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Title:
SHIFTER ASSEMBLY HAVING A DETENT TRACK AND A PLUNGER MOVABLE WITHIN THE DETENT TRACK FOR SELECTING ONE OF A PLURALITY OF GEARS OF A TRANSMISSION FOR A VIHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2014/198293
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A shifter assembly includes a detent track and a shift lever for selecting one of a plurality of gears. The shifter assembly includes a support with the detent track coupled to the support and defining a first detent and a second detent. The detent track defines at least one cavity in communication with the first and second detents. The shift lever is movably coupled to the support. The shifter assembly includes a plunger movably mounted to the shift lever between the first and second detents. The shifter assembly includes a retainer movably coupled to the plunger having a distal end. The retainer has a locked position with the distal end spaced from the plunger and disposed in the at least one cavity for preventing plunger movement between the first and second detents and an unlocked position spaced from the locked position allowing plunger movement between the first and second detents.

Inventors:
NILSSON, Henrik (Sälggatan 7, Mullsjö, S-565 33, SE)
Application Number:
EP2013/061979
Publication Date:
December 18, 2014
Filing Date:
June 11, 2013
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KONGSBERG AUTOMOTIVE AB (Fabriksgatan 3-4, Mullsjö, S-565 28, SE)
International Classes:
F16H59/10; F16H61/22; F16H61/24; G05G5/06
Foreign References:
US5791196A
DE19913835A1
JPH10287144A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AHME, Johannes et al. (Uexküll & Stolberg, Beselerstr. 4, Hamburg, 22607, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A shifter assembly for selecting one of a plurality of gears of a transmission for a vehicle, said shifter assembly comprising:

a support;

a detent track coupled to said support and defining a first detent and a second detent with a projection disposed between each of said first and second detents with said projection having a crest, and said detent track defining a at least one cavity along said detent track;

a shift lever movably coupled to said support for selecting one of the plurality of gears; a plunger movably mounted to said shift lever with said plunger engaging said detent track for creating a haptic feel as said shift lever moves between the plurality of gears, said plunger disposed in said first detent when in a first position and being movable along said detent track to a second position with said plunger located at said crest of said projection; and a retainer having a distal end and being movably coupled to said plunger for selectively engaging said detent track, said retainer having a locked position with said distal end of said retainer spaced from said plunger and disposed in said at least one cavity for preventing movement of said plunger and said shift lever along said detent track, and said retainer having an unlocked position with said retainer retracted from said locked position for allowing said plunger and said shift lever to move along said detent track between said first and second positions.

2. The shifter assembly as set forth in claim 1 further comprising an actuation device coupled to said retainer for selectively moving said retainer toward one of said locked and unlocked positions.

3. The shifter assembly as set forth in claim 2 wherein said actuation device is disposed in said plunger and said retainer is disposed in said actuation device with said retainer extending from said plunger in said locked position and retracted in said plunger in said unlocked position allowing said plunger to slide along said detent track.

4. The shifter assembly as set forth in claim 3 further comprising a casing coupled to said shift lever and a plunger biasing member disposed between said casing and said plunger for biasing said plunger toward said detent track.

5. The shifter assembly as set forth in claim 4 wherein said actuation device is disposed between said plunger biasing member and said plunger.

6. The shifter assembly as set forth in claim 2 wherein said actuation device includes a solenoid coil and said retainer is further defined as a solenoid armature operatively coupled to said solenoid coil.

7. The shifter assembly as set forth in claim 5 wherein said actuation device further includes a biasing member coupled to said solenoid armature for biasing said solenoid armature toward one of said locked and unlocked positions.

8. The shifter assembly as set forth in claim 6 wherein said biasing member is disposed in said plunger about said solenoid armature with said biasing member abutting said actuation device.

9. The shifter assembly as set forth in claim 6 further comprising a flange coupled to said solenoid armature with said biasing member disposed between said flange and said solenoid coil.

10. The shifter assembly as set forth in claim 1 further comprising a biasing member coupled to said retainer for biasing said retainer toward one of said locked and unlocked positions.

11. The shifter assembly as set forth in claim 9 wherein said biasing member is disposed in said plunger about said retainer for biasing said retainer to extend from said plunger toward one of said locked positions and unlock position.

12. The shifter assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said plunger includes a plunger end having an arcuate configuration and said detent track has an arcuate configuration along said first and second detents complementary to said arcuate configuration of said plunger end of said plunger.

13. The shifter assembly as set forth in claim 12 wherein said retainer is movably disposed in said plunger end with said retainer extending from said plunger end in said locked position and retracted in said plunger end in said unlocked position.

14. The shifter assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said plunger includes a plunger end having a frusto-hemispherical head annularly disposed about said retainer with said retainer extending from said frusto-hemispherical head in said locked position and retracted in said plunger end in said unlocked position allowing said plunger to slide along said detent track.

15. The shifter assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said plunger is annularly disposed about said retainer.

Description:
SHIFTER ASSEMBLY HAVING A DETENT TRACK AND A PLUNGER MOVABLE WITHIN THE DETENT TRACK FOR SELECTING ONE OF A PLURALITY OF GEARS OF A TRANSMISSION FOR A VEHICLE

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

[0001] The present invention generally relates to a shifter assembly for selecting a plurality of gears of a transmission of a vehicle. In particular, the subject invention includes a shifter assembly with a detent track and a shifter lever selectively movable along the detent track.

2. Description of Related Art

[0002] A shifter assembly is used in a vehicle for selecting between a plurality of gears of a transmission of the vehicle. The shifter assembly includes a shift lever engageable by an operator for shifting between the plurality of gears. The shifter assembly includes a detent track defining a plurality of detents and a spring-loaded plunger selectively engageable with the detent track. The shift lever is coupled to one of the plunger or the detent track and the shift lever is configured to move one of the plunger and the detent track relative to the other to select one of the plurality of gears.

[0003] One type of shifter assembly includes a solenoid extending from the plunger and an arm extending from the solenoid toward the detent track. The solenoid is operable to selectively bias the arm toward the detent track to lock the arm in one of the detents and to retract the arm away from the detents for allowing the arm to move between the detents. The arm remains extended from the solenoid so that the arm remains in contact with the detent track as the arm is moved between the detents.

[0004] Although shifter assemblies for selecting between a plurality of gears of a transmission of the vehicle are used in many vehicles, design constraints in a vehicular setting are restrictive and limit the size of the shifter assembly. There remains an opportunity for a shifter assembly to have a relatively compact configuration for reducing the size of the shifter assembly to accommodate vehicular design constraints.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION AND ADVANTAGES

[0005] The subject invention includes a shifter assembly for selecting one of a plurality of gears of a transmission for a vehicle. The shifter assembly includes a support and a detent track. The detent track is coupled to the support and defines a first detent and a second detent with a projection disposed between each of the first and second detents with the projection having a crest. The detent track defines at least one cavity along the detent track. The shifter assembly includes a shift lever movably coupled to the support for selecting one of the plurality of gears. The shifter assembly includes a plunger movably mounted to the shift lever with the plunger engaging the detent track for creating a haptic feel as the shift lever moves between the plurality of gears. The plunger is disposed in the first detent when in a first position and is movable along the detent track to a second position with the plunger located at the crest of the projection. The shifter assembly includes a retainer with a distal end and being movably coupled to the plunger for selectively engaging the detent track. The retainer has a locked position with the distal end of the retainer spaced from the plunger and is disposed in at least one cavity for preventing movement of the plunger and the shift lever along the detent track. The retainer has an unlocked position with the retainer retracted from the locked position for allowing the plunger and the shift lever to move along the detent track between the first and second positions.

[0006] Advantageously, since the retainer is retracted and the plunger moves along the detent track in the unlocked position, the overall size of the shifter assembly is reduced. In other words, the retraction of the retainer provides a relatively compact design. Further, when the retainer is spaced from the plunger in the locked position, the retainer engages at least one cavity to firmly and releasably retain the shifter lever at the selected gear.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] Other advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated, as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings.

[0008] Figure 1 is a partially exploded perspective view of a shifter assembly incorporating the components of the subject invention.

[0009] Figure 2 is a fragmented side view of the plunger.

[0010] Figure 3 is a fragmented cross-sectional side view of the plunger with the retainer in the locked position.

[0011] Figure 4 is a fragmented cross-sectional side view of the plunger with the retainer in the unlocked position.

[0012] Figure 5 is an exploded perspective view of the plunger.

[0013] Figure 6 is a fragmented cross-sectional side view of the plunger and the detent track with the plunger in the first position and the retainer in the locked position. [0014] Figure 7 is a fragmented cross-sectional side view of the plunger and the detent track with the plunger in the first position and the retainer in the unlocked position.

[0015] Figure 8 is a fragmented cross-sectional side view of the plunger and the detent track with the plunger in the second position and the retainer in the unlocked position.

[0016] Figure 9 is a fragmented cross-sectional side view of the plunger and the detent track with the plunger disposed in the second detent and the retainer in the locked position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0017] Referring to the Figures wherein like numerals indicate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views, a shifter assembly 10 is generally shown in Figure 1. The shifter assembly 10 is connected to a transmission (not shown) of a vehicle (not shown) for selecting one of a plurality of gears. The shifter assembly 10 includes a support 12 and a shift lever 14 movably coupled to the support 12 for selecting one of the plurality of gears. Specifically, the shift lever 14 is typically configured to be grasped by an operator and moved relative to the support 12 for selecting one of the plurality of gears. It is to be appreciated the shifter assembly 10 may be used in any suitable type of transmission, such as, but not limited to a manual transmission or an automatic transmission.

[0018] As shown in Figure 1, the shift lever 14 pivots relative to the support 12 about a lever axis Al as an operator moves the shift lever 14 to select between the plurality of gears. Alternatively, for example, the shift lever 14 can be moveable in a linear path relative to the support 12 (not shown).

[0019] The shifter assembly 10 includes a detent track 16 coupled to the support 12 and a plunger 56 movably mounted to the shifter lever 14. The plunger 56 extends toward the detent track 16 and slides along the detent track 16 as the shift lever 14 moves relative to the detent track 16, as set forth further below. A retainer 78 is movably coupled to the plunger 56 for selectively engaging the detent track 16 to releasably lock the plunger 56 relative to the detent track 16.

[0020] The detent track 16 typically extends along an arcuate path PI. Alternatively, for example, the detent track 16 extends along a flat path (not shown). The detent track 16 can extend away from the support 12 toward the plunger 56.

[0021] The detent track 16 defines a plurality of detents 22 along the arcuate path PI. For example, the detent track 16 defines a first detent 18 and a second detent 20 spaced from the first detent 18 along the arcuate path PI. While the first and second detents 18, 20 are shown as consecutive detents in the Figures, it is to be appreciated that the first and second detent 18, 20 can be any of the plurality of detents 22. The detent track 16 includes five detents 22 with each corresponding to a respective gear. However, it is to be appreciated that the detent track 16 may define any suitable number of detents 22 for any suitable number of gears without departing from the nature of the invention.

[0022] As shown in Figure 6, the detent track 16 has a plurality of projections 34 disposed along the arcuate path PI between the plurality of detents 22, respectively. For example, one projection 24 is disposed between the first and second detents 18, 20. Each projection 24 extends from the detent track 16 away from the support 12 with an arcuate configuration. Each projection 24 has two projection ends 28 along the arcuate configuration. For example, as shown in the Figures, the projection 24 further defines the arcuate configuration as a bell curve configuration between the two projection ends 28. However, it is to be appreciated that the projection 24 may have any alternatively suitable configuration. [0023] Each projection 24 has a crest 32 defined along the arcuate configuration of the projection 24 between the two projection ends 28. Specifically, the crest 32 is positioned along the arcuate configuration of the projection 24 equal distance between the two projection ends 28. However, it is to be appreciated that the crest 32 may be positioned along the arcuate configuration of the projection 24 at any alternatively suitable position without departing from the nature of the invention.

[0024] The detent track 16 has an arcuate configuration along the detents 22, e.g., along the first and second detents 18, 20. The arcuate configuration is defined between the crests 32 of two of the plurality of projections 34 adjacent to each other along the arcuate path PI. It is to be appreciated that the detent track 16 may define the first and second detents 18, 20 with any suitable configuration without departing from the nature of the invention.

[0025] The detent track 16 defines at least one cavity 36 along the detent track 16. Specifically, the detent track 16 defines the at least one cavity 36 in communication with the first detent 18. The at least one cavity 36 is associated with one of the plurality of gears. In one example, the at least one cavity 36 is associated with a parking gear. The detent track 16 defines the at least one cavity 36 with a cylindrical configuration. However, it is to be appreciated that the at least one cavity 36 can have any suitable configuration, such as, but not limited to square, rectangular, etc.

[0026] The detent track 16 may define the at least one cavity 36 as a plurality of cavities 37 along the detent track 16 in communication with a corresponding one of the plurality of detents 22. In one example, only one of the plurality of cavities 37 may be utilized and associated with one of the plurality of gears, such as, but not limited to the parking gear. In a different example, all of the plurality of cavities 37 may be utilized and associated with one of the plurality of gears.

[0027] As shown in Figure 1, the shifter assembly 10 includes a casing 38 coupled to the shift lever 14 and a housing 46 disposed in the casing 38. The plunger 56 is movably disposed in the housing 46 and extends toward the detent track 16. The casing 38 extends from the shift lever 14 toward the detent track 16. The casing 38 includes a casing end 40 facing the detent track 16. As the shift lever 14 pivots about the lever axis Al, the casing end 40 moves relative to the detent track 16 and, specifically, pivots relative to the detent track 16.

[0028] The casing 38 has a cylindrical configuration and defines a plunger biasing member chamber 42 along a plunger axis A2, as set forth further below. The casing 38 defines a housing chamber 44 along the plunger axis A2 in communication with the plunger biasing member chamber 42 and extending through the casing end 40.

[0029] As shown in Figures 1 and 5, the housing 46 is disposed in the housing chamber 44 of the casing 38. The housing 46 has a housing end 48 aligned with the casing end 40 as the housing 46 is disposed in the housing chamber 44. Said differently, the housing end 48 is planar with the casing end 40 when the housing 46 is disposed in the casing 38. The housing 46 has a cylindrical configuration corresponding to the cylindrical configuration of the casing 38. It is to be appreciated that the housing 46 can have any suitable configuration without escaping the scope of the invention.

[0030] The housing 46 is keyed to the casing 38 for preventing rotation of the housing 46 relative to the casing 38. One of the casing 38 and the housing 46 defines grooves 52 along the plunger axis A2. The grooves 52 are spaced from each other radially about the plunger axis A2. The other of the casing 38 and the housing 46 has protrusions 54 extending along the plunger axis A2. The protrusions 54 are spaced from each other about the plunger axis A2. For example, as shown in Figures 1 and 5, the casing 38 defines the grooves 52 and the housing 46 has the protrusions 54 with the protrusions 54 of the housing 46 disposed in the grooves 52 of the casing 38 when the housing 46 is disposed in the housing chamber 44 of the casing 38 for preventing rotation of the housing 46 in the casing 38. It is to be appreciated that the grooves 52 of the casing 38 and the protrusions 54 of the housing 46 can have any corresponding configuration suitable for preventing rotation of the housing 46. It is to be appreciated that the casing 38 and the housing 46 can include any number of grooves 52 and protrusions 54 without departing from the nature of the present invention.

[0031] As shown in Figure 1, the plunger 56 is movably mounted to the shift lever 14 with the plunger 56 engaging the detent track 16 for creating a haptic feel as the shift lever 14 moves between the plurality of gears. For example, referring to Figures 3-5, the housing 46 defines a plunger chamber 50 along the plunger axis A2 and the plunger 56 is slidably disposed in the plunger chamber 50 of the housing 46 along the plunger axis A2.

[0032] The shifter assembly 10 includes a plunger biasing member 58 disposed in the plunger biasing member chamber 42 and abutting the plunger 56. With reference to Figures 6-9, the plunger biasing member 58 biases the plunger 56 to extend from the housing 46 toward the detent track 16 with the plunger 56 movably disposed in the detent track 16 between a first position and a second position, as set forth further below.

[0033] As shown in Figures 1 and 5, the plunger 56 is keyed to the housing 46 for preventing rotation of the plunger 56 relative to the housing 46. One of the housing 46 and the plunger 56 defines slots 60 and the other of the housing 46 and the plunger 56 includes ribs 62 movably engaged with the slots 60 for preventing rotation of the plunger 56 relative to the housing 46. For example, as shown in Figures 1 and 5, the housing 46 defines slots 60 along the plunger axis A2 in communication with the housing chamber 44. The housing 46 defines the slots 60 along the protrusions 54. The plunger 56 has ribs 62 extending away from the plunger axis A2. The ribs 62 of the plunger 56 are disposed in the slots 60 of the housing 46 as the plunger 56 is disposed in the plunger chamber 50 of the housing 46 for preventing rotation of the plunger 56 in the housing 46. It is to be appreciated that the slots 60 of the housing 46 and the ribs 62 of the plunger 56 can have any corresponding configuration suitable for preventing rotation of the plunger 56. It is to be appreciated that the plunger 56 and the housing 46 can include any number of ribs 62 slots 60 without departing from the nature of the present invention.

[0034] As shown in Figures 2-5, the plunger 56 has a base portion 64 and a cylindrical portion 66 extending from the base portion 64. Referring specifically to Figures 3 and 4, the base portion 64 defines an actuator chamber 68 along the plunger axis A2 and the cylindrical portion 66 defines a flange chamber 70 along the plunger axis A2 in communication with the actuator chamber 68. The plunger biasing member 58 is partially disposed in the actuator chamber 68 and abuts the actuation device 82.

[0035] As shown in Figures 6 and 7, the plunger 56 is disposed in the first detent 18 when in a first position and is movable along the detent track 16. Referring to Figure 8, the plunger 56 is movable along the detent track 16 to a second position with the plunger 56 located at the crest 32 of the projection 24. With reference to Figure 9, the plunger 56 is movable from the second position to the second detent 20.

[0036] As shown in Figures 2-5, the plunger 56 includes a plunger end 72 having an arcuate configuration complementary to the arcuate configuration of the detents 22, e.g., the first and second detents 18, 20. For example, the plunger end 72 has a frusto-hemispherical head 76. The frusto-hemispherical head 76 extends centrally from the cylindrical portion 66 of the plunger 56. Referring to Figures 6-9, the frusto-hemispherical head 76 is disposed in the detent track 16 and slideably abuts the detent track 16 as the plunger biasing member 58 biases the plunger 56 against the detent track 16. With reference to Figure 1, the frusto-hemispherical head 76 has a radius Rl corresponding to the arcuate configuration of the first and second detents 18, 20 allowing the frusto-hemispherical head 76 to slide along the detent track 16 between the first and second detents 18, 20. It is to be appreciated that the plunger end 72 may have any suitable configuration without departing from the nature of the invention.

[0037] As shown in Figures 2-5, the retainer 78 has a distal end 80 and is movably coupled to the plunger 56 for selectively engaging the detent track 16. The retainer 78 is movable between a locked position and an unlocked position. With reference to Figure 6, the retainer 78 is in the locked position with the distal end 80 of the retainer 78 spaced from the plunger 56 and disposed in the at least one cavity 36 for preventing movement of the plunger 56. The distal end 80 of the retainer 78 extends from the frusto-hemispherical head 76. With reference to Figures 4 and 7, the retainer 78 is in the unlocked position with the retainer 78 retracted from the locked position for allowing the plunger 56 and the shift lever 14 to move along the detent track 16 between the first and second positions.

[0038] As shown in Figures 3 and 4, the plunger 56 defines a retainer chamber 74 extending through the plunger end 72 and in communication with the flange chamber 70 with the distal end 80 of the retainer 78 disposed within retainer chamber 74 and the frusto-hemispherical head 76.

[0039] As shown in Figure 1, the retainer 78 has a cylindrical configuration with the plunger 56 annularly disposed about the retainer 78. Specifically, the frusto-hemispherical head 76 and the cylindrical portion 66 are disposed annularly about the retainer 78. However, it is to be appreciated that the retainer 78 can be any configuration, such as, but not limited to, square, rectangular, etc.

[0040] As shown in Figures 3 and 4, the shifter assembly 10 includes an actuation device 82 coupled to the retainer 78 for selectively moving the retainer 78 toward one of the locked and unlocked positions. The actuation device 82 is disposed in the actuator chamber 68 of the cylindrical portion 66 of the plunger 56.

[0041] The actuation device 82 can be, for example, a solenoid actuator. Specifically, the solenoid actuator includes a solenoid coil 84 and a solenoid armature 92. In such a configuration, the retainer 78 is further defined as the solenoid armature 92. The actuation device 82 defines an armature chamber 88 along the plunger axis A2. The solenoid coil 84 is disposed about the armature chamber 88.

[0042] The solenoid armature 92 has a first portion 94 and a second portion 96 extending from the first portion 94. The first portion 94 is movably disposed in the retainer chamber 74 and the flange chamber 70. The second portion 96 is movably disposed in the armature chamber 88 and the flange chamber 70. A biasing member 86 is coupled to the retainer 78 for biasing the retainer 78 toward one of the locked and unlocked positions.

[0043] The shifter assembly 10 includes a flange 98 coupled to the solenoid armature 92. Specifically, the flange 98 is coupled to the solenoid armature 92 about first portion 94 abutting the second portion 96 and is movably disposed in the flange chamber 70 of the plunger 56. The biasing member 86 is coupled to the solenoid armature 92 with the biasing member 86 disposed between the flange 98 and the solenoid coil 84 in the flange chamber 70. The biasing member 86 is further defined as a coil spring disposed around the retainer 78 for biasing the retainer 78 toward the locked position. It is to be appreciated that the biasing member 86 can be any type of spring suitable for biasing the retainer 78 without departing from the nature of the invention.

[0044] The actuation device 82 is electrically connected to the vehicle and is triggered to selectively move the retainer 78 along the plunger axis A2 away from detent track 16 by the operator or a vehicle control sequence. In one example, the operator could use a shift interface, such as, but not limited to a button (not shown) on the shift lever 16 to trigger the actuation device 82. This prevents the operator from moving the shift lever 16 on accident when moving around the vehicle. In another example, a vehicle control sequence, such as, but not limited to depression of a brake and activation of an ignition could trigger the actuation device 82. This prevents changing the transmission from a neutral or a drive gear into a park or a reverse gear at high speeds which can cause damage to the transmission and vehicle.

[0045] The solenoid coil 84 electromagnetically moves the solenoid armature 92 along the plunger axis A2 in the armature chamber 88 to the unlocked position. Alternatively, the actuation device 82 could move the retainer 78 toward the detent track 16 or move the retainer 78 toward and away from the detent track 16. It is to be appreciated that the actuation device 82 can be any suitable type of actuator, such as, but not limited to, a pneumatic actuator, a hydraulic actuator, etc.

[0046] As shown in Figure 1, the shifter assembly 10 includes a pair of walls 100 spaced from each other with the first and second detents 18, 20 disposed between the pair of walls 100. Specifically, the plurality of detents 22 are defined along the arcuate path PI between the pair of walls 100. The plurality of projections 34 extend away from the support 12 between the pair of walls 100. The pair of walls 100 extend further from the support 12 than the plurality of projections 34 extend from the support 12. The frusto-hemispherical head 76 and the plunger end 72 are disposed between the pair of walls 100 as the plunger 56 engages the detent track 16 to prevent the plunger 56 from disengaging the detent track 16.

[0047] In operation, an operator pivots the shift lever 14 about the lever axis Al to change between the plurality of gears. As the operator pivots the shift lever 14 about the lever axis Al, the plunger 56 pivots about the lever axis Al along the detent track 16. As the plunger 56 pivots along the detent track 16, the frusto-hemispherical head 76 of the plunger 56 moves between the plurality of detents 22.

[0048] As shown in Figure 6, the frusto-hemispherical head 76 of the plunger 56 is disposed in the first detent 18 with the plunger 56 in the first position. The distal end 80 of the solenoid armature 92 is biased in the locked position by the biasing member 86 and is disposed in the at least one cavity 36 of the detent track 16 in communication with the first detent 18. The solenoid armature 92 engages the detent track 16 preventing the frusto-hemispherical head 76 of the plunger 56 from sliding along the detent track 16 from the first detent 18 to the second detent 20.

[0049] With reference to Figure 7, the actuation device 82 is triggered and the solenoid coil 84 moves the solenoid armature 92 along the plunger axis A2 against the biasing of the biasing member 86 to the unlocked position. The solenoid coil 84 removes the distal end 80 of the solenoid armature 92 from the at least one cavity 36 of the detent track 16 in communication with the first detent 18 and disposes the distal end 80 within the frusto-hemispherical head 76 of the plunger 56.

[0050] As shown in Figure 8, the frusto-hemispherical head 76 of the plunger 56 slides along the arcuate configuration of the projection 24 from the first detent 18 to the crest 32 of the projection 24 to the second position. As the frusto-hemispherical head 76 of the plunger 56 slides along the arcuate configuration of projection 24 from the first detent 18 to the crest 32 of the projection 24, the plunger 56 moves along the plunger axis A2 into the plunger chamber 50 of the housing 46 against the biasing of the plunger biasing member 58 away from the support 12.

[0051] With reference to Figure 9, the frusto-hemispherical head 76 of the plunger 56 slides along the arcuate configuration of the projection 24 from the crest 32 of the projection 24 to the second detent 20. As the frusto-hemispherical head 76 of the plunger 56 slides along the arcuate configuration of the projection 24 from the crest 32 of the projection 24 to the second detent 20, the plunger 56 is biased to move along the plunger axis A2 from the plunger chamber 50 of the housing 46 toward the support 12.

[0052] As the frusto-hemispherical head 76 of the plunger 56 is disposed in the second detent 20, the solenoid coil 84 of the actuation device 82 releases the solenoid armature 92. The biasing member 86 biases the solenoid armature 92 to move along the plunger axis A2 toward the detent track 16. The distal end 80 is disposed in one of the pluralities of cavities 37 in communication with the second detent 20 with the solenoid armature 92 in the locked position. The plunger 56 engages the detent track 16 with the distal end 80 of the solenoid armature 92 preventing the plunger 56 from sliding along the detent track 16 from the second detent 20.

[0053] As shown in Figure 9, the plurality of projections 34 includes a primary projection 102 and secondary projections 104. The detent track 16 has a top edge 110 and defines a height HI, H2 for each of the plurality of projections 34. The detent track 16 defines the heights HI, H2 between the crests 32 of the plurality of projections 34 and the top edge 110 of the detent track 16. The height HI of the primary projection 102 is greater than the heights H2 of the secondary projections 104 with the heights H2 of the secondary projections 104 being generally equal to each other.

[0054] As the plunger 56 pivots about the lever axis Al and moves along the arcuate configuration to the crest 32, the plunger 56 moves along the plunger axis A2 into the housing 46 and compresses the plunger biasing member 58 creating resistance to the pivoting of the plunger 56. The greater height HI of the primary projection 102 increases the amount of plunger 56 movement along the plunger axis A2 into the housing 46 and increases the amount of compression of the plunger biasing member 58 as the plunger moves along the arcuate configuration of the primary projection 102 in comparison to the lesser heights H2 of the secondary projections 104. The additional movement of the plunger 56 along the plunger axis A2 and the additional compression of the plunger biasing member 58 creates additional resistance to the pivoting of the shift lever 14 as the operator changes between a plurality of gears. The additional resistance differentiates one of the plurality of gears from the other of the plurality of gears.

[0055] The detent track defines a distances Dl, D2 between the crests 32 of two of the plurality of projections 34. The detent track 16 defines the distances Dl, D2 along the arcuate path PI between the crests 32. The distance Dl between the crest 32 of the primary projection 102 and the crest 32 of the adjacent secondary projection 100 is greater the distances D2 between the crests 32 of the secondary projections 104. The detent track 16 further defines the distances D2 along the arcuate path PI between the crests 32 of the secondary projections 104 are equal to each other.

[0056] The plunger 56 moves along the arcuate configuration of one of the plurality of projections 34 from one of the two projection ends 28 to the other of the two projection ends 28. The greater distance Dl of the primary projection 102 increases the pivoting of the plunger 56 about the lever axis Al as the plunger 56 moves along the arcuate configuration of the primary projection 102 in comparison to the lesser distances D2 of the secondary projections 104. The additional pivoting of the plunger 56 about the lever axis Al creates additional pivoting to the shift lever 14 as the operator changes between a plurality of gears. The additional pivoting of the shift lever 14 differentiates one of the plurality of gears from the other of the plurality of gears.

[0057] The detent track 16 further defines one of the plurality of cavities 37 as a primary cavity 106 and the other of the plurality of cavities 37 as secondary cavities 108. The detent track 16 defines a distance D3, D4 between each of the plurality of cavities 37 with the distance D3 between two of the plurality of cavities 37 being greater than the distances D4 between the other of the plurality of cavities 37. The detent track 16 defines distances D3, D4 along the arcuate path PI between each of the plurality of cavities 37. The detent track 16 defines the distances D4 along the arcuate path PI between the secondary cavities 108 as being equal to each other. The detent track 16 defines distance D3 along the arcuate path PI between the primary cavity 106 and the adjacent secondary cavity as being greater than the distances D4 between the secondary cavities 108.

[0058] The plunger 56 moves along the detent track 16 from the primary cavity 106 to the adjacent secondary cavity 108. The distance D3 between the primary cavity 106 and the adjacent secondary cavity 108 increases the pivoting of the plunger 56 about the lever axis Al in comparison to the lesser distances D4 between the secondary cavities 108. The additional pivoting of the plunger 56 about the lever axis Al creates additional pivoting to the shift lever 14 as the operator changes between a plurality of gears. The additional pivoting differentiates one of the plurality of gears from the other of the plurality of gears.

[0059] The invention has been described in an illustrative manner, and it is to be understood that the terminology which has been used is intended to be in the nature of words of description rather than of limitation. As is now apparent to those skilled in the art, many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is, therefore, to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, wherein reference numerals are merely for convenience and are not to be in any way limiting, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.