Title:
Axle Suspension System For Trucks
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An axle suspension system for vehicles for enabling smooth drive on heavy snow roads as well as on normal highways, comprising at least one axle unit having at least two wheels adaptable for snow ride and a means for moving the at least one axle unit between a bottom position and a top position. The at least two wheels make ground contact and the rear wheels of the vehicle are elevated off the ground in the bottom position. The rear wheels make ground contact and the at least two wheels are elevated off the ground in the top position.



Inventors:
Shagbazyan, Armen (Glendale, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/694854
Publication Date:
10/02/2008
Filing Date:
03/30/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61F5/02
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Primary Examiner:
CULBRETH, ERIC D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Edwin Tarver (600 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA, 90017, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An axle suspension system for vehicles for enabling smooth drive on heavy snow roads as well as on normal highways, comprising: a. at least one axle unit comprising at least two wheels adaptable for snow ride; and b. a means for moving the at least one axle unit between a bottom position and a top position, such that the at least two wheels make ground contact and the rear wheels of the vehicle are elevated off the ground in the bottom position and the rear wheels make ground contact and the at least two wheels are elevated off the ground in the top position.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the means for moving the at least one axle unit comprises at least one pneumatic/hydraulic pump and at least one pneumatic/hydraulic cylinder in connection with the at least one axle unit and the at least one pump.

3. The system of claim 2, wherein the at least one axle unit moves up and down between the top and bottom positions when the at least one pump is activated and the pump shuts down automatically when the movable axle unit reaches the topmost and the bottommost positions.

4. The system of claim 2 further comprises at least one axle suspension for connecting the at least one axle unit to the vehicle, the at least one pneumatic/hydraulic cylinder being in connection with one of the ends of the at least one axle suspension.

5. The system of claim 4, wherein a piston extending from the at least one cylinder is connected to one of the ends of the at least one axle suspension such that the at least one axle unit moves between the top position and the bottom position as the piston moves up and down when the pump is activated.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the bottom position of the at least one axle unit facilitates safe driving of the vehicle on heavy snow roads and the top position enables normal drive along highways.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least one axle unit is mounted before the rear wheels of the vehicle.

8. The system of claim 7 further comprises a first axle shaft connecting a transmission unit of the vehicle and the at least one axle unit and a second axle shaft for transmitting power from the at least one axle unit to the rear wheels of the vehicle

9. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least two wheels of the movable axle unit are wrapped with a chain.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein the chain is made of titanium/steel.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPPLICATION

None

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

Not Applicable

SEQUENCE LISTING OR PROGRAM

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL

Portions of the disclosure of this patent document contain material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates in general to axle suspension mechanisms for vehicles, and more particularly to axle suspension system for enabling the vehicle to easily transition from snow mode to highway mode and vice versa.

Several axle suspension mechanisms have been developed in art. U.S. Pat. No. 4,342,265 to Hindin discloses a convertible rail-highway semi-trailer a mechanism for lifting and retaining a rail wheel-set axle unit or bogie in an elevated stored position in the highway mode when the highway wheels engage with the ground. The mechanism includes hooks pre-set to engage the bogie when the body has been lowered and to retain the bogie as the body rises when the air springs of the highway wheel-set axle unit are inflated to convert from the rail to highway mode. The mechanism also includes a device to keep the hooks disengaged from the rail bogie when the air springs of the rail bogie are inflated and the flanged railroad wheels engage the tracks and the highway wheels are in an elevated inoperative position. The mechanism is also provided with a valve device to prevent inflation of the rail bogie air springs when the latter is in its elevated stored position.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,381,713 to Cripe discloses an air control system provided for a vehicle convertible between highway and railway modes of travel. Air springs suspend a rail wheel-set axle unit and highway wheel-set axle unit from the vehicle body so that the one wheel-set axle unit is stored in a raised inoperative position while the other is in the lowered operative position. During a transfer from the highway mode of travel to the railroad mode of travel, or vice-versa, a valved air control system selectively allows the wheel-set axle units to be positioned in either the raised or lowered positions. The air control system also comprises, in addition to the mode selection function, the highway braking function, the rail braking function, the parking brake and the emergency brake functions. Although both the above devices employ a mechanism for lifting a wheel-set axle unit, the present invention is different in that it adapts a vehicle for efficient driving on heavy snow roads.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,830,134 to Choi discloses a snow chain mechanism for easily applying and dismounting snow chains to the wheels of a vehicle. The mechanism comprises a chain assembly mounted with a plurality of chains rotated by a chain assembly driving unit mounted to an axle of a vehicle via a bracket. A control unit for controlling the chain assembly driving unit allows the chains to be positioned between the wheels and road bed when the driver commands the snow chain mechanism to operate once the vehicle has been started. However, the means for converting the vehicle between snow and highway modes differs from the present invention.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an axle suspension system for converting a vehicle from snow mode to highway mode and vice versa.

A further object is to provide an axle suspension system for a vehicle that is safe, improves fuel efficiency and increases engine life when the vehicle is used in snow mode. These and other objects of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the appended Summary, Description, and Claims.

SUMMARY

The present invention is an axle suspension system to enable a vehicle to drive safely on normal highways as well as on roads with heavy snow. The system comprises of a movable two wheel axle unit, a pneumatic/hydraulic pump, a pair of pneumatic/hydraulic cylinder and axle suspensions for the movable axle unit. The axle unit is adapted to move up and down. The wheels of the movable axle unit are wrapped with a chain. The movable axle unit is connected to the frame of a vehicle, before the rear axle unit.

The pump is activated using an activation switch. A piston extending from each cylinder is connected to one of ends of the axle suspension. The upward motion of the piston causes the axle unit to be raised from the ground and vice versa. The rear wheels of the vehicle is lifted off the ground and the wheels of the movable axle unit touch the ground when the axle unit is at its bottommost position, enabling the vehicle to be driven smoothly on heavy snow road. At the topmost position, the wheels of the movable axle unit are lifted and the rear wheels contact the ground, facilitating riding on normal roads. The pump shuts down automatically after the axle unit reaches topmost and bottommost positions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a side view of the truck with lowered movable axle unit.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a truck with the axle suspension system of the present invention, with raised movable axle unit.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the truck with the axle suspension system without the rear wheels and wheels of the movable axle unit.

FIGURES—REFERENCE NUMERALS

  • 10 . . . Axle Suspension System
  • 12 . . . Movable Axle Unit
  • 14 . . . Pump
  • 16 . . . Cylinder
  • 18 . . . Axle Suspension
  • 20 . . . Wheel on the Movable Axle Unit
  • 22 . . . Chain
  • 24 . . . Activation Switch
  • 26 . . . Conduit
  • 28 . . . Frame
  • 30 . . . Bolt
  • 32 . . . Piston
  • 34 . . . Transmission Unit
  • 36 . . . First Axle Shaft
  • 38 . . . Second Axle Shaft
  • 40 . . . Rear Wheel
  • 42 . . . Truck Cabin

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the drawings, a preferred embodiment of an axle suspension system for vehicles is illustrated and generally indicated as 10 in FIGS. 1 through 3. The system makes vehicles, such as trucks, suitable for dual-mode travel by making them convertible between snow and highway modes.

Referring to FIGS. 1 through 3, the system 10 comprises a movable two-wheel axle unit 12, a pneumatic/hydraulic pump 14, a pair of pneumatic/hydraulic cylinders 16 and axle suspensions 18 for the movable axle unit 12. The wheels 20 on the movable axle unit 12 are wrapped with a chain 22. Preferably, the chain 22 is made of steel or titanium. The movable axle unit 12 is positioned before the rear axle unit of the truck. The system 10 also comprises a first axle shaft 36 and a second axle shaft 38. The first axle shaft 36 connects a transmission unit 34 of the truck and the movable axle unit 12. The second axle shaft 38 transmits power from the movable axle unit 12 to the rear wheels 40 of the truck.

The pump 14 is securely held inside the hood and is controlled by an activation switch 24 located inside the truck cabin 42. The pump 14 is connected to each cylinder 16 through a conduit unit 26. The cylinder 16 is affixed to the truck frame 28 by bolts 30. The pistons 32 are in connection with the rear ends of the axle suspensions 18 of the movable axle unit 12. The front ends of axle suspensions 18 are connected to the frame 28. The piston moves up and down when the pump is activated.

Referring to FIG. 2, the upward motion of the piston 32 raises the movable axle unit 12 to an elevated position. In this position, the rear wheels 40 of the truck touch the ground, making the truck suitable for normal highway travel. The pump 14 shuts down automatically when the movable axle unit is at its topmost position.

Referring to FIG. 1, the downward motion of the piston 32 pushes the movable axle unit down. In order to convert the truck to snow mode, the movable axle unit 12 is pushed down until the wheels 20 touch the ground and the rear wheels 40 of the truck are lifted off the ground. The wheels 20 on the axle unit facilitate efficient driving along the heavy snow roads. The pump 14 shuts down automatically when the movable axle unit is at its bottommost position.

All features disclosed in this specification, including any accompanying claims, abstract, and drawings, may be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.

Any element in a claim that does not explicitly state “means for” performing a specified function, or “step for” performing a specific function, is not to be interpreted as a “means” or “step” clause as specified in 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6. In particular, the use of “step of” in the claims herein is not intended to invoke the provisions of 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6.

Although preferred embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, various modifications and substitutions may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is to be understood that the present invention has been described by way of illustration and not limitation.