Title:
Universal head restraint assembly for motor vehicle seats
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An adjustable head restraint assembly and method for enabling a head restraint pad (18) to be adjustably and lockably positioned with respect to a motor vehicle seatback (14) so that the head restraint pad remains in an adjusted position during a crash sequence after being set by a user. Associated with the head restraint pad (18) is a pair of posts (20). A tubular bushing subassembly (22) is mounted within the seatback (14). It has an inside bore (54) sized for receiving one of the at least one posts (20). The tubular bushing subassembly (22) has an upper separable portion (26a) with a customizable head (36), and a universal lower portion (26b).



Inventors:
Isaacson, Troy Allen (Wixom, MI, US)
Application Number:
10/858414
Publication Date:
01/20/2005
Filing Date:
06/01/2004
Assignee:
ISAACSON TROY ALLEN
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B60N2/48; (IPC1-7): A47C1/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NELSON JR, MILTON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brooks Kushman (Southfield, MI, US)
Claims:
1. An adjustable head restraint assembly for enabling a head restraint pad to be lockably positioned with respect to a motor vehicle seatback, the assembly comprising: at least one post extending from and supporting the head restraint pad to permit the pad to be locked in one of several height positions in relation to the seatback; a tubular bushing subassembly mounted at least partially within the seatback and having an inside bore sized for receiving one of the at least one posts, the tubular bushing subassembly having an upper separable portion with a customizable head, and a universal lower portion.

2. The head restraint assembly of claim 1, wherein the upper portion includes a latching mechanism and a means for registration.

3. The head restraint assembly of claim 1, wherein the lower portion includes a latching mechanism that is received within an inner diameter of the upper portion of the bushing subassembly.

4. The head restraint assembly of claim 1, further including an orientation locator projection formed on the upper portion of the tubular bushing subassembly.

5. The head restraint assembly of claim 1, wherein the upper portion includes a head having a shape selected from the group consisting of circular, oval, hexagonal, rectangular and square.

6. The head restraint assembly of claim 1, further including an inter-portion latching mechanism.

7. The head restraint assembly of claim 1, further including means for registration.

8. The head restraint assembly of claim 1, wherein the upper separable portion includes a means for registration comprising a detent.

9. The head restraint assembly of claim 1, wherein the upper separable portion receives a protrusion that extends from the lower portion.

10. The head restraint assembly of claim 1, wherein the upper portion includes a protrusion.

11. The head restraint assembly of claim 1, wherein the lower portion includes a detent that receives the protrusion.

12. A method of attaching a head restraint assembly having a head restraint pad to a seatback, comprising the steps of: moving an upper portion including a detent of a tubular bushing subassembly into registration with a lower portion of the tubular subassembly to form an integrated tubular bushing subassembly; and inserting the integrated tubular bushing subassembly into a vehicle seatback.

13. A method of attaching a head restraint assembly having a head restraint pad to a seatback, comprising the steps of: inserting a lower portion of a tubular bushing subassembly into a vehicle seatback; moving an upper portion of the tubular bushing subassembly into registration with the lower portion thereof; engaging a latching mechanism so that the upper and lower portions become secured in relation to each other; and inserting a post into within the tubular bushing subassembly.

14. The method of claim 13 further comprising a step of: locking the lower portion of the tubular bushing assembly in relation to the vehicle seatback.

15. The method of claim 14 further comprising the step of: engaging a latching mechanism upon insertion of the post so that the lower and upper portions of the tubular bushing assembly are latched together.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/386,591 filed Mar. 12, 2003, to issue on Jun. 1, 2004 as U.S. Pat. No. 6,742,846, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a universal head restraint assembly in motor vehicle seats for use with a head restraint pad that is lockably positioned with respect to a motor vehicle seatback.

2. Background Art

Motor vehicle seats typically include a head restraint pad mounted to the seat for comfort and safety of the passenger. The head restraint pad is mounted on one or two posts which are inserted into guide sleeves affixed to the seat. The posts typically include retainer notches which allow the head restraint pad to be vertically adjustable.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,854,642 to Hoover Universal, Inc., discloses a head restraint guide assembly having a bushing installed within the seatback for receiving the head restraint pad posts. The head restraint bushing includes extending legs with ramp surfaces so that when the bushing is inserted within the seatback, the legs are resiliently deflected and become locked into place when the installed position is reached. The head restraint post passes through the bushing and has a number of notches which provide detents. A detent lug carried by the bushing engages the detent notches and is resiliently biased against the post. The detent notches are provided with cam surfaces, enabling the head restraint to be raised and lowered to and past the detent positions. The lowermost notch forms a retainer notch with a radial wall which prevents complete removal of the head restraint. A leaf spring actuator can be depressed from outside of the seatback and acts on the detent lug to deflect it out of engagement with the detent notches, thereby enabling withdrawal of the head restraint assembly. In order to remove the head restraint post, a downward force must be applied to the actuator by a tool such as a screwdriver, causing the lug to move out of engagement with the retainer notch.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,099,077 discloses a head restraint assembly for a motor vehicle. It is commonly owned with the present application and is incorporated herein by reference. That reference discloses actuator springs within a button subassembly that may become over-stressed because their deflection is relatively unconstrained over repeated use.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,667,276 discloses a locking headrest support assembly that includes two tines in the manner of a fork that extend from a sleeve. One tine is provided with a prong which is intended to prevent the extraction of the sleeve from a hole in the back of a vehicle seat. That tine is also provided with a locator rib which orients the sleeve in the proper direction within the hole in the vehicle seat. The other tine is provided with a side rib which provides the sleeve be tight fit in the hole in the vehicle seat.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One objective of the present invention is to commonize one or more components of a head restraint assembly by providing some universal components in the assembly that the original equipment manufacturer or tier one supplier may place in a vehicle seatback, while other components in the assembly can be customized. The latter components can be variously shaped so that they can conform with the style of vehicle seat.

Another objective of the invention is to provide a means to satisfy requirements mandated by a regulatory authority.

According to the present invention, an improved head restraint assembly is provided for enabling a head restraint pad to be lockably positioned with respect to a motor vehicle seatback. The head restraint pad includes at least one post connected to and supporting the head restraint pad. A tubular bushing subassembly is mounted to the seat and has an inside bore sized for receiving the at least one post. The tubular bushing subassembly has a lower universal portion and a separable upper customizable portion. The lower portion is seated within the sleeve that is received within the vehicle seatback. The upper portion of the tubular bushing subassembly has a head outside the seat.

The invention thus allows portions of the head restraint assembly to be commonized. This has the attribute of reducing tooling costs, which would otherwise be required to manufacture an entire subassembly when in fact the installer merely wishes to alter the appearance of the head of the upper portion (e.g., circular, oval, rectangular or square-shaped) as desired, to be in harmony with the style of vehicle seatback. Thus, the lower portion can be commonized among many vehicle platforms. It remains relatively unchanged.

The above objects and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention are readily apparent from the following detailed description of the best mode for carrying out the invention when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a motor vehicle seat of the type having a separate adjustable head restraint assembly;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the tubular button subassembly of the head restraint assembly according to the present invention; and

FIG. 3 is an assembled view of the head restraint assembly according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a perspective view of a motor vehicle seat 10 having a bottom cushion 12 and a seatback 14. A head restraint assembly 16 including a pad 18 is supported by the seatback 14. The assembly includes the pad 18 and a pair of downwardly extending mounting posts 20.

FIG. 2 illustrates various details of the head restraint assembly 16. The head restraint assembly 16 enables the pad 18 to be moved inwardly and outwardly in relation to the motor vehicle seat 10. Inserted into a sleeve 28 in the seatback is a tubular bushing subassembly 22, preferably made of plastic. One tubular bushing subassembly 22 is provided for each post 20. Each tubular bushing subassembly 22 has an inside bore 24 for receiving a post 20.

The bushing subassembly 22 further includes a head 36 formed at the upper end thereof which engages the outside of the seatback 14 when mounted to the seat 10.

The seatback 14 receives a sleeve 28 having an opening 30 that is larger than the tubular bushing subassembly 22 for receiving at least a portion thereof (FIG. 2).

Additional detail of the tubular bushing subassembly 22 will now be discussed with particular reference to FIG. 2. The tubular bushing subassembly 22 has a lower universal portion 26b and a separable customizable upper portion 26a. The lower portion 26b and a part of the upper portion 26a are seated within the sleeve 28 that is received within the vehicle seatback 20.

The upper portion 26a of the tubular bushing subassembly 22 is detachably received by the lower portion 26b. Accordingly, the upper portion 26a includes a lower portion-receiving section 100 and a means for registration 106.

In order to secure the tubular bushing subassembly 22 in relation to the seatback 14, the sleeve 28 is provided with a bore 54 extending from opening 30 and terminating at a length shorter than the length of the tubular bushing subassembly 22.

The lower portion 26b of the tubular bushing subassembly 22 further defines a latch member 58 that is moveable between a latched position and a biased unlatched position. The latch 58 includes a ramp surface 60 and a radial shoulder 62. Upon assembly, when the lower portion 26b is inserted into the bore 54, the ramp surface 60 engages the bore 54 until the radial shoulder 62 engages a notched surface (not shown) within the bore 54.

Next, the upper portion 26a of the bushing subassembly 22 is moved into registration with the lower portion 26b. To secure the portions 26a, 26b, an inter-portion latching mechanism 104 is provided proximate an upper end of the lower portion 26b. The latching mechanism 104 is received within an inner diameter of the upper portion 26b of the bushing subassembly 22.

After the upper portion 26a has been secured in relationship to the lower portion 26b to form an integrated tubular bushing subassembly 22, the post 20 can be inserted into the bore 24, thereby locking the latch member 58 and latching mechanism 104 into the latched positions and thereby anchoring the tubular bushing subassembly 22 into the sleeve 28 and seat back 14.

In use, the bushing subassembly 22 may be removed from the sleeve 28 by first removing the post 20 from the bore 24, causing the latch 58 to revert to the biased unlatched position. This allows the bushing subassembly to be removed from the seat frame if desired.

If desired, registration of the upper and lower portions 26a, 26b can be assured by providing a means for registration 106 therebetween. Thus, the disclosed design includes a detent provided in the lower or upper portion to assure registration of the upper and lower portions 26a, 26b as an example of the means for registration 106. In practice, the means for registration 106 include a protrusion from the lower portion 26b that is received within a detent defined within the upper portion 26a, or vice versa.

In order to assure that the tubular bushing subassembly 22 is inserted into bore 54 in the same orientation upon repeated insertion, an orientation locator projection 64 is formed on the upper portion 26a of the tubular bushing subassembly 22. The locator projection 64 is insertable into a slot portion 66 that is provided on the sleeve 28. Additionally, in order to assure that the bushing subassembly 22 is snugly fit into the bore 54, at least one rib 68 of the upper portion 26a may be provided for localized, yet circumferentially distributed frictional engagement with the seat frame bore 54.

The bushing subassembly 22 preferably comprises a plurality of longitudinal ribs 71 within bore 24 in order to facilitate ready insertion thereof during the manufacturing and assembly process. The number and spacing of the ribs 71 depends on several factors, including the length and curvature of the post 20. Without the ribs 71, the post 20 might occasionally bind or rattle within the bore 24 due to manufacturing tolerances. With the ribs 71, the bore 24 is made slightly larger than the post 20. The ribs 71 thus contact the mounting post to equalize and maintain efforts between the bushing 22 and the mounting post.

Accordingly, there has been disclosed a solution to various requests that portions of the head restraint assembly be commonized. These generally are represented by the lower portion 26b of the bushing subassembly 22. This has the attribute of reducing tooling costs, would otherwise be required to manufacture an entire subassembly when in fact the installer merely wishes to alter the appearance of the head 36 of the upper portion 26a (e.g., circular, oval, hexagonal, rectangular or square-shaped) as desired, to be in harmony with the style of vehicle seatback. One benefit of the invention is that the lower portion 26b can be commonized among many vehicle platforms. It remains relatively unchanged.

There thus has been disclosed a bushing subassembly 22 with upper and lower portions 26a, 26b that are separable. In use, the upper portion 26a slides onto the lower portion 26b until an inter-portion latching mechanism 104 and the means for registration 106 engage.

Thus, it is apparent that there has been provided, in accordance with the invention, an improved head restraint assembly for motor vehicle seats that fully satisfies the objects, aims and advantages as set forth above. While the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, and variations as fall within the spirit and broad scope of the following claims.





 
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