clutch

35. A continuously variable transmission (‘CVT”) for a vehicle, comprising:

a drive clutch including a moveable sheave and a stationary' sheave; a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch and including a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave; and

a housing generally surrounding the drive and driven clutches and including an inner cover and an outer cover, and the inner cover includes at least one volute and a channel configured to cooperate with the at least one volute to direct air within the housing toward the driven clutch.

36. The CVT of claim 35, wherein the at least one volute is positioned adjacent stationary sheave of the drive clutch.

37. The CVT of claim 35, wherein the channel is configured to direct air towards a center portion of the drive clutch.

38. The CVT of clann 35, wherein the at least one volute includes a first volute and a second volute, and the first volute is configured to cooperate with the channel to direct air toward the driven clutch, and the second volute is configured to direct air within the housing toward an outlet.

39. A continuously variable transmission (“CVT”) for a vehicle, comprising:

a drive clutch including a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave;

a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch and including a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave; and

a housing generally surrounding the drive and driven clutches and including an inner cover and an outer cover, and the outer cover includes a channel configured to direct air toward the drive clutch.

40. The CVT of claim 39, wherein the channel is configured to direct towards the stationary sheave of the drive dutch at a position within the inner cover

41. The CVT of claim 40, wherein the inner cover includes a diverter member positioned adjacent the stationary sheave of the drive clutch and configured to direct air from the channel tow'ard the stationary sheave.

42. A continuously variable transmission (“CVT”) for a vehicle, comprising:

a drive clutch including a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave;

a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch and including a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave; and

a housing generally surrounding the drive and dri ven clutches and including an inner cover and an outer cover, and a distance between an outermost surface of the stationary sheave of the dri ven clutch and an innermost s urface of the outer cover is approximately constant along a portion of the outer cover.

43. The CVT of claim 42, wherein the distance between the outermost surface of the stationary' sheave of the dri v en clutch and the innermost surface of the outer co ver increases at a tapered region of the outer cover.

Description:
CONTINUOUSLY VARIABLE TRANSMISSION

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application claims priority' to U.S. Provisional Patent Application

Serial No. 62/644,717, filed March 19, 2018, the complete disclosure of which is expressly incorporated by reference herein.

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0002] The present invention relates generally to a transmission for a vehicle and, in particular, to ducting for a continuously variable transmission on a utility vehicle.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0003] Some vehicles such as utility vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, tractors, and others include a continuously variable transmission (“CVT”). The CVT includes a drive clutch, a driven clutch, and a belt configured to rotate between the drive and driven clutches. The position of the drive and driven clutches may be moved between a plurality of positions when the vehicle is operating.

[0004] Available space is often limited around the CVT which may make it difficult to service various component of the CVT, for example the belt. Additionally, the intake duct and the exhaust duct of the CVT must be positioned to receive appropriate air flow to cool the components within a housing of the CVT. Therefore, it is necessary to appropriately configure a CVT for sufficient air flow w ithin the housing and for ease of serviceability and maintenance.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0005] In an embodiment of the present disclosure, a continuously variable transmission (‘"CVT’) for a vehicle comprises a drive clutch, a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch, and a housing generally surrounding the drive and driven clutches. The housing includes an inner cover having a first air inlet and an outer cover removably coupled to the inner cover and having a second air inlet. [0006] In another embodiment of the present disclosure, a powertrain assembly for a vehicle comprises a prime mover, a shiftable transmission operably coupled to the prime mover, and a continuously variable transmission (“CVT”) operably coupled to the prime mover and the shiftable transmission. The CVT comprises a drive clutch, a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch, a belt extending between the drive and driven clutches, and a housing generally surrounding the drive and driven clutches. The housing includes an inner cover and an outer cover removably coupled to the inner cover. The powertrain assembly further comprises a bearing housing positioned intermediate a portion of the prime mover and the CVT and which is removably coupled to the CVT and removably coupled to at least one of the prime mover and the shiftable transmission.

[0007] In an example thereof, the bearing housing is positioned adjacent the drive clutch. In another example thereof, the shiftable transmission includes a plurality of gears positioned within a transmission case, and the bearing housing is integral with the transmission case. In yet another example thereof, the inner cover includes a first air inlet and an air outlet, and the outer co ver includes a second air inlet.

[0008] In a further example thereof, the housing includes at least two of a first volute generally adjacent the drive clutch and configured to direct air toward the driven clutch, a second volute generally adjacent the driven clutch and configured to direct air toward the drive clutch, and a third volute generally adjacent the driven clutch and configured to direct air toward an outlet of the housing. In a variation thereof, the first volute is adjacent a stationary sheave of the drive clutch and the second volute is adjacent a stationary' sheave of the driven clutch.

[0009] In a further embodiment of the present disclosure, a continuously variable transmission (“CVT”) for a vehicle comprises a drive clutch, a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch, and a housing generally surrounding the drive and driven clutches. The housing includes an inner cover and an outer cover removably coupled to the inner cover. A radial distance between a peripheral surface of the inner cover and a radially - outermost surface of the driven clutch increases in a direction of air flow.

[0010] In an example thereof, a first di stance between a lower portion of the peripheral surface and the radially -outermost surface of the driven clutch is less than a second distance between an upper portion of the peripheral surface and the radialJy-outermost surface of the dri ven clutch. In a v ariation thereof, the direction of air flow is counterclockwise. In another variation thereof, the radial distance is minimized along a lower portion of the inner cover. In a further variation thereof, the radial distance is maximized along an upper portion of the inner cover.

[0011] In another example thereof, the housing includes at least two of a first volute generally adjacent the drive clutch and configured to direct air toward the driven clutch, a second volute generally adjacent the driven clutch and configured to direct air toward the drive clutch, and a third volute generally adjacent the driven clutch and configured to direct air toward an outlet of the housing.

[0012] In yet another example thereof, the driven clutch includes a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave, and the stationary sheave is defined by a bell portion and an outer sheave face extending radially outward from the bell portion, and the bell portion includes a first plurality of fins extending longitudinally outward therefrom and the outer sheave face includes a second plurality of fins extending radially outward therefrom, and a number of fins defining the second plurality 7 of fins, and at least a first portion of the second plurality 7 of fins has a length less than that of a second portion of the second plurality of fins.

[0013] In yet a further embodiment of the present disclosure, a continuously variable transmission (“CVT”) for a vehicle comprises drive clutch including a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave, a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch and including a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave, and a housing generally surrounding the drive and driven clutches. The housing includes a single air inlet and a single air outlet. The housing is configured to flow air from a position adjacent the stationary 7 sheave of the driven clutch to a position adjacent the stationary sheave of the drive clutch.

[0014] In an example thereof, the housing includes an inner cover having the single air outlet and an outer cover having the single air inlet and removably coupled to the inner cover, and the outer cover includes a first channel positioned adjacent the stationary sheave of the driven clutch and configured to flow air into a second channel positioned adjacent the stationary' sheave of the drive clutch, and the second channel is included within the inner cover. In a variation thereof, the CVT further comprising a diverter plate, and the second channel is defined by the diverter plate and the inner cover. In another variation thereof, the housing includes a third channel configured to receive air adjacent the drive clutch and direct the air from ad j acent the drive clutch towards the driven clutch.

[0015] In still a further embodimen t of the present disclosure, a con tinuously vari able transmission (“CVT”) for a vehicle comprises a drive clutch and a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch. The driven clutch includes a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave, and the stationary sheave includes a plurality of fins extending axially outward and an angular distance between adjacent fins of the plurality of fins is less than 15 degrees.

[0016] In an example thereof, the angular distance between adjacent fins of the plurality of fins is approximately 6-10 degrees. In another example thereof, the CVT further comprises a housing generally surrounding the drive and driven dutches, the housing including an inner cover having a first air inlet and an outer cover removably coupled to the inner cover and having a second air inlet. In a variation thereof, the first air inlet is positioned adjacent the drive clutch and the second air inlet is positioned adjacent the driven clutch. In another variation thereof, the inner cover further includes an air outlet. In a further variation thereof, the air outlet is positioned adjacent the driven clutch.

[0017] In another example thereof, the stationary sheave of the dri ven clutch is defined by a bell portion and an outer sheave face extending radially outward from the bell portion, and the bell portion includes the plurality of fins, and the plurality of fins includes a first plurality' of fins extending longitudinally outward therefrom and the outer sheave face includes a second plurality of fins extending radially outward therefrom, and a number of fins defining the second plurality of fins, and at least a first portion of the second plurality of fins has a length less than that of a second portion of the second plurality' of fins. In a variation thereof, each of the fins of the first and second pluralities of fins extends substantially radially and has an axial height approximately equal to that of the first and second pluralities of fins. In another vari ation thereof, the number of fins defining the first and second pluralities of fins is greater than 24. In still another variation thereof, the number of tins defining the first and second pluralities of fins is 36.

[0018] In yet another example thereof, the drive clutch includes a stationary sheave and a moveable sheave, and the stationary' sheave of the drive clutch includes a first plurality of fins and a second plurality' of fins, and the second plurality' of fins has a length less than that of the first plurality of fins. In yet still another example thereof, the inner cover defines an air channel configured to allow air flow between the drive and driven clutches.

[0019] In yet a further example thereof, the CVT further comprises a windage plate coupled to at least one of the drive clutch and the driven clutch. In a variation thereof, the driven clutch includes a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave, and the windage plate is coupled to the moveable sheave.

[0020] In yet still a further example thereof, the housing includes at least two of a first volute generally adjacent the a stationary sheave of the drive clutch and configured to direct air toward the driven clutch, a second volute generally adjacent the driven clutch and configured to direct air toward the drive clutch, and a third volute generally adjacent the driven clutch and configured to direct air toward an outlet of the housing.

[0021] In another still example thereof, the outer cover includes a channel extending along at least a portion of a peripheral surface of the inner cover, and the channel is configured to direct air flow from the driven clutch to the drive clutch. In a variation thereof, the channel is configured to direct air flow in a counterclockwise direction.

[0022] In yet still a further embodiment of the present disclosure, a continuously variable transmission (“CVT’') for a vehicle comprises a drive clutch including a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave and a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch and including a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave. The CVT further comprises a housing generally surrounding the drive and driven clutches and including an inner cover and an outer cover. The inner cover includes at least one volute and a channel configured to cooperate with the at least one volute to direct air within the housing toward the driven clutch.

[0023] In an example thereof, the at least one volute is positioned adjacent stationary sheave of the dri ve clutch. In another example thereof, the channel is configured to direct air towards a center portion of the drive clutch. In a further example thereof, the at least one volute includes a first volute and a second volute, and the first volute is configured to cooperate with the channel to direct air toward the driven clutch, and the second volute is configured to direct air within the housing toward an outlet.

[0024] In yet another embodiment of the present disclosure, a continuously variable transmission (“CVT’) for a vehicle comprises a drive clutch including a moveable sheave and a stationary' sheave and a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch and including a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave. The CVT further comprises a housing generally surrounding the drive and driven clutches and including an inner cover and an outer cover. The outer cover includes a channel configured to direct air toward the drive clutch.

[0025] In an example thereof, the channel is configured to direct towards the stationary sheave of the dri ve clutch at a position within the inner cover. In a variation thereof, the inner cover includes a diverter member positioned adjacent the stationary sheave of the drive clutch and configured to direct air from the channel toward the stationary' sheave.

[0026] In still yet another embodiment of the present disclosure, a continuously variable transmission (“CVT’') for a vehicle comprises a drive clutch including a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave and a driven clutch operably coupled to the drive clutch and including a moveable sheave and a stationary sheave. The CVT further comprises a housing generally surrounding the drive and driven clutches and including an inner cover and an outer cover. A distance between an outermost surface of the stationary sheave of the driven clutch and an innermost surface of the outer cover is approximately constant along a portion of the outer cover.

[0027] In an example thereof, the distance between the outermost surface of the stationary sheave of the driven clutch and the innermost surface of the outer cover increases at a tapered region of the outer cover.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0028] The above mentioned and other features of this invention, and the manner of attaining them, will become more apparent and the invention itself will be better understood by reference to the following description of embodiments of the invention taken in conj unction with the accompanying drawings, where:

[0029] Fig. 1 is a front left perspective view of a utility vehicle of the present disclosure;

[0030] Fig. 2 is a front perspective view of a powertrain assembly of the vehicle of

Fig. 1;

[0031] Fig. 3A is a front perspective view of a continuously variable transmission

(“CVT”) of the powertrain assembly of Fig. 2; [0032] Fig. 3B is a front perspective view of the CVT of Fig. 3A with an alternati v e outer cover or housing and an alternative intake duct;

[0033] Fig. 4 A is a rear perspective view of the CVT of Fig. 3 A;

[0034] Fig. 4B is a rear perspective view of the CVT of Fig. 3B with a debris shield configured to be coupled to the outer housing of the CVT;

[0035] Fig. 5 is an exploded view of the CAT of Fig. 3.4;

[0036] Fig. 6A is a front right perspective view of a drive clutch, a driven clutch, and a belt of the CVT of Fig. 5;

[0037] Fig. 6B is a cross-sectional view of a plurality of fins of the drive clutch, taken through line 6B-6B of Fig. 6A;

[0038] Fig. 6C is another cross-sectional view of another plurality of fins of the drive clutch, taken through line 6C-6C of Fig. 6A;

[0039] Fig. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the CVT of Fig. 3 A, taken along line 7-7 of

Fig. 3 A;

[0040] Fig. 8 is an exploded view of an inner cover and an internal diverter plate of a housing of the CVT of Fig. 3 A;

[0041] Fig. 9 is an exploded view of the inner cover and an outer cover of the housing of the CVT of Fig. 3A and including an illustrative air flow path through the housing;

[0042] Fig. 10 is a cross-sectional view of the CVT of Fig. 3 A, taken along line 10-10 of Fig. 3 A;

[0043] Fig. 11 A is a front perspective view of a further powertrain assembly of the vehicle of Fig. 1;

[0044] Fig. 1 IB is an exploded view of a CVT and bearing housing of the powertrain assembly of Fig. 1 1 A;

[0045] Fig. 11C is a rear perspective view of the CVT and bearing housing of Fig.

TIB;

[0046] Fig. 1 ID is a rear perspective view of the CVT housing and an alternative bearing housing; [0047] Fig. 1 1 E is an exploded view of a carrier bearing assembly of the bearing housing of Fig. 11D;

[0048] Fig. 1 I F is a cross-sectional view of the transmission and carrier bearing assembly of Fig. HD;

[0049] Fig. 11G is a detailed cross-sectional view of the carrier bearing assembly of

Fig. 1 IF;

[0050] Fig. 12 is a front perspective view of a CVT of the powertrain assembly of

Fig. 11 A;

[0051] Fig. 13 is a rear perspective view' of the CVT of Fig. 12;

[0052] Fig. 14A is an exploded view of the CVT of Fig. 12;

[0053] Fig. 14B is an exploded view' of the CVT of Fig. 12 with an alternative outer cover or housing;

[0054] Fig. 15 is a front perspective view- of a drive clutch, a driven clutch, and a belt of the CVT of Fig. 14 A;

[0055] Fig. 16 is a cross-sectional view' of the CVT of Fig. 12, taken along line 16-16 of Fig. 12;

[0056] Fig. 17 is an exploded view of an inner cover and an internal diverter plate of a housing of the CVT of Fig. 12;

[0057] Fig. 18A is an exploded view of the inner cover and an outer cover of the housing of Fig. 14A and including an illustrative air flow path through the housing;

[0058] Fig. 18B is an exploded view of the inner cover and outer cover of the housing of Fig. 14B and including an illustrative air flow path through the housing;

[0059] Fig. 19 is a cross-sectional view' of the CVT of Fig. 12, taken along line 19-19 of Fig. 12; and

[0060] Fig. 20 is a cross-sectional view' of the CVT of Fig. 12, taken along line 20-20 of Fig. 12.

[0061] Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several view's. Unless stated otherwise the drawings are proportional. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0062] The embodiments disclosed below are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed in the following detailed description. Rather, the embodiments are chosen and described so that others skilled in the art may utilize their teachings. While the present disclosure is primarily directed to a utility vehicle, it should be understood that the features disclosed herein may have application to any vehicle with one or more ground-engaging members and a continuously variable transmission, including, but not limited to, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, snowmobiles, scooters, three-wheeled vehicles, and golf carts.

[0063] Referring to Fig. 1, an illustrati ve embodiment of a utility vehicle 2 is shown.

Vehicle 2 is configured for off-road operation. V ehicie 2 includes a plurality of ground- engaging members 4, illustratively front wheels 6 and rear wheels 8. In one embodiment, one or more of ground-engaging members 4 may be replaced with tracks, such as the Prospector II Tracks available from Polaris industries, Inc., located at 2100 Highway 55 in Medina, MN 55340 or non-pneumatic tires, such as those shown in U.S. Patent Nos. 8,176,957 and 8,104,524, the complete disclosures of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference.

[0064] Vehicle 2 further includes a lower frame assembly supported by ground- engaging members 4, which extends along a longitudinal axis L of vehicle 2. Additionally, in one embodiment, vehicle 2 may include an upper frame assembly 10 extending vertically above the lower frame assembly, however, alternative embodiments of vehicle 2 may not include upper frame assembly 10. The lower frame assembly supports a rear cargo area 12 and a vehicle body 14, which includes a plurality of body panels.

[0065] Vehicle 2 also includes an open-air operator area 20 which, illustratively, includes seating 22 for one or more passengers. As such, operator area 20 is exposed to ambient air and is not fully enclosed. Alternatively, vehicle 2 may include a cab assembly (not shown), such as a roof, front windshield, rear windshield, and doors, to enclose operator area 20. Upper frame assembly 10 may be positioned generally around operator area 20 such that seating 22 is at least partially surrounded by upper frame assembly 10. Illustratively, seating 22 includes an operator seat and a passenger seat, however, seating 22 may also include rear seats for additional passengers or may include only a single seat for carrying the operator. Seating 22 may include a seat back 24 and a seat bottom 26. [0066] Operator area 20 further includes a plurality of operator controls 28, such as a steering wheel 16, by which an operator may provide inputs for operating vehicle 2. Various operator controls, including the steering assembly, may be further described in International Patent Application No. PCT/US 13/64516, filed on October 11 , 2013 (Attorney Docket No. PLR-15-25448.04P-WO), the complete disclosure of which is expressly incorporated by reference herein.

[0067] Referring still to Fig. 1, vehicle 2 includes a rear suspension assembly 18 and a front suspension assembly 19, both supported by the lower frame assembly. Additional details of rear and front suspension assemblies 18, 19 may be disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 9,566,858, issued on February 14, 2017 (Attorney Docket No. PLR-15-26601.01P) and U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 62/608,952, filed December 21, 2017 (Attorney Docket No. PLR-15-28340.02P), the complete disclosures of which are expressly incorporated by reference herein.

[0068] Referring to Fig. 2, vehicle 2 further includes a powertrain assembly 30 which is supported by the lower frame assembly and includes at least a prime mover, illustratively an engine 32, a geartrain (not explicitly shown) which may be configured as a shiftable transmission, and a continuously variable transmission (“CVT”) 34. Engine 32 is positioned rearward of operator area 20. While the prime mover is disclosed as engine 32, the prime mo ver may be any type of device configured to provide power to vehicle 2, such as an electric motor, a fuel-based engine, a hybrid engine, a generator, etc. In one embodiment, CVT 34 also is positioned at least partially rearward of operator area 20. As shown in Fig. 2, CVT 34 is positioned laterally outward from or to the side of engine 32 m a direction generally perpendicular to a longitudinal axis L of vehicle 2 (Fig. 1) and extends generally parallel to longitudinal axis L. More particularly, CVT 34 is positioned along the left side of vehicle 2. In alternative embodiments, CVT 34 may extend in a generally perpendicular direction relative to longitudinal axis L or may be configured in any orientation relative to longitudinal axis L, engine 32, and the geartrain. For example, in one embodiment, CVT 34 may be positioned longitudinally forward of engine 32 and configured to extend laterally in a direction generally perpendicular to longitudinal axis L.

[0069] As shown in Fig. 4A, CVT 34 is coupled to both engine 32 and the geartrain with mounting posts or fasteners 36 which are received within mounting bosses (not shown) on a crankcase 33 (Fig. 2) of engine 32 and the housing or transmission case of the geartrain. More particularly, and as shown in Fig. 4A, fasteners 36a are received within the mounting bosses on engine 32 and fasteners 36b couple CVT 34 to the geartrain

[0070] With respect to Figs. 2-10, CVT 34 includes a housing 40 having an inner portion or cover 42 and an outer portion or cover 44 removably coupled together. In one embodiment, inner cover 42 is comprised of a metallic material, such as aluminum, and/or a polymeric material. Inner cover 42 includes a peripheral surface 54 extending outwardly from a rear surface 56. Peripheral surface 54 includes a sealing surface 60, illustratively a lip, configured to couple with outer cover 44 using mechanical fasteners 62. As shown in Fig. 8, inner cover 42 also may include a diverter plate or member 58 configured to direct air flow through housing 40, as disclosed herein. Di verter plate 58 may be removably coupled to inner cover 42 with mechanical fasteners. Diverter plate 58 may include a first portion 58a positioned generally adjacent a drive clutch and a second portion 58b positioned generally adjacent a portion of a driven clutch, as disclosed further herein.

[0071] in embodiments, as shown in Fig. 4B, CVT 34 may include a routing tray 200 configured to be coupled to inner cover 42. More particularly, routing tray 200 is coupled to a forward extent of inner cover 42 with a plurality of fasteners 202 which are received within a plurality of apertures 204 on inner cover 42. Routing tray 200 includes a forward portion 206 positioned along the forward surface of inner cover 42 and an upper portion 208 positioned along the upper surface of inner cover 42. In this way, routing tray 200 protects other components of vehicle 2 in the event that a portion of CVT 34 fails. For example, if a component of CVT 34 moves outward of housing 40 during a failure of CVT 34, then routing tray 200 prevents such components from contacting other components and portions of vehicle 2

[0072] Additionally, routing tray 200 includes at least one channel 207 configured to receive a wire, tubing, pipe, or other conduit. In this way, various conduits of vehicle 2 may be routed around a portion of CVT 34 but not contact various portions of housing 40 of CVT 34.

[0073] Additionally, outer cover 44 may be comprised of a metallic material and/or a polymeric material, such as an injection-moldable plastic. As shown best in Fig. 7, and disclosed further herein, outer cover 44 generally follows the shape and contour of the drive and driven clutches which may increase air shear and improve heat transfer because the outer surface of outer cover 44 is closely positioned to the sheaves of the drive and driven clutches.

[0074] Referring to Figs. 2-5, CVT housing 40 includes a single air intake or inlet port 46 for receiving air to cool CVT 34 and a single air outlet port 48 to exhaust warm or hot air from CVT 34. Illustratively, outer cover 44 includes air inlet port 46 and inner cover 42 includes air outlet port 48. Inlet port 46 is sealingly coupled to an intake duct 50 to provide cooling, pre-filtered ambient air to CVT 34. As shown in Fig. 3B, intake duct 50 may include a flexible coupler 51 at both ends thereof which allow' for coupling and sealing the ends of intake duct 50 to CVT 34 and a CVT intake port 53 of vehicle body 14 (Fig. 14). Intake duct 50 itself is comprised of a rigid material which inhibits duct 50 collapsing, folding, or otherwise deforming. Therefore, intake duct 50 allow the openings at both ends of intake duct 50 to remain fully expanded and allow the maximum amount of air to enter CVT 34. Additionally, outlet port 48 is sealingly coupled to an outlet duct 52 to expel hot air from CVT 34.

[0075] Referring now to Figs. 5-7, CVT 34 includes a primary or drive clutch or pulley 70, a secondary ' or driven clutch or pulley 72, and a belt 74 extending therebetween. Drive clutch 70 is rotatably coupled to a crankshaft (not shown) of engine 32. Driven clutch 72 is rotatably coupled to an input shaft (not shown) of the geartram and is rotatably coupled to drive clutch 70 through belt 74. Belt 74 may be comprised of a polymeric material, for example rubber, and may also include reinforcing members, such as metal cords or other reinforcing material in one embodiment, belt 74 may be comprised of a metallic material, for example, belt 74 may be a chain. In cross-section, belt 74 may generally define a“V” shape. Belt 74 is configured to contact drive clutch 70 and, m one embodiment, expand in diameter in order to contact driven clutch 72.

[0076] As shown in Figs. 5-7, drive clutch 70 includes a moveable sheave 76 positioned adjacent outer cover 44 of CVT 34 and a stationary' sheave 78 positioned adjacent di verter plate 58 of CVT 34. During operation of CVT 34, stationary sheave 78 maintains a fixed position and does not move relative to moveable sheave 76. Conversely, moveable sheave 76 of drive clutch 70 is configured for axial movement relative to stationary' sheave 78 in order to engage belt 74 and effect various drive ratios. The axial movement of moveable sheave 76 occurs generally alon an axis of rotation thereof and in a direction perpendicular to longitudinal axis L (Fig. I). Additional details of drive clutch 70 may be disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 9,566,858, issued on February 14, 2017 (Attorney Docket No. PLR-15- 26601.01P) and U.S. Patent Application Serial No 15/388,106, filed December 22, 2016 (Attorney Docket No. PLR-06-27992.00P), the complete disclosures of which are expressly incorporated by reference herein.

|0077] Referring still to Figs. 5-7, the rotation of belt 74 caused by drive clutch 70 drives driven clutch 72 Driven clutch 72 includes a stationary sheave 80 positioned adjacent outer cover 44 and a moveable sheave 82 positioned adjacent inner cover 42. Stationary sheave 80 is coupled to a shaft of the geartrain and maintains a fixed position relati v e to moveable sheave 82 Moveable sheave 82 may be configured for axial translational movement along an axis of rotation thereof between a closed position when adjacent stationary' sheave 80 and an open position m which moveable sheave 82 slides or otherwise moves axially apart from stationary sheave 80. The movement of moveable sheave 82 engages belt 74 in various configurations m order to effect various driving ratios for vehicle 2. Additional details of driven clutch 72 may be disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 9,566,858, issued on February 14, 2017 (Attorney Docket No. PLR- 15 -26601.0 IP) and U.S. Patent Application Serial No 15/388,106, filed December 22, 2016 (Attorney Docket No PLR-06- 27992. OOP), the compl ete disclosures of which are expressly incorporated by reference herein.

|0078] During operation of CVT 34, drive clutch 70 engages belt 74 and when belt 74 engages driven clutch 72, driven clutch 72 rotates, which causes the shaft of the geartrain to rotate. More particularly, drive clutch 70 rotates with the crankshaft of engine 32 and the rotation thereof drives rotation of driven clutch 72 through rotation of belt 74. Depending on the operating conditions of vehicle 2, moveable sheaves 76, 82 of drive clutch 70 and driven clutch 72, respectively, may be moved relative to stationary sheaves 78, 80 to adjust driving ratios for vehicle 2. During movement of moveable sheaves 76, 82, belt 74 is configured to move between a starting position and a high-ratio position. Movement of moveable sheaves 76, 82 may be electronically, mechanically, or fluidly controlled.

[0079] With respect to Figs. 6A-10, as CVT 34 is operating, heat is generated and the temperature within housing 40 increases. As such, it is necessary to cool CVT 34 during operation thereof. In general, CVT 34 is cooled by providing ambient air within housing 40. Housing 40 and any of sheaves 76, 78, 80, 82 may be specifically configured for increased cooling. For example, as disclosed herein, the configuration of outer cover 44 generally follows the contour of sheaves 76, 80 such that air shear and heat transfer are increased due to close positioning of outer cover 44 relative to sheaves 76, 80. Illustratively, a distance 140 is defined between the outermost surface of stationary sheave 80 of driven clutch 72 and an innermost surface of outer cover 44 and distance 140 is equal at all portions of outer cover 44 adjacent stationar ' sheave 80 of driven clutch 72 In one embodiment, distance 140 may be approximately 4-10 mm and, illustratively, is approximately 6 mm. Distance 140 may be optimized to be the smallest distance between the outermost surface of stationary' sheave 80 of driven clutch 72 and the innermost surface of outer cover 44 without allowing for any interference therebetween, thereby facilitating air flow through housing 40 and around stationary ' sheave 80.

[Q08Q] As shown in Fig. 6A, with respect to the configuration of sheaves 76, 78, 80,

82, at least some of sheaves 76, 78, 80, 82 have an increased surface area due to the inclusion of fins. Illustratively, at least stationary' sheave 78 of drive clutch 70 includes a plurality of fins 84 extending radially outward from an axis of rotation Ri of drive clutch 70. More particularly, fins 84 extend outward from a body portion or outer sheave face 86 of sheave 78 in the direction of axis of rotation Ri and extend radially therefrom A first portion 88 of fins 84 has a length less than a length of a second portion 90 of fins 84. As show in Fig. 6B, first portion 88 of fins 84 extends radially outwardly from a lip 87 of outer sheave face 86 along a distance Di, which is measured from lip 87 to an apex 88A defining the radially-outermost surface of fins 88 Similarly, as shown in Fig. 6C, second portion 90 of fins 84 extends radially outwardly from lip 87 of outer sheave face 86 along a distance D2, which is measured from lip 87 to an apex 90A defining the radially-outermost surface of fins 90. Distances Di and D2 may be approximately equal to each other or may be different such that distance Di may be greater or less than distance D2. In one embodiment, Di and D2 are 3-6 mm and, more particularly, are approximately 4-5 mm. Illustratively, both Di and D2 may be approximately 4.9 mm. It may be appreciated that distances Di and Dz do not extend radially outwardly to a position which would interfere with or contact inner cover 42 of housing 40.

[0081] In one embodiment, first portion 88 includes 18 fins 84 and second portion 90 includes 18 fins 84. As such, stationary sheave 78 of drive clutch 70 may include a total of 36 fins 84. However, m other embodiments, first and second portions 88, 90 may include different and/or unequal numbers of fins 84 and stationary sheave 78 may include a total number of fins 84 less than or greater than 36. In one embodiment, an angular di stance between fins 84 may be approximately equal to or less than 15 degrees and, other embodiments, the angular distance between fins 84 may be approximately 6-10 degrees if the number of fins 84 is increased. By including fins 84 on stationary sheave 78, the surface area of sheave 78 is increased. In this way, the surface of sheave 78 which may be exposed to ambient air entering housing 40 is increased, thereby allowing for increased efficiencies when cooling stationary sheave 78 and when removing heat from belt 74.

[0082] Referring still to Fig. 6A, moveable sheave 82 of driven clutch 72 also may include a plurality of fins 92 extending radially outward in a direction perpendicular to an axis of rotation R2 of driven clutch 72 and extending laterally outward from a body portion or outer sheave face 94 in the direction of axis of rotation R2. It may be appreciated that at least a portion of fms 92 extends laterally outward of a balance ring 83 defining the outer diameter of moveable sheave 82 such that at least a portion of fins 92 are proud of balance ring 83, as shown in at least Fig. 15. Illustrative moveable sheave 82 may include a total of 12 fins 92, however, moveable sheave 82 may include any number of fms 92. Fms 92 may be coupled together with a circumferentially-extending fin 96. The combination of radially -extending fins 92 and circumferentially -extending fin 96 increases the surface area of moveable sheave 82, thereby allowing for increased cooling thereof when ambient air enters housing 40 and removal of heat from belt 74.

[0083] As shown best in Fig. 5, stationary sheave 80 of driven clutch 72 also includes a plurality of fins 98 extending radially outward in a direction generally perpendicular to axis of rotation R 2 (Fig. 6A) of driven clutch 72 and extending laterally outward from a body portion or outer sheave face 100 in the direction of axis of rotation R2. Illustrative stationary sheave 80 may include a total of 12 fins 98, however, stationary sheave 80 may include any number of fins 98. Each of fins 98 may extend continuously between a nose or bell portion 102 and a planar portion 104 of outer sheave face 100. Fins 98 increases the surface area of stationary sheave 80, thereby allowing for increased cooling thereof wdien ambient air enters housing 40 and removal of heat from belt 74.

[0084] In addition to the increased surface area of at least sheaves 78, 80, 82 through respective fins 84, 92, 98, the configuration of housing 40 increases cooling efficiencies of CVT 34. More particularly, and referring to Figs. 7-10, outer cover 44 receives ambient air through intake duct 50 and inlet port 46. Outer cover 44 includes a first channel 1 10 which directs air A toward a center portion of stationary sheave 80 of driven clutch 72. More particularly, first channel 110 is defined as the area between fins 98 through which air A is propelled away from the center of stationary' sheave 80 such that fins 98 may fill with air A in first channel 110 and evacuate air A about driven clutch 72 in a radial direction once fins 98 rotate past air inlet port 46. Illustrati ely, as air A enters first channel 1 10 adjacent the center of stationary sheave 80, air A flows radially outward through first channel 110 and towards an upper portion of housing 40, as disclosed further herein. In this way, air A is configured to flow through first channel 110 to cool at least stationary sheave 80 of driven clutch 72. Air A then flow's into a second channel 1 12 defined between a surface 142 of outer cover 44 and inner cover 42 and between diverter plate 58 and inner cover 42. Additionally, driven clutch 72 may have a larger diameter than drive clutch 70 such that driven clutch 72 may be able to pump or otherwise drive or direct air A through housing 40 and towards drive clutch 70 for increased cooling at drive clutch 70.

[0085] As shown in Figs. 8-10, second channel 1 12 is positioned generally adjacent a portion of drive clutch 70 and, illustratively, is positioned generally adjacent stationary' sheave 78 thereof. As shown in Fig. 10, air A flows m an inward direction normal to the page, as indicated by the circled”X”, when flowing through second channel 112 towards drive clutch 70. It may be appreciated that inner cover 42 includes an extension member 64, as shown in Figs. 8 and 9, which prevents incoming air A at a position adjacent outlet port 48 from flowing directly out of housing 40 through outlet port 48. Rather, extension member 64 directs incoming air A towards second channel 112. Second channel 1 12 promotes air flow from driven clutch 72 and towards dri ve clutch 70 by drawing air A from first channel 1 10 towards drive clutch 70 and directing air A radially thereto. In this way, housing 40 is configured to allow' air to flow' between inner and outer covers 42, 44 and between drive clutch 70 and driven clutch 72.

[0086] Air A then flows in a generally counterclockwise direction about stationary- sheave 78 and is distributed about a center portion thereof to provide cooling air thereto, as indicated by the circled“dot” in Fig. 9, denoting air A flowing outwardly in a direction normal to the page and towards the location of moveabl e sheave 76. Air A then fl ow's toward driven clutch 72 through a third channel 113 defined by diverter plate 58 such that air flow occurs between clutches 70, 72 and between inner and outer covers 42, 44. In this way, air A flowing into second channel 1 12 is distributed about stationary sheave 78 of drive clutch 70 and then flows into third channel 113 which facilitates air flow towards driven clutch 72. [0087] Air A at driven clutch 72 also may flow in a generally counterclockwise direction and, in some embodiments, may join with air A initially entering housing 40 through channel 110. Additionally, air A may flow outwardly towards moveable sheave 82 of driven clutch 72, as indicated by the circled“dot” to join with other flow streams or paths of air A. When air A at driven clutch 72 circulates about stationary and moveable sheaves 80, 82 of driven clutch 72 and flows towards an upper portion of inner cover 42, air A may exit housing 40 at portion or channel 114 and flow outwardly from housing 40 through outlet port 48 and outlet duct 52.

[0088] To promote air A to flow counterclockwise about driven clutch 72, peripheral surface 54 of inner cover 42 is configured to increase in distance from driven clutch 72 in the direction of the flow of air A. More particularly, where air A flows from third channel 113 towards driven clutch 72, a distance D:< between the radially-outermost surface of driven clutch 72 and the inner portion of peripheral surface 54 is less than a distance D 4 , defined as the distance between the radially-outermost surface of driven clutch 72 and the inner portion of peripheral surface 54 generally adjacent outlet port 48. By configuring peripheral surface 54 of inner cover 42 to increase in distance from driven clutch 72 in the counterclockwise direction, air A is guided or encouraged to flow in the counterclockwise direction to cool the entirety of driven clutch 72 and any hot air generally surrounding driven clutch 72 is guided toward outlet port 48 to be expelled from housing 40. Therefore, the configuration of housing 40 and, in particular, inner cover 42, promotes air flow about driven clutch 72 and guides hot air towards outlet port 48, thereby increasing cooling efficiency for CVT 34.

[0089] Referring to Figs. 11A-20, vehicle 2 (Fig. 1) may include a powertrain assembly 30’ having an engine 32’ and a CA 34. CAT 34’ may be positioned laterally outward of engine 32’ and operably coupled to engine 32' and a shiftable transmission 35 through a bell housing 160. Alternatively, CVT 34’ may be positioned longitudinally forward of engine 32' and extend laterally across a width of vehicle 2. In such a

configuration, the drive clutch of CVT 34' is positioned generally along a front passenger or right side of vehicle 2 and the driven clutch of CVT 34’ is positioned generally along a driver or left side of vehicle 2. In one embodiment, the driven and drive clutches may be positioned on opposing sides of longitudinal axis L. However, m other embodiments where the majority or an entirety of CVT 34’ is positioned along one side of longitudinal axis L, the driven and the drive clutches may be positioned on the same side of longitudinal axis L. [0090] As shown best in Figs. 11 A-11C, a bell housing 160 is integral with transmission 35 and includes an opening 162 configured to allow coupling between the crankshaft (not shown) of engine 32’ and a drive clutch 70 of CVT 34 . More particularly, a carrier bearing 164 is positioned intermediate bell housing 160 and the drive clutch and facilitates appropriate coupling, alignment, and spacing between engine 32’ and CVT 34’. Bell housing 160 may be utilized where, due to the configuration of engine 32’ and/or transmission 35, CVT 34’ is spaced from engine 32’ by more than a predetermined distance. As such, bell housing 160 is configured to support CVT 34’ at a location greater than the predetermined distance from engine 32’ and provide the necessary space for a drive inlet or other component of powertrain assembly 30 . Additionally, the space between engine 32’ and CVT 34’ which is created by bell housing 160 allows for air flow' along an inner side of CVT 34’ such that air can flow adjacent a drive clutch of CVT 34’, as disclosed further herein, to facilitate cooling of the drive clutch.

[0091] As disclosed herein, bell housing 160 is integral w ith transmission 35 such that bell housing 160 is integrally formed with a housing of transmission 35. Transmission 35 is configured to be operably coupled with the driven clutch of CVT 34’ through an input shaft 166 of transmission 35. In this way, rotational movement of the driven clutch is transferred to transmission 35 through input shaft 166. Transmission 35 includes an internal gear set (not shown) which transfers movement to an output shaft 168 configured to be operably coupled to a rear drive member (not shown) for providing motive power to rear wheels 8. Referring to Figs. 1 ID and 11E, in embodiments, an alternative bell housing 160’ is integral with transmission 35 which is coupled to driven clutch 72’ of CVT 34’ through input shaft 166’ and is coupled to the rear drive member through output shaft 168’.

Transmission 35 also is coupled to drive clutch 70’ of CVT 34’ through bell housing 160’. More particularly, a carrier bearing assembly 164’ is partially received within an opening 162’ of bell housing 160’ and is coupled with drive clutch 70’.

[0092] Carrier bearing assembly 164’, as shown in Fig. 1 1 E, includes a bearing housing 210 having a nose 212 and a central aperture 214. A lip seal 216 is received within nose 212 and includes a central aperture 218 which is coaxial with central aperture 214. Carrier bearing assembly 164’ includes a rolling element bearing 220 also with a central aperture 222 coaxial with apertures 214, 218. A retention member 224, such as a“C” clip, is positioned within nose 212 and proximate rolling element bearing 220 therein. Central apertures 214, 218, 222 are configured to receive a portion of an axial shaft 226 which is configured to rotate about an axis A to transmit rotational force between transmission 35 and drive clutch 70’. Shaft 226 is received within a central aperture 230 of a bearing 228, illustrati vely a roller bearing. Bearing 228 is retained on shaft 226 with retention member 224 and a plurality of other retention members, such as retention member 232 and retention member 234. In embodiments, both retention members 232, 234 are spring members and retention member 234 is a C clip. Additionally, a plate 236 may abut bearing 228 and further retain bearing 228 and retention members 232, 234. A spring member 238 may be positioned proximate plate 236 and abut a portion of bearing housing 210.

[0093] it may be appreciated that portions of carrier bearing assembly 164’ are positioned within the inlet of drive clutch 70’. For example, at least nose 212 of bearing housing 210, rolling element bearing 220, and portions of axial shaft 226 are received within the inlet of drive clutch 70’ such that earner bearing assembly 164’ positions bell housing 160’ and transmission 35 as close to CA 34’ as possible. More particularly, at least portions of carrier bearing assembly 164’ are positioned within housing 40’ of CVT 34’, thereby allowing CVT 34’ to be packaged in close proximity to transmission 35 given that this area of vehicle 2 tends to be crowded with additional components.

[0094] Because carrier bearing assembly 164’ positions CVT 34’ in close proximity to bell housing 160’ and transmission 35, seal 216 is configured to prevent oil transfer to/from CVT 34’. More particularly, seal 216 includes a body portion 217a and a flange or wiper 217b coupl ed to body portion 217a and positioned at an axial end of body portion 217a. At least wiper 217b is comprised of a rigid material, for example a metallic material. Body portion 217a has a serpentine configuration and is positioned with central aperture 214 of nose 212 of bearing housing 210 while wiper 217b is a generally linear member and is positioned axially outward of nose 212 such that wiper 217b is in sealing contact with shaft 226 and the axial end of nose 212. Body portion 217a also includes at least one spring 219, illustratively comprised of a rigid material such as metal, as shown best in Fig. 1 1 G, which is configured to apply pressure to the sealing lip of seal 216. More particularly, spring 219 maintains near constant and sufficient compression of the lip seal interface of seal 216 to ensure proper sealing as seal 216 and the shaft wears due to relative rotational motion over the life of the assembly. It may be appreciated that a seal 240, having the same configuration as seal 216, may be positioned at the interface of input shaft 166’ and bell housing 160’, as shown in Fig. I IF.

[0095] Wiper 217b of seal 216 (which is the same configuration for seal 240) is configured to prevent debris contact the sealing hp(s) of seal 216. For example, m the event of a failure of belt 74’, cord and debris may become entangled around shafts 166’ and/or 226 between sheave 84’ and/or sheave 94’ and adjacent seal 216, 240. During subsequent operation, relative motion between belt cord material and seal(s) 216, 240 generate enough heat and abrasion to potentially damage seal 216, 240. The continued operation of sheaves 84’, 94’ create a vacuum which then could allow oil transfer between CVT 34’ and transmission 35. However, the position and configuration wiper 217b relative to nose 212 and shaft 226 prevents seal 216 from contacting cord and debris from failed belt 74’ even if belt 74’ applies a pressure thereto.

[0096] During operation of transmission 35 and CVT 34’, as belt 74’ and moveable sheave 76’ of drive clutch 70’ move relative to each other, belt 74’ may exert a force on stationary sheave 78’. This force could be transmitted to seal 216 and potentially push seal 216 such that seal 216 moves out of position and creates a vacuum which allows oil transfer between CVT 34’ and transmission 35. However, the position and configuration of wiper 217b relative to nose 212 and shaft 226 prevents seal 216 from moving even if belt 74’ applies a pressure thereto. As such, wiper 217b maintains the position of seal 216 on shaft 226. More particularly, because wiper 217b is positioned outwardly of nose 212 and bearing housing 210 extends into housing 40’ of CVT 34’, wiper 217b is exposed to the inside of housing 40’ and cannot be pushed into bearing housing 210 even if belt 74’ applies a pressure thereto.

[0097] Additionally, the diameter of nose 212 of carrier bearing assembly 164’ is minimized by selecting a non-spherical rolling element bearing 220 to provide an annular space for cooling air to enter through inlet port 46a to get to the center of stationary sheave 78’ of drive clutch 70’. In this way, the configuration of carrier bearing assembly 164’ allows for increased cooling air to facilitate cooling of at least drive clutch 70’ while also maintaining close proximity of CVT 34 to transmission 35.

[0098] Referring now to Figs. 12-14B, CVT 34’ includes a housing 40 having an inner cover 42’ and an outer cover 44’ which are removably coupled together with mechanical fasteners. Housing 40’ may be configured as shown in Fig. 14A or as in Fig.

14B. In one embodiment, inner cover 42’ is comprised of a metallic material, such as aluminum, and/or a polymeric material. Inner cover 42’ includes a peripheral surface 54’ extending from a rear surface 56’. Peripheral surface 54’ includes a sealing surface 60’, illustratively a lip, configured to couple with outer cover 44’ using mechanical fasteners 62’ (Fig. 13). As shown in Fig. 17, inner cover 42’ also may include a diverter plate or member 58’ configured to direct air flow through housing 40’. Diverter plate 58’ may be removably coupled to inner cover 42’ with mechanical fasteners. Diverter plate 58’ is generally positioned adjacent the drive clutch, as disclosed further herein.

[0099] Additionally, outer cover 44’ may be comprised of a metallic material and/or a polymeric material, such as an injection-moldable plastic. As shown best in Fig. 16, and disclosed further herein, outer cover 44’ generally follows the shape and contour of the drive and driven clutches wirich may increase air shear and improve heat transfer because the outer surface of outer cover 44’ is closely positioned to the sheaves of the drive and driven clutches.

[00100] Referring to Figs 12-14B, CVT housing 40’ includes a plurality of air intakes or inlet ports 46’ for receiving air to cool CVT 34’ and a single air outlet port 48’ to exhaust warm or hot air from CVT 34’. Illustratively, housing 40’ includes two air inlet ports 46a’ and 46b’, where a first air inlet port 46a’ is positioned on inner cover 42’ and a second air intlet port. 46b’ is positioned on outer cover 44’. In one embodiment, first air inlet port 46a’ (Fig. 13) is positioned adjacent the drive clutch and second air inlet port 46b’ is positioned adjacent the driven clutch, thereby balancing the distribution of cooler ambient air on both sides of the CVT belt. First inlet port 46a’ is seahngly coupled to a first intake duct 50a’ positioned along inner cover 42’ and second inlet port 46b’ is seahngly coupled to a second intake duct 50b’ positioned along a portion of outer cover 44’.

[00101] Additionally, outlet port 48 is seahngly coupled to an outlet duct 52’ to expel hot air from CVT 34’. As shown in Figs. 12-14B, outlet port 48’ is positioned on inner cover 42’ at a position generally adjacent the driven clutch and, in this way, inner cover 42’ of CVT 34’ includes first air inlet port 46a positioned generally adjacent the drive clutch and outlet port 48’ positioned generally adjacent the driven clutch. Illustratively, outlet port 48’ is not centered on the CVT belt, but rather, is biased or otherwise positioned inboard of at least a portion of the CVT belt towards rear surface 56’ of inner cover 42’. [00102! Referring now to Figs. 15 and 16, CVT 34’ includes a primary or drive clutch or pulley 70’, a secondary or driven clutch or pulley 72’, and a belt 74’ extending

therebetween. Drive clutch 70’ is rotatably coupled to a crankshaft (not shown) of engine 32 (Fig. 11 A). Driven clutch 72’ is rotatably coupled to an input shaft (not shown) of transmission 35 and is rotatably coupled to drive clutch 70’ through belt 74’ Belt 74’ may be comprised of a polymeric material, for example rubber, and may also include reinforcing members, such as metal cords or other reinforcing material. In one embodiment, belt 74’ may be comprised of a metallic material, for example, belt 74’ may be a chain. In cross- section, belt 74’ may generally define a“V” shape. Belt 74’ is configured to contact drive clutch 70 and, in one embodiment, expand in diameter in order to contact driven clutch 72’.

[00103] As shown in Figs. 15 and 16, drive clutch 70’ includes a moveable sheave 76’ positioned adjacent outer cover 44’ of CVT 34’ and a stationary sheave 78’ positioned adjacent inner cover 42’ of CVT 34’. During operation of CVT 34’, stationary sheave 78’ maintains a fixed position and does not move relative to moveable sheave 76’. Conversely, moveable sheave 76’ of drive clutch 70’ is configured for axial movement relative to stationary sheave 78’ in order to engage belt 74’ and effect various drive ratios. The axial movement of moveable sheave 76’ may occur generally in a direction perpendicular or parallel to longitudinal axis L (Fig. 1). Additional details of drive clutch 70’ may be disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 9,566,858, issued on February 14, 2017 (Attorney Docket No. PLR- [5-26601.01 P) and U.S. Patent Application Serial No 15/388,106, filed December 22, 2016 (Attorney Docket No. PLR-06-27992.00P), the complete disclosures of which are expressly incorporated by reference herein.

[00104] Referring still to Figs. 15 and 16, the rotation of belt 74’ caused by drive clutch 70’ drives driven clutch 72’. Driven clutch 72’ includes a stationary sheave 80’ positioned adjacent outer cover 44’ and a moveable sheave 82’ positioned adjacent inner cover 42’. Stationary sheave 80’ is coupled to a shaft of transmission 35 (Fig. 11A) and maintains a fixed position relative to moveable sheave 82’. Moveable sheave 82’ may be configured for axial translational movement between a closed position when adjacent stationary' sheave 80’ and an open position in which moveable sheave 82 slides or otherwise moves axially apart from stationary sheave 80’. Tire movement of moveable sheave 82’ engages belt 74’ in various configurations in order to effect various driving ratios for vehicle 2. Additional details of driven clutch 72’ may be disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 9,566,858, issued on February 14, 2017 (Atorney Docket No. PLR- 15 -26601.0 IP) and U.S. Patent Application Serial No 15/388,106, filed December 22, 2016 (Attorney Docket No. PLR-06- 27992. OOP), the complete disclosures of which are expressly incorporated by reference herein.

|001Q5] During operation of CVT 34’, drive clutch 70’ engages belt 74’ and when belt 74’ engages driven clutch 72’, driven clutch 72’ rotates, which causes the shaft of transmission 35 to rotate. More particularly, drive clutch 70’ rotates with the crankshaft of engine 32’ and the rotation thereof drives rotation of driven clutch 72’ through rotation of bell 74’. Depending on the operating conditions of vehicle 2, moveable sheaves 76’, 82’ of drive clutch 70’ and driven clutch 72’, respectively, may be moved relative to stationary' sheaves 78’, 80’ to adjust driving ratios for vehicle 2. During movement of moveable sheaves 76’, 82’, belt 74’ is configured to move between a starting position and a high-ratio position. Movement of moveable sheaves 76’, 82’ may be electronically, mechanically, or fluidly controlled.

[00106] With respect still to Figs. 15 and 16, as CVT 34’ is operating, heat is generated and the temperature within housing 40’ increases. As such, it is necessary' to cool CVT 34’ during operation thereof. In general, CVT 34’ is cooled by providing ambient air within housing 40’. Housing 40’ and any of sheaves 76’, 78 , 80’, 82’ may be specifically configured for increased cooling. For example, as disclosed herein, the configuration of outer cover 44’ generally follows the contour of sheaves 76’, 80’ such that air shear and heal transfer are increased due to close positioning of outer cover 44’ relative to sheaves 76’, 80’. Illustratively, a distance 140’ is defined between the outermost surface of stationary sheave 80’ of driven clutch 72’ and an innermost surface of outer cover 44’ and distance 140’ is not equal at all portions of outer cover 44’ adjacent stationary sheave 80’ of driven clutch 72’. Rather, in one embodiment, distance 140’ may be approximately 6 mm at a position ad j acent bell portion 102’ of stationary sheave 80’ and distance 140’ may be approximately 10 mm at a position adjacent planar portion 104’ of outer sheave face 100’ of stationar' sheave 80’. As shown best in Fig. 20, distance 140’ remains generally constant between the outermost surface of stationary sheave 80’ of driven clutch 72’ and the innermost surface of outer cover 44’ until a tapered region 180 of outer cover 44’. At tapered region 180 of outer cover 44’, a distance between the innermost surface of outer cover 44’ and the outermost surface of stationary' sheave 80’ may increase. [00107] As shown in Fig. 15, with respect to the configuration of sheaves 76’, 78’, 80’, 82’, at least some of sheaves 76’, 78’, 80’, 82’ have an increased surface area due to the inclusion of fins. Illustratively, at least stationary sheave 78’ of drive clutch 70’ includes fins 84 extending radially outward from an axis of rotation Ri of drive clutch 70’, as is similarly disclosed herein with respect to stationar' sheave 78 of Figs. 6A-6C. By including fins 84 on stationary sheave 78’, the surface area of sheave 78’ is increased. In this way, the surface of sheave 78’ which may be exposed to ambient air entering housing 40’ is increased, thereby allowing for increased efficiencies when cooling stationary sheave 78’ and removing heat from belt 74’.

[00108] Referring still to Fig. 15, moveable sheave 82’ of driven clutch 72’ also may include a plurality of fins 92 extending radially outward in a direction perpendicular to an axis of rotation Rr of driven clutch 72’ and extendin outward from a body portion or outer sheave face 94’ in the direction of axis of rotation R2. illustrative moveable sheave 82’ may include a total of 36 fins 92’, however, moveable sheave 82’ may include any number of fins 92’. In one embodiment, an angular distance between fins 92’ may be approximately equal to or less than 13 degrees and, other embodiments, the angular distance between fins 92’ may ¬ be approximately 6-10 degrees if the number of fins 92’ is increased. A first portion 92a’ of fins 92’ has a length less than a length of a second portion 92b’ of fins 92 . It may be appreciated that fins 92’ do not extend radially outwardly to a position which would interfere with or contact inner cover 42’ of housing 40’.

[00109] In one embodiment, first portion 92a’ includes 18 fins 92’ and second portion 92b’ includes 18 fins 92’. As such, moveable sheave 82’ of driven clutch 72’ may include a total of 36 fins 92’. However, in other embodiments, first and second portions 92a’, 92b’ may include different and/or unequal numbers of fins 92’ and sheave 82’ may include a total number of fins 92’ less than or greater than 36. In one embodiment, an angular di stance between fins 92’ may be approximately equal to or less than 15 degrees and, other embodiments, the angular distance between fins 92’ may be approximately 6-10 degrees if the number of fins 92’ is increased. By including fins 92’ on moveable sheave 82’, the surface area of sheave 82’ is increased. In this way, the surface of sheave 82’ which may be exposed to ambient air entering housing 40’ is increased, thereby allowing for increased efficiencies when cooling moveable sheave 82’ and removing heat from belt 74’. [00110] As shown best in Figs. 14A aid 14B, stationary sheave 80’ of driven clutch 72’ also includes a plurality of fins 98’ extending radially outward in a direction

perpendicular to axis of rotation R?. (Fig. 15) of driven clutch 72’ aid extending outward from a body portion or outer sheave face 100’ m the direction of axis of rotation Rr. Illustrative stationary' sheave 80’ may include a total of 36 fins 98’, however, stationary sheave 80’ may include any number of fins 98’. In one embodiment, an angular distance between fins 98’ may be approximately equal to or less than 15 degrees and, other embodiments, the angular distance between fins 98’ may be approximately 6-10 degrees if the number of fins 98’ is increased. Each of fins 98’ may extend continuously between a nose or bell portion 102’ and a planar portion 104’ of outer sheave face 100’. However, illustratively, fins 98’ include a first pl urality of fins 98a’ which extend continuously from bell portion 102’ to planar portion 104’ and a second plurality of fins 98b’ which have a radial distance less than that of first plurality of fins 98a’. Fins 98’ increase the surface area of stationary sheave 80’, thereby allow ing for increased cooling thereof when ambient air enters housing 40’ and removing heat from belt 74’.

[00111] In addition to the increased surface area of at least sheaves 78’, 80’, 82’ through respective fins 84’, 92’, 98’, the configuration of housing 40’ increases cooling efficiencies of CVT 34’ and allows for increased heat removal from belt 74’. More particularly, and referring to Fig. 16, inner cover 42’ receives ambient air through intake duct 50a’ and inlet port 46a’ and outer cover 44’ receives ambient air through intake duct 50b’ and inlet port 46b’. In this way, ambient air is provided to housing 40’ at two locations through both inlet ports 46a’, 46b to increase cooling to drive clutch 70’ and driven clutch 72’, respectively.

[00112] Figs. 18A and 18B illustrate air flow through housing 40’, where Fig. 18A illustrates air flow through housing 40’ of Fig. 14A and Fig. 18B illustrates air fl ow' through housing 40’ of Fig. 14B. As shown in Figs. 18A-20, with respect to outer cover 44’, a first channel 110’ directs air A toward stationary sheave 80’ of driven clutch 72’. Air A is configured to flow through first channel 110’ to cool at least stationary' sheave 80’ of driven clutch 72’ and into a second channel 112 extending around the perimeter of outer cover 44’ to direct air A towards drive clutch 70’. More particularly, second channel 1 12’ defines a continuously recessed portion of outer cover 44’ and may be configured as a relief channel to relieve pressure that builds within outer cover 44’ at a position adjacent drive clutch 70’. For example, if pressure increases at a cover portion 45 (Figs. 18A and 18B) of outer cover 44’ at a position adjacent drive clutch 70’, second channel 112’ may facilitate relief of such pressure to allow for more efficient pumping of air A through housing 40’. It may be appreciated that second channel 1 12’ of Fig. 18B is deeper (i.e., has more lateral width) than second channel 1 12’ of Fig. 18A. Additionally, first channel 110’ of Fig. 18B has a more rounded configuration than first channel 110’ of Fig. 18A. In this way, first channel 110’ of Fig. 18B has less stepped surfaces than that of Fig. 18A which may increase air transfer closer to drive clutch 72’.

[00113] During operation of CVT 34’, as air A enters housing 40’ through inlet port 46b’, fins 98’ on stationary ' sheave 80’ may fill with air A flowing into first channel 110’ and then evacuate air in a radial direction once fins 98’ rotate past first channel 110’, thereby moving air A about driven clutch 72’ and towards second channel 1 12’. It may be appreciated that inner cover 42’ includes a wal! or extension member 126 (Figs. 18A and 18B), which short circuits incoming air A at a position adjacent outlet port 48’ to prevent incoming air A from flowing directly out of housing 40’ through outlet port 48’. Rather, extension member 126 of Figs 18A and 18B directs incoming air A about driven clutch 72’.

[00114] As air A flows from first channel 110’ and within second channel 1 12’ of outer cover 44’, air A flows from driven clutch 72’ to drive clutch 70’ along an upper surface of outer co ver 44’ and continues to flow within second channel 112’ along a lower surface of outer cover 44’ where it is exhausted from housing 40’ through outlet port 48’ of inner cover 42’. In this way, air A flow's into first channel 1 10’ from inlet port 46b’ on outer cover 44’ and the configuration of outer cover 44’ allows air A to flow therein to cool both stationary sheave 80’ of driven clutch 72’ and moveable sheave 76’ of drive clutch 70’.

[00115] Referring still to Figs. 18A-20, with respect to inner cover 42’, a third channel 113’ directs air A toward stationary sheave 78’ of drive clutch 70’. Air A is configured to flow through third channel 113’ to cool at least stationary sheave 78’ of drive clutch 70’ and into a fourth channel 1 16 extending around the perimeter of inner cover 42’ to direct air A towards driven clutch 72’. More particularly, fins 84’ on stationary sheave 78’ may fill with air A flow ing into third channel 113’ and then evacuate air in a radial direction once fins 84’ rotate past third channel 113’, thereby moving atr A about drive clutch 70’ and towards fourth channel 116 As air A flow's within fourth channel 1 16 of inner cover 42’, air A flow s from drive clutch 70’ to driven clutch 72’ along a lower surface of inner cover 42’ and continues to flow within fourth channel 116 along an upper surface of inner co ver 42' where it is exhausted from housing 40’ through outlet port 48’ of inner cover 42’ In this way, air A flows into third channel 1 LI" from inlet port 46a’ on inner cover 42" and the configuration of inner cover 42’ allows air A to flow therein to cool both stationary sheave 78’ of drive clutch 70’ and moveable sheave 82’ of driven clutch 72’

[00116] The configuration of housing 40’ includes a plurality of volutes configured to promote and direct air A to flow within housing 40’ Illustratively, housing 40’ includes at least three volutes including a first volute 120, a second volute 122, and a third volute 124 More particularly, as shown in Figs 18A, 18B, and 19, first volute 120 is defined by the cooperation of inner and outer covers 42’, 44’ and, illustratively, is defined by the cooperation of second channel 112’ of outer cover 44 and fourth channel 116 of inner cover 42’. As shown, first volute 120 is positioned adjacent a lower portion of inner and outer covers 42’, 44’ at a location generally adjacent drive clutch 70’. First volute 120 is configured to pump or otherwise drive air A to urds a center portion of driven clutch 72’ through channels 112’, 116 In this way, first volute 120 allows air therein to cool driven clutch 72’ rather than merely flowing past it to increase cooling of at least the center portion of driven clutch 72’

[00117] Additionally, and as shown in Figs. 18A, 18B, and 20, housing 40 includes second volute 122 which is defined by the cooperation of inner and outer covers 42’, 44’ and, illustratively, is defined by the cooperation of second channel 1 12’ of outer cover 44’ and fourth channel 116 of inner cover 42’. As shown, second volute 122 is positioned adjacent an upper portion of inner and outer covers 42’, 44 at a location generally adjacent driven clutch 72’. Second volute 122 is configured to pump or otherwise drive or distribute air A townrds drive clutch 70’ through channels 112’, 116. As shown in Fig. 18B, second volute 122 may have a less stepped surface than second volute 122 of Fig. 18 A.

[00118] As is also shown in Figs. 18A and 18B, housing 40’ includes third volute 124 defined within a lownr portion of inner cover 42’ along an inboard portion of fourth channel 116. Illustratively, third volute 124 is positioned generally adjacent driven clutch 72’ and outlet port 48’ and is configured to pump or otherwise drive or direct hot air A within housing 40’ outwardly through outlet port 48’ and outlet duct 52’. [00119] In addition to volutes 120, 122, 124 for directing air A through housing 40’, at least moveable sheave 82’ of driven clutch 72’ includes a windage plate 128 coupled thereto, as shown best in Figs. 15 and 20. More particularly, windage plate 128 may be coupled to fins 92’. Windage plate 128 is configured to promote cooling to at least moveable sheave 82’ by pulling air A through a center opening 130 thereof to allow' for efficient cooling of moveable sheave 82’ when at different axial positions. It may be appreciated that sheaves 76’, 78’, and/or 80’ also may include a w indage plate or similar feature to promote further cooling thereof. For example, a windage plate 170 also may be included on stationary sheave 78’ of drive clutch 70’, as shown in Fig. 15.

[00120] Additional details of vehicle 2 and/or the powertrain assembly may be disclosed in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/388,436, filed December 22, 2016 (Attorney Docket No PLR- 15-27200. OOP); U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/388,106, filed December 22, 2016 (Attorney Docket No. PLR-06-27992.00P); and U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 62/613,796, filed January 5, 2018 (Attorney Docket No. PLR-15- 28340.01P), the complete disclosures of which are expressly incorporated by reference herein.

[00121] While this invention has been described as having an exemplary design, the present invention may be further modified within the spirit and scope of this disclosure. This application is therefore intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention using its general principles. Further, this application is intended to cover such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice in the art to which this invention pertains.