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Title:
CROSS TUBE ASSEMBLY FOR A MOTOR VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/165031
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A cross tube assembly with an inner tube member into which is threadedly telescoped intermediate threaded rod members. The outer ends of the intermediate threaded rod members are configured for attachment of original-specification outer tie rod ends. Need for stocking of non-standard outer tie rod ends is avoided, together with the need to repair worn outer tie rod ends with a complete, adjustable cross tube assembly.

Inventors:
SCHMIDT, George, R. (12745 Alswell Lane, St. Louis, MO, 63128, US)
JIAN, Lu (271 Strecker Farms Court, Ballwin, MO, 63011, US)
JIANG, Haibin (No. 1 Mujiling Development Zone, Shangtian TownFenghua City, Zhejiang Province 1, 315511, CN)
Application Number:
US2019/018898
Publication Date:
August 29, 2019
Filing Date:
February 21, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SCHMIDT, George, R. (12745 Alswell Lane, St. Louis, MO, 63128, US)
JIAN, Lu (271 Strecker Farms Court, Ballwin, MO, 63011, US)
JIANG, Haibin (No. 1 Mujiling Development Zone, Shangtian TownFenghua City, Zhejiang Province 1, 315511, CN)
International Classes:
B62D7/20
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FISHEL, Grace, J. (Law Offices Grace J. Fishel, 2200 West Port Plaza DriveSuite 20, St. Louis MO, 63146, US)
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Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED:

1 . In an adjustable-length, cross tube assembly, an inner tube member, having opposite ends into which is received an intermediate threaded rod member, said opposite ends of the inner tube member internally threaded, and said intermediate threaded rod member externally threaded at a first end for telescoping engagement with said inner tube member, a first end locking member for securing said intermediate threaded rod member in a selected telescoped position within the inner tube member, said intermediate threaded rod member having a longitudinally extended slot at a second end opposite said first end and being internally threaded, said second end of the intermediate threaded rod member configured for threaded receipt of, and with locking means for a conventional externally threaded outer tie rod member adapted for attachment to a steering knuckle, said conventional, externally threaded outer tie rod member threaded into the second end of the intermediate threaded rod member into a selected telescoped position in the intermediate threaded rod member.

2. The adjustable-length cross tube assembly of claim 1 wherein said first end locking member is a jam nut threaded onto said intermediate threaded rod member.

3. The adjustable-length cross tube assembly of claim 2 wherein the opposite ends of the inner tube member are tapered and the jam nut is tapered to engage the tapered end of the inner tube member.

4. The adjustable-length cross tube assembly of claim 1 wherein said first end locking member is a washer with a pair of locking, bendable tabs for locking engagement with one or more external flats on a jamb nut, and with a pair of internal flats to cooperate with external flats of the inner tube member to resist rotation of the washer relative to inner tube member.

5. The adjustable-length cross tube assembly of claim 1 wherein the second end locking member is a C-clamp.

6. The adjustable-length cross tube assembly of claim 1 wherein said first end locking member is a washer with two or more pair of bendable tabs for locking engagement with one or more external flats on jamb nut and like external flats on inner tube member.

7. In an adjustable-length, cross tube assembly, an inner tube member, having opposite ends, said opposite ends including one or more longitudinally extended slots into which is received an intermediate threaded rod member, said opposite ends of the inner tube member internally threaded, and said intermediate threaded rod member externally threaded at a first end for telescoping engagement with said inner tube member, a first end locking member for securing said intermediate threaded rod member in a selected telescoped position within the inner tube member, said intermediate threaded rod member being internally threaded, said second end of the intermediate threaded rod member configured for threaded receipt of a conventional externally threaded outer tie rod member adapted for attachment to a steering knuckle, said second end of the intermediate threaded rod member having a longitudinally extended slot for use with a second end locking member for securing a conventional, externally threaded outer tie rod member in selected telescoped position in the intermediate threaded rod member

8) The adjustable-length cross tube assembly of claim 7 wherein the opposite ends of the inner tube member are tapered with one or more slots and includes a jamb nut threaded onto intermediate threaded rod first end which is tapered to engage the tapered and slotted end of the inner tube member.

9) The adjustable-length cross tube assembly of claim 7 wherein said first end locking member is a C-clamp.

10) The adjustable-length cross tube assembly of claim 7 wherein the second end locking member is a C-clamp.

1 1 ) The adjustable-length cross tube assembly of claim 7 wherein said first end locking member is a washer with a pair of bendable tabs for locking engagement with one or more external flats on a jamb nut, and with a pair of internal flats to cooperate with external flats of the inner tube member to resist rotation of the washer relative to inner tube member.

12) The adjustable-length cross tube assembly of claim 7 wherein said first end locking member is a washer with two or more pair of bendable tabs for locking engagement with one or more external flats on jamb nut and like external flats on inner tube member.

Description:
CROSS TUBE ASSEMBLY FOR A MOTOR VEHICLE

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

[0001 ] The present invention relates to an adjustable cross tube assembly that can be set to match the length of OEM fixed length cross tube assemblies, and locked at the desired length, to cooperate with original specification outer tie rod ends.

Brief Description of the Prior Art

[0002] A steering linkage of some vehicles such as heavy duty trucks makes use of a straight cross tube with straight, or curved outer tie rod ends. While the outer tie rod ends attached to a steering knuckle are most prone to wear, occasionally the inner cross tube or attaching threads on the tube become damaged which affects steering safety, the ability to replace only the worn outer tie rod ends, or to adjust vehicle alignment.

[0003] Stocking cross tube replacement parts is a problem for dealers because cross tubes come in a number of different lengths and styles. This has been addressed in the prior art by providing an adjustable-length cross tube assembly, but in some alternatives, the original specification tie rod ends cannot be used with the replacement cross tube, and the repair requires use of longer, non-standard outer tie rods, or forces replacement of the entire assembly. Other alternatives can create a weak point due to the location of the length-adjusting feature.

[0004] While the extra-long tie rod ends may perform like the original parts, eventually these outer tie rod ends will require replacement. In such cases, a repair requires using non-standard outer tie rods, or if the correct extra-long tie rod ends cannot be obtained, the full assembly must be replaced when only the typically- replaceable outer tie rods are worn.

[0005] Normal cataloging in the repair industry lists the originally specified outer tie rod ends, which in most cases will be too short and with incorrect attaching threads for use with the subject adjustable-length cross tube replacement products.

This can become a stocking nuisance, or cause extended delays for the shop performing the repairs.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] Among the objects of the present invention is to provide an adjustable- length cross tube assembly that may be used with original specification outer tie rod ends. This is an important safety feature as the length-adjusting feature of the present invention can be provided without creating a weak point in the cross tube, and the subject invention avoids unexpected potential delays and expense upon discovery that the original specification outer tie rod ends do not fit the application, and replacement of the entire assembly, or purchase of special non-standard outer tie rod ends is necessary.

[0007] Embodiments of the adjustable-length cross tube assembly fit the original space requirements, thereby reducing the possibility of interference with surrounding components.

[0008] Embodiments of the adjustable-length cross tube assembly have a geometry that meets or exceeds the strength requirements of the original equipment parts under field use conditions for both tension and compression applied load conditions, including consideration for buckling. More particularly, an inner tube member of the assembly can be designed with a continuous and sufficiently large diameter to meet or exceed the strength of the original non-adjustable length cross tube assembly. Other prior art systems make use of a small diameter segment near the center of the replacement assembly that may become a weak point for buckling strength.

[0009] Other objects and features of the invention will be in part apparent and in part pointed out hereinafter.

[00010] In accordance with the invention an adjustable-length, cross tube assembly includes an inner tube member, having opposite ends, each of which may have one or more longitudinally extended slots, into which is received an intermediate threaded rod member. The opposite ends of the inner tube member are internally threaded and the intermediate threaded rod member is externally threaded at a first end for telescoping engagement with said inner tube member. A first locking member is provided for securing the intermediate threaded rod member in a selected telescoped position within the inner tube member. The intermediate threaded rod member may have a longitudinally extended slots at a second end that is internally threaded and configured for threaded receipt of a conventional externally threaded outer tie rod member adapted for attachment to a steering knuckle. To this end, a conventional, externally threaded outer tie rod member is threaded into the second end of the intermediate threaded rod member into a selected telescoped position in the

intermediate threaded rod member and is fixed in position with a second locking member. [0001 1 ] The invention summarized above comprises the constructions hereinafter described, the scope of the invention being indicted by the subjoined claims. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[00012] In the accompanying drawings, in which several of various possible embodiments of the invention are illustrated, corresponding reference characters refer to corresponding parts throughout the several views of the drawings in which:

[00013] Fig. 1 a side elevation, partly in section, showing a cross tube assembly in accordance with the present invention together with conventional outer tie rod members wherein first and second locking members are illustrated as C-clamps;

[00014] Fig. 2 is a side elevation, partly in section showing the cross tube assembly together with conventional outer tie rod members wherein a first locking member is a jam nut and a second locking member is illustrated as a C-clamp;

[00015] Fig. 3 is an end view of the inner tube member;

[00016] Fig. 4 is a plan view of a first locking tab washer with opposing flats on the inside;

[00017] Fig. 5 is a detail showing an intermediate threaded member threaded into the inner tube member with the engagement secured by a jamb nut, and locked in place after tightening, by bending tabs of the first locking tab washer shown in Fig. 4 over the flats of the jamb nut, and locked to the inner tube member with cooperative flats on the inside of the first locking tab washer to the flats on the outside of the end of the inner tube member;

[00018] Fig. 6 is a detail like Fig. 5 showing an intermediate threaded member threaded into the inner tube member with the engagement secured by a jamb nut, and locked in place after tightening, by bending tabs of the second tab washer shown in Fig. 7 over the flats of the jamb nut, and locked to the inner tube member with cooperative flats on the outside at or nearthe end of the inner tube member and locked in place after tightening the jamb nut by bending tabs of the second tab washer shown in Fig 7 over said flats at or near the end of the inner tube member, and optionally additionally locked with cooperative flats on the inside of the second locking tab washer to said flats on the outside, at or near the end of the inner tube member.

[00019] Fig. 7 provides a detailof an alternate second locking tab washer 40’ designed with bendable flats 42, 51 to cooperate with both the jamb nut and inner tube member. The optional inner flats on the washer ID may additionally cooperate with the flats at or near the end of the inner tube member.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AT LEAST ONE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

[00020] Referring to the drawings more particularly by reference character, reference numeral 10 identifies a cross tube assembly in accordance with the present invention. As shown in both Fig. 1 and 2, cross tube assembly 10 includes an inner tube member 12 having opposite ends 14, 16 optionally with one or more longitudinal slots 18 into which is received an intermediate threaded rod member 20. Opposite ends 14, 16 of inner tube member 12 are internally threaded 22 and a first end 24 of intermediate threaded rod member 20 is for telescoping threaded engagement with internal threads 22 in inner tube member 12. A first locking means, several of which are shown in the drawings, is provided for securing intermediate threaded rod members 20 in a selected position for use as described below. [00021 ] As shown in Fig. 2, first locking means is a jam nut 26 and intermediate threaded rod member 20 is provided with flats 28 for securing the intermediate threaded rod member in selected telescoped position in inner tube member 12 during tightening of jam nut 26 against the end of inner tube member 12. For further security, opposite ends 14, 16 of inner tube member 12 may be tapered 30 inwardly, or tapered and slotted for receipt in an outwardly tapered cavity 32 in jam nut 26. In Fig. 1 , first locking means is a C-clamp 34 with first and second ends through which a bolt 36 is passed for reducing the gap between first and second ends thereby securing intermediate threaded rod member 20 in selected telescoped position in inner tube member 12. A still further illustrative first locking means is shown in Figs. 3-7.

[00022] As shown in Fig. 3 the outside of opposite ends 14, 16 of inner tube member 12 are provided with opposing flats 38 for use with a locking washer 40 shown in Fig. 4 having a pair of opposing tabs 42 and opposing internal flats 44. In assembled condition for use in securing intermediate threaded rod member 20 in selected telescoped position in inner tube member 12 as shown in Fig. 5, tabs 42 are bent for engagement with flats 46 of jamb nut 26, while internal flats 44 engage with flats 38 of inner tube member 12, to prevent rotation of the locking tab washer 40 relative to inner tube member 12, as well as to restrain relative motion between jamb nut 46 and tab washer 40.

[00023] As shown in Fig 6, all features are similar to those of Fig. 5 except that second locking tab washer 40’ may be formed with a continuous OD and ID, with optional flats 44 in the ID, and with primary locking feature to resist motion between locking tab washer and jamb nut, as well as between locking tab washer and inner tube member, achieved by bending the washer over flats of each named, cooperating component.

[00024] Referring back to Figs. 1 and 2, intermediate threaded rod member 20 may have a longitudinally extended slot 48 and is internally threaded 50 at a second end 52 opposite first end 24. Thus configured, a conventional externally threaded outer tie rod end 54 adapted for attachment to a steering knuckle (not shown) by stud member 55, or similar means, may be threaded into intermediate threaded rod member 20. A second locking member 56 may be used for securing the conventional, externally threaded outer tie rod end in selected telescoped position in intermediate threaded rod member 20. Second locking member 56, like first locking member, may take the form of any of various locking members commonly used in the automotive field.

[00025] As mentioned above, the diameter and material used for inner tube member 12 and intermediate threaded rod members 20 may be selected to meet or exceed the strength requirements of the original cross tube under field use conditions for both tension and compression, including consideration for buckling. Locking member 56 may be selected to clamp and lock the original application and original specification outer tie rod ends 54, as cataloged by the original manufacturer, or as listed in aftermarket supplier catalogs. Stocking problems, and delays caused by possible ordering of standard outer tie rod ends that will not fit the modified cross tube part requiring non-standard outer tie rod ends are thus avoided.

[00026] In view of the above, it will be seen that the several objects of the invention are achieved and other advantageous results attained. As various changes could be made in the above constructions without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.