Title:
Bent torque rod
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A torque rod assembly for use in a vehicle suspension system, the torque rod assembly comprising a torque rod, which is preferably V-shaped. The torque rod has a first arm portion and a second arm portion, each arm portion having an end. A bend portion is disposed between the first and second arm portions, the arm portions being disposed at an angle with respect to each other. The bend portion, disposed between the first and second arm portions, is pivotably mounted to an axle. The ends of the torque rod are pivotably mounted to the vehicle frame.



Inventors:
Leen, John (Carsonville, MI, US)
Application Number:
09/521521
Publication Date:
08/28/2003
Filing Date:
03/08/2000
Assignee:
LEEN JOHN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
180/352
International Classes:
B60G7/00; B60G9/02; B60G21/055; (IPC1-7): B60G17/01
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ROYAL, PAUL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ernest I Gifford (Birmingham, MI, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A torque rod assembly comprising: a torque rod having a first end, a second end and a bend portion disposed between the first and second end; means for pivotably mounting the bend portion of the torque rod to an axle so that the torque rod is pivotable with respect to the axle; and means pivotably mounting the first and second ends to a vehicle frame.

2. The torque rod assembly of claim 1 wherein the torque rod is substantially V-shaped.

3. The torque rod assembly of claim 1 wherein the means for pivotably mounting the bend portion of the torque rod to an axle comprises a bracket assembly positioned about the bend portion of the torque rod, the bracket assembly being operative to mechanically couple the torque rod to an axle and permit the torque rod to pivot with respect to the axle about the bend portion.

4. The torque rod assembly of claim 3 wherein the bracket assembly comprises: a bearing ring mechanically connected to the bend portion of the torque rod; and an outer bracket pivotably engaging the bearing ring so as to permit the bearing ring and the torque rod to pivot within the outer bracket, the outer bracket being mechanically coupled to the axle.

5. The torque rod assembly of claim 1 wherein the means for pivotably mounting the first and second ends to a vehicle frame comprise means for pivotably mounting the first and second ends of the torque rod to a cross-member mechanically connected to the vehicle frame.

6. The torque rod assembly of claim 1 further comprising a ball joint mechanically connected to the torque rod at the bend portion, and wherein the means for pivotably mounting the bend portion of the torque rod to an axle comprises means for pivotably mounting the ball joint to the axle.

7. A torque rod assembly comprising: a substantially V-shaped torque rod having a first end, a second end and a bend portion disposed between the first and second ends; and a bracket assembly positioned about the bend portion of the torque rod, the bracket assembly being operative to mechanically couple the torque rod to an axle and permit the torque rod to pivot with respect to the axle about the bend portion, the bracket assembly comprising a bearing ring mounted to the bend portion of the torque rod and an outer bracket pivotably engaging the bearing ring so as to permit the bearing ring and the torque rod to pivot within the outer bracket, the outer bracket mechanically coupled to the axle.

10. A torque rod assembly comprising: a torque rod having a first arm portion and a second arm portion, the first arm portion disposed at an angle relative to the second arm portion; and means for pivotably mounting the bend portion of the torque rod to an axle so that the torque rod is pivotable with respect to the axle.

11. The torque rod assembly of claim 10 wherein the angle between the first arm portion and the second arm portion ranges between 40° and 60°.

12. The torque rod assembly of claim 11 wherein the angle is 55°.

13. In a vehicle suspension system comprising a vehicle frame, at least one axle, and at least one cross-member mechanically connected to the vehicle frame, the improvement comprising: a torque rod having a first arm portion, a second arm portion and a bend portion disposed between the first and second arm portions, the first arm portion being disposed at an angle with respect to the second arm portion, both arm portions being pivotably connected to the cross-member, the bend portion being pivotably connected to the axle.

15. The vehicle suspension system of claim 14, the torque rod being substantially V-shaped.

16. The vehicle suspension system of claim 14, the angle between the first arm portion and the second portion ranges between 40° and 60°.

17. The torque rod assembly of claim 16 wherein the angle is 55°.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to torque rods, and more particularly to a bent torque rod.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Torque rods are utilized in vehicle suspension systems to absorb the high stresses generated during vehicle acceleration and deceleration. Most conventional torque rods are straight and are utilized in pairs, one pair of torque rods connecting an axle to the vehicle frame. The utilization of such straight paired torque rods is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,549,320. Each torque rod is typically attached at a first to the axle and at a second end to a cross-member extending between the rails of the vehicle's frame. The first ends of the torque rods which are mounted to the axle are positioned proximate to each other, the torque rods extending outwardly therefrom and away from each other, the second ends of the torque rods mounted to the vehicle frame being spaced apart from each other. The position of the torque rods is key to the proper alignment of the vehicle's wheels. As the suspension system is subjected to use, repeated adjustment of the torque rods is required.

[0003] Although there are a wide variety of torque rods available for use in a vehicle, such torque rods are intended for use in pairs. These conventional torque rods must be installed and adjusted individually, requiring a significant amount of labor. Thus there remains a need for a torque rod which minimizes the costs associated with installation and maintenance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The present invention relates to a torque rod assembly for use in a vehicle suspension system, the torque rod assembly comprising a torque rod having two ends, and a bend portion disposed between ends. The torque rod has a first and second arm portion which are preferably disposed at an angle with respect to each other. The bend portion of the torque rod may be pivotably mounted to a vehicle axle by a variety of means. In the preferred embodiment, a bracket assembly is positioned about the bend portion of the torque rod. The bracket assembly is operative to mechanically couple the torque rod to the axle and permit the torque rod to pivot with respect to the axle about the bend portion. The bracket assembly preferably comprises a bearing ring which is mechanically connected to the bend portion of the torque rod. An outer bracket, mounted about the bearing ring, pivotably engages the bearing ring to permit the bearing ring and the torque rod to pivot within the outer bracket. The outer bracket is mechanically coupled to the axle by bolts, screws, welding or the like. Alternately, a ball joint may be formed about the torque rod at the bend portion. In such an embodiment, the ball joint is pivotably mounted to the axle by any of a variety of available bearings. The ends of the torque rod are pivotably connected to the vehicle frame. In the preferred embodiment, the torque rod ends are pivotably mounted to a cross-member which extends between the parallel frame rails of the vehicle.

[0005] In the preferred embodiment, the torque rod is V-shaped or U-shaped. Although the angle between the two arm portions may vary widely, the angle preferably ranges between forty degrees and sixty degrees, although angles of more than sixty or less than forty degrees may be utilized. In the most preferred embodiment, the angle between the first arm portion and the second arm portion is 55 degrees.

[0006] Other objects, advantages and applications of the present invention will be made clear by the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention. The description makes reference to drawings in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1 is a plan view of a vehicle suspension system;

[0008] FIG. 2 is a view of the torque rod assembly utilized in the vehicle suspension system shown in FIG. 1;

[0009] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the bearing assembly shown in FIG. 2 taken along lines 3-3;

[0010] FIG. 4 is a view of an alternate embodiment of the bearing assembly; and

[0011] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the bearing assembly shown in FIG. 4 taken along lines 5-5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0012] The present invention is a torque rod assembly for use in a vehicle suspension system. As shown in Figure one, a vehicle suspension system 30 comprises a vehicle frame 32 having a first frame rail 34 and a second frame rail 36. Two axles 38, 40 are provided. Two cross-members 42, 44 are provided, the cross-members extending between the first frame rail 34 and second frame rail 36. The cross-members 42, 44 are mechanically mounted to the vehicle frame 32 in a conventional manner.

[0013] The present invention is a torque rod assembly for use in such a vehicle suspension system, the torque rod assembly 10 being shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The torque rod assembly 10 shown therein comprises a torque rod 12 which, in preferred embodiments, is V-shaped or U-shaped. The torque rod 12 has a first arm portion 16 and a second arm portion 20. A bend at portion 22 is disposed between the first arm portion 16 and the second arm portion 20. The first arm portion 16 terminates in a first and 14 the second arm portion 20 terminates in a second and 18 eighteen. The ends 14, 18, are pivotably mounted to the cross-member 42 or 44. In the preferred embodiment as shown in FIG. 1, the ends 14, 18 are pivotably mounted to plates 48, and 46 respectively. Plate 46 is mounted to the second frame rail, the plate 48 is mounted to the first frame rail by conventional methods. The ends 14 and 18 of the torque rod 12 may be pivotably mounted to the frame of the vehicle in a variety of ways.

[0014] As shown in FIG. 1, a vehicle having two axles would utilized two torque rods of the present invention. As both torque rods are mounted in the suspension system 30 of the vehicle, only one torque rod assembly will be described in detail.

[0015] As shown in FIG. 1, the bent portion 22 of the torque rod is pivotably mounted to the axle 38. The bent portion 22 may be mounted thereto by a variety of ways. Preferably, the torque rod 12 is mounted thereto by a bracket assembly 24, which is depicted in FIG. 3. The bracket assembly 24 includes a bearing ring 26, which is mechanically connected to the bent portion of the torque rod. An auto bracket 28 which pivotably engages the bearing ring so as to permit the bearing ring and the torque rod to pivot within the auto bracket, is mechanically coupled to the axle. The auto bracket may be mechanically coupled to the axle by a variety of means, such as bolting, welding and the like.

[0016] The bent portion of the torque rod is pivotably mounted to the axle via a bracket assembly, the bracket assembly being operative to mechanically couple the torque rod to the axle and permit the torque rod to pivot with respect to the axle about the bent portion.

[0017] In an alternate embodiment, a ball joint 50 as shown in FIG. 5, may be integrally formed with the torque rod 12 or mechanically connected to the torque rod 12 and the bend portion. A bearing assembly 52 may be utilized to pivotably mount the torque rod 12 and ball joint 50 to the axle 38. As depicted in FIG. 4, the bearing assembly 52 preferably includes a lower portion 58 and an upper portion 56. The upper portion 56 and lower portion 58 are mechanically connected to each other via a pair of bolts 54. The lower portion 58 and upper portion 56 of the bearing assembly 52 are formed so that a circular bearing 60 may be held between the upper portion 56 and lower portion 58 of the bearing assembly 52. The bearing 60 is configured so that the ball joint 50 will fit within the interior cavity of the bearing, the ball 50 free to pivot within the interior cavity of the bearing 60. With the ball joint 50 pivotably enclosed within bearing 60 and bearing 60 mounted between the lower portion 58 and upper portion 56 of the bearing assembly 52, the bend portion 22 of the torque rod 12 may be pivotably mounted to the axle 38 by mechanically connected the lower portion 58 of the bearing assembly 52 to the axle 38. The lower portion 58 may be mechanically connected by a variety of means to the bracket assembly.

[0018] In the preferred embodiment, the first arm portion 16 and second arm portion 20 are disposed at an angle alpha with respect to each other, as shown in FIG. 2. In the preferred embodiment, the angle alpha ranges between forty degrees and sixty degrees, although angles less than forty degrees and greater than sixty degrees may be utilized in the present invention. Most preferably, the angle alpha is approximately 55 degrees.

Any Preferred Materials for the Torque Rod?

[0019] Having described the various embodiments of the present invention with reference to the accompanying figures, it will be appreciated that various changes and modifications can be made without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention.