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Title:
VEHICLE BRAKE SYSTEM AND METHOD OF DETERMINING LEAKAGE THEREOF
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/133964
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method of conducting a diagnostic test to determine leakage within a brake system includes first pressurizing the brake system. The pressure within the brake system is held for a predetermined length of time. The method further includes determining whether a leakage within the brake system has occurred.

Inventors:
TIMM GREG (US)
HARTMAN PATRICK (US)
KONG WEICHAO (US)
Application Number:
US2018/068122
Publication Date:
July 04, 2019
Filing Date:
December 31, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KELSEY HAYES CO (US)
International Classes:
B60T17/22; B60T8/36; B60T13/74
Foreign References:
US20170158184A12017-06-08
US20110175437A12011-07-21
US20160375886A12016-12-29
US20150375724A12015-12-31
US20160311422A12016-10-27
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ANDERSON, Todd, P. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of conducting a diagnostic test to determine leakage within a brake system, the method comprising:

(a) pressurizing the brake system:

(b) holding the pressure within the brake system for a predetermined length of time; and

(c) determining whether a leakage within the brake system has occurred.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein under step (c), a leakage is determined if the pressure within the brake system falls below a second predetermined level, wherein the second predetermined level is less than the first predetermined level.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the brake system includes a plunger assembly including a housing defining a bore therein, wherein the plunger assembly includes a piston slidably disposed therein such that movement of the piston pressurizes a pressure chamber when the piston is moved in a first direction, and wherein the pressure chamber of the plunger assembly is in fluid communication with an output, and wherein the plunger assembly further includes an electrically operated linear actuator for moving the piston within the bore.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein under step (a), the plunger assembly is actuated to provide pressure at the output of the plunger assembly at a first predetermined level, wherein a pressure increase at the output of the plunger assembly causes an increase in pressure in a wheel brake.

5. The method of claim 4, wherein under step (b) the pressure at the output of the plunger assembly is held for a predetermined length of time.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein under step (c), a leakage is determined if the travel distance of the piston of the plunger assembly is evaluated and compared to a previously determined travel distance of the piston of a proper operation of the plunger assembly.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein subsequently to step (d), if a leakage has been determined to occur, a flow of fluid is directed across a valve seat of a valve to flush away possible contaminants located on the valve seat.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein the valve is a solenoid actuated valve.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the valve is an isolation valve movable between a first position permitting fluid communication between the output of a source of pressurized fluid and a wheel brake, and a second position permitting fluid communication between a pressure chamber of a brake pedal unit and the wheel brake.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein the source of pressurized fluid is a plunger assembly including a housing defining a bore therein, wherein the plunger assembly includes a piston slidably disposed therein such that movement of the piston pressurizes a pressure chamber when the piston is moved in a first direction, and wherein the pressure chamber of the plunger assembly is in fluid communication with an output, and wherein the plunger assembly further includes an electrically operated linear actuator for moving the piston within the bore.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the brake system includes:

a first brake circuit associated with a first wheel brake;

a second brake circuit associated with a second wheel brake; and

a source of pressurized fluid for pressurizing the brake system under step (a).

12. The method of claim 11, wherein if it is determined that a leakage has occurred under step (d), the method comprises the further steps of:

(d) preventing the flow of fluid to the first brake circuit from the source of pressurized fluid;

(e) providing pressurized fluid to the second brake circuit from the source of pressurized fluid at a first predetermined pressure level;

(f) holding the pressure at the first predetermined pressure level for a second predetermined length of time; and

(g) determining if the pressure falls below a second predetermined pressure level, wherein the second predetermined level is less than the first predetermined pressure level.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein if it is determined under step (g) that the pressure falls below the second predetermined pressure level, the method further comprises the steps of:

(h) isolating the second brake circuit to prevent loss of fluid from leaking from the second brake circuit.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the second brake circuit is isolated by closing off fluid communication from the source of pressurized fluid to the second wheel brake.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the second brake circuit is isolated by energizing a solenoid actuated valve to a closed position.

Description:
TITLE

VEHICLE BRAKE SYSTEM AND METHOD OF DETERMINING LEAKAGE THEREOF

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001 ] This application claims the benefit of United States Provisional Application No. 62/612,492, filed December 31, 2017, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates in general to vehicle braking systems. Vehicles are commonly slowed and stopped with hydraulic brake systems. These systems vary in complexity but a base brake system typically includes a brake pedal, a tandem master cylinder, fluid conduits arranged in two similar but separate brake circuits, and wheel brakes in each circuit. The driver of the vehicle operates a brake pedal which is connected to the master cylinder. When the brake pedal is depressed, the master cylinder generates hydraulic forces in both brake circuits by pressurizing brake fluid. The pressurized fluid travels through the fluid conduit in both circuits to actuate brake cylinders at the wheels to slow the vehicle.

[0003] Base brake systems typically use a brake booster which provides a force to the master cylinder which assists the pedal force created by the driver. The booster can be vacuum or hydraulically operated. A typical hydraulic booster senses the movement of the brake pedal and generates pressurized fluid which is introduced into the master cylinder. The fluid from the booster assists the pedal force acting on the pistons of the master cylinder which generate pressurized fluid in the conduit in fluid communication with the wheel brakes. Thus, the pressures generated by the master cylinder are increased. Hydraulic boosters are commonly located adjacent the master cylinder piston and use a boost valve to control the pressurized fluid applied to the booster. [0004] Braking a vehicle in a controlled manner under adverse conditions requires precise application of the brakes by the driver. Under these conditions, a driver can easily apply excessive braking pressure thus causing one or more wheels to lock, resulting in excessive slippage between the wheel and road surface. Such wheel lock up conditions can lead to greater stopping distances and possible loss of directional control.

[0005] Advances in braking technology have led to the introduction of Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS). An ABS system monitors wheel rotational behavior and selectively applies and relieves brake pressure in the corresponding wheel brakes in order to maintain the wheel speed within a selected slip range to achieve maximum braking force. While such systems are typically adapted to control the braking of each braked wheel of the vehicle, some systems have been developed for controlling the braking of only a portion of the plurality of braked wheels.

[0006] Electronically controlled ABS valves, comprising apply valves and dump valves, are located between the master cylinder and the wheel brakes. The ABS valves regulate the pressure between the master cylinder and the wheel brakes.

Typically, when activated, these ABS valves operate in three pressure control modes: pressure apply, pressure dump and pressure hold. The apply valves allow pressurized brake fluid into respective ones of the wheel brakes to increase pressure during the apply mode, and the dump valves relieve brake fluid from their associated wheel brakes during the dump mode. Wheel brake pressure is held constant during the hold mode by closing both the apply valves and the dump valves.

[0007] To achieve maximum braking forces while maintaining vehicle stability, it is desirable to achieve optimum slip levels at the wheels of both the front and rear axles. During vehicle deceleration different braking forces are required at the front and rear axles to reach the desired slip levels. Therefore, the brake pressures should be proportioned between the front and rear brakes to achieve the highest braking forces at each axle. ABS systems with such ability, known as Dynamic Rear

Proportioning (DRP) systems, use the ABS valves to separately control the braking pressures on the front and rear wheels to dynamically achieve optimum braking performance at the front and rear axles under the then current conditions. [0008] A further development in braking technology has led to the introduction of Traction Control (TC) systems. Typically, valves have been added to existing ABS systems to provide a brake system which controls wheel speed during acceleration. Excessive wheel speed during vehicle acceleration leads to wheel slippage and a loss of traction. An electronic control system senses this condition and automatically applies braking pressure to the wheel cylinders of the slipping wheel to reduce the slippage and increase the traction available. In order to achieve optimal vehicle acceleration, pressurized brake fluid is made available to the wheel cylinders even if the master cylinder is not actuated by the driver.

[0009] During vehicle motion such as cornering, dynamic forces are generated which can reduce vehicle stability. A Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) brake system improves the stability of the vehicle by counteracting these forces through selective brake actuation. These forces and other vehicle parameters are detected by sensors which signal an electronic control unit. The electronic control unit automatically operates pressure control devices to regulate the amount of hydraulic pressure applied to specific individual wheel brakes. In order to achieve optimal vehicle stability, braking pressures greater than the master cylinder pressure must quickly be available at all times.

[0010] Brake systems may also be used for regenerative braking to recapture energy. An electromagnetic force of an electric motor/generator is used in

regenerative braking for providing a portion of the braking torque to the vehicle to meet the braking needs of the vehicle. A control module in the brake system communicates with a powertrain control module to provide coordinated braking during regenerative braking as well as braking for wheel lock and skid conditions.

For example, as the operator of the vehicle begins to brake during regenerative braking, electromagnet energy of the motor/generator will be used to apply braking torque (i.e., electromagnetic resistance for providing torque to the powertrain) to the vehicle. If it is determined that there is no longer a sufficient amount of storage means to store energy recovered from the regenerative braking or if the regenerative braking cannot meet the demands of the operator, hydraulic braking will be activated to complete all or part of the braking action demanded by the operator. Preferably, the hydraulic braking operates in a regenerative brake blending manner so that the blending is effectively and unnoticeably picked up where the electromagnetic braking left off. It is desired that the vehicle movement should have a smooth transitional change to the hydraulic braking such that the changeover goes unnoticed by the driver of the vehicle.

[0011] Brake systems may also include autonomous braking capabilities such as adaptive cruise control (ACC). During an autonomous braking event, various sensors and systems monitor the traffic conditions ahead of the vehicle and automatically activate the brake system to decelerate the vehicle as needed. Autonomous braking may be configured to respond rapidly in order to avoid an emergency situation. The brake system may be activated without the driver depressing the brake pedal or even if the driver fails to apply adequate pressure to the brake pedal. Advanced autonomous braking systems are configured to operate the vehicle without any driver input and rely solely on the various sensors and systems that monitor the traffic conditions surrounding the vehicle.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] This invention relates to a method of conducting a diagnostic test to determine leakage within a brake system includes first pressurizing the brake system. The pressure within the brake system is held for a predetermined length of time. The method further includes determining whether a leakage within the brake system has occurred.

[0013] Various aspects of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment, when read in light of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] Fig. 1 is a schematic illustration of a first embodiment of a brake system.

[0015] Fig. 2 is an enlarged schematic illustration of the plunger assembly of the brake system of Fig. 1. [0016] Fig. 3 is a schematic illustration of the brake system of Fig. 1 illustrating the operation thereof during a self-diagnostic test involving the detection of leaks within the brake system.

[0017] Fig. 4 is a schematic illustration of the brake system of Fig. 1 illustrating the operation thereof during a self-diagnostic test involving the detection of a possible leak within the primary circuit of the brake system.

[0018] Fig. 5 is a schematic illustration of the brake system of Fig. 1 illustrating the operation thereof during a self-diagnostic test involving the detection of a possible leak within the secondary circuit of the brake system.

[0019] Fig. 6 is a schematic illustration of the brake system of Fig. 1 illustrating the operation thereof during a flush routine.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0020] Referring now to the drawings, there is schematically illustrated in Fig. 1 a first embodiment of a vehicle brake system, indicated generally at 10. The brake system 10 is a hydraulic braking system in which fluid pressure from a source is operated to apply braking forces for the brake system 10. The brake system 10 may suitably be used on a ground vehicle such as an automotive vehicle having four wheels. Furthermore, the brake system 10 can be provided with other braking functions such as anti-lock braking (ABS) and other slip control features to effectively brake the vehicle, as will be discussed below. In the illustrated embodiment of the brake system 10, there are four wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d. The wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d can have any suitable wheel brake structure operated by the application of pressurized brake fluid. The wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d may include, for example, a brake caliper mounted on the vehicle to engage a frictional element (such as a brake disc) that rotates with a vehicle wheel to effect braking of the associated vehicle wheel. The wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d can be associated with any combination of front and rear wheels of the vehicle in which the brake system 10 is installed. A diagonally split brake system is illustrated such that the wheel brake l2a is associated with the left rear wheel, the wheel brake l2b is associated with the right front wheel, the wheel brake l2c is associated with the left front wheel, and the wheel brake l2d is associated with the right rear wheel.

Alternatively for a vertically split system, the wheel brakes l2a and l2b may be associated with the front wheels, and the wheel brakes l2c and l2d may be associated with the rear wheels.

[0021] The brake system 10 includes a brake pedal unit, indicated generally at 14, a pedal simulator 16, a plunger assembly, indicated generally at 18, and a reservoir 20. The reservoir 20 stores and holds hydraulic fluid for the brake system 10. The fluid within the reservoir 20 is preferably held at or about atmospheric pressure but may store the fluid at other pressures if so desired. The brake system 10 may include a fluid level sensor (not shown) for detecting the fluid level of the reservoir 20. Note that in the schematic illustration of Fig. 1, conduit lines may not be specifically drawn leading to the reservoir 20 but may be represented by conduits ending and labelled with Tl, T2, or T3 indicating that these various conduits are connected to one or more tanks or sections of the reservoir 20. Alternatively, the reservoir 20 may include multiple separate housings. As will be discussed in detail below, the plunger assembly 18 of the brake system 10 functions as a source of pressure to provide a desired pressure level to the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d during a typical or normal brake apply. Fluid from the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d may be returned to the plunger assembly 18 and/or diverted to the reservoir 20.

[0022] The brake system 10 includes an electronic control unit (ECU) 22. The ECU 22 may include microprocessors. The ECU 22 receives various signals, processes signals, and controls the operation of various electrical components of the brake system 10 in response to the received signals. The ECU 22 can be connected to various sensors such as pressure sensors, travel sensors, switches, wheel speed sensors, and steering angle sensors. The ECU 22 may also be connected to an external module (not shown) for receiving information related to yaw rate, lateral acceleration, longitudinal acceleration of the vehicle such as for controlling the brake system 10 during vehicle stability operation. Additionally, the ECU 22 may be connected to the instrument cluster for collecting and supplying information related to warning indicators such as an ABS warning light, a brake fluid level warning light, and a traction control/vehicle stability control indicator light.

[0023] The brake system 10 further includes first and second isolation valves 30 and 32. The isolation valves 30 and 32 may be solenoid actuated three way valves. The isolation valves 30 and 32 are generally operable to two positions, as

schematically shown in Fig. 1. The first and second isolation valves 30 and 32 each have a port in selective fluid communication with an output conduit 34 generally in communication with an output of the plunger assembly 18, as will be discussed below. The first and second isolation valves 30 and 32 also includes ports that are selectively in fluid communication with conduits 36 and 38, respectively, when the first and second isolation valves 30 and 32 are non-energized, as shown in Fig. 1. The first and second isolation valves 30 and 32 further include ports that are in fluid

communication with conduits 40 and 42, respectively, which provide fluid to and from the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d.

[0024] In a preferred embodiment, the first and/or second isolation valves 30 and 32 may be mechanically designed such that flow is permitted to flow in the reverse direction (from conduit 34 to the conduits 36 and 38, respectively) when in their de energized positions and can bypass the normally closed seat of the valves 30 and 32. Thus, although the 3-way valves 30 and 32 are not shown schematically to indicate this fluid flow position, it is noted that that the valve design may permit such fluid flow. This may be helpful in performing self-diagnostic tests of the brake system 10.

[0025] The system 10 further includes various solenoid actuated valves (slip control valve arrangement) for permitting controlled braking operations, such as ABS, traction control, vehicle stability control, and regenerative braking blending. A first set of valves includes a first apply valve 50 and a first dump valve 52 in fluid communication with the conduit 40 for cooperatively supplying fluid received from the first isolation valve 30 to the wheel brake l2a, and for cooperatively relieving pressurized fluid from the wheel brake 12a to a reservoir conduit 53 in fluid communication with the reservoir 20. A second set of valves includes a second apply valve 54 and a second dump valve 56 in fluid communication with the conduit 40 for cooperatively supplying fluid received from the first isolation valve 30 to the wheel brake l2b, and for cooperatively relieving pressurized fluid from the wheel brake l2b to the reservoir conduit 53. A third set of valves includes a third apply valve 58 and a third dump valve 60 in fluid communication with the conduit 42 for cooperatively supplying fluid received from the second isolation valve 32 to the wheel brake l2c, and for cooperatively relieving pressurized fluid from the wheel brake l2c to the reservoir conduit 53. A fourth set of valves includes a fourth apply valve 62 and a fourth dump valve 64 in fluid communication with the conduit 42 for cooperatively supplying fluid received from the second isolation valve 32 to the wheel brake l2d, and for cooperatively relieving pressurized fluid from the wheel brake l2d to the reservoir conduit 53. Note that in a normal braking event, fluid flows through the non-energized open apply valves 50, 54, 58, and 62. Additionally, the dump valves 52, 56, 60, and 64 are preferably in their non-energized closed positions to prevent the flow of fluid to the reservoir 20.

[0026] The brake pedal unit 14 is connected to a brake pedal 70 and is actuated by the driver of the vehicle as the driver presses on the brake pedal 70. A brake sensor or switch 72 may be connected to the ECU 22 to provide a signal indicating a depression of the brake pedal 70. As will be discussed below, the brake pedal unit 14 may be used as a back-up source of pressurized fluid to essentially replace the normally supplied source of pressurized fluid from the plunger assembly 18 under certain failed conditions of the brake system 10. The brake pedal unit 14 can supply pressurized fluid in the conduits 36 and 38 (that are normally closed off at the first and second isolation valves 30 and 32 during a normal brake apply) to the wheel brake l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d as required.

[0027] The brake pedal unit 14 includes a housing having a multi-stepped bore 80 formed therein for slidably receiving various cylindrical pistons and other components therein. The housing may be formed as a single unit or include two or more separately formed portions coupled together. An input piston 82, a primary piston 84, and a secondary piston 86 are slidably disposed within the bore 80. The input piston 82 is connected with the brake pedal 70 via a linkage arm 76. Leftward movement of the input piston 82, the primary piston 84, and the secondary piston 86 may cause, under certain conditions, a pressure increase within an input chamber 92, a primary chamber 94, and a secondary chamber 96, respectively. Various seals of the brake pedal unit 14 as well as the structure of the housing and the pistons 82, 84, and 86 define the chambers 92, 94, and 96. For example, the input chamber 92 is generally defined between the input piston 82 and the primary piston 84. The primary chamber 94 is generally defined between the primary piston 84 and the secondary piston 86.

The secondary chamber 96 is generally defined between the secondary piston 86 and an end wall of the housing formed by the bore 80.

[0028] The input chamber 92 is in fluid communication with the pedal simulator 16 via a conduit 100, the reason for which will be explained below. The input piston 82 is slidably disposed in the bore 80 of the housing of the brake pedal unit 14. An outer wall of the input piston 82 is engaged with a lip seal 102 and a seal 104 mounted in grooves formed in the housing. A passageway 106 (or multiple passageways) is formed through a wall of the piston 82. As shown in Fig. 1, when the brake pedal unit 14 is in its rest position (the driver is not depressing the brake pedal 70), the passageway 106 is located between the lip seal 102 and the seal 104. In the rest position, the passageway 106 permits fluid communication between the input chamber 92 and the reservoir 20 via a conduit 108. Sufficient leftward movement of the input piston 82, as viewing Fig. 1, will cause the passageway 106 to move past the lip seal 102, thereby preventing the flow of fluid from the input chamber 92 into the conduit 108 and the reservoir 20. Further leftward movement of the input piston 82 will pressurize the input chamber 92 causing fluid to flow into the pedal simulator 16 via the conduit 100. As fluid is diverted into the pedal simulator 16, a simulation chamber 110 within the pedal simulator 16 will expand causing movement of a piston 112 within the pedal simulator 16. Movement of the piston 112 compresses a spring assembly, schematically represented as a spring 114. The compression of the spring 114 provides a feedback force to the driver of the vehicle which simulates the forces a driver feels at the brake pedal 70 in a conventional vacuum assist hydraulic brake system, for example. The spring 114 of the pedal simulator 16 can include any number and types of spring members as desired. For example, the spring 114 may include a combination of low rate and high rate spring elements to provide a non linear force feedback. The spring 114 of the pedal simulator 16 may be housed within a non-pressurized chamber 122 in fluid communication with the reservoir 20 (Tl).

[0029] The simulation chamber 110 of the pedal simulator 16 is in fluid

communication with the conduit 100 which is in fluid communication with the input chamber 92. A normally closed solenoid actuated simulator valve 116 is positioned within the conduit 100 to selectively prevent the flow of fluid from the input chamber 92 to the simulation chamber 110, such as during a failed condition in which the brake pedal unit 14 is utilized to provide a source of pressurized fluid to the wheel brakes..

In its energized open position, the simulator valve 116 permits fluid communication between the input chamber 92 of the brake pedal unit 14 and the simulation chamber 110 of the pedal simulator 16. The brake system 10 may further include a check valve 118 which is in a parallel path arrangement with a restricted orifice 120 in the conduit 100. The check valve 118 and the restricted orifice 120 could be integrally built or formed in the simulator valve 116 or may be formed separately therefrom. The restricted orifice 120 provides damping during a spike apply in which the driver depresses the brake pedal 70 rapidly and forcefully. This damping provides a force feedback making depression of the brake pedal 70 feel more like a traditional vacuum booster, which may be a desirable characteristic of the brake system 10. The damping may also provide a more accurate relationship between brake pedal travel and vehicle deceleration by generally avoiding too much brake pedal travel for the vehicle deceleration that can be delivered by the brake system 10. The check valve 118 provides an easy flow path and allows the brake pedal 70 to return quickly, which allows the associated brake pressure to decrease quickly per the driver's intent.

[0030] As discussed above, the input chamber 92 of the brake pedal unit 14 is selectively in fluid communication with the reservoir 20 via a conduit 108 and the passageway 106 formed in the input piston 82. The brake system 10 may include an optional simulator test valve 130 located within the conduit 108. The simulator test valve 130 may be electronically controlled between an open position, as shown in Fig. 1, and a powered closed position. The simulator test valve 130 is not necessarily needed during a normal boosted brake apply or for a manual push through mode. The simulator test valve 130 can be energized to a closed position during various testing modes to determine the correct operation of other components of the brake system 10. For example, the simulator test valve 130 may be energized to a closed position to prevent venting to the reservoir 20 via the conduit 108 such that a pressure build up in the brake pedal unit 14 can be used to monitor fluid flow to determine whether leaks may be occurring through seals of various components of the brake system 10.

[0031 ] The primary chamber 94 of the brake pedal unit 14 is in fluid

communication with the second isolation valve 32 via the conduit 38. The primary piston 84 is slidably disposed in the bore 80 of the housing of the brake pedal unit 14. An outer wall of the primary piston 84 is engaged with a lip seal 132 and a seal 134 mounted in grooves formed in the housing. One or more passageways 136 are formed through a wall of the primary piston 84. The passageway 136 is located between the lip seal 132 and the seal 134 when the primary piston 84 is in its rest position, as shown in Fig. 1. Note that in the rest position the lip seal 132 is just slightly to the left of the passageway 136, thereby permitting fluid communication between the primary chamber 94 and the reservoir 20.

[0032] The secondary chamber 96 of the brake pedal unit 14 is in fluid

communication with the first isolation valve 30 via the conduit 36. The secondary piston 86 is slidably disposed in the bore 80 of the housing of the brake pedal unit 14. An outer wall of the secondary piston 86 is engaged with a lip seal 140 and a seal 142 mounted in grooves formed in the housing. One or more passageways 144 are formed through a wall of the secondary piston 86. As shown in Fig. 1, the passageway 144 is located between the lip seal 140 and the seal 142 when the secondary piston 86 is in its rest position. Note that in the rest position the lip seal 140 is just slightly to the left of the passageway 144, thereby permitting fluid communication between the secondary chamber 96 and the reservoir 20 (T2). [0033] If desired, the primary and secondary pistons 84 and 86 may be

mechanically connected with limited movement therebetween. The mechanical connection of the primary and secondary pistons 84 and 86 prevents a large gap or distance between the primary and secondary pistons 84 and 86 and prevents having to advance the primary and secondary pistons 84 and 86 over a relatively large distance without any increase in pressure in the non-failed circuit. For example, if the brake system 10 is under a manual push through mode and fluid pressure is lost in the output circuit relative to the secondary piston 86, such as for example in the conduit 36, the secondary piston 86 will be forced or biased in the leftward direction due to the pressure within the primary chamber 94. If the primary and secondary pistons 84 and 86 were not connected together, the secondary piston 86 would freely travel to its further most left-hand position, as viewing Fig. 1, and the driver would have to depress the pedal 70 a distance to compensate for this loss in travel. However, because the primary and secondary pistons 84 and 86 are connected together, the secondary piston 86 is prevented from this movement and relatively little loss of travel occurs in this type of failure. Any suitable mechanical connection between the primary and secondary pistons 84 and 86 may be used. For example, as schematically shown in Fig. 1, the right-hand end of the secondary piston 86 may include an outwardly extending flange that extends into a groove formed in an inner wall of the primary piston 84. The groove has a width which is greater than the width of the flange, thereby providing a relatively small amount of travel between the first and secondary pistons 84 and 86 relative to one another.

[0034] The brake pedal unit 14 may include an input spring 150 generally disposed between the input piston 82 and the primary piston 84. Additionally, the brake pedal unit 14 may include a primary spring (not shown) disposed between the primary piston 84 and the secondary piston 86. A secondary spring 152 may be included and disposed between the secondary piston 86 and a bottom wall of the bore 80. The input, primary and secondary springs may have any suitable configuration, such as a caged spring assembly, for biasing the pistons in a direction away from each other and also to properly position the pistons within the housing of the brake pedal unit 14. [0035] The brake system 10 may further include a pressure sensor 156 in fluid communication with the conduit 36 to detect the pressure within the secondary pressure chamber 96 and for transmitting the signal indicative of the pressure to the ECU 22. Additionally, the brake system 10 may further include a pressure sensor 158 in fluid communication with the conduit 34 for transmitting a signal indicative of the pressure at the output of the plunger assembly 18.

[0036] As shown schematically in Fig. 2, the plunger assembly 18 includes a housing having a multi-stepped bore 200 formed therein. The bore 200 includes a first portion 202 and a second portion 204. A piston 206 is slidably disposed within the bore 200. The piston 206 includes an enlarged end portion 208 connected to a smaller diameter central portion 210. The piston 206 has a second end 211 connected to a ball screw mechanism, indicated generally at 212. The ball screw mechanism 212 is provided to impart translational or linear motion of the piston 206 along an axis defined by the bore 200 in both a forward direction (leftward as viewing Figs. 1 and 2), and a rearward direction (rightward as viewing Figs. 1 and 2) within the bore 200 of the housing. In the embodiment shown, the ball screw mechanism 212 includes a motor, indicated schematically and generally at 214, which is electrically connected to the ECU 22 for actuation thereof. The motor 214 rotatably drives a screw shaft 216. The motor 214 generally includes a stator 215 and a rotor 217. In the schematic embodiment shown in Fig. 2, the rotor 217 and the screw shaft 216 are integrally formed together. The second end 211 of the piston 206 includes a threaded bore 220 and functions as a driven nut of the ball screw mechanism 212. The ball screw mechanism 212 includes a plurality of balls 222 that are retained within helical raceways 223 formed in the screw shaft 216 and the threaded bore 220 of the piston 206 to reduce friction.

[0037] Although a ball screw mechanism 212 is shown and described with respect to the plunger assembly 18, it should be understood that other suitable mechanical linear actuators may be used for imparting movement of the piston 206. It should also be understood that although the piston 206 functions as the nut of the ball screw mechanism 212, the piston 206 could be configured to function as a screw shaft of the ball screw mechanism 212. Of course, under this circumstance, the screw shaft 216 would be configured to function as a nut having internal helical raceways formed therein. The piston 206 may include structures (not shown) engaged with cooperating structures formed in the housing of the plunger assembly 18 to prevent rotation of the piston 206 as the screw shaft 216 rotates around the piston 206. For example, the piston 206 may include outwardly extending splines or tabs (not shown) that are disposed within longitudinally extending grooves (not shown) formed in the housing of the plunger assembly 18 such that the tabs slide along within the grooves as the piston 206 travels in the bore 200.

[0038] As will be discussed below, the plunger assembly 18 is preferably configured to provide pressure to the conduit 34 when the piston 206 is moved in both the forward and rearward directions. The plunger assembly 18 includes a seal 230 mounted on the enlarged end portion 208 of the piston 206. The seal 230 slidably engages with the inner cylindrical surface of the first portion 202 of the bore 200 as the piston 206 moves within the bore 200. A seal 234 and a seal 236 are mounted in grooves formed in the second portion 204 of the bore 200. The seals 234 and 236 slidably engage with the outer cylindrical surface of the central portion 210 of the piston 206. A first pressure chamber 240 is generally defined by the first portion 202 of the bore 200, the enlarged end portion 208 of the piston 206, and the seal 230. An annular shaped second pressure chamber 242, located generally behind the enlarged end portion 208 of the piston 206, is generally defined by the first and second portions 202 and 204 of the bore 200, the seals 230 and 234, and the central portion 210 of the piston 206. The seals 230, 234, and 236 can have any suitable seal structure.

[0039] Although the plunger assembly 18 may be configured to any suitable size and arrangement, in one embodiment, the effective hydraulic area of the first pressure chamber 240 is greater than the effective hydraulic area of the annular shaped second pressure chamber 242. The first pressure chamber 240 generally has an effective hydraulic area corresponding to the diameter of the central portion 210 of the piston 206 (the inner diameter of the seal 234) since fluid is diverted through the conduits 254, 34, and 243 as the piston 206 is advanced in the forward direction. The second pressure chamber 242 generally has an effective hydraulic area corresponding to the diameter of the first portion 202 of the bore 200 minus the diameter of the central portion 210 of the piston 206. This configuration provides that on the back stroke in which the piston 206 is moving rearwardly, less torque (or power) is required by the motor 214 to maintain the same pressure as in its forward stroke. Besides using less power, the motor 214 may also generate less heat during the rearward stroke of piston 206. Under circumstances when high brake pressure is desired, the plunger assembly 34 could be operated from a forward stroke to a rearward stroke. So while a forward stroke is used in most brake applications, a rearward pressure stroke can be utilized. Also, under circumstances in which the driver presses on the pedal 90 for long durations, the brake system 10 could be operated to maintain brake pressure (instead of continuously energizing the plunger assembly 34) by controlling the first and second plunger valves 250 and 252 (as will be discussed below) to closed positions and then turn off the motor or the plunger assembly 34.

[0040] The plunger assembly 18 preferably includes a sensor, schematically shown as 218, for indirectly detecting the position of the piston 206 within the bore 200. The sensor 218 is in communication with the ECU 22. In one embodiment, the sensor 218 detects the rotational position of the rotor 217 which may have metallic or magnetic elements embedded therein. Since the rotor 217 is integrally formed with the shaft 216, the rotational position of the shaft 216 corresponds to the linear position of the piston 206. Thus, the position of the piston 206 can be determined by sensing the rotational position of the rotor 217 via the sensor 218.

[0041 ] The piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 includes a passageway 244 formed therein. The passageway 244 defines a first port 246 extending through the outer cylindrical wall of the piston 206 and is in fluid communication with the secondary chamber 242. The passageway 244 also defines a second port 248 extending through the outer cylindrical wall of the piston 206 and is in fluid communication with a portion of the bore 200 located between the seals 234 and 236. The second port 248 is in fluid communication with a conduit 249 which is in fluid communication with the reservoir 20 (T3). When in the rest position, as shown in Fig. 2, the pressure chambers 240 and 242 are in fluid communication with the reservoir 20 via the conduit 249. This helps in ensuring a proper release of pressure at the output of the plunger assembly 18 and within the pressure chambers 240 and 242 themselves. After an initial forward movement of the piston 206 from its rest position, the port 248 will move past the lip seal 234, thereby closing off fluid communication of the pressure chambers 240 and 242 from the reservoir 20, thereby permitting the pressure chambers 240 and 242 to build up pressure as the piston 206 moves further.

[0042] Referring back to Fig. 1, the brake system 10 further includes a first plunger valve 250, and a second plunger valve 252. The first plunger valve 250 is preferably a solenoid actuated normally closed valve. Thus, in the non-energized state, the first plunger valve 250 is in a closed position, as shown in Fig. 1. The second plunger valve 252 is preferably a solenoid actuated normally open valve. Thus, in the non- energized state, the second plunger valve 252 is in an open position, as shown in Fig. 1. A check valve may be arranged within the second plunger valve 252 so that when the second plunger valve 252 is in its closed position, fluid may still flow through the second plunger valve 252 in the direction from a first output conduit 254 (from the first pressure chamber 240 of the plunger assembly 18) to the conduit 34 leading to the isolation valves 30 and 32. Note that during a rearward stroke of the piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18, pressure may be generated in the second pressure chamber 242 for output into the conduit 34.

[0043] Generally, the first and second plunger valves 250 and 252 are controlled to permit fluid flow at the outputs of the plunger assembly 18 and to permit venting to the reservoir 20 (T3) through the plunger assembly 18 when so desired. For example, the first plunger valve 250 may be energized to its open position during a normal braking event so that both of the first and second plunger valves 250 and 252 are open (which may reduce noise during operation). Preferably, the first plunger valve 250 is almost always energized during an ignition cycle when the engine is running. Of course, the first plunger valve 250 may be purposely moved to its closed position such as during a pressure generating rearward stroke of the plunger assembly 18. The first and second plunger valves 250 and 252 are preferably in their open positions when the piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 is operated in its forward stroke to maximize flow. When the driver releases the brake pedal 70, the first and second plunger valves 250 and 252 preferably remain in their open positions. Note that fluid can flow through the check valve within the closed second plunger valve 252, as well as through a check valve 258 from the reservoir 20 depending on the travel direction of the piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18.

[0044] It may be desirable to configure the first plunger valve 250 with a relatively large orifice therethrough when in its open position. A relatively large orifice of the first plunger assembly 250 helps to provide an easy flow path therethrough. The second plunger valve 252 may be provided with a much smaller orifice in its open position as compared to the first plunger valve 250. One reason for this is to help prevent the piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 from rapidly being back driven upon a failed event due to the rushing of fluid through the first output conduit 254 into the first pressure chamber 240 of the plunger assembly 18, thereby preventing damage to the plunger assembly 18. As fluid is restricted in its flow through the relatively small orifice, dissipation will occur as some of the energy is transferred into heat. Thus, the orifice should be of a sufficiently small size so as to help prevent a sudden catastrophic back drive of the piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 upon failure of the brake system 10, such as for example, when power is lost to the motor 214 and the pressure within the conduit 34 is relatively high. As shown in Fig. 2, the plunger assembly 18 may include an optional spring member, such as a spring washer 277, to assist in cushioning such a rapid rearward back drive of the piston 206. The spring washer 277 may also assist in cushioning the piston 206 moving at any such speed as it approaches a rest position near its most retracted position within the bore 200.

Schematically shown in Fig. 2, the spring washer 277 is located between the enlarged end portion 208 and a shoulder 279 formed in the bore 200 between the first and second portions 202 and 204. The spring washer 277 can have any suitable configuration which deflects or compresses upon contact with the piston 206 as the piston 206 moves rearwardly. For example, the spring washer 277 may be in the form of a metal conical spring washer. Alternatively, the spring washer 277 may be in the form of a wave spring. Although the spring washer 277 is shown mounted within the bore 200 of the plunger assembly 18, the spring washer 277 may alternatively be mounted on the piston 206 such that the spring washer 277 moves with the piston 206. In this configuration, the spring washer 277 would engage with the shoulder 279 and compress upon sufficient rightward movement of the piston 206.

[0045] The first and second plunger valves 250 and 252 provide for an open parallel path between the pressure chambers 240 and 242 of the plunger assembly 18 during a normal braking operation. Although a single open path may be sufficient, the advantage of having both the first and second plunger valves 250 and 252 is that the first plunger valve 250 may provide for an easy flow path through the relatively large orifice thereof, while the second plunger valve 252 may provide for a restricted orifice path during certain failed conditions (when the first plunger valve 250 is de-energized to its closed position.

[0046] During a typical or normal braking operation, the brake pedal 70 is depressed by the driver of the vehicle. In a preferred embodiment of the brake system 10, the brake pedal unit 14 includes one or more travel sensors 270 (for redundancy) for producing signals transmitted to the ECU 22 that are indicative of the length of travel of the input piston 82 of the brake pedal unit 14.

[0047] During normal braking operations, the plunger assembly 18 is operated to provide pressure to the conduit 34 for actuation of the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d. Under certain driving conditions, the ECU 22 communicates with a powertrain control module (not shown) and other additional braking controllers of the vehicle to provide coordinated braking during advanced braking control schemes (e.g., anti-lock braking (AB), traction control (TC), vehicle stability control (VSC), and regenerative brake blending). During a normal brake apply, the flow of pressurized fluid from the brake pedal unit 14, generated by depression of the brake pedal 70, is diverted into the pedal simulator 16. The simulator valve 116 is actuated to divert fluid through the simulator valve 116 from the input chamber 92. Note that the simulator valve 116 is shown in its energized state in Fig. 1. Thus, the simulator valve 116 is a normally closed solenoid valve. Also note that fluid flow from the input chamber 92 to the reservoir 20 is closed off once the passageway 106 in the input piston 82 moves past the seal 104.

[0048] During the duration of a normal braking event, the simulator valve 116 remains open, preferably. Also during the normal braking operation, the isolation valves 30 and 32 are energized to secondary positions to prevent the flow of fluid from the conduits 36 and 38 through the isolation valves 30 and 32, respectively. Preferably, the isolation valves 30 and 32 are energized throughout the duration of an ignition cycle such as when the engine is running instead of being energized on and off to help minimize noise. Note that the primary and secondary pistons 84 and 86 are not in fluid communication with the reservoir 20 due to their passageways 136 and 144, respectively, being positioned past the lip seals 132 and 140, respectively.

Prevention of fluid flow through the isolation valves 30 and 32 hydraulically locks the primary and secondary chambers 94 and 96 of the brake pedal unit 14 preventing further movement of the primary and secondary pistons 84 and 86.

[0049] It is generally desirable to maintain the isolation valves 30 and 32 energized during the normal braking mode to ensure venting of fluid to the reservoir 20 through the plunger assembly 18 such as during a release of the brake pedal 70 by the driver. As best shown in Fig. 1, the passageway 244 formed in the piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 permits this ventilation.

[0050] During normal braking operations, while the pedal simulator 16 is being actuated by depression of the brake pedal 70, the plunger assembly 18 can be actuated by the ECU 22 to provide actuation of the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d. The plunger assembly 18 is operated to provide desired pressure levels to the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d compared to the pressure generated by the brake pedal unit 14 by the driver depressing the brake pedal 70. The electronic control unit 22 actuates the motor 214 to rotate the screw shaft 216 in the first rotational direction. Rotation of the screw shaft 216 in the first rotational direction causes the piston 206 to advance in the forward direction (leftward as viewing Figs. 1 and 2). Movement of the piston 206 causes a pressure increase in the first pressure chamber 240 and fluid to flow out of the first pressure chamber 240 and into the conduit 254. Fluid can flow into the conduit 34 via the open first and second plunger valves 250 and 252. Note that fluid is permitted to flow into the second pressure chamber 242 via a conduit 243 as the piston 206 advances in the forward direction. Pressurized fluid from the conduit 34 is directed into the conduits 40 and 42 through the isolation valves 30 and 32. The pressurized fluid from the conduits 40 and 42 can be directed to the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d through open apply valves 50, 54, 58, and 62 while the dump valves

52, 56, 60, and 64 remain closed. When the driver lifts off or releases the brake pedal

70, the ECU 22 can operate the motor 214 to rotate the screw shaft 216 in the second rotational direction causing the piston 206 to retract withdrawing the fluid from the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d. The speed and distance of the retraction of the piston 206 is based on the demands of the driver releasing the brake pedal 70 as sensed by the sensor 218. Of course, if the driver rapidly releases the brake pedal 90, the plunger assembly 14 may be operated to avoid such an instant drop in pressure.

Under certain conditions, such as in a non-boosted slip control event, the pressurized fluid from the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d may assist in back-driving the ball screw mechanism 212 moving the piston 206 back towards its rest position. Note that when the driver releases the brake pedal 90, the first and second plunger valves 250 and 252 preferably remain in their open positions during a non-slip control event.

[0051] In some situations, the piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 may reach its full stroke length within the bore 200 of the housing and additional boosted pressure is still desired to be delivered to the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d. The plunger assembly 18 is a dual acting plunger assembly such that it is configured to also provide boosted pressure to the conduit 34 when the piston 206 is stroked rearwardly

(rightward) or in a reverse direction. This has the advantage over a conventional plunger assembly that first requires its piston to be brought back to its rest or retracted position before it can again advance the piston to create pressure within a single pressure chamber. If the piston 206 has reached its full stroke, for example, and additional boosted pressure is still desired, the second plunger valve 252 is energized to its closed check valve position. The first plunger valve 250 is de-energized to its closed position. The electronic control unit 22 actuates the motor 214 in a second rotational direction opposite the first rotational direction to rotate the screw shaft 216 in the second rotational direction. Rotation of the screw shaft 216 in the second rotational direction causes the piston 206 to retract or move in the rearward direction (rightward as viewing Figs. 1 and 2). Movement of the piston 206 causes a pressure increase in the second pressure chamber 242 and fluid to flow out of the second pressure chamber 242 and into the conduit 243 and the conduit 34. Pressurized fluid from the conduit 34 is directed into the conduits 40 and 42 through the isolation valves 30 and 32. The pressurized fluid from the conduits 40 and 42 can be directed to the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d through the opened apply valves 50, 54,

58, and 62 while dump valves 52, 56, 60, and 64 remain closed. In a similar manner as during a forward stroke of the piston 206, the ECU 22 can also selectively actuate the apply valves 50, 54, 58, and 62 and the dump valves 52, 56, 60, and 64 to provide a desired pressure level to the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d, respectively.

When the driver lifts off or releases the brake pedal 70 during a pressurized rearward stroke of the plunger assembly 18, the first and second plunger valves 250 and 252 are preferably operated to their open positions, although having only one of the valves 250 and 252 open would generally still be sufficient. Note that when transitioning out of a slip control event, the ideal situation would be to have the position of the piston 206 and the displaced volume within the plunger assembly 18 correlate exactly with the given pressures and fluid volumes within the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d. However, when the correlation is not exact, fluid can be drawn from the reservoir 20 via the check valve 258 into the chamber 240 of the plunger assembly 18.

[0052] During a braking event, the ECU 22 can selectively actuate the apply valves 50, 54, 58, and 62 and the dump valves 52, 56, 60, and 64 to provide a desired pressure level to the wheel brakes, respectively. The ECU 22 can also control the brake system 10 during ABS, DRP, TC, VSC, regenerative braking, and autonomous braking events by general operation of the plunger assembly 18 in conjunction with the apply valves and the dump valves. Even if the driver of the vehicle is not depressing the brake pedal 70, the ECU 22 can operate the plunger assembly 18 to provide a source of pressurized fluid directed to the wheel brakes, such as during an autonomous vehicle braking event.

[0053] In the event of a loss of electrical power to portions of the brake system 10, the brake system 10 provides for manual push through or manual apply such that the brake pedal unit 14 can supply relatively high pressure fluid to the conduits 36 and 38.

During an electrical failure, the motor 214 of the plunger assembly 18 might cease to operate, thereby failing to produce pressurized hydraulic brake fluid from the plunger assembly 18. The isolation valves 30 and 32 will shuttle (or remain) in their positions to permit fluid flow from the conduits 36 and 38 to the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d. The simulator valve 116 is shuttled to its closed position to prevent fluid from flowing out of the input chamber 92 to the pedal simulator 16. During the manual push-through apply, the input piston 82, the primary piston 84, and the secondary piston 86 will advance leftwardly such that the passageways 106, 136, 144 will move past the seals 102, 132, and 140, respectively, to prevent fluid flow from their respective fluid chambers 92, 94, and 96 to the reservoir 20, thereby pressurizing the chambers 92, 94, and 96. Fluid flows from the chambers 94 and 96 into the conduits 38 and 36, respectively, to actuate the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d.

[0054] It may be desirable to run checks or tests, such as self-diagnostic tests, to determine if a leakage may have occurred somewhere within the brake system 10. It may also be desirable to run self-diagnostic tests to determine whether the brake system 10 is operating properly. These self-diagnostic tests may be run at any suitable time. For example, these tests may be run at vehicle shut down such as at the end of an ignition cycle when the driver turns off the engine. The tests may also be run after a delay of time such as, for example, 90 seconds or for several minutes after an end of an ignition cycle. This delay would assist in not disturbing the driver for tests that may generate some noise since it is likely that the driver and/or passengers will distance themselves from the vehicle after several minutes of time.

[0055] One such self-diagnostic test involves the detection of a possible leak within potions of the brake system 10, such as for example, at the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and/or l2d. This test may also help in determining proper operation of the brake system 10. For simplicity, this test will be referred to herein as "the system leakage test". Fig. 3 is an illustration of the brake system 10 schematically showing the states and positions of various components of the brake system 10 during at least a portion of the system leakage test. To initiate the system leakage test, various components of the brake system 10 are controlled by the ECU 22. For example, it is preferred that the first three-way isolation valve 30 and the second three-way isolation valve 32 are energized to their positions as shown in Fig. 3. In these energized positions, the first and second isolation valves 30 and 32 permit the flow of fluid therethrough from the plunger assembly 18 via the conduit 34 to the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d via the open apply valves 50, 54, 58, and 62. The normally closed first plunger valve 250 may also be energized to its open position, as shown in Fig. 3.

[0056] In furtherance of the system leakage test, the ECU 22 then preferably operates the plunger assembly 18 to pressurize the conduit 34 (output of the plunger assembly 18) to a first predetermined pressure level, such as about 30 bar, for example. Preferably, the ECU 22 initiates a control command to the plunger assembly

18 starting from an at rest position or homing position and then relatively rapidly advances the piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 towards a predetermined distance, such as 30 mm for example. The plunger assembly 18 is stopped when the pressure within the conduit 34 reaches the first predetermined pressure level as measured by the pressure sensor 156. The piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 is then held in a fixed position for a set duration of time, such as one second, for example. The ECU

22 will then monitor the pressure and/or the rate of change in pressure in the conduit

34 from information from the pressure sensor 156. The pressure within the conduit 34 generally represents the stable pressure throughout the portion of the brake system 10 associated with the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d. Generally, the pressure within the first pressure chamber 240 of the plunger assembly 18, the conduit 34, and the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d will be about the same.

[0057] If the ECU 22 detects that the pressure within the conduit 34 remains at a relatively high second predetermined pressure within the set duration of time, of about one second for example, the system leakage test is considered passed and an assumption can be made that there is no leakage in the portion of the brake system 10 generally associated with the wheel brakes l2a, l2b, l2c, and l2d. For example, if the pressure level stays above 16 bar, for example, from the initial 30 bar pressure level, the system leakage test is considered passed. It is noted that even during normal operating conditions that portions of the brake system 10 may have some tolerances such that it is normal for the pressure within the conduit 34 to decrease and for the system to have a certain amount of leak rate. During normal boosted braking conditions, the plunger assembly 18 is typically operated in a closed loop control to maintain the desired pressure level.

[0058] If the ECU 22 detects that the pressure within the conduit 34 falls to a relatively very low third predetermined pressure, such as for example less than 2 bar, during the set duration of time of about one second, it can be assumed that a relatively large leak has been detected. In this situation, the ECU 22 preferably immediately proceeds to undertake individual circuit tests, as will be explained in detail later below.

[0059] If the ECU 22 detects that the pressure within the conduit 34 drops to between relatively intermediate pressure levels of fourth and fifth predetermined pressures, the system leakage test can be considered failed but not as severely as if it fell to the very low pressure level, as discussed in the preceding paragraph. An example of intermediate pressure levels would be if the pressure within the conduit 34 stays between 2 bar and 16 bar after the set duration of time of about one second. In this situation, the ECU 22 may proceed with alternate testing or procedures, such as a flush routine. As will be explained in further detail later below, a flush routine forces a flow of fluid across valve seats and structures in a valve to help move or flush away any potential contaminate on the valve seats as the fluid travels through valve. For example, if the ECU 22 detects a pressure of between 2 bar and 16 bar, the ECU 22 may proceed with a flush routine. If desired, the ECU 22 may then do this multiple times in a row and if the ECU 22 detects too many readings between 2 bar and 16 bar, then an assumption of a leak exists and the ECU 22 may then proceed with individual circuit tests. Preferably though, instead of all in a row, the ECU 22 may wait after a select number of drive cycles or ignition off events and if the ECU 22 detects too many readings between 2 bar and 16 bar, such as for example three out of five times, then an assumption of a leak may be made and the ECU 22 may then proceed with individual circuit tests, as will be discussed below. In a preferred embodiment, five runs of the system leakage test are performed after each ignition off with the results written into NVRAM.

[0060] Additionally, the ECU 22 may also monitor the operation of the plunger assembly 18 to determine whether the system leakage test passes or fails. For example, if it is known (predetermined) that the piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 should move no more than a given distance, for example 28mm, corresponding to a 30 bar pressure increase in a worst case, but normal scenario, then any movement of the piston 206 greater than 28mm (as indirectly sensed by the sensor 218) could be interpreted as failing this system leakage test. The ECU 22 may monitor this piston 206 movement, and if after a select number of times, such as five for example, the ECU 22 may proceed with individual circuit tests.

[0061] As explained above, under certain circumstances the system leakage test could be considered failed and the ECU 22 may proceed with individual circuit tests. The individual circuit tests are implemented in an attempt to discover in which of the two brake circuits of the brake system 10 the leak has occurred so as to then possibly isolate that brake circuit to help prevent loss of fluid from the brake system 10. The brake system 10, as illustrated in the Figures, generally includes a primary brake circuit and a secondary brake circuit. The primary brake circuit generally corresponds to the wheel brakes l2c and l2d that can be supplied with pressurized fluid from the primary pressure chamber 94 of the brake pedal unit 14 via the conduit 38. The primary brake circuit also generally includes the conduits and connections associated with the second isolation valve 32, the apply valves 58 and 62, and the dump valves 60 and 64. The secondary brake circuit corresponds to the wheel brakes l2a and l2b that can be supplied with pressurized fluid from the secondary pressure chamber 96 of the brake pedal unit 14 via the conduit 36. The secondary brake circuit also generally includes the conduits and connections associated with the first isolation valve 30, the apply valves 50 and 54, and the dump valves 52 and 56. The brake system 10 also includes a second brake circuit.

[0062] To determine in which of the two brake circuits the leak may be occurring, the brake system 10 enters into individual circuit tests. As an example, the ECU 22 may first enter into a test to help determine if a leak has occurred in the primary brake circuit. For simplicity, this test will be referred to herein as "the primary circuit test". Fig. 4 is an illustration of the brake system 10 schematically showing the states and positions of various components of the brake system 10 during at least a portion of the primary circuit test. To initiate the primary circuit test, various components of the brake system 10 are controlled by the ECU 22. For example, the apply valves 50 and 54 are preferably energized to their closed positions preventing fluid flow to the wheel brakes l2a and l2b. The plunger assembly 18 is actuated to provide pressure to the primary circuit via the conduit 34 and is held and maintained at a sixth predetermined pressure level, such as 30 bar. Preferably, the ECU 22 initiates a control command to the plunger assembly 18 starting from an at rest position or homing position and then relatively rapidly advances the piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 towards a predetermined distance, such as 20 mm for example. The plunger assembly 18 is stopped when the pressure within the conduit 34 reaches the sixth predetermined pressure level as measured by the pressure sensor 156. The piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 is then held in a fixed position for a set duration of time, such as one second, for example.

[0063] If the pressure within the output of the plunger assembly 18, as measured by the pressure sensor 156 in the conduit 34, drops below a seventh predetermined pressure level, such as for example 16 bar, for a predetermined length of time, such as for example one second, then the primary circuit test is considered failed with the assumption that a leak exists in the primary circuit. If the pressure within the conduit

34 is above the seventh predetermined pressure level, such as for example 16 bar, for a predetermined length of time of one second, then the primary circuit test is considered passed with the assumption that no leak exists in the primary circuit.

[0064] Preferably, the ECU 22 then enters into a test to help determine if a leak has occurred in the secondary brake circuit. For simplicity, this test will be referred to herein as "the secondary circuit test". The secondary circuit test is preferably performed immediately after the primary circuit test. Fig. 5 is an illustration of the brake system 10 schematically showing the states and positions of various

components of the brake system 10 during at least a portion of the secondary circuit test. To initiate the secondary circuit test, various components of the brake system 10 are controlled by the ECU 22. For example, the apply valves 58 and 62 are preferably energized to their closed positions preventing fluid flow to the wheel brakes l2c and l2d. The plunger assembly 18 is actuated to provide pressure to the secondary circuit via the conduit 34 and is held and maintained at an eighth predetermined pressure level, such as 30 bar. Preferably, the ECU 22 initiates a control command to the plunger assembly 18 starting from the previous position at the end of the primary circuit test and then relatively rapidly advances the piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 towards a predetermined distance, such as 30 mm for example. The plunger assembly 18 is stopped when the pressure within the conduit 34 reaches the eighth predetermined pressure level as measured by the pressure sensor 156. The piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 is then held in a fixed position for a set duration of time, such as one second, for example.

[0065] If the pressure within the output of the plunger assembly 18, as measured by the pressure sensor 156 in the conduit 34, drops below a ninth predetermined pressure level, such as for example 16 bar, for a predetermined length of time, such as for example one second, then the secondary circuit test is considered failed with the assumption that there exists a leak in the secondary circuit. If the pressure within the conduit 34 is above the ninth predetermined pressure level, such as for example 16 bar, for a predetermined length of time of one second, then the secondary circuit test is considered passed with the assumption that no leak exists in the secondary circuit.

[0066] If it is determined from the above primary circuit test and the secondary circuit test that one of or both of the primary and secondary brake circuits contain a leak, that leaking brake circuit can be isolated to prevent loss of fluid to the brake system 10. For example, if it was determined that a leakage has occurred in the secondary brake circuit associated with the wheel brakes l2a and l2b, the brake system 10 may enter into a half system mode such that the apply valves 50 and 54 of the leaking circuit are energized to prevent the flow of fluid therethrough. In this situation, a warning indicator is given to the driver of the vehicle that the brake system

10 requires maintenance, and the brake system 10 may function with only applying pressure to the wheel brakes l2c and l2d via the plunger assembly 18 until the brake system 10 is repaired. If a leakage is detected in both of the brake circuits, a warning can be issued to the driver (a light and an audible warning, for example) and the brake system 10 can enter into a four wheel manual push through mode to further alert the driver of a problem since the pedal feel of a manual push through event may be significantly different than under a normal boost event using the plunger assembly 18 to provide the source of pressurized fluid to the brake system 10. Additionally, any of the above described tests can be run again in the next ignition cycle to confirm operation of the brake system 10.

[0067] As discussed above, if the ECU 22 detects that the pressure within the conduit 34 drops to between relatively intermediate pressure levels of fourth and fifth predetermined pressures, the ECU 22 may proceed with a flush routine. The ECU 22 may also perform a flush routine as a regularly scheduled diagnostic test procedure. The details of the flush routine will now be explained. A flush routine forces a flow of fluid across valve seats and structures in a valve to help move or flush away any potential contaminate on the valve seats. Fig. 6 is an illustration of the brake system 10 schematically showing the states and positions of various components of the brake system 10 during a flush routine. In the example shown, the flush routine forces a flow of fluid across the first and second three-way isolation valves 30 and 32.

[0068] To initiate the flush routine, various components of the brake system 10 are controlled by the ECU 22. For example, the first and second isolation valves 30 and 32 are energized to their positions, as shown in Fig. 6, to permit fluid flow from the output of the plunger assembly 18. The first plunger valve 250 is energized to its open position. The apply valves 50 and 54 associated with the secondary brake circuit are energized to their closed positions, thereby restricting fluid flow therethrough.

The dump valves 60 and 64 associated with the primary brake circuit are energized to their open positions. The remaining slip control valves such as the apply valves 58 and 62, and the dump valves 52 and 56, remain de-energized to their positions shown in Fig. 6.

[0069] The ECU 22 then actuates the plunger assembly 18 such that the screw shaft 216 is rotated at a relatively high rotationally speed, such as about 1700 rpm, and the piston 206 is accordingly advanced rapidly forward to a predetermined distance such as about 45 mm. This predetermined distance may be associated with the full stroke length of plunger assembly 18. The rapid movement of the piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 generates relatively high pressure, such as above 40 bar, and a generally rapid fluid flow through the now open first and second plunger valves 250 and 252 into the conduit 34. This fluid is forced through the second isolation valve 32 to help lift and flush away potential contaminates resting on the valve seat of the second isolation valve 32. This flush routine helps move the potential contaminates stuck at the second isolation valve 32 downstream. Preferably, there are filters located at the apply valves 50, 54, 58, and 62 to catch the dislodged contaminates. Note that contaminates stuck at the isolation valves 30 and 32 could prevent proper seating within the valves such that fluid can inadvertently flow from the conduit 34 to the brake pedal unit 14 when the isolation valves 30 and 32 are energized. Thus, the flushing routine helps prevent this issue.

[0070] The flush routine works by moving the motor very fast, and build ~40 bar to move the potential contaminants stuck at the three way valve downstream. Because there is filters at the wheel ABS ISO valve, so it will catch the contaminants to prevent leakage. If there is contaminant stuck at three way valve, when the valve supposed to be energized to build pressure in boost and wheels, the contaminant will prevent the valve seat to seal properly, so fluid can flow from boost back to the master cylinder and cause leak

[0071] If desired, a second flush across the second isolation valve 32 can be performed almost immediately after this first flushing. Preferably, the ECU 22 waits for a short time period, such as about 500 msec, then energizes the second plunger valve 252, and de-energizes the first plunger valve 250 to permit a rearward pressure stroke of the plunger assembly 18 as described above. The plunger assembly 18 is then operated to rotate the screw shaft 216 at a relatively high rotational speed, such as about 2000 rpm, and the piston 206 is preferably retracted back to its at rest or home position. Similar to the forward pressure stroke, the rapid movement of the piston 206 of the plunger assembly 18 in a rearward pressure stroke generates relatively high pressure and a generally rapid fluid flow through the second isolation valve 32 to help lift and flush away potential contaminates resting on the valve seat of the second isolation valve 32.

[0072] The flush routine can be performed again across the second isolation valve 32, or more preferably, the flush routine is repeated but instead forcing rapid fluid flow through the first isolation valve 30. For this second flush routine, the first plunger valve 250 is energized to its open position, and the second plunger valve is de-energized to its open position. The apply valves 58 and 62 associated with the primary brake circuit are energized to their closed positions, thereby restricting fluid flow therethrough. The dump valves 52 and 56 associated with the secondary brake circuit are energized to their open positions. The remaining slip control valves such as the apply valves 50 and 54, and the dump valves 60 and 64, remain de-energized. The plunger assembly 18 is operated in the same manner as described above with respect to the first flush routine.

[0073] As stated above, the self-diagnostic tests can be run after each ignition cycle at vehicle shut down or at some delay of time thereafter. However, instead of after every ignition cycle or drive cycle it may be desirable to limit the testing if certain vehicle conditions or trigger conditions are met. One such condition may be that the self-diagnostic tests will not run if the vehicle has not driven more than a

predetermined distance, such as 800 meters, for example, in an ignition cycle.

Another condition may be that the vehicle should complete a drive cycle after ignition. A drive cycle can be defined as when the vehicle speed is kept above a certain speed, such as 14.4 m/s, for example, for a predetermined length of time, such as 30 seconds, for example, during an ignition cycle. Another condition may be that the vehicle standstill or idle time during the ignition cycle is less than a predetermined length of time, such as 270 seconds, for example. If the above conditions prevent the self diagnostic tests from running for a number of times, such as 10 times in a row for example, the ECU 22 may still force the run of one or more of the self-diagnostic tests regardless of the driving distance conditions and the waiting time conditions.

[0074] Other conditions may also prevent the start of the self-diagnostic tests. One condition may be that the plunger assembly 18 must be operating normally without fault. It may also be desirable to monitor application of the brake pedal 70 and not to conduct the self-diagnostic tests if the driver is depressing the brake pedal. The tests may be aborted if it is determined that the driver has depressed the brake pedal 70 during the tests. In this situation, the test will be aborted and the ECU 22 will operate the brake system 10 accordingly to provide the desired boost pressure such as under a normal braking event. The ECU 22 may then wait for the release of the brake pedal 70 and start the test again. This may be done for a number of tries, such as twice in total, before aborting the tests. The self-diagnostic tests may also not be conducted if it is determined that the parking brake has not been set. If for example, an electric parking brake is detected to be applied before the tests starts, the tests will run normally. Preferably, the ECU 22 will also abort testing if the ignition has been turned on and will not re-try during that ignition cycle.

[0075] With respect to the various valves of the brake system 10, the terms "operate" or "operating" (or "actuate", "moving", "positioning") used herein (including the claims) may not necessarily refer to energizing the solenoid of the valve, but rather refers to placing or permitting the valve to be in a desired position or valve state. For example, a solenoid actuated normally open valve can be operated into an open position by simply permitting the valve to remain in its non-energized normally open state. Operating the normally open valve to a closed position may include energizing the solenoid to move internal structures of the valve to block or prevent the flow of fluid therethrough. Thus, the term "operating" should not be construed as meaning moving the valve to a different position nor should it mean to always energizing an associated solenoid of the valve.

[0076] The principle and mode of operation of this invention have been explained and illustrated in its preferred embodiment. However, it must be understood that this invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically explained and illustrated without departing from its spirit or scope.