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Title:
FLUID CONNECTOR WITH FULL INSERTION ASSURANCE CAP DISCONNECT TOOL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/127750
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A disconnect tool (700) for disconnecting an assurance cap (600) mounted over a tubular member (424) of a fluid connector assembly in a connector body (426) to which the tubular member (424) is locked by a retainer clip carried on the connector body (426). The disconnect tool (702) includes an annular collar (702). A plurality of axial fingers (720, 722, 724, 726) extend from the collar (702) and engage primary latch fingers (620) of the assurance cap (600) where end projections of the primary latch fingers (620) are locked in a exterior groove (476) on the connector body (426). Insertion of the disconnect tool (700) through the assurance cap (600) urges the ends of the fingers (720, 722, 724, 726) into engagement with the primary latch fingers (620) of the assurance cap (600) bending the primary fingers (620) radially outward to separate the projections of the primary latch fingers (620) from the groove on (476) the connector body (426) enabling the assurance cap (600) to be separated from the connector body (426).

Inventors:
KUJAWSKI JR., James (435 Chaddock Road, Attica, New York, 14011, US)
FREMONT, Bradley (1437 Walden Avenue, Lancaster, New York, 14086, US)
STEVELEY, Kip (1437 Walden Avenue, Lancaster, New York, 14086, US)
Application Number:
IB2017/057794
Publication Date:
July 12, 2018
Filing Date:
December 11, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
OETIKER NY, INC. (4437 Walden Avenue, Lancester, New York, 14086, US)
International Classes:
F16L37/088; B25B27/00; B25B27/10; F16L37/12; F16L37/098
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VRANJES, Michael, Nicholas et al. (Simpson & Simpson, Pllc5555 Main Stree, Williamsville N Y, 14221, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A tool for disconnecting an assurance cap with lal.ch fingers engngahle with on exterior opening groove in a connector body carrying a retainer clip to lock a tubular member to the connector body, the tool comprising:

iin annular collar mounlable over the tubular member; and

a plurality of fingers carried on an extending axially from the annular collar, the plurality of fingers positioned to engage the latch fingers on the assurance cap when the collar and plurality of ftngevs arc engaged with the assurance cap to disengage the latch fingers from the exterior groove in the connector- body to disconnect the assurance cap from the connector body.

2. The tool of claim 1 further comprising:

a grip surface carried on an outer circumferential edge of the collar to affiliate gripping of a collar.

3. The tool of claim 1 further comprising:

an end of each of the plurality of fingers cngagabk with a rump surface on the connector body when the collar and the plurality of fingers are urged into engagement with the connector body through the assurance cap lo flex the latch ringers outward relative to the. connector body.

4. The tool of claim 3 further comprising:

a ramp edge carried on an end -of each of the plurality of fingers of the tool,

5. The toot of claim. 1 wherein:

the number of the plurality of fingers of the tool equals the number of latch fingers on the assurance cap.

6. A method for disconnecting an assurance cap from a conncclor body, where the connector body has a retainer clip foi locking a tubular member to the connector body and a assurance cap has latch fingers cngagable with a groove in the connector body lo latch the assurance cap to the connector body comprising; providing a disconnect tool having an annular collar and a plurality of circumfercntially spaced fingers extending from the collar:

positioning the disconnect tool over the tubular member;

moving the disconnect topi longitudinally along the tubular member to bring the lingers on the disconnect tool through apertures in the assurance cap into engagcmcnl with the latch fingers of the- assurance cap; and

continuing insertion of the fingers on the collar to separate the latch fingers from the groove in the connector body.

5. The method of claim 4 further compri sing:

flexing the ends of the fingers on the collar radially outward relative to the connector body by engagement wilh a ramp surface on the connector body.

6. A fluid connector assembly comprising:

a tubular member having an endforjii spaced from a first insertion end the endform defining a radially disposed shoulder;

a connector body having a bore with one open end receiving the tubular member;

a retainer clip carried on the connector body and extending partially into the bore to engage the shoulder of the tubular member to lock the tubular member in the connector body when an first insertion end. of Uie tubular member .is fully inserted into the bore iu the connector body;

an assurance cap slidahly mounted relative to the tubular member, the assurance cap defining a body having a plurality of primary latch fingers with end projections configured for latching in a groove in the connector body to latch the assurance cap on the connector body only when the tubular member is fully inserted into the connector body;

each of the primary latch fingers fai med a first and second spaced side legs joined at one end by a center end leg. lhe end projections of each plurality of the primary lalch fingers carried on the center end leg; and

a secondary latch carried on the assurauce cap body for engaging one of the retainer cjip and the tubular member to secondarily latch the assurance cap to the tuhulor member or the connector body and only when the tubular member Is fully inserted into the bore in the connector body.

7. The connector assembly of claim 4 wherein the primary latch fingers comprise a plurality of circumferenlially spaced primary latch fingers extending from a first end of the assurance cap body.

8. The connector assembly of claim 6 wherein the primary latch fingers comprise: a radially inward projection formed an end of each of the primary laLch fingers; and the groove in the connector spaced from the one end of the connector body, the groove and the projections on the primary latch fingers engageable to primarily latch the assurance cap to the connector body only when (lie tubular member is fully inserted into the bore in the connector body.

9. The connector assembly of claim 6 further wherein the secondary latch comprises;

an inner support, web fixed in the assurance cap body radially inward of the primary latch fingers;

the inner support web having a through bore through which the tubular member extends; and

the inner support web having an inner end positioned to engage a surface on the tubular member to provide a secondary latch between the assurance cap body and the tubular member when the tubular member is fully inserted into the bore in the connector body.

10. The connector assembly of claim 9 wherein:

the through bore in the inner support web having a keyhole shape to facilitate mounting of the assurance cap over an endform. on the tubular member .

1 1. The connector assembly of claim 6 wherein the secondary latch comprises:

a plurality of stepped fingers; cireumfcrentially spaced between the primary latch fingers; and

each of the stepped fingers having an inner surface with at least one step configured to overlay A radially outward portion of the retainer clip when the assurance, cap is latched to the connector body to resist radially outward expansion of the retainer clip.

12. The connector assembly of claim 11 further comprising;

the primary latch fingers including a plurality of circumfereniially spaced primary latch fingers extending from a first end of the assurance cap body; and

one of the stepped finger disposed circumferential!y intermediate two primary latch fingers.

Description:
FLUID CONNECTOR WITH FULL INSERTION

ASSURANCE CAP DISCONNECT TOOL

BACKGROUND:

[0002] The present apparatus relates to fluid connectors including a fluid currying tubular member which is coupled to a fitting body connected to a device, which uses the fluid. In an automotive application, the fluid carrying component*; are connected at one end to sin automatic transmission and at another end to a cooler disponed within a vehicle radiator. Other automotive applications using fluid connectors include, turbo connections.

[0003] Such quick connectors typically include a resilient clip carried on the fitting body which is adapted, to snap behind a raised shoulder of an end form on the tubular member when, the tubular member is fully inserted into the fitting body to lock the tubular member in place.

[0004] Assurance caps can be used to insure full insertion of the tubular member in the body. As assurance cap is carried by the. tubular member and slides over the tubular member insertion end of the body and- snaps over the outer edges of the resilient clip. If the tubular member is not fully inserted in. the body such that tJic resilient clip is not seated behind the raised shoulder on the tubular member, raised portions of the resilient clip extend further radially outward from Ihu body and interfere with the complete, movement of the assurance cap to its fully installed position thereby providing an indication to the installer that the tubular member is not fully latched in the body.

[0005] Although assurance caps can be easily moved to the full insertion position, such assurance caps; cap difficult to remove in order to disconnect the fluid coupling For repairs or placement of components. Aside from physically breaking or culling the assurance cap latches, it has proven difficult to remove the assurance cap from a fluid connector without damage to the assurance cap.

[0006] Disconnect tools have been employed to disengage the retainer clip of such fluid connectors from the connector body in order to separate the tubular member from the connector. U.S. Patent. No. 5,909,901 discloses a disconnect tool having a plurftliiy of fingers which, when the assurance cap, which has been previously mounted over the tubular member, is moved into engagement with the connector body and rotated expand the protrusions on the retainer clip outward a sufficient distance to enable the end form of the tubular member to be separated from the connector body.

SUMMARY.

[0007] A disconnect tooI for a fluid connector carrying a retainer clip to lock a tubular member to the connector body, and an assurance cap with latch lingers having projections eiigagahk with an exterior opening groove in the connector body to lock the assurance cap to the connector body. The disconnect tool, has an annular collar mountable over the tubular member. A plurality of fingers are carried on and extend in one direction from the annular collar. The plurality of fingers are positioned to engage the latch lingers on the assurance cup when the plurality of fingers are engaged with the latch fingers to disengage the projections on the latch fingers, from the exterior groove in the connector body to enable the assurance cap to be separated from the connector body.

[0008] A grip surface can be formed on an outer circumferential edge of the collar to facilitate gripping of the collar.

[0009] An end of each of the plurality of fingers .is cngagable with a ramp surface on the connector body when the collar and the plurality of fingers are urged into engagement with the connector body through the assurance cap to flex the latch fingers outward relative to the connector body,

[0010] A method Tor disconnecting an assurance cap from a fluid connector body, where the fluid connector body has a retainer clip for locking a tubular member to the body and the assurance cap has latch fingers with projections cngagable with an exterior opening groove in the connector body to lock the assurance cap to the fitting connector body. The method includes providing a disconnect tool having an annular collar and a plurality of circumferential spaced fingers extending in one direction from the collar, positioning the disconnect tool over the tubular member, .sliding the disconnect tool longitudiniilly along the tubular member to urge the fingers on the disconnect tool through apertures in the assurance cap to bring the fingers into engagement, with the primary latch fingers of the assurance cap. and continuing insertion of the fingers on the collar in a direction to ilex and separate the primary latch fingers from the exterior opening groove in the filling body.

[0011] The method can also include flexing the ends of the fingers as .he fingers are slid through the assurance cap radially outward relative to the connector body through engagement with a ramp surface on the connector body.

[0012] In one aspect, a fluid connector assembly includes a tubular member having an end form spaced from a first insertion end defining a radially disposed shoulder, a connector body having a bore with an open end receiving the tubular member, a .retainer clip carried on the connector body and extending partially into the bore to engage the shoulder, of the tubular member to lock the tubular member in the connector body when an first insertion end of the tubular member is fully inserted into the. bore in. the connector body. The assurance cap is slidably mounted relative to the tubular member. The assurance cap defines a body having a plurality of primary latch fingers with end projections configured for latching in a recessed exterior opening groove in the connector body to latch the assurance cap on the connector body only when the tubular member is fully inserted into the connector body. Each of the primary latches. is formed of first and second spaced side legs joined at one end by a center end leg. The end projection of each plurality of primary latch fingers is carried on the center end leg. A secondary latch can be carried on the assurance cap body for engaging one. of the retainer clip and the tubular member to secondarily latch the assurance cap to the tubular member only when the tubular member is fully inserted into the bore in the connector body.

[0013] The primary latch fingers may include a plurality of circumfercntially spaced primary latch fingers extending from a first end of the assurance cap body.

[0014] A radially inward projection can be formed on n flexible end of the primary latch fingers. A radially outward exterior opening groove can be formed i n the connector body, spaced from the one end of the connector body. The groove and the projections on the primary latch fingers are engagcable to primarily latch the assurance cap to the connector body only when the tubular member is fully inserted into the bore in the connector body.

[0015] An inner support ring is fixed in the assurance cap body radially inward of the primary latch fingers. The. inner support ring has a through bore through which the tubular member extends and an inner end positioned to engage a surface on the tubular member to provide a secondary latch between the assurance cap body and the tubular member when the tubular member is fully inserted into the bore in the connector body.

[0016] The surface on the tubular member is axinlly spaced from the end form and defines a raised surface on the tubular member.

[0017] 'The through bore in the inner support web has a keyhole shape to facilitate mounting of the assurance cap over the endfonn on the tubular member.

[0018] One or a. plurality of stepped lingers can be. circurnferentinlly spaced between the primary, latch fingers*. Each of the stepped fingers has an inner surface with at least one step configured to overlay a radially outward portion of the retainer clip when the assurance cap is latched to the body of the quick connector and the tubular member to resist radially outward expansion of the retainer dip and act as a secondary latch of the assurance cap to the connector body.

[0019] The primary latch lingers can include a plurality of circurnferentinlly spaced primary latch fingers extending from a first end of the assurance cap body, with one stepped finger disposed circumftrrenUally intermediate two primary latch fingers.

[0020] The various features, advantages and other uses of the present fluid connector with full insertion assurance cap disconnect tool will become more apparent by referring to the following description and drawings in which:

[0021 ] FIG. 1 is a cross- sectioned perspective view of a prior art fluid quick connector with assurance cap;

[0022] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an assembled quick connector and assurance cap described herein;

[0023] FIG. 3A is a longitudinal cross-sectional view generally titken along line 3A-3A in FIG. 2; [0024] FIG. 3H is a longitudinal cross -sectional view generally taken along line 3B-3B in

FIG. 2;

[0025] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a right end of the assurance, cap shown in FIG. 2;

[0026] FIG. 5 is a perspective view from the opposite end of the assurance, cap shown in

FIG. 4;

[0027] FIG. 6 is an end view of the assurance cap shown in FIG. 4;

[0028] FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view generally taken along line 7-7 in FIG. 6;

[0D29J FIG. 8 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view showing the position of the assurance cap and quick connector body when the tubular member is not fully inserted into the quick connector body;

[0030] FIG. 9 is a partially cross-sectioned perspective view of a quick connector body with another aspect of an assurance cap;

[0031] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of one end of the assurance cap shown in FIG. 9;

[0032] FIG. 11 is a partially cross-sectioned side elevation view of the assurance cap shown in FIG. 10;

[0033] FIG. 12 is u view of an opposite end of the assurance cap shown in FIG. 10;

[0034] FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an opposite end of the assurance cap shown in FIGS; 10-12;

[0035] FIG. 14 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view showing the fully latched position of the assurance cap of FIGS. 9- 13 on the quick connector body;

[0036] FIG. 15A is a side elevational view of a fluid tube insertablc into the quick connector body;

[0037] FIGS. 15B, 15C, AND 15D are a perspective view showing the installation of the tubular member shown in the assurance cap of FIGS. 9- 13 to pre-inouiil the assurance cap on the tubular member;

[0038] FIG. 16A i.s another aspect of an assurance cap;

[0039] FIG. 16B is a partially opened, perspective view of the assurance cap shown in

FIG. 16A; [0040] FIG. 16C is a longitudinal cross -sectioned, perspective view of the assurance cap shown in FIGS. 16A and 16B mounted on a tubular member fully inserted mounting position on a quick connector body;

[0041] FIG. 17A is a perspective view of another aspect of an assurance cap;

[0042] FIG. 17B is a cross- sectional view of the assurance cap shown in FIG. 17A;

[0043] FIG. 18A is a perspective view of another aspect of an assurance cap;

[0044] FIG. 18B is a cross-sectional view of the assurance cap shown in FIG. 18A;

[0045] FIG. 19A is a side devotional view of another aspect of a quick connector body;

[0046] FIG. 19B is a partial, enlarged side elevuiional view of a portion of a quick connector body shown in FIG. 19A;

[0047] FIG. 20A is a side elcvational view of another aspect of a quick connector body;

[0048] FIG. 20B is a partial, enlarged, side elevational view of a portion of a quick connector body shown in FIG. 20A;

[0049] FIG. 21A is a perspective view of another aspect of an assurance cap shown in an assembled position on a quick connector body;

[0050] FIG. 21 B is a longitudinal cross-section of the assurance cap and quick connector body shown in FIG. 21.A;

[0051] FIG. 22 is a left end perspecti ve, view of another aspect, of an assurance cap;.

[0052] FTG. 23 is a right, end elcvational viuw of the assurance cap as shown, in FIG. 22;

[0053] FIG. 24 is a right end perspective view of the assurance cap shown in FIGS, 22 and 23;

[0054] FIG. 25 is a left end elcvational view of the assurance cap shown in FIGS, 22-24;

[0055] FIG. 26 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view showing the assurance cap depicted in FIGS. 22-25 in an asscmhled latched position with a Quid connector body and a tubular member extending into the connector body;

[0056] FIG. 27 is a perspective view of an assurance cap disconnect tool,

[0057] FIG. 28 is a perspective view showing the disconnect tool of FIG. 27 in an assembled, pre-engagemont position relative to the assurance cap latched on the connector body;

[0058] FIG. 29 is a side perspective view showing the disconnect tool of FTG. 27 in the assembled, pre-engagementposition with assurance cap; [0059] FIG. 30 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view showing the disconnect: tool partially inserted into the assurance cup mounted on the connector body;

[0060] FIG, 31 is a side perspective view showing the disconnect tool in a fully engaged position with the assurance cap and the connector body:

[0061] FIG. 32 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view, similar to FIG, 31 , and showing the engagement of the lingers on the disconnect tool with the primary latch fingers on the assurance cap, with the primary latch fingers shown in a disconnected, partially separated position relative to the connector body; and

[0062] FIG. 33 is a perspective view showing the disconnect tool und the assurance cap separated from the quick connect body and the end form on the tubular member.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0063] Referring now to FIG. 1 , there is depicted a prior art fluid connector assembly 20 which locks.a first end 22 of a tubular member 24 in a connector or fitting body 26 which is itself removably tnoun table in a port, such as by engagement of external threads 28 on one end of the body 26 with internal threads in the port.

[0064] The tubular member 24 is generally made of metallic materials, but rigid plastic material may also be employed. The tubular member 24 has a generally constant diameter extending from the first end 22.

[0065] A head section 30 extends from the first end 22 at a first diameter portion 32 to an outward extending end form, having a tapered raised surface 34 which terminates at a large diameter end and a radially extending shoulder 36,

[0066] The connector body 26 can be, but need not necessarily be, integrally made from a single piece of metallic or plastic material. The body 26 has a through bore 40 extending from a first end 42 to an opposite second end 44. The bore 40 need not have a constant diameter between the first and second ends 42 and 44. An annular internal groove 46 is formed in the body 26 intermediate the first and second ends 42 and 44 and receives a sciil member 48, such as an O-ring, for sealing the tubular member 24 to the body 26 and to prevent fluid leakage there between.

[0067] As described above, the body 26 has an externally threaded end portion 28 spaced from the first end 42. A recessed radially inward extending groove 50 can be formal in certain applications adjacent one end of the threaded end portion 28 and an annular collar 52 to receive a washer, riot shown. A hexagonal portion 154 is formed adjacent: the annular collar 52. A reduced diameter receiving portion 56 having a generally constant diameter extends from one end of the hexagonal portion 54 to the second end 44 of the body 26. A recessed, outward opening, annular groove 58 is formed in 1he receiving portion 56. The groove 58 has a constant, closed inner end facing lite bore 40 in the body 26 which is interrupted by one or more cireumferentiaJly spaced slots,.

[0068] A retainer dip 60 is mounted in the groove 58; The retainer clip 60 can be, but need not necessarily bu formed of a spring wire. The retainer clip 60 can be formed with inwardly extending protrusions which project through the slots in the groove 58, when Lhe retainer clip 60 is in ft relaxed state behind the shoulder 36 on the Lubular member 24, to lock the tubular member 24 to the connector body 26..

[0069] When the first end 22 of the tubular member 24 is inserted to the receiving end 56 of the body 26, the first end 22 and the head section 30 of the tubular member 24 slid through the receiving portion 36 toward the (first end 42 of the body 26. The inward extending protrusions on the retainer clip 60 seated in the groove 58 slide along Lhe endform tapered surface 34 on the tubular member 24 causing the retainer clip 60 to expand radially outward moving the protrusions on the retainer clip 60 out of the bore 40 until the shoulder 36 of the tubular member 24 slides past One end of the retainer clip 60. At this point, the protrusions on the retainer clip 60 snap radially inward into the bore 40 behind the shoulder 36 .locking the Lubular .member 24 in the body 26. Also, at this point during the insertion process, the outermost portions of the retainer clip 60 extend, only slightly above the outer surface of the receiving end 56 of the body 26.

[0070] A prior art assurance cap 62 shown in Fig. 1. carried on the lobular member 24, can then be iilid over the receiving poiLion 56 of the body 26. The assurance cap 62 includes an inward opening recess; 64 which is positioned between the ends of the assurance cap 62 to encompass the outer portions of the retainer dip 60 extending outward from the body 26 when the retainer clip 60 is in the fully seated position in lhe groove 5b behind the shoulder 36 of the Lubular member 24. This provides the installer with a visual indication that the. tubular member 24 is fully inserted and seated in the body 26 in a fluid sealed position. [0071 ] In the event. that the lubuhu- member 24 is not, fully inserted into the body 26 such that it is not in the position shown in Fig. 1., the outer portions of the clip 60 will have been pushed radially outward into a radially expanded state as the clip 60 rides up along the end form tapered surface 34 of the tubular member 24. The outer lips of the outer portions of the retainer clip 60 then extend further outward beyond the outer surface of the receiving portion 56 of the body 26 in an interference position with the sliding movement of the assurance cap 62. This interference prevents the assurance cap 62 from being slid fully forward such that, the recess 64 cannot snap over the clip 60. Since the assurance cap 62 is therefore not in a fully forward position, the installer has <i visual indication that the tubular member 24 is not fully inserted into the body 26.

[0072] FIGS. 2-8 depict an alternate assurance cap 500 mounted on a fluid connector assembly 420. The fluid connector assembly 420 locks one end 422 of a fluid flow tubular member or conduit 424 (hereafter "tubular member 424" at First) in a connector body 426 which is itself removably mountable in a port, such as by engagement of external thread 428 on one end of the body 426 with internal threads in the port of an external device, connector, housing, etc.

[00.73] The tubular member 424 has a generally constant diameter extending from the first end 422. A head section 430 extends from the First end 422 at a first diameter 432 to an outward extending cudform having a tapered radially outward extending ramp surface 434 which terminates in a large diameter end and a radially extending shoulder 436. A raised bead or collar 437 is formed on the exterior surface of the tubular member 424 and extends axially from tbe shoulder 436 for a short, distance to an end or shoulder 438 which transitions to the constant first diameter of the overall tubular member 424.

[0074] The connector body 426 has a through bore 440 extending from a first end 442 to an opposite second end 444. The bore 440 may or may not have a constant diameter between the first and second ends 442 and 444. An annular internal groove 446 is formed in the connector body 426 intermediate the first and second ends 442 and 444 and receives a seal member, such as an O-ring 448, for scaling the tubular member 424 to the connector body 426 and to prevent fluid leakage there between.

[0075] The connector body 426 has an external threaded end portion 428 spaced from the first end 442, A radially inward extending groove 450 can be formed adjacent one end of the threaded end portion 428 for receiving an external seal member 451, such as an O-ring. for sealing the connector body 426 to the external component. A hexagonal portion 454 is formed adjacent to the recess 430.

[0076] An annular recess or groove 476 of a first diameter extendi! axially from one edge of the hexagonal portion 454. The recess 476 terminates in a radially outward extending shoulder at one end of an annular ring 470, The annular ring 470 trnjn si lions into a radially inward extending ramp or conical surface 472 which transitions into an axially extending surface 466 having an outer diameter larger than the inner diameter of the recess 476. The axial surface 476 transitions into a recess or groove 468- The groove 468 includes a plurality of circiimferentially spaced apertures 469, with three apertures being employed, for example, for a three-protrusion retainer clip 460. The recess 468 transitions into a larger diameter end annular ring 464 which extends to the second end 444 of Ihe body 426.

[0077] A resilient retainer clip 460 ("clip 460") mounted in the groove 468 can be, but need not necessarily be formed of a single piece of spring wire. The clip 460 can be formed with a plurality of radially inward extending protrusions which project, through slots or apertures 469 in the groove 458 when the clip 460 is in a relaxed stale behind the shoulder 436 on the tubular member 424 to lock the tubular member 424 to the connector body 426. At the same time, the clip 460 can be in a relaxed state prior to insertion of the tubular member 424 into the open insertion second end 444 of the connector body 426.

[0078] When the first, end 422 of the tubular member 424 is inserted into the open second end 444 of the connector body 426, the First end 422 and the head section 430 of the tubular member 424 slide through the aperture in the bore 440 at the second end 442 of the connector body 426 toward the first end 442 of the connector body 426. The inwardly extending protrusions ori the clip 460 slide along the tapered end form ramp surface 434 end form on the tubular 424 causing the clip 460 to expand radially outward moving the protrusions on the resilient clip 460 out of the groove 468 until Ihe shoulder 436 on the end of the outward tapered endfonn ramp portion 434 of the tubular member 424 slide past, one end of the clip 460. At this point, the protrusions on the clip 460 snap radially inward into the bore 440 in the connector body 426 behind ihe shoulder 436 locking ihe tubular member 424 in the connector body 426. [0079] As shown in FIGS. 2 -8, the assurance cap 500 is in the: form of a one- piece body, which may he molded, machined or otherwise formed out. of plastic, metal, such us aluminum, etc,

[0080] The assurance cap 500 is Formed with a first outer annular ring 502 at a first end

503. A inner support ring 504, generally in the form of a cylindrical annular member, has a first, end 506 generally disposed coplanar with the first end 503 of the first annular outer ring 302 and a second opposed end 50$ spaced a distance by a tubular \yall of the inner support ring 504 from the first, end 506 of the inner support ring 504. The inner support ring 5.04 has a hollow interior defining a through bore 510 extending between the first and second ends 506 and 508.

[0081] A plurality of radially extending ribs 512 form spokes; extending radially outward between the inner support ring 504 and the first outer annular ring 502. The ribs 512 are circumlercntially spaced about the first end of the first outer annular ring 502 and have an overall length extending .from the first end 503 of the first outer annular ring 502 and the first end 506 of ihe inner support ring .504 for a predclennincd distance less than the length of the inner support ring 504 as shown in FIGS, 5 and 7.

[0082] A plurality of primary latch fingers 520 and a plurality of stepped fingers 522 are formed on the body of the assurance cap 500 and are arranged in an annular, circumferential, spaced, arrangement extending parallel to the longitudinal axis of the assurance cap 500 from the first annular ring 502 at the first end 503 of the assurance cap 500.

[0083] The primary latch fingers 520 and the stepped fingers 522 are arranged in a generally alternating arrangement around the periphery of the first end 503 of the assurance cap 500. Although the primary latch fingers 520 and the stepped fingers 522 may alternate in a circumferentially spaced sidc-by-sidc arrangement of one primary latch finger 520 located between two stepped fingers, by example only, as shown in FIGS. 4-7, two primary latch lingers 520 arc arranged in a. spaced side-by-side pair between single stepped fingers 522. This arrangement of two primary latch fingers 520 between two spaced stepped fingers 522 continues in a circumferential consecutive manner about: the periphery of the body 503 of the assurance cap 500.

[0084] The primary latch fingers 520 are formed of an axially extending member wilh a generally planar, slightly arcuate leg 524 which is recessed a short distance below the outer periphery of the first outer annular ring 502. An elongated rib or structural support 526 Ls integrally formed on the leg 524 and projects axially from the outer peripheral edge of the annular ring 502. The rib 526 provides structural support for the leg 524 of the primary latch fingers 520 while slill allowing flexure of the primary latch fingers 520 as described hereafter.

[0085] The leg 524 of each primary lalch finger 520 terminates in an outer end 528. A projection 530 is formed on the outer end 528 of the primary latch lingers 520 and projects radially inward from an inner surface 532 of a primary latch linger 520 to form a shoulder 534 extending radially inward from the outer end 528 of the primary latch finger 520.

[0086] The stepped fingers 522 have an outmost first step 540 which terminates in an outer end 541 contiguous with the outer end 528 of each primary' latch finger 520. A second step 542 is disposed axially adjacent, the first step 540 and has an inner surface disposed radially inward of the inner surface of first .step 540. A third step 544 is disposed axially adjacent the second step 542 and has an inner surface, disposed radially inward of lite inner surface of the second step 542.

[0087] The primary latch fingers 520 and the stepped .fingers 522 are circumferentially spaced apart by slots 550 which open at the first cnde : 528 and 541. of the primary latch fingers 520 and the stepped fingers 522, respectively. The slots 550 are generally axially aligned with the ribs 512. The slots 550 provide a degree of flexibility to the primary latch fingers 520 and the stepped fingers 522.

[0088] Referring, to FIGS. 3B and 8. the assurance cap 500 is first installed over, the tubular member 424 from cither end of the tubular member 424 prior to formation of the endform 434 adjacent, the first end 422 Of the tubular member 424. The endfomi 434 slidably captures the assurance cap 500 on the tubular member 524.

[0089] Alternately, the assurance cap 500 may be inserted over the tubular member 424 from the end of the tubular member 424 opposite the first end 422 prior to the connection of the opposite end of the tubular member 424 to another component. The ondform 434, in this alrcmatc insinuation, can be pre-foi med on the tubular member 424 prior to the mounting of the assurance cap 500 from the opposite end of the tubular member 424.

[0090] When the tubular member 424 is to be coupled to the quick connector body 426, the first end 422 of the tubular member 424 is inserted through the open first end 444 of the connector body 426. The ramp surface of the end form 434 of the lubular member 424 will engage the radially inward extending projection on the clip 460 and force; the entire clip 460 radially outward until, when the first end 422 of the tubular member 424 is fully inserted into the bore 440 in the connector body 426,. the projections on the clip 460 snap radially inward to their relaxed normal state behind the shoulder 4.36 on the endform 434 on the tubular member 424.

[009.1] With the tubular member 424 is locked to the connector body 426 by the clip 460. the operator can slide the assurance cap 500 toward the hex portion 454 of the quick connector body 426. The projections 530 on the outer ends 328 of the primary larch fingers 520 will engage The ramp surface 472 on the connector body 426 forcing the ends of the primary latch fingers 520 radially outward. When the assurance cap 500 is in the fully forward position, the projections 530 snap into the recess or groove 476 on the connector body 426 latching the assurance cap 500 to the quick connector body 426. At the same lime, as shown in Pig. 3B, the second step 542 of each stepped finger 522 will be located circurnfereniially over the outer surface of the clip 460. This arrangement, holds the clip. 460 in its normal non- expanded shite and prevents expansion of the clip 460 due to any axial separation forces exerted on the connector body 426 and/or the tubular member 424 tending to disengage or separate the connector body 426 and the tubular member 424. The stepped fmgers 552 thereby act as an axillary latch for the assurance cap 500.

[0092] The arrangement of a pair of primary latch fingers 520, one stepped fingers 522. pair of primary latch fingers 520, etc. about the circumference of the assurance cap 500 enables one or two of the stepped fingers 522 to be in contact with the clip 560 at all annular positions of the assurance cap 500 relative to the quick connector body 426.

[0093] When the projections 530 on the primary latch fingers 520 are in the fully latched posilion in the groove 476 on the quick connector body 426, the inner end 508 of the inner support ring 504 will be in engagement with the shoulder 438 on the raised bead or flange 437 on the tubular member 422. This seizes as a secondary latch function securing the assurance, cap 500 to the conncctoi body 426 and the luhuUir member 424 in the fully inserted posilion of the tubular member 424 in the connector body 426 between the engaged piojcclinns 530 of the primary latch fingers 520 in the groove 476 and the engaged inner end 508 of the inner support ring 504 with the flange 437 on the. lubular member 422. [0094] Referring briefly to FIG. 8, the primary function of the assurance cap 500 is to insure that the tubular member 424 is fully inserted into the quick connector body 426 so that the tubular member 424 can be latched in place by the clip 460. During the insertion of the tubular member 424 into the bore 440 in the quick connector body 426, the installer may feel resistant to forward insertion movement of the tubular member 424 into the bore 440 when, for example, the first end 422 of the tubular member 424 contacts the O-ring 448 in the interior of the quick connector body 426. This may give a false full insertion indication to the installer. However, the assurance cap 500 is configured so that at all non-fully inserted position of the tubular member 424 relative to the quick connector body 426, trie projections 530 on the ends 528 of the primary latch fingers 520 will not be rally latched, in the recess or groove 4.76 in the connector body 426; but rather, will be in engagement with the ramp surface 472 on the radial outer surface 470 on the connector body as shown in Pig. 8. This prevents latching of the primary latch fingers 520 to the quick connector body 426. A noil -fixed position of the body 426 or a slight pull-out movement by the installer exerted on the assurance cap 500 moving the assurance cap 500 moving the assurance cap 500 away from the body 426 will provide an indication of non- latching of the assurance cap 500 to the quick connector body 426.

[0095] Al the same .time, the assurance, cap 500, due to. the rib support structure of the primary latch fingers 520 and the number of such primary latch fingers 52Q on the assurance cap 500 and the primary latohing of the projections 530 of the primary latch fingers 520 in the groove 476 of the quick connector body 426 and the engagement of the inner end 508 of the inner support ring 504 with the shoulder 438 on the flange or bead 436 on the tubular member 424, provides a resistance force sufficient to prevent axial separation of the tubular member 424 from the quick connector body 426 despite any axial separation forces acting on the quick connector body and the tubular member 424.

[0096] FIG. 9 depicts the fluid connector assembly 20 of Fig. 1 which is used to sealingly lock the tubular member 24 to the body 26. However, the fluid connector assembly 20 in Fig. 9 includes a novel assurance cap 70 which provides assurance of a full minion of the tubulin member 24 into the body 26 and, at. the same time, provides secondary latches to hold the assurance cap 70 on the body 26 and to provide an additional latching force againsi disengagement of the tubular member 24 from the body 26. [0097] The assurance cap 70, shown in an assembled position in Fig. 9 and in detailed views in FIGS. 10-.14 and FIGS. 15A- 15D, can be formed of a material having a suitable .strength, such as high strength plastic, or a metal, such as stainless steel, aluminum, etc.

[0098] In this aspect, the assurance cap 70 is in the form of an annular body 72 having a first end 74, an opposed second end 76, and an intermediate sidewall 78 extending between the first and second ends 74 and 76. At least one or a plurality of slots 80. with three slots 80 shown by example, are formed through the first end 74 and a portion of the sidewall 78 to separate the sidewall 78 into a plurality of fingers with three fingers 82, 84 and 86 being shown by example in FIGS. 10-14. The slots 80 and the intervening fingers 82. 84, and 86 provide flexibility to the assurance cap 70 allowing the first end 74 of the assurance cap 70 to flex radially outward over the outer surface of the receiving portion 56 of the body 26 until the assurance cap 70 has reached its fully forward position of movement, as described hereafter.

[0099] The iirsf end 74 of each (if the fingers 82, 84 and 86 has a rounded over end portion 90 which terminates in a radially inward extending edge 92 forming a shoulder 94. The shoulder 94 is configured to snap aver an engage a mating .shoulder 96 formed along one side of an open ended annular groove 98 formed in the body 26 between me hexagonal portion 54 and the receiving portion 56 of the body 26. The shoulders 94 on each of the three fingers 82. 84, and. 86, which extend over substantially the entire circumference of the assurance cap 70, provide a secure circumferential secondary latching force to secure the assurance cap 70 on the body 26 as well as providing additional, latching force to resist separation of the tubular member 24 from the body 26.

[0100] The second end 76 of the assurance cap 70 has a partially closed, irregularly shaped end wall 100 which includes a keyhole shaped aperture 102 having a reduced diameter or width first end portion 104 aiid a larger diameter second end portion 106. The walls forming the first end portion 104 and the second end portion 106 are generally arcuate to enable the assurance cap 70 to be mounted over the first end 22 of the tubular member 24 as described hcreaftei avid shown in FIGS. 15A- 15D.

[0101 ] A pair of diametrically opposed, inward extending lingers 1 10 and 1 12 are provided generally centrally in the endwall 100 on the second end 76 of the assurance cap 70. The fingers 1 10 and 1 12. with only the finger 1 12 shown in FIG. 10. have an inward curled wall 1 14 terminating in an inner edge wall 1 16. As shown in FIG. 9, the wall 1 14 is generally parallel to the intermediate side wall 78 of the assurance cap 70, with the inner edge wall 1 16 facing, but spaced from the resilient clip 60.

[0102] The edge walls 1 14 will rest on a raised bead 1 15 on the tubular member 24 extending from the shoulder 36 al the fully inserted position of the tubular member 24 in ihe body 26 latching the assurance cap 70 on the body 26 between the shoulders 94 on the fingers 82, 84 and 86 and the fingers 110 and 1 12.

[0103] The fingers 110 and 1 12 provide an additional engagement or latching function for the assurance cap 70 on the body 20 when the assurance cap 70 is in the full forward, hitched position shown in FIG. 9.

[0104] FIGS. 15A-15D depict the orientation of the tubular member 24 and the assurance cap 70 for mounting of the assurance cap 70 over the first end 22 of the tubular member 24 and the tapered surface 34. At the time of assembly, the assurance cap 70 is oriented as shown in FIG. 15B with a longitudinal axis 120 extending through the keyhole shaped aperture 102 oriented at an angle along axis line 122: of the tubular member 24 in FIG. 15A to bring the. larger diameter or width second end portion 106 of the keyhole shaped aperture 102 over the large diameter end 37 of the endform. tapered surface 34 of the tubular member 24.

[0105] The other end of the assurance cap 70 can then be pivoted in the direction of arrow 124 in FIG. 15C to move the entire keyhole shaped aperture 102 over the large diameter end 37 of the endform tapered, surface 34 of the luhiilar member 24 until the first end 74 of the assurance cap 70 clears the large diameter end 37 of the endform tapered surface 34 of the tubular member 24.

[0106] After the large diameter end 37 of the endform tapered surface 36 of the tuhulnr member 24 has been urged past the .inner edges of the large diameter end portion 106 of the keyhohi aperture 102 in the assurance cap 70. the assurance cap 70 can be tilted upward toward a perpendicular orientation with .respect to a longitudinal axis of the tubular member 24 and moved longitudinally along the tubular member 24 until the inner edges of the keyhole shaped aperture 102 arc completely past the large diameter end 37 of the tapered surface 34 of the tubular member 24, as shown in FIG. 15C. The assurance cap 70 can then be urged or slid into the smaller diameter first: end portion 104 of the keyhole shaped aperture 102 to center the assurance cap 70 with respect to the tubular member 24 as-shown in FIG. 15D.

[0107] Referring now lo FIGS, 16A, 16B and 16C, there iu depicted another aspect of an assurance cap 130 which functions in the same manner as the assurance cap 70 described above and shown in FIGS. 9-150. The assurance cap 130 has a plurality of longitudinally extending, spaced lingers 132, each with a radially inward extending edge 134 terminating in a shoulder 1.36 configured to latchably engage the edge 96 of the groove 98 in the body 20 to secure the assurance enp .130 in position at its forward most position of movement relative to the tubular member 24 and the body 7.6. It should be noted that instead of three longer circumferential length fingers 82. 84, and 86, the fingers 1.32 in the assurance cap 130 are smaller in length and greater in number to provide a greater degree of flexibility to enable the assurance cap 130 to be easily slid over the raised end of the receiving portion 56 of the body 26.

[0108] The assurance cup .130 has a body with a hinge 1.40 interconnecting a fust body section 142 with a second body section 144. The first and second body sections 142 and 144 are. pivot ally movable with respect to each oilier about the .hinge 1.40 from an open position shown in FIG. 16B which enables the assurance cap 130 to be mounted over the tubular member 24 to a closed position forming a continuous body about the tubular member 24 by pivotal movement of the first and second body sections 142 and 144 toward each other about the hinge 140 until a latch finger 146 on the second body section 144 engages a lalch recess 148 in the opposite first body section 142 as shown in FIG. 16B. The. engagement of the latch finger 146 in the latch recess 148 locks the first and second body sections 142 and 1.44 of the assurance cap 130 into a continuous body encircling the tubular member 24.

[0109] It should also be noted that the second end of the. assurance cap 130 has a radially inward extending skirt, formed of a first skid portion 152 on the first body section 142 of the assurance cap 130 and a second skirt portion 154 on the second body section 144 of the assurance cap 130. Arcuate inner edges 156 and 158 respectively on the first and second skin portions 152 and 154 form a continuous annular edge configured 1.0 engage or be slightly spaced from the outer surface of the lubuhir member 24 when the assurance cap 130 is slid to its forward most position over the tubular member 24 and J etched to the body 26 as shown in FIG. 16C. The first and second skirt, portions 152 and 154 also aci to center the assurance cap 1.10 about the tubular member 24 during the forward sliding movement, of the assurance cap 130.

[01 10] A raised annular rib 160 is formed on the outer surface of the assurance cap 130 between the first and second ends to act as a gripping surface to facilitate' movement of the assurance cap 130 from a rest, position about the tubular member 24 to its forward position shown in FIG. 16C.

[01 11 ] The two-part hinged cap described above and shown in PIGS. 16A- 16B may be applied to any of the other assurance caps described herein. Particularly, the assurance cap 500 described above and shown in FIGS. 2-8 can be split into two hinged body section by a slit along one of the slots .5.50, the annular ring 502 at the first end 503 of the assurance cap 500 and the. inner support ring 504. This hinged arrangement for the assurance cap 500 enables the assurance cap 500 to be snapped around the tubular member 424 after Lhe end form 434 has been formed on the tubular member 424.

[0112] FIGS. 17A and 1.7B show another modification in an assurance cap 170. In this aspect, lhe assurance cap 170 has. a one piece, unitary, close annular, one-piece cylindrical- shaped body 172. The first end of the body 172 has a. plurality of fingers 174 spaced apart by. longitudinally extending slots 176. Inward extending edges 178 terminaling in a radially inward extending shoulder 180 extsind from one enri of each of the fingers 174 to engage the edge 96 of the groove .98 in the body 26 to latch the assurance cap 170 to the body 26 in a forward most, position of movement indicating full insertion of the tubular member 24 in the body 26.

[0113] An annular radially outward extending ring 182 is formed intermediate the first, end and the opposed second end. of the body 172 to act as a gripping surface to facilitate movement of the assurance cap 170.

[01 14] The second end 184 of the body 172 includes a continuous annular outer ring 186 and a radiall y inward conical -shaped skirt 188 extending from the outer ring 186 to an inner edge 190. A plurality of radially extending slots 192 are formed in the skirt 188 and extend from the inner edge 190 partially through the radial extent of the skirt 188. The slots 192 di vide the skin 188 into a plurality of radially inward, conically tapered fingers 194. The slots 192 provide flexibility to the fingers 194 to enable the assurance cap 170 to be forcibly urged over the large diameter end portion 37 of the tapered surface 34 on the tubular member 24 to mount the assurance cap 170 on ihe lubulaj- member 24 prior to insertion of the tubular member 24 into the body 26.

[01 15] FIGS. 18A and 18B depict another aspect of an assurance cap 200 which is substantially similar to the assurance cap .170 in that the assurance cap 200 is formed of a continuous one-piece body 201 having a plurality of fingers 202 at a first end spaced apart by slots 204. The fingers 202 terminate in an inward extending edge 206 having an inner shoulder 208 to engage the edge 96 in the groove 98 of the body 26 when the assurance cap 200 is moved to its forward position relative to the body 26 indicating full insertion of the tubular member 24 in the body 26.

[0116] A radially outward extending rib 210 is formed in the body 201 intermediate the first and second ends. The second end 212 of the body 201 is formed as tin annular ring 214 from which a conically shaped radially inward extending skirt 216 extends to an inner edge 218 defining an aperture the same size or slightly larger than the outer diameter of the constant diameter portion of the tubular member 24.

[01 17] In this aspect of the assurance cap 200, the skirt 216 dues not include any slots.

This aspect has the assurance cap 200 installed on the tubular member 24 before the ramp or endform is formed.

[0118] Refemng now to FIGS. 19A and 19B, there is depicted another aspect, of a body

230, which includes Variations from the body 26 shown in FIG. 9. As most of the body 230 is identically constructed as the body 26, only variations between the body 230 and the body 26 will be described in detail.

[0119] As shown in the body 26 depicted in FIG. 9, the receiving portion 36 extending from the end 57 of the fitting body 26 has a constant outer diameter. This allows the radially inward turned edges 92 of the fingers 80, 82, and 84 on the first end 74 of the assurance cap 70 to snap into lite recessed groove 98 in the body 26.

[0120] In the body 230 depicted in FIGS. 19A and 19B, the receiving portion extending from a first end 232 of the body 230 has a first diameter end portion 234 and a second smaller diameter end portion 236 disposed on opposite sides of the groove 23 S which receives the resilient clip 60. A raised intermediate annular ring 240 is formed adjacent to the second end portion 236 and includes a radially outward, extending conically shaped, tapered cndwall 242 extending from the second end portion 236. The outer diamcler of the ring 240 is larger than the diameters of the first and second end portions 234 «nd 236 of the receiving portion of the body 230.

[0121] A recessed groove 244 is formed between the annular ring 240 and the hcxagonnl shaped portion 54 of the body 230. The inner surface 246 οΓ the groove 244 has a diameter smaller than the diameter of the second end portion 236 of the insertion portion of the body 230 to define a recess for receiving the latch portions of the fingers of the assurance cap in the fully in soiled position relative to the body 26.

[0122] During such forward sliding movement of any of the assurance caps described above, the radially inward turned fingers of the assurance, cap flex outward over the tapered cndwall 242 and then along the outer surface of the ring 240 before snapping in hitched engagement with the groove 244 to provide the secondary latch function for the assurance cap.

[0123] In another variation of a body 260 shown in FIGS. 20A and 20B, again the body

260 is substantially the. sariie as the body. 26 and only variations there between will be described in detail.

[0124] Like the body 230 shown in FIGS. 19 A and 19B,. the body 260 has a first end 262 from which extends a first end portion 264 of the. receiving portion at. a first diameter. The receiving. portion includes a second end portion 266, also at the same diameter to define a recess 268 for the resilient clip 60.

[0125] The body 260 also includes a raised annular ring 270 having an outer diameter greater lhan the first diameters of the first and second end portions 264 and 266. A radially outward, conical shaped tapered surface 272 extends from the second end portion 266 to the raised annular ring 270. A recess or groove 274 is formed between the raised annular ring 270 and the hexed shaped portion df the body 260. The inner surface 276 of the groove 274 is spaced at the same first diameter of the first and second end portions 264 and 266 of the receiving portion of the body 260.

[0126] In this aspect, the annular ring 270 forms a raised outermost portion of the receiving portion of the body 260. The difference between the outer diameter of the annular ring 270 and the inner surface 276 of the adjacent groove 274 requires that the fingers on the assurance cap can be flexed outward over the raised outer edge of the annular ring 270 before snapping over the outer edge of the annular ring 270 into the groove 274.

[0127] Referring now to FIGS. 21 A and 21 B, there is depicted another variation in the construction of an assurance cap 300. In this aspect, the assurance cap 300 is similar to the assurance cap 70 described above and shown in FIGS. 2-8D except thai the assurance cap 300 has two small latch fingers 302 and 304 extending from an intermediate annular portion 306. The fingers 302 and 304, which can be provided in any number, such as two, Lhrce, or more fingers, are configured more as standalone latch fingers rather than the closely separated fingers 82, 84 arid 86 on the assurance cap 70, which have a much longer cii-cumfcrcnlial extent.

[0128] 'The latch fingers 302 and 304 are constructed similarly to the latch fingers 82, 84 and 86 in the assurance cap 70 and are designed to snap into and latch in the groove 98 on the body 26 when the tubular member 24 is fully inserted into the body 26.

[0129] The fingers 302 arid 304 are spaced apart about the circumference of the assurance cap 300 in ah angular orientation designed to intercept the raised portions of the resilient clip which would extend outward beyond the upper extent of the insertion portion 56 of the body 26 from the. groove 98 when the tubular member 24 is not fully inserted in the body 26. Thus, for example, in a two finger construction shown in FIGS. 21A and 21B, lite two fingers 302 and 304 are spaced less than 180* apart to one side of the. assurance cup 300 and greater than 180º apart on the other Side of the assurance cap 300.

[0130] As shown in FIG. 21 B, the fingers 302 and 304 are circumfere.iuial.ly spaced so that at least, one of the fingers 302 or 304 is in a interference position with the retainer clip 60 so as to strike a raised portion of the retainer clip 60 extending out. of the groove 68 .in the body 26 to prevent full movement of the assurance cap 300 to the fully forward latched position. This assures thai the assurance cap 300 functions in its intended manner regardless of its angular orientation with respect to the protrusions and outer portions of the retainer clip 60 in the groove 58.

[0131 ] FIGS. 22-33 depict: another aspect, of an assurance cap 600 mounted on the fluid connector assembly 420. The assurance cap 600 is in the form of a one-piece body, which may be molded, machined or otherwise formed out of plastic, metal, such as aluminum, etc. [0 132] The assurance cup 600 is formed with a first outer annular ring 602 at a first end

603.

[0133] A support web 604 is formed interiorly of the annular ring 602 and is joined integrally for example, lo inner surface portions of the annular ring 602 a! circumferentially spaced locations to form a plurality of circumferenlially spaced apertures 610, with four apertures 610 shown by way of example. It will be understood that more or less apertures 610 may be employed in the annular cap 600. The support web 604 is disposed within the annular ring 602 and carries a keyhole shape aperture 608 formed of a first smaller diameter portion 612 and second large diameter pdition 614.

[0134] Tlte keyhole shaped aperture 608 allows the assurance cap 600 to be inserted over or removed over the tubular member 424 after the endform or head portion 430 has been formed adjacent one end 422 of the tubular member 424.

[0135] A notcb is formed in the support web 604. in a surface of the support web 604 within the primary latch fingers 620.. The notch forms a stepped surface including an arcuate first surface 609 generally parallel to the adjacent surface of the support web 604 and a perpendicular .surface 611 extending between the first surface 609 and. the surface of the support web 604.

[0136] A plurality of primary latch fingers 620 and a plurality of stepped lingers 622 arc formed on a body of the assurance cap 600 and are arranged in an annular, circumferential spaced, arrangement extending parallel, to a longitudinal axis of the assurance cap 600 from the first annular ring 602 at the first, end 603 of tlte assurance cap 600.

[0137] The primary tatch fingers 620 and the stepped lingers 622 are arranged in a generally alternating arrangement, around the periphery of the first end 603 of the assurance cap 600. By example, the primary latch fingers 620 and the stepped fingers 622 may alternate in a circumferentially spaced side-by-side arrangement of one stepped linger 622 located between two primary latch fingers 620.

[0138] The primary latch lingers 620 include, first and second legs 624 and 625 which arc spaced apart and joined at one end by a center end leg 626. A projection 630 is formed on the end of the outer end of the center end leg 626 and has an inner surface 632 with a shoulder 634. the purpose of which will be described hereafter. [0139] The first and second side legs 624 and 625 have a tapered beam- like structure extending from a large width and/or thickness first end joined to the support web 604 within one of the apertures 610. Bach of the first and second side legs 624 and 625 tapers to smaller width and/or thickness opposed end which joined by the center end leg 626.

[0140] The first and second legs 624 and 625 of each primary hitch finger 620 arc spaced apart to define an interior aperture 627 extending between the first cud of the first and second legs 624 and 625 joined to the support web 604 and an inner surface of the cenler outer leg 626. The aperture 627 opens at one end to the aperture 610.

[0141] Further, the primary latch fingers arc disposed within each aperture 610 in a positioned to divide each aperture 610. except for tlie aperture 610 disposed at the open end of the keyhole shaped aperture 608 as seen in FIG. 22, into inner and outer aperture portions in which the outer aperture portions effectively lengthen the primary latch fingers 620 that need to bend when the assurance cap 600 is inserted into and latched in the groove 476 in the connector body 426 or separated from the groove 476 as described hereafter. This lengthened bending arm reduces insertion efforts and separating the bending portion of the primary latch fingers 620 from the center end leg 626 carrying the projection 630 which engage the groove 476 in the connector body 426.

[0142] The stepped fingers 622 have an outmost first .step 640 which terminates in an outer end 641 contiguous With the outer end 628 of each primary latch finger 620. A second step 642 is disposed axial l,y adjacent the first step 640 and has an inner surface disposed radially inward of the inner surface of first step 640. A third step 644 is disposed axially adjacent the second step 642 and has an inner surface disposed radially inward of the inner surface of the second step 642.

[0143] The primary latch fingers 620 and the stepped fingers 622 are circumferentially spaced apart by slots 630 which open at tlie first ends 628 and 641 of the primary latch fingers 620 and the stepped fingers 622, respectively. The slots 650 provide a degree of flexibility to the primary laich fingers 620 and the stepped fingers 622.

[0144] Referring to FIGS. 26-33. the assurance cap 600 is first installed over the tubular member 424 from either end of the tubular member 424 prior to formation of the end form 434 adjacent ihe first end 42.2 of the tubular member 424. The endform 434 slidahly captures the assurance cup 600 on the tubular member.624.

[0145] Alternately, the assurance cap 600 may be inserted over the tubular member 424 from the end. of the tubular member 424 opposite the first end 422 prior to the connection of the apposite end of the tubular member 424 to another component. The endform 434, in tins alternate installation, can be prc-formed on the tubular member 424 prior to the mounting of the assurance cap 600 from the opposite end of the tubular member 424.

[0146] When the lobular member 424 is to be coupled to the quick connector body 426, the first end 422 of the tubular member 424 is inserted through the open first end 444 of the connector body 426. The ramp surface on the end of the endform 434 of the tubular member 424 will engage the radially inward extending- protrusions on the clip 460 and force the entire clip 460 radially outward until, when the first end 422 of the tubular member 424 is fully inserted into the bore 440 in the connector body 426, the prolrusions on the dtp 460 snap radially inward to ardaxed normal state behind the shoulder 436 on the endform 434 on the tubular member 424.

[0147] With the tubular member 424. is locked to the connector body 426 by the clip 460, an installer can slide the assurance cap 600 toward (lie hex portion 434 of the quick connector body 426. The projections 630 on the outer center, end legs 626 of the primary latch fingers 620 will engage the ramp surface 472 on the connector body 426 forcing the center end legs 626 of the primary latch fingers :620 radially Outward, When the assurance eap 600 is in the fully forward position, the projections 630 snap into the. recess or groove 476 on the connector body 426 latching the assurance cap 600 to the quick connector body 426. At the same time, as shown in Fig. 3B, the second step 642 of each stepped finger 622 will be located circumferentially over the outer surface of the clip 460. This arrangement holds the clip 460 in its normal non- expanded state and prevents expansion of the clip 460 due to any ax ial separation forces exerted on the connector body 426 and/or the tubular member 424 tending to disengage or separate lhe connector body 426 and the tubular member 424. The stepped fingers 652 thereby act as an axillary or secondary latch for Ihe assurance cap 600.

[0148] The arrangement of one stepped finger 622 between a pair of primary latch fingers 620 ahout the circumference of the assuiance cap 600 enables one or two or three of lhe stopped fingers 622 to be in contact, with the clip 660 at all annuliu' positions of the assurance cap 600 relative to the quick connector body 426.

[0149] When this projections 630 on the primary latch fingers 620 arc in the fully latched position in the groove 476 on the quick connector body 426, the first surface 609 and the second surface 61.1 of the notch in the support web 604 will be in contacting engagement with the shoulder 438 on the raised bead or flange 437 on the tubular member 422. This serves as secondary latch function securing the assurance cap 600 to the connector body 426 and the tubular member 424 in the fully inserted position of the tubular member 424 in the connector body 426 between the engaged projections 630 of the primary latch lingers 620 in the groove 476 and the engaged inner end 60S of the inner support ring 604 with the flange 437 on the tubular member 422.

[0150] Referring briefly, to FIG. 8, a function of the assurance cap 600 is to insure that the tubular member 424 is fully inserted into the quick connector body 426 so that the tubular member 424 can be latched in place by the clip 460. During the insertion of the tubular member 424 into Ihe bore 440 in the. quick connector body 426, the installer may feel resistant to forward insertion movement of the tubular member 424 into the bore 440 when, for example, the first end 422 of the tubular member 424 contacts the O-ring 448 in the interior οf the quick connector body 426. This may give a false full insertion indication to the installer. However, the assurance cap 600 is configured so that at all non-fully inserted position of the tubular member 424 relative to the quick connector body 426. the projections 630 on the center end leg 626 of the primary latch fingers 620 will not be fully latched in the recess or groove 476 in the connector body 426; but rather, will be in engagement with the ramp surface 472 on the radial outer surface 470 on ihe connector body as shown in Fig. 8. This prevents latching of the primary latch fingers 620 to the quick connector body 426. A non- fixed position of the body 426 or a slight pull -out movement by the installer exerted on the assurance cap 600 moving the assurance cap 600 moving the assurance cap 600 away from the body 426 wi ll provide an indication of non- latching of ihe assurance cap 600 to the quick connector body 426

[0151 ] At the same lime, the assurance cap 600. due to the web support structure 604 of the primary latch fingers 620 and the number of such primary latch fingers 620 on the assurance cap and the primary latching of the projections 630 of the primary latch lingers 620 in the groove 476 of the quick connector body 426, provides a force re.sisi.ing axiaJ separation of the tubular member 424 from tJhc quick connector body 426 despite any axial separation forces acting on the quick connector body 426 and the tubular member 424.

[0152] Referring now to FIGS.27-33, there is depicted a disconnect loo! 700 useful in disconnecting and allowing separation of the assurance cap 400 or 600 from the last connection between the assurance cap 400, 600 and the connector body.

[0153] The disconnect tool 700 may be in the form of a one piece body having, for example, a collar 70.2 which may have an annular ring-like shape. A discontinuity 704 is formed in the circumferential extent of the collar 702 and opens to an interior bore 706 in the. collar 702.

[0154] The collar 702 has an opposed end surfaces 708 and 710 disposed on opposite sides of a circumferential surface 712 or edge of the collar 702. The outer circumferential surface 712 may be formed with a gripping surface such as by use knurls, to facilitate gripping of the collar 702 during use of the disconnect tool 700 as described hereafter.

[0155] The collar 702 may be- formed of a suitable hard material, such as steel, brass, hard plastic or composite material.

[0156] A plurality of assurance cap primary latch finger engagement members, each in the form of an axially extending finger, with four fingers 720, 722, 724 and. 726 shown by example in FUG. 27 extend from one surface of the collar 702. The number of fingers 720-726 are chosen to coincide with the number of primary Jaich. fingers on the assurance cap 400 or 600. hi the example of the assurance cap 600 shown in FIGS. 22 - 25 four primary latch fingers 620 are depicted by example. Thus, the disconnect tool 700 is provided with four fingers 720-726, one finger for each primary latch finger 620. The fingers 720-726 are disposed in a circumfcrcnlially spaced arrangement at the same circumferential spacing as the primary latch fingers 622 in the assurance cap 600,

[0157] The fingers 720 extend in an axially direction from one surface, such as surface

708 of the collar 702. The fingers 720-726 may be individual members fixed to or integrally formed as a part of the collar 702 by adhesive, integral machining or molded as part of the collar 22. etc.

[0158] By way of example only, the fingers 720-726 are integrally formed as part of annular ring 730 which has the substantially the same dimensions us the inner surface of the collar 702 facing this interior bore 706. The ring 730 may be secured to the inicrior surface of the collar 702. by adhesive or other suitable means.

[0159] 'line discontinuity 704 in the circumferential extent of the collar 702 serves as a mounting slot to enable the collar 702 to be mounted on the tubular member 424 of the fitting or Quid connection even after the large end form is formed in one end of the tubular member 424.

[0160] The diameter of the inner .surface of the collar 702 and/or inner diameter of the ring 730 is slightly larger limn the outer diameter of the main axial extent of the tubular member 424.

[0161] Each of the fingers 720-726 has generally arcuate shaped cross-section extending from one end coupled to the ring 730 or to the collar 702 to an outer end 732, as shown in PIG. 27 for the finger 720. The outer end 732 may have a tapered or ramped-like surface 734 to facilitate disconnection of the primary latch, fingers 720 of the assurance cap 600 from the groove in the connector body.

[0162] In use, as shown in FIGS. 28 and 29, the disconnect tool 700 is initially mounted over the tubular member 424 by sliding the slot. 704 in the collar 702 over the outer diameter of the tubular member 424 adjacent the endform oh the tubular member 424 and the assurance cap 600. The fingers 720-726 carried on the collar 702 are arranged to face one end of the assurance cap 600. The collar 702 is rotated about the tubular member 424 until each of the fingers 720- 726 is aligned with one of the. inner slot portions of the apertures 610 formed in one end of the assurance cap 600 interiorly of the support, ring 603.

[0163] The collar 702 is then urged longitudinally along the tubular member 424 to move the fingers 720-726 through the apertures 610 in the assurance cap 600 toward the connector body 426 as shown in FIGS. 29 - 32.

[0164] The ends 732 of the fingers 720-724 engage the vamp surface 472 on the connector body 426 and bend or flex the fingers 720--726 radially outward through engagement of the tapered or ramp surface 734 Carried on the collar 720 with the ramp surface 472 of the connector body 426 as shown in FIG. 32. This radially outward movement pivots the primary latch fingers 620 about the support ring 602 and disengages the projections 627 on the ends of the primary latch fingers 620 from the recess or groove 476 in the connector hody426. When the projections 627 are completely disengaged from the groove 476. the assurance cap 600 and the disconnect tool 700 can be moved along the tubular member 424 in a direction away from the connector body 426, as shown !in Fig 33, to separate the assurance, cap 600 from the connector body 426 without damage to the assurance cap 600.