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Title:
LATCHING SYSTEM FOR A TWO PART DETACHABLE AUTOMOTIVE SIDE DOOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/033619
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A motor vehicle door assembly has an outer panel releasably mounted to a subframe. The outer panel has one of a secondary latch and a secondary striker, and the subframe has the other of the secondary latch and secondary striker. The subframe is configured to be fixed via hinges to a vehicle body for pivotal movement between open and closed positions. The door assembly has at least one release handle configured to selectively unlatch the secondary latch from the secondary striker to allow the outer panel to be removed from the subframe, whereupon the subframe remains fixed to the vehicle body for pivotal movement between the open and closed positions.

Inventors:
ZELLER RAYMOND (CA)
MOZOLA ANN-MARGARET (CA)
Application Number:
US2019/045613
Publication Date:
February 13, 2020
Filing Date:
August 08, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
MAGNA EXTERIORS INC (US)
International Classes:
B60J5/04
Foreign References:
FR2236678A11975-02-07
EP1243451A12002-09-25
US6343832B12002-02-05
DE3836511A11989-05-11
US20110204660A12011-08-25
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RETTIG, Philip, E. et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A door assembly for a motor vehicle, comprising:

an outer panel having at least one of a secondary latch and a secondary striker;

a subframe having a first end configured for pivotal attachment to a frame of the motor vehicle and a second end having a primary latch configured for latched and unlatched engagement with a primary striker fixed to the frame of the motor vehicle, said subframe having the other of said at least one secondary latch and secondary striker, wherein said at least one secondary latch and said secondary striker are configured for selective latched engagement with one another and selective unlatched detachment from one another; and

at least one release handle configured to selectively unlatch said at least one secondary latch from said secondary striker to allow said outer panel to be removed from said subframe, wherein said outer panel is configured to be selectively reattached to said subframe upon being removed therefrom.

2. The door assembly of Claim 1 , wherein said outer panel has a plurality of said secondary latches and said subframe has a corresponding number of said secondary strikers.

3. The door assembly of Claim 2, wherein said at least one release handle is mounted to said outer panel.

4. The door assembly of Claim 2, wherein said outer panel has a first end and a second end, said first end of said outer panel being configured for releasable attachment to said subframe adjacent said first end of said subframe via at least one of said plurality of secondary latches located adjacent said first end of said outer panel, and said second end of said outer panel being configured for releasable attachment to said subframe adjacent said second end of said subframe via at least one of said plurality of secondary latches located adjacent said second end of said outer panel.

5. The door assembly of Claim 4, wherein said at least one release handle includes a first release handle and a second release handle, said first release handle being operably connected to said at least one of said plurality of secondary latches located adjacent said first end of said outer panel, said first release handle being selectively actuatable to unlatch said at least one of said plurality of secondary latches located adjacent said first end of said outer panel from a corresponding one of said secondary strikers, and said second release handle being operably connected to said at least one of said plurality of secondary latches located adjacent said second end of said outer panel, said second release handle being selectively actuatable to unlatch said at least one of said plurality of secondary latches located adjacent said second end of said outer panel from a corresponding one of said secondary strikers.

6. The door assembly of Claim 5, wherein said at least one of said plurality of secondary latches located adjacent said first end of said outer panel includes a pair of secondary latches aligned with one another for latched coupling with said corresponding one of said secondary strikers extending along a common axis to allow said outer panel to pivot relative to said subframe about said common axis upon said at least one of said plurality of secondary latches located adjacent said second end of said outer panel being unlatched from a corresponding one of said secondary strikers.

7. The door assembly of Claim 6, wherein said at least one of said plurality of secondary latches located adjacent said second end of said outer panel includes a pair of secondary latches, said second release handle being selectively actuatable to unlatch said pair of secondary latches located adjacent said second end of said outer panel from a corresponding one of said secondary strikers.

8. The door assembly of Claim 7, wherein said pair of secondary latches located adjacent said first end of said outer panel and said pair of secondary latches located adjacent said second end of said outer panel each have a ratchet moveable between a primary latched position, a secondary latched position, and an unlatched position, said outer panel being spaced laterally from said subframe a first distance when said pairs of secondary latches are in said primary latched position and said outer panel being spaced laterally from said subframe a second distance when said pairs of secondary latches are in said secondary latched position, said second distance being greater than said first distance.

9. The door assembly of Claim 8, wherein said pair of secondary latches located adjacent said first end of said outer panel and said pair of secondary latches located adjacent said second end of said outer panel each have an elongate fishmouth extending along a central fishmouth axis for receipt of a corresponding one of said secondary striker therein, said central fishmouth axes extending in oblique relation to a plane of a side of the vehicle to provide for removal of said outer panel along said central fishmouth axes.

10. The door assembly of Claim 8, wherein said first release handle is inaccessible when said ratchets of said pair of secondary latches are in said primary latched position.

1 1. The door assembly of Claim 10, wherein said second release handle is accessible when said ratchets of said pair of secondary latches are in said primary latched position.

12. The door assembly of Claim 6, wherein said pair of secondary latches each have a ratchet moveable between a primary latched position, a secondary latched position, and an unlatched position, said outer panel being spaced laterally from said subframe a first distance when said pair of secondary latches are in said primary latched position and said outer panel being spaced laterally from said subframe a second distance when said pair of secondary latches are in said secondary latched position, said second distance being greater than said first distance.

13. A door assembly for a motor vehicle, the door assembly comprising: a subframe having a front end and a rear end, the front end configured for being pivotally attached to a vehicle body, and the rear end configured for being selectively latched to the vehicle body;

a removable door panel having a front end a rear end;

wherein the removable door panel has a fully latched condition in which the front end of the removable door panel is latched to the front end of the subframe and the rear end of the removable door panel is latched to the rear end of the subframe; wherein the removable door panel has a fully unlatched condition in which the front end and rear end are released from the subframe;

wherein, in the fully unlatched condition of the door panel, the subframe is configured to remain attached to the vehicle body and moveable between an open position in which the rear end of the subframe is detachable from the vehicle body and pivotable open relative to the vehicle body and a closed position in which the rear end of the subframe is secured to the vehicle body.

14. The door assembly of claim 13, wherein the removable door panel has an intermediate condition in which the rear end of the door panel is released from the subframe and the front end is secured to the subframe, and the door panel is pivoted relative to the front end of the subframe.

15. The door assembly of claim 14, wherein in the intermediate position, a first handle is exposed and accessible, and in the fully latched position, the first handle is hidden and inaccessible.

16. The door assembly of claim 15, wherein the first handle is operably coupled to secondary latches disposed at the front end of the door panel, wherein actuation of the first handle releases the door panel from the subframe at the front end.

17. The door assembly of claim 16, wherein a second handle is operably coupled to secondary latches disposed at the rear end of the door panel, wherein actuation of the second handle releases the door panel from the subframe at the rear end such that the door panel is pivotable relative to the subframe.

18. A method for removing a door panel from a subframe, the method comprising:

providing a door panel and a subframe in an assembled condition, wherein the door panel is secured to the subframe via a plurality of secondary latches engaged with a corresponding secondary striker in a latched condition, wherein the door panel is secured to the subframe at the front and rear ends thereof, and wherein the subframe is configured to open and close relative to a vehicle body;

actuating the plurality of secondary latches and shifting the door panel relative to the subframe;

releasing the door panel from the subframe in response to actuating the plurality of secondary latches; and retaining the subframe to the vehicle body, wherein the subframe is pivotable between a closed position and an open position relative to the vehicle body.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the plurality of secondary latches includes front latches and rear latches, the method further comprising releasing the rear latches from their corresponding secondary striker and pivoting the door panel about the front end relative to the subframe and spacing the rear end of the door panel away from the rear end of the subframe.

20. The method of claim 19 further comprising releasing the front latches from their corresponding secondary striker after releasing the rear latches.

Description:
LATCHING SYSTEM FOR A TWO PART DETACHABLE AUTOMOTIVE

SIDE DOOR

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/715,872, filed August 8, 2018, the entire content of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates generally to vehicle door assemblies, and more particularly to a vehicle door assembly having an outer side panel selectively detachable from, and selectively reattachable to, a frame of the vehicle door assembly.

BACKGROUND

[0003] This section provides background information related to the present disclosure which is not necessarily prior art.

[0004] In some motor vehicles, such as those commonly used on off-road terrain or the like, e.g. sport utility vehicles (SUV’s), it is desirable to remove side door assemblies from the motor vehicle, thereby eliminating risk of damage to outer side panels of the door assemblies. Commonly, such removable side door assemblies are removed in their entirety from a frame of the motor vehicle. As such, upon removing the side door assemblies from the motor vehicle, the driver and passenger(s) adjacent the removed side door assembly are freely exposed to the outside environment. Accordingly, minimal protection is provided to the driver and passengers against objects passingly alongside the motor vehicle or otherwise coming into contact with the motor vehicle in the region of the side door opening defined by the vehicle frame.

[0005] In addition, removal of side door assemblies can be cumbersome and time consuming. For example, bolts and or pins are typically required to be removed from hinges of the side door assemblies, commonly requiring the use of special tools. Further yet, upon removing the side door assemblies, the parts removed must be stowed for reuse, thereby requiring the user to keep track of their location.

[0006] In view of the above, there is a need to provide a side door assembly that allows selective removal of an outer panel thereof, while at the same time providing protection to the driver and passengers against side impact from objects coming into contact with the region of the side door opening defined by the vehicle frame upon removal of the outer side panel, while also being easy to detach and reattach, without need for removal of pins or the like, thereby doing away with the need to keep track of the location of parts upon removal and further doing away with the need for special tools.

SUMMARY

[0007] This section provides a general summary of the disclosure and is not intended to be considered a complete and comprehensive listing of the disclosure’s full scope or all of its aspects, advantages, objectives and/or features.

[0008] In accordance with one aspect, the present disclosure is directed to a door assembly for a motor vehicle. The door assembly has a decorative outer panel having at least one of a secondary latch and a secondary striker. The door assembly further includes a subframe having a first end configured for pivotal attachment to a frame of the motor vehicle and a second end having a primary latch configured for latched and unlatched engagement with a primary striker fixed to the frame of the motor vehicle. The subframe includes the other, from the outer panel, of the at least one secondary latch and secondary striker. The at least one secondary latch and the at least one corresponding secondary striker are configured for selective latched engagement with one another and selective unlatched detachment from one another. Further yet, the door assembly includes at least one release handle configured to selectively unlatch the at least one secondary latch from the secondary striker to allow the outer panel to be removed from the subframe, such as may be desired when driving the motor vehicle“off road” to avoid damage to the outer panel, wherein the subframe remains latched to a body of the vehicle to provide protection to the occupants of the motor vehicle against impact forces from outside elements. The outer panel is configured to be selectively reattached to the subframe, such as when returning the motor vehicle to an“on road” driving condition. Of course, it is to be recognized that the outer panel can be selectively detached and reattached to the subframe as desired.

[0009] In accordance with another aspect of the disclosure, the outer panel can be provided having a plurality of the secondary latches and the subframe can be provided having a corresponding number or location of secondary strikers for releasable latching with the secondary latches.

[0010] In accordance with another aspect of the disclosure, the at least one release handle can be mounted to the outer panel for operative communication, such as via a cable or rod, with the at least one secondary latch assembly, also mounted to the outer panel.

[001 1] In accordance with another aspect of the disclosure, the outer panel has a first end and a second end, with the first end of the outer panel being configured for releasable attachment to the subframe adjacent the first end of the subframe via at least one of the plurality of secondary latches located adjacent the first end of the outer panel, and with the second end of the outer panel being configured for releasable attachment to the subframe adjacent the second end of the subframe via at least one of the plurality of secondary latches located adjacent the second end of the outer panel.

[0012] In accordance with another aspect of the disclosure, the at least one release handle can include a first release handle and a second release handle. The first release handle can be operably connected to the at least one of the plurality of secondary latches located adjacent the first end of the outer panel. The first release handle is selectively actuatable to unlatch the secondary latch(es) located adjacent the first end of the outer panel from a corresponding one of the secondary strikers. The second release handle can be operably connected to the at least one of the plurality of secondary latches located adjacent the second end of the outer panel. The second release handle is selectively actuatable to unlatch the secondary latch(es) located adjacent the second end of the outer panel from a corresponding one of the secondary strikers.

[0013] In accordance with another aspect of the disclosure, the at least one of the secondary latches located adjacent the first end of the outer panel can include a pair of secondary latches aligned with one another for latched coupling with a corresponding one of the secondary strikers, with the one or more strikers extending along a common axis, to allow the outer panel to pivot relative to the subframe about the common axis upon the at least one of the plurality of secondary latches located adjacent the second end of the outer panel being unlatched from a corresponding one of the secondary strikers. The pivoting movement of the outer panel facilitates removal of the outer panel from the subframe without causing damage to neighboring regions of the vehicle body.

[0014] In accordance with another aspect of the disclosure, the at least one of the plurality of secondary latches located adjacent the second end of the outer panel can include a pair of secondary latches. The second release handle can be selectively actuatable to unlatch the pair of secondary latches located adjacent the second end of the outer panel from a corresponding one of the secondary strikers.

[0015] In accordance with another aspect of the disclosure, the pair of secondary latches located adjacent the first end of the outer panel and the pair of secondary latches located adjacent the second end of the outer panel each have a ratchet moveable between a primary latched position, a secondary latched position, and an unlatched position. The outer panel is spaced laterally from the subframe a first distance when the pairs of secondary latches are in their primary latched positions and the outer panel is spaced laterally from the subframe a second distance when the pairs of secondary latches are in their secondary latched positions, wherein the second distance is greater than the first distance, thereby enhancing the ability to remove the outer panel from the subframe, when desired.

[0016] In accordance with another aspect of the disclosure, the pair of secondary latches located adjacent the first end of the outer panel and the pair of secondary latches located adjacent the second end of the outer panel can each have an elongate fishmouth extending along a central fishmouth axis for receipt of a corresponding one of the secondary strikers therein. The central fishmouth axes can be provided to extend in oblique relation relative to a vertical plane of a side of the vehicle to facilitate removal of the outer panel along the central fishmouth axes, thereby reducing the potential of damage to the outer panel and also to the neighboring vehicle panels.

[0017] In accordance with another aspect of the disclosure, the first release handle can be made inaccessible when the ratchets of the secondary latches are in their primary latched position, thereby preventing unintentional removal of the outer panel from the subframe.

[0018] According to another aspect, a door assembly is provided comprising: a subframe having a front end and a rear end, the front end configured for being pivotally attached to a vehicle body, and the rear end configured for being selectively latched to the vehicle body; and a removable door panel having a front end a rear end; wherein the removable door panel has a fully latched condition in which the front end of the removable door panel is latched to the front end of the subframe and the rear end of the removable door panel is latched to the rear end of the subframe; wherein the removable door panel has a fully unlatched condition in which the front end and rear end are released from the subframe; wherein, in the fully unlatched condition of the door panel, the subframe is configured to remain attached to the vehicle body and moveable between an open position in which the rear end of the subframe is detachable from the vehicle body and pivotable open relative to the vehicle body and a closed position in which the rear end of the subframe is secured to the vehicle body.

[0019] According to another aspect, the removable door panel has an intermediate condition in which the rear end of the door panel is released from the subframe and the front end is secured to the subframe, and the door panel is pivoted relative to the front end of the subframe.

[0020] According to another aspect, in the intermediate position, a first handle is exposed and accessible, and in the fully latched position, the first handle is hidden and inaccessible. [0021] According to another aspect, the first handle is operably coupled to secondary latches disposed at the front end of the door panel, wherein actuation of the first handle releases the door panel from the subframe at the front end.

[0022] According to another aspect, a second handle is operably coupled to secondary latches disposed at the rear end of the door panel, wherein actuation of the second handle releases the door panel from the subframe at the rear end such that the door panel is pivotable relative to the subframe.

[0023] According to one aspect, a method for removing a door panel from a subframe is provided, the method comprising: providing a door panel and a subframe in an assembled condition, wherein the door panel is secured to the subframe via a plurality of secondary latches engaged with a corresponding secondary striker in a latched condition, wherein the door panel is secured to the subframe at the front and rear ends thereof, and wherein the subframe is configured to open and close relative to a vehicle body; actuating the plurality of secondary latches and shifting the door panel relative to the subframe; releasing the door panel from the subframe in response to actuating the plurality of secondary latches; and retaining the subframe to the vehicle body, wherein the subframe is pivotable between a closed position and an open position relative to the vehicle body.

[0024] According to one aspect, the plurality of secondary latches includes front latches and rear latches, the method further comprising releasing the rear latches from their corresponding secondary striker and pivoting the door panel about the front end relative to the subframe and spacing the rear end of the door panel away from the rear end of the subframe.

[0025] According to another aspect, the method includes releasing the front latches from their corresponding secondary striker after releasing the rear latches. [0026] Further areas of applicability will become apparent from the description provided herein. The description and specific examples in this summary are only intended to illustrate certain non-limiting embodiments which are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0027] The drawings described herein are for illustrative purposes only of selected non-limiting embodiments and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure. In this regard the drawings include:

[0028] FIG. 1 illustrates a motor vehicle with a door assembly constructed in accordance with one aspect of the disclosure;

[0029] FIG. 1A illustrates the motor vehicle of FIG. 1 with an outer panel selectively removed from a subframe of the door assembly;

[0030] FIG. 2A illustrates the door assembly of the motor vehicle of FIG. 1 with the outer panel shown fully attached to the subframe;

[0031 ] FIG. 2B illustrates the side door assembly of the motor vehicle of FIG. 1 with the outer panel shown selectively partially detached from the subframe;

[0032] FIG. 2C illustrates the subframe of the side door assembly of the motor vehicle of FIG. 1 with the outer panel shown selectively detached therefrom;

[0033] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the subframe of the door assembly, illustrating latches shown in a latched state to corresponding strikers;

[0034] FIG. 4 is a top view of a hinge region of the door assembly of FIG. 1 showing a secondary front latch of the outer panel engaging a secondary striker of the subframe;

[0035] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the hinge region of the door assembly illustrated in FIG. 4; [0036] FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of a secondary latch in accordance with one aspect of the disclosure shown in a fully closed, fully latched state;

[0037] FIG. 6A is a view similar to FIG. 6 showing a plan view of a portion of the secondary latch in the fully closed, fully latched state;

[0038] FIG. 6B is a view similar to FIG. 6A showing the secondary latch in a partially open, partially unlatched state;

[0039] FIG. 6C is a view similar to FIG. 6B showing the secondary latch in a fully open, fully unlatched state;

[0040] FIG. 7A is a view similar to FIG. 6 showing a plan view of a portion of the secondary latch in the fully closed, fully latched state and showing an outside lever in an enabled state;

[0041 ] FIG. 7B is a view similar to FIG. 7A showing the outside lever in a disabled state;

[0042] FIGS. 8A-8C illustrate a sequence of steps via activation of release handles to selectively detach the outer panel from the subframe of the door assembly of the motor vehicle of FIG. 1 ;

[0043] FIG. 9 is a rear perspective view of the door assembly schematically illustrating the release handles used to selectively detach the outer panel from the subframe;

[0044] FIGS. 10A-10D illustrate a sequence steps for selective reattachment of the outer panel to the subframe of the door assembly of the motor vehicle of FIG. 1 ;

[0045] FIG. 1 1 is a view of a secondary latch from the encircled area 1 1 of FIG. 10D; and [0046] FIG. 12 illustrates a method in accordance with one aspect of the disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLE EMBODIMENTS

[0047] In general, example embodiments of a closure panel assembly, such as a side door assembly, by way of example and without limitation, constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present disclosure and vehicle therewith will now be disclosed. The example embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough, and will fully convey the scope to those who are skilled in the art. Numerous specific details are set forth such as examples of specific components, devices, and methods, to provide a thorough understanding of embodiments of the present disclosure. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that specific details need not be employed, that example embodiments may be embodied in many different forms and that neither should be construed to limit the scope of the disclosure. In some example embodiments, well-known processes, well-known device structures, and well-known technologies are not described in detail, as they will be readily understood by the skilled artisan in view of the disclosure herein.

[0048] The terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular example embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting. As used herein, the singular forms“a,”“an,” and“the” may be intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. The terms“comprises,” “comprising,” “including,” and “having,” are inclusive and therefore specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, operations, elements, components, and/or groups thereof. The method steps, processes, and operations described herein are not to be construed as necessarily requiring their performance in the particular order discussed or illustrated, unless specifically identified as an order of performance. It is also to be understood that additional or alternative steps may be employed.

[0049] When an element or layer is referred to as being“on,”“engaged to,” “connected to,” or“coupled to” another element or layer, it may be directly on, engaged, connected or coupled to the other element or layer, or intervening elements or layers may be present. In contrast, when an element is referred to as being“directly on,”“directly engaged to,”“directly connected to,” or“directly coupled to” another element or layer, there may be no intervening elements or layers present. Other words used to describe the relationship between elements should be interpreted in a like fashion (e.g., “between” versus “directly between,” “adjacent” versus “directly adjacent,” etc.). As used herein, the term“and/or” includes any and all combinations of one or more of the associated listed items.

[0050] Although the terms first, second, third, etc. may be used herein to describe various elements, components, regions, layers and/or sections, these elements, components, regions, layers and/or sections should not be limited by these terms. These terms may be only used to distinguish one element, component, region, layer or section from another region, layer or section. Terms such as“first,”“second,” and other numerical terms when used herein do not imply a sequence or order unless clearly indicated by the context. Thus, a first element, component, region, layer or section discussed below could be termed a second element, component, region, layer or section without departing from the teachings of the example embodiments.

[0051] Spatially relative terms, such as“inner,”“outer,”“beneath,”“below,” “lower,”“above,”“upper,”“top”,“bottom”, and the like, may be used herein for ease of description to describe one element’s or feature’s relationship to another element(s) or feature(s) as illustrated in the figures. Spatially relative terms may be intended to encompass different orientations of the device in use or operation in addition to the orientation depicted in the figures. For example, if the device in the figures is turned over, elements described as“below” or“beneath” other elements or features would then be oriented“above” the other elements or features. Thus, the example term “below” can encompass both an orientation of above and below. The device may be otherwise oriented (rotated degrees or at other orientations) and the spatially relative descriptions used herein interpreted accordingly.

[0052] The door assembly disclosed in accordance with one aspect of the disclosure includes an outer panel (providing an exposed, viewable exterior surface of the vehicle) and an internal frame (hidden from view as viewing the vehicle from the outside), also referred to as frame member or subframe, wherein the outer panel and subframe are selectively and easily attachable to one another without need of tools to provide a fully assembled configuration of the door assembly, and wherein the outer panel is selectively and easily detachable from the subframe without need of tools to provide a partially disassembled configuration of the door assembly. The fully assembled configuration is generally desired while driving the vehicle in conventional use in a so-called“on-road” type of use, while the partially disassembled configuration is generally desired while driving the vehicle in less conventional use in a so-called “off-road” type of use. The example embodiments discussed and illustrated herein are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough, and will fully convey the scope to those who are skilled in the art. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that specific details need not be employed, that the example embodiments may be embodied in many different forms, and thus, the disclosed embodiments should not be construed to limit the scope of the disclosure. It is to be further recognized that well-known processes, well-known device structures, and well-known technologies are not described in detail, as they will be readily understood without explanation by those skilled in the art.

[0053] Reference is made to FIGS. 1 and 1A, which shows a side door assembly, by way of example and without limitation, referred to hereafter as door assembly 100, mounted to a vehicle body 102 of a motor vehicle 104. The door assembly 100 includes a decorative outer panel 106, which may also be referred to as a door panel 106, readily viewable as being a continuation of neighboring outer body panels of the motor vehicle 104, and a frame, also referred to as frame member or subframe 108, having a first end 1 10 configured for pivotal attachment to a frame (vehicle body 102) of the motor vehicle 104 via hinges 1 1 1 and a second end 1 12 having a primary latch 10 mounted thereto, with the primary latch 10 being configured for latched and unlatched engagement with a primary striker 20 fixed to the frame of the motor vehicle 104.

[0054] With reference to FIGS. 2A-2C and 3, the outer panel 106 is provided having at least one of a secondary latch and a secondary striker, and in the non-limiting embodiment shown, is provided with at least one secondary latch 1 14, and as shown in FIG. 3, with two secondary latches 1 14. The subframe 108 is provided having the other of the at least one secondary latch 1 14 and secondary striker, and in the non- limiting embodiment shown, is provided with a secondary striker 1 16. The secondary striker 1 16 may have an elongate form that extends generally vertically or aligned with the hinge axis of the subframe 108. Accordingly, as shown in FIG. 3, the door panel 106 having the secondary latches 1 14 may be detached from the subframe 108 having the secondary striker 1 16. FIG. 3 is shown with the door panel 106 removed for clarity, but still shows the secondary latches 1 14 in latched engagement with corresponding secondary strikers 1 16 at the both the front and rear ends of the subframe 108. However, when the door panel 106 is removed from the subframe 108, the secondary latches 1 14 are not in latched engagement with the strikers 1 16.

[0055] The at least one secondary latch 1 14 and the corresponding secondary striker 1 16 are configured for selective latched engagement with one another and selective unlatched detachment from one another. At least one release handle, and shown as first and second release handles 1 18, 1 19 (FIGS. 8B-9), are configured to selectively unlatch the at least one secondary latch 1 14 from the corresponding secondary striker 1 16, without need of tools, to thereby allow the outer panel 106 to be removed from the subframe 108. The secondary latches 1 14 may be retained on the outer panel 106, with the striker 1 16 being retained on the subframe 108. The outer panel 106 can therefore be stowed as desired upon being removed, and is configured to be selectively and easily reattached to the subframe 108 without need of tools, as desired. Typically, when the latches 1 14 are retained on the outer panel 106, the handles 1 18, 1 19 are disposed on the outer panel 106 as well. However, it will be appreciated that the latches 1 14 may be retained on the subframe, and the strikers 1 16 may be retained on the outer panel 106 in another aspect, and the latches 1 14 may be actuated in an alternative manner, which may include an electrical signal or actuation via handles disposed on the subframe 108 or vehicle body. In another aspect, some of the latches 1 14 may be retained on the panel, with the other latches 1 14 being retained on the subframe 108. For purposes of further discussion and illustration, the latches 1 14 will be described as being retained on the door panel 106 with the strikers 1 16 being retained on the subframe 108.

[0056] The outer panel 106 and subframe 108 may be made from any suitable material or combination of materials. For example, both be made from a suitable metal (e.g. a suitable steel). In another example, the outer panel 106 may be made from a suitable polymeric or composite material (e.g. fiberglass) and the subframe 108 may be made from a suitable metal, by way of example and without limitation.

[0057] FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate additional views of the door panel 106 being latched to the subframe 108. FIG. 4 illustrates a top view of the secondary latch 1 14 in latched engagement with the secondary striker 1 16, and FIG. 5 illustrates a perspective view of the same condition. The secondary latch 1 14 and the secondary striker 1 16 are disposed at the front end or first end 1 10 of the door panel 106 and the subframe 108, adjacent the hinge 1 1 1 about which the door panel 106 and subframe 108 pivot to open/close during normal use. The secondary latch 1 14 is shown fixed to the door panel 106, such that the door panel 106 and secondary latch 1 14 are removable together in a direction away from the secondary striker 1 16 and the subframe 108. FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate one of the latches 1 14 at the front end of the door panel 106 and the subframe 108. The latched engagement of the latches 1 14 at the rear end are shown in FIG. 3., where the secondary strikers 1 16 at the rear end of the subframe 108 are received by the latches 1 14.

[0058] The primary and secondary latches 10, 1 14, as shown in FIG. 6 with the latch 10, 1 14 in a fully closed position, have a ratchet 14 that is pivotally mounted within a frame or housing 12 (only partially shown) for rotation about a rotational axis 15. The housing 12 features a fishmouth or slot 18 in which a striker 20, 1 16 may travel relative to the latch 10, 1 14, and the ratchet 14 features a hook 22 for retaining the striker 20, 1 16 in the slot 18, and which is also moveable out of a retaining position to selectively release the striker 20, 1 16. [0059] The ratchet 14 pivots between a full striker capture position wherein the striker 20, 1 16 is captured by the hook 22 of the ratchet 14, as shown in FIG. 6 and 6A, and a striker release position wherein the striker 20, 1 16 is not trapped by the hook 22 and is free to move out of the slot 18, as shown in FIG. 6C. The ratchet 14 can also move to an intermediate striker retaining position, also referred to as partially open position, as shown in FIG. 6B. (In the orientation of FIG. 6, the ratchet 14 will rotate clockwise to move into the intermediate striker retaining position and/or into the striker release position).

[0060] The ratchet 14 is biased to the striker release position. This may be carried out via a biasing spring (not shown) or by other forces applied on the latch.

[0061] The ratchet 14 also has a single shoulder or notch 26 for checking the opening urge of the ratchet 14. Notably, this notch 26 is utilized to check the ratchet 14 in the full striker capture position and in the intermediate striker retaining portion, as discussed in greater detail below.

[0062] A primary pawl 34 is pivotally mounted in the housing 12 for rotation about another rotational axis 35. The primary pawl 34 moves between a ratchet holding position where the primary pawl 34 checks the opening movement of the ratchet 14 from its full striker capture position, as shown in FIG. 6, and a ratchet release position (FIG. 6C) where the primary pawl 34 does not interfere with the opening movement of the ratchet 14 into its intermediate striker retaining position and/or its striker release position. (In the orientation of FIG. 6, the primary pawl 34 will rotate counterclockwise to leave the ratchet holding position).

[0063] The primary pawl 34 features a hook shoulder 36 for engaging the ratchet notch 26 and is preferably biased to the ratchet holding position via a spring (not shown) or other biasing member. Opposite the hook shoulder 36, the primary pawl 34 includes a ridge 40 and a cam profile 42, the purpose of which is discussed below.

[0064] A secondary pawl 44 is pivotally mounted in the housing 12 for rotation about yet another rotational axis 45. The secondary pawl 44 moves between a primary pawl blocking position at one end of its travel where the secondary pawl 44 inhibits the opening movement of the primary pawl 34 from its ratchet holding position, as shown in FIG. 6, and a primary pawl non-blocking position (FIG. 6C) where the secondary pawl 44 allows the opening movement of the primary pawl 34 into its ratchet release position. (In the orientation of FIG. 6 the secondary pawl 34 will rotate counterclockwise to leave the primary pawl blocking position).

[0065] The secondary pawl 44 features a cam follower profile 46 that engages the primary pawl cam profile 42. The secondary pawl 44 is preferably biased to the primary pawl blocking position via a spring or other biasing member (not shown). The secondary pawl 44 also includes a lever arm 48, the purpose of which is discussed below.

[0066] A pawl lever 54 is pivotally mounted in the housing 12 for rotation about a rotational axis 55. The pawl lever 54 interacts with at least the secondary pawl 44, and as discussed in greater detail below, may interact with the primary pawl 34 and ratchet 14.

[0067] More particularly, the pawl lever 54 has a depending post 56 that interacts with the secondary pawl lever arm 48 in order to move the secondary pawl 44 out of its primary pawl blocking position. The pawl lever 54 also includes a depending finger 58 that may interact with the ridge 40 of the primary pawl 34. (Note that finger 58 does not contact or otherwise engage the primary pawl hook shoulder 36— only ridge 40 which is set back from shoulder 36). Additionally, a backup pawl 64 is mounted to the pawl lever 54 via a rigid connection and rotates in conjunction therewith. The backup pawl 64 may interact with the hook shoulder 36 of the primary pawl 34 under certain conditions as discussed below.

[0068] The pawl lever 54 moves between an initial rest position at one end of its travel as shown in FIG. 6 where the pawl lever 54 does not engage or actuate the secondary pawl 44 or the primary pawl 34, and an actuated position, as exemplified in FIG. 6C, in which the pawl lever 54 moves away from its initial position and actuates at least the secondary pawl 44 so as to move the secondary pawl 44 into its primary pawl non-blocking position. The pawl lever 54 and backup pawl 64 are preferably biased to the rest position by a biasing spring or other biasing member (not shown).

[0069] The latch 10, 1 14 preferably also includes an inside handle lever (not shown) which is kinematically coupled to actuate the pawl lever 54 via tab 66. The inside handle lever is kinematically connected to an inside handle (not shown) on the vehicle door via well-known mechanisms such as a rod or Bowden cable.

[0070] Similarly, an outside handle lever 74 is pivotally mounted in the housing 12 for rotation about a rotational axis 75. The outside handle lever 74 is kinematically connected to an outside handle 82 mounted on the subframe 108 of vehicle door assembly 100 via well-known mechanisms such as a rod or Bowden cable 83 (FIG. 3). The outer panel 106 is shown having an exterior handle 88 to facilitate handling the outer panel 106 upon removal, as discussed further below, and to facilitate grasping the door assembly 100 to open and close the door assembly 100. A sliding lock link 80 selectively couples or decouples the outside handle lever 74 with the pawl lever 54. More particularly when the lock link 80 is positioned in a coupling position as shown in FIG. 6 or FIG. 7A, arm 76 of the outside lever 74 is coupled to tab 68 of the pawl lever 54 and the outside lever 74 is enabled to actuate the pawl lever 54. However, when the lock link 80 is positioned in a decoupling position as shown in FIG. 7B, the outside lever arm 76 is decoupled from tab 68 and does not have sufficient reach to engage tab 68 thus disabling the outside handle lever from actuating the pawl lever 54.

[0071] The sliding lock link 80 may be moved into its coupling or decoupling position by a manual mechanism, such as a mechanical connection with a lock button, or electronically by a small motorized actuator.

[0072] As noted above, the ratchet 14 has only a single shoulder or notch 26 for checking the opening urge of the ratchet 14. FIG. 6A shows the ratchet 14 in its full striker capture position, where the notch 26 is engaged by the primary pawl hook shoulder 36. However, as discussed below, the latch 10, 1 14 requires a low release effort to open it and therefore circumstances could arise especially in the case of a motor vehicle accident or where extraneous forces cause the primary pawl 34 to move out of its ratchet holding position, as shown in FIG. 6A. In this case the pawl lever 54 presents the backup pawl 64 which remains in the rotational path of the ratchet 14 in order to check the opening urge of the ratchet 14 and maintain it in the intermediate striker retaining position, as shown in FIG. 6B. Likewise, on door closing, in the event the vehicle door is closed with a weak force such that the ratchet 14 is not rotated all the way back to its full striker capture position as shown in FIG. 6A, the bias on the pawl lever 54 will urge the backup pawl 64 into the rotational path of the ratchet 14 so that it can be held in the intermediate striker retaining position as shown in FIG. 6B. In this manner ratchet 14 may be reduced in size (in comparison to double notch ratchets) and its single notch utilized to maintain the ratchet in either the full striker capture position or the intermediate striker retaining position. [0073] The opening sequence of the latch, and the low release efforts required to open the latch, may be understood with reference to FIGS. 6A and 6C.

[0074] FIG. 6A shows the latch in its fully closed position when the ratchet 14 in its full striker capture position. In this position there exists a force Fs on the ratchet 14 that is a reaction to the seal force when the vehicle door is closed. The force Fs along with the ratchet bias force presents a moment M1 on the ratchet 14 that is received by the primary pawl 34 at hook shoulder 36 and shown as force Fp. The force Fp will be correlated to the moment M1 and the relative radial distance between the striker 20, 1 16 and primary pawl/ratchet contact area as measured from the ratchet rotational axis 15. The force Fp is presented eccentric to the primary pawl rotational axis 35 that counteracts the primary pawl bias force to thus present a moment M2 on the primary pawl 34. The primary pawl cam profile 42 and the inter-engaging secondary pawl cam follower profile 46 (at portion 46a) are configured to translate the moment M2 into an opening force Fo applied substantially through the secondary pawl rotational axis 45 such that, in the fully closed position, there is substantially no opening moment applied to the secondary pawl 44.

[0075] T o open the latch 10, 1 14, the pawl lever 54 is actuated by either the inside lever or outside lever. As the pawl lever 54 pivots away from its initial position, the depending post 56 interacts with the secondary pawl lever arm 48 and moves the secondary pawl 44 out of its primary pawl blocking position. In this position the primary pawl cam profile 42 engages portion 46b of secondary pawl cam follower profile 46, which is configured to apply the force Fo eccentric to the secondary pawl rotation axis 45 causing a moment M3 greater than the opposing moment provided by the secondary pawl biasing force. Consequently, a momentum is present whereby the seal force Fs continues to apply moment M2 on the primary pawl 34 which in turn continues to apply moment M3 on the secondary pawl 44 and thus the secondary pawl will continue to rotate away from its primary pawl blocking position without any further input from the pawl lever 54, as shown in FIG. 6B. (Note in FIG. 6C the pawl lever depending finger 58 has not yet engaged the primary pawl ridge 40). At a certain point, as shown in FIG. 6C, the moment M2 moves the primary pawl 34 into its ratchet release position wherein the primary pawl hook shoulder 36 disengages from the ratchet notch 26, enabling the ratchet 14 to move into its striker release position.

[0076] It is to be recognized that other latch configurations could be used for either the primary and/or secondary latches 10, 1 14, and that the above latch configuration described is but one non-limiting example.

[0077] With reference to FIGS. 2A-2B, the outer panel 106 has a first end 120 and a second end 122, which are illustrated as a front end and a rear end. It will be appreciated that the terms“front” and“rear” are in reference to the illustrated aspects of the disclosure, but that the orientation may be reversed in other aspects. The first end 120 of the outer panel 106 is configured for releasable attachment to the subframe 108 adjacent the first end 1 10 of the subframe 108 via at least one of the plurality of secondary latches 1 14 located and mounted adjacent the first end 120 of the outer panel 106. The second end 122 of the outer panel 106 is configured for releasable attachment to the subframe 108 adjacent the second end 1 12 of the subframe 108 via at least one of the plurality of secondary latches 1 14 located and mounted adjacent the second end 122 of the outer panel 106. FIG. 3 illustrates the plurality of secondary latches 1 14 disposed at the front and rear end of the subframe 108, with the door panel 106 hidden for clarity. FIG. 3 further illustrates secondary strikers 1 16 attached to the subframe 108, to which the secondary latches 1 14 are secured in FIG. 3. [0078] As shown in FIGS. 8A-8C and 9, a first release handle 1 18 is operably (meaning that the first release handle 1 18 can effectuate actuation via mechanical linkage(s) and/or electrical communication(s)) connected to at least one, and shown as a pair, by way of example and without limitation, of the secondary latches 1 14 located and mounted adjacent the first end 120 of the outer panel 106. The first release handle 1 18 (FIGS. 8C and 9) is selectively actuatable to unlatch the secondary latches 1 14, located adjacent the first end 120 of the outer panel 106, from a corresponding one of the secondary strikers 1 16. A second release handle 1 19 is operably (meaning that the second release handle 1 19 can effectuate activation via mechanically and/or electrically) connected to at least one, and shown as a pair, by way of example and without limitation, of the secondary latches 1 14 located and mounted adjacent the second end 122 (or rear end) of the outer panel 106. The second release handle 1 19 (FIGS. 8B and 9) is selectively actuatable to unlatch the secondary latches 1 14, located adjacent the second end 122 of the outer panel 106, from a corresponding one of the secondary strikers 1 16.

[0079] The second handle 1 19 may be the handle that is first actuated to release the door panel 106 from the subframe 108. Upon actuation of the second handle 1 19, the latches 1 14 at the rear end of the door panel 106 may be actuated to release the corresponding strikers 1 16. The door panel 108 may therefore pivot about the front end of the subframe 108, thereby exposing the first handle 1 18 (as illustrated in FIG. 8C). The first handle 1 18 may then be actuated to release the latches 1 14 at the front end of the door panel 106, thereby allowing the door panel 106 to be removed from the subframe 108. The first handle 1 18 is shown in FIG. 8C in two possible locations. In one aspect, the first handle 1 18 may be located at the rear end of the door panel 106. In another aspect, the first handle 1 18 may be located at the front end of the door panel 106. In one aspect, a pair of first handles 1 18 may be provide. In another aspect, a single first handle 1 18 may be provide at either of the two illustrated locations, or at other locations on the door panel 106.

[0080] The pair of secondary latches 1 14 located adjacent the first end 120 of the outer panel 106 are aligned with one another for latched coupling with the corresponding secondary striker(s) 1 16, wherein the striker(s) 1 16 extend coaxially with one another along a common axis 124 (FIGS. 1A, 2C and 3) to allow the outer panel 106 to pivot relative to the subframe 108 about the common axis 124, via pivotal hinge-like movement of the secondary latches 1 14 about the secondary striker(s) 1 16, upon the secondary latches 1 14 located adjacent the second end 122 (rear end) of said outer panel 106 being unlatched from their corresponding secondary strikers 1 16. The latches 1 14 and strikers 1 16 at the rear end of the door panel 106 may be aligned such that the door panel 106 cannot pivot about the rear end of the subframe 108. For example, the strikers 1 16 at the rear end may extend in a fore-and-aft direction, and be offset from each other vertically, such that the latches 1 14 at the rear end may be oriented vertically to engage with the horizontally extending strikers 1 16. It will be appreciated that other orientations of the latches 1 14 and strikers 1 16 at the rear end may also be used, such as aligning the strikers 1 16 along a common axis, similar to the front end.

[0081] As discussed above, the pair of secondary latches 1 14 located adjacent the first end 120 of the outer panel 106 and the pair of secondary latches 1 14 located adjacent the second end 122 of the outer panel 106 each have a ratchet 14 moveable between a primary latched position, a secondary latched position, and an unlatched position. The outer panel 106 is spaced laterally from the subframe 108 a first distance D1 (FIG. 2A) when the pairs of secondary latches 1 14 are in their primary latched position, wherein the outer panel 1 14 is flush with neighboring outer panels of the motor vehicle 104 when the door assembly 100 is closed. Then, upon actuation of the second release handle 1 19, shown as being mounted along a top, generally central region of the outer panel 106, by way of example and without limitation, the pairs of secondary latches 1 14 adjacent the second end 122 of the outer panel 106 are released to their secondary latched position, and the second end 122 of the outer panel 106 becomes spaced laterally outwardly from the subframe 108, such that the second end 122 is spaced a second distance D2 (FIG. 2B) from the subframe 108, thereby no longer being flush with neighboring outer panels of the motor vehicle 104, with the second distance D2 being greater than the first distance D1. At this time, a shut face 126 (FIG. 9) of the outer panel 106 becomes exposed, such that the first release handle 1 18, which is concealed and inaccessible when the outer door panel 106 is not extended laterally outwardly from the subframe 108, becomes accessible. As such, the first release handle 1 18 can then be actuated, whereupon the pairs of secondary latches 1 14 adjacent the first end 120 of the outer panel 106 are released to their secondary latched position. At this time, the outer panel 106 is spaced in its entirety laterally outwardly from the subframe 108, wherein the subframe can remain fully closed and latched via the primary latch 10 and primary striker 20.

[0082] The pair of secondary latches 1 14 located adjacent the first end 120 of the outer panel 106 and the pair of secondary latches 1 14 located adjacent the second end 122 of the outer panel 106 each have their respective elongate fishmouths 18, wherein the fishmouths 18 can be formed to extend along a central fishmouth axis 128 (FIG. 4) for receipt of a corresponding one of the secondary striker(s) 1 16 therein. The central fishmouth axes 128 can be formed to extend in oblique relation to a plane P (FIG. 1 ) of a side of the motor vehicle 104 to provide for removal of the outer panel 106 along the central fishmouth axes 128. The oblique angle can be provided being between about 30-60 degrees, and preferably about 45 degrees, by way of example and without limitation. By being able to remove the outer panel 106 along the oblique axes 128, the ability to remove the outer panel 106 from the subframe 108 without damage to the outer panel 106 or other side panels of the motor vehicle 104 is enhanced.

[0083] In one aspect, the latches 1 14 at the front end may be removed at an oblique angle, with the latches 1 14 at the rear end being aligned such that the latches 114 may be removed perpendicularly. The latches 1 14 at the rear end may be fully unlatched from the corresponding strikers 1 16 prior to releasing the latches 1 14 at the front end. Put another way, the rear end may be released such that the door panel 106 may pivot outward relative to the subframe 108, at which point the front latches 114 may be released and the door panel 106 may be removed from the subframe 108.

[0084] In operation, the door assembly 100 can be used as desired, with the outer panel 106 mounted to or removed from subframe 108. Generally, in normal“on road” use, the outer panel 106 will be mounted to subframe 108 via secondary latches 114 and secondary strikers 1 16. Then, when desired, such as when driving“off road”, the outer panel 106 can be simply and quickly removed from subframe 108 without need of any tools. First, the second release handle 1 19 can be actuated, thereby moving the secondary latches 1 14 located adjacent the second end 122 of the outer panel 106 to their partially open, partially unlatched position. Then, with the second end 122 of the outer door panel 106 spaced laterally away from the subframe 108 (FIG. 2B), the first release handle 1 18 can be actuated, thereby moving the secondary latches 1 14 located adjacent the first end 120 of the outer panel 106 to their partially open, partially unlatched position (FIG. 6B). Then, with the entirety of the secondary latches 1 14 in their partially open, partially unlatched position, the first and second release handles 1 18, 1 19 can be actuated a second time, in a double pull operation, thereby moving the secondary latches 1 14 to their fully unlatched, open positions (FIG. 6C). At this time, the outer door panel 106 is free to be easily removed from the subframe 108 and stowed.

[0085] Alternatively, the rear latches 1 14 may be fully disengaged prior to actuating the first handle 1 18, either by actuating the second handle 1 19 twice prior to actuating the first handle 1 18, or by utilizing a latch mechanism having a single pull actuation arrangement. In another approach, the front latches 1 14 may be fully released prior to fully releasing the rear latches 1 14.

[0086] With the subframe 108 remaining in its hinged attachment with the vehicle body 102, occupants of the motor vehicle 104 remain protected against side impacts from the rigid barrier provided by the subframe 108. The handle 82 is attached to the subframe 108, and connected to the latch 10, which is engaged with the primary striker 16, thereby keeping the subframe 108 in its closed position. The subframe 108 may be opened in a manner corresponding to a traditional door, even without the door panel 106 detached. Similarly, with the door panel 106 attached to the subframe, the assembly of the subframe 108 and door panel 106 may be opened by releasing the latch 10 of the subframe 108, and the door panel 106, being attached to the subframe 108, may be carried along with the subframe 108 during a door opening operation.

[0087] Of course, when desired, the outer panels 106, as shown in FIGS. 10A-10D, can be easily mounted back on the subframe 108. In FIG. 10A, the subframe 108 is shown with the door panel 106 detached. In FIG. 10B, the door panel 106 may be reintroduced and presented toward the subframe 108, with the latches 114 at the front end of the door panel 106 delivered in the direction of the striker(s) 1 16 at the front end of the subframe 108.

[0088] FIG. 10C illustrates the door panel 106 attached to the subframe 108 at the front end, with the latches 1 14 at least partially engaged with the strikers 1 16 at the front end. The door panel 106 is shown pivoted away from the rear end of the subframe 108.

[0089] During final mounting of the door panel 106 to subframe 108, a swinging, closing motion of the door panel 106 toward subframe 108 (FIG. 10D) can result in“slam energy” sufficient to create a power-like cinching of secondary latches 114, thereby assuring they return to their fully latched positions (FIG. 6 and 6A). The slamming action may cause the latches 1 14 at both the front and rear end to fully latch.

[0090] In another approach, the latches 1 14 at the front end may be fully latched before the rear latches 1 14 are latched. In one approach, the front and rear latches 1 14 may be partially secured (as shown in FIG. 6B), and the door panel 106 may be slammed, such that each of the latches 1 14 become fully latched. FIG. 1 1 illustrates one of the front latches 1 14 being fully latched with the striker 1 16.

[0091 ] The above-described door panel 106 and subframe 108 are therefore detachable from each other in the manner described above. FIG. 12 illustrates an exemplary flow chart of a method 1000 in accordance with one aspect of the above disclosure. It will be appreciated that other methods may be practiced in accordance with the various aspect described above, including additional steps before, after, or intermediate to the steps illustrated in FIG. 12.

[0092] As illustrated in FIG. 12, in one aspect, the method 1000 for removing a door panel from a subframe is provided, the method comprising: providing a door panel and a subframe in an assembled condition, wherein the door panel is secured to the subframe via a plurality of secondary latches engaged with a corresponding secondary striker in a latched condition, wherein the door panel is secured to the subframe at the front and rear ends thereof, and wherein the subframe is configured to open and close relative to a vehicle body; actuating the plurality of secondary latches and shifting the door panel relative to the subframe; releasing the door panel from the subframe in response to actuating the plurality of secondary latches; and retaining the subframe to the vehicle body, wherein the subframe is pivotable between a closed position and an open position relative to the vehicle body.

[0093] The foregoing description of the embodiments has been provided for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the disclosure. Individual elements, assemblies/subassemblies, or features of a particular embodiment are generally not limited to that particular embodiment, but, where applicable, are interchangeable and can be used in a selected embodiment, even if not specifically shown or described. The same may also be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the disclosure, and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the disclosure.