Title:
Roof rack assembly for a vehicle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A roof rack assembly includes a side bar having an incised portion thereon, a pad interposed between a roof panel and the side bar, a side rail extending in a fore-and-aft direction of a vehicle, and a mounting plate having a rail structure on which the side rail is slidably attached. The mounting plate is positioned on the incised portion of the side bar. The pad, side bar, and mounting plate are superposed in order and fixed together to the roof panel by a fastening means.



Inventors:
Jeong, Dae Seok (Hwaseong-si, KR)
Application Number:
11/001495
Publication Date:
10/27/2005
Filing Date:
12/01/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B60R9/058; A47F7/00; B60R9/04; E04D1/00; (IPC1-7): A47F7/00; E04D1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
OLSON, MARGARET LINNEA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP (SF) (San Francisco, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A roof rack assembly, comprising: a side bar having an incised portion; a pad interposed between a roof panel and the side bar; a side rail extending in a fore-and-aft direction of a vehicle; and a mounting plate having a rail structure on which the side rail is slidably attached, the mounting plate being sat on the incised portion of the side bar, wherein the pad, the side bar, and the mounting plate are superposed in order and are fixed together to a roof panel by a fastening means.

2. The roof rack assembly according to claim 1, wherein the side rail is provided with an opening adapted to receive a crossbar, the opening located at the lateral surface facing the center of a vehicle.

3. The roof rack assembly according to claim 1, wherein the side bar is provided with a flange covering a ditch where an outer side panel and a roof panel are welded to each other, wherein the flange is configured to constitute substantially flat surface along the outer side panel.

4. The roof rack assembly according to claim 2, wherein the side bar is provided with a flange covering a ditch where an outer side panel and a roof panel are welded to each other, wherein the flange is configured to constitute substantially flat surface along the outer side panel.

5. A roof rack assembly, comprising: a side bar having an incised portion; a pad configured to be interposed between a roof panel and the side bar; a side rail; and a mounting plate having a rail structure on which the side rail slidably couples, wherein the mounting plate couples with the incised portion of the side bar, and wherein the pad, the side bar, and the mounting plate are coupled together.

6. The roof rack assembly according to claim 5, wherein the side rail defines an opening adapted to receive a crossbar, wherein the opening is positioned at a lateral surface facing a center of the vehicle.

7. The roof rack assembly according to claim 5, wherein the side bar further includes a flange configured for covering a ditch where an outer side panel and a roof panel are coupled together.

8. The roof rack assembly according to claim 7, wherein the flange is configured to constitute a substantially flat surface.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based on, and claims priority from, Korean Patent Application No. 2004-0023315, filed on Apr. 6, 2004, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to a roof rack assembly for a vehicle. More particularly the roof rack assembly is capable of preventing dust from entering inside a side rail while enhancing the outer appearance of the vehicle by concealing fastening means.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Generally, to ensure a sufficiently strong passenger compartment and reduced impact to another vehicle in the event of a vehicle collision, a passenger vehicle adapts a monocoque body, which is formed by integrating chassis frame members with a body of the vehicle. Such a monocoque body is often composed of front and rear body panels. The front body panels typically include a hood panel, a floor panel, a side panel, and a roof panel while the rear panels typically include a trunk lid and a cowl panel. The monocoque body is provided with a front pillar, a center pillar, and a rear pillar so as to reinforce the body. The panels are fixed to each other by welding or other fastening means.

A roof rack assembly is commonly mounted on the roof panel of certain types of vehicles, such as sport utility vehicles, in order to carry luggage, bicycles, skies, and/or other large sporting equipment that is too long or too big for stowage within the vehicle. For example, a conventional roof rack assembly comprising a side rail having a slidably adjustable crossbar coupled thereto and a side bar covering an overlapped portion of a roof panel and an outer side panel. The side bar is interposed between the side rail and the roof panel while protecting a sitting part and both ends of the side rail. In such an arrangement, the side rail and the side bar fit into a ditch formed on the body panel and are securely fixed thereto by means of a nut and a mounting bolt integrally formed on a mounting bracket. The mounting bracket is often welded to the ditch.

However, the conventional roof rack assembly is disadvantageous in that dust or other contaminants may enter through the opening and accumulate therein resulting in disturbing the sliding of the crossbar. Moreover, the mounting blot and nut are exposed without coverings which deteriorates the aesthetic appearance of the roof rack assembly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a roof rack assembly capable of preventing dust from being introduced into the inside of a side rail by configuring an opening of the side rail at the lateral surface thereof. It is another object of the present invention to provide a roof rack assembly that has an aesthetically pleasing appearance by concealing a fastening means of the roof rack assembly.

To achieve these objects of the present invention, one embodiment of a roof rack assembly includes a side bar having an incised portion thereon. A pad is interposed between a roof panel and the side bar. A side rail extends in a fore-and-aft direction of the vehicle and a mounting plate has a rail structure on which the side rail is slidably attached. The mounting plate is positioned on the incised portion of the side bar. The pad, side bar, and mounting plate are superposed in order and fixed together to the roof panel by a fastening means.

Preferably, the side rail is provided with an opening adapted to receive a crossbar. The opening is located at a lateral surface facing the center of a vehicle. More preferably, the side bar is provided with a flange covering a ditch where an outer side panel and a roof panel are welded to each other. Furthermore, the flange is configured to constitute a substantially flat surface along the outer side panel.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The aforementioned aspect and other features of the present invention will be explained in the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective, cross-sectional view of a side rail and a mounting plate of a roof rack assembly according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of a roof rack assembly according to an embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a roof rack assembly according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As shown in FIG. 3, the roof rack assembly is mounted on a roof panel 100, adjacent to a ditch 300 where the roof panel 100 and an outer side panel 200 are coupled. In such an arrangement, a side bar 30 having a flange 31 is disposed along the ditch 300. In order to improve the appearance of a vehicle, the flange 31 covers the ditch 300 while constituting a substantially flat surface along the outer side panel 200.

The roof panel 100 is provided with an aperture 110, through which a bolt 50 is inserted so as to secure the roof rack assembly to the roof panel 100. Disposed below the aperture 110 is a nut 10 adapted to couple with the bolt 50. The nut 10 is integrally attached below the aperture 110 of the roof panel 100 so as to prevent it from being escaped due to ordinary impacts or vibration of a vehicle.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, a pad 20 and the side bar 30 are mounted on the roof panel aligning with the aperture 110. Subsequently, a mounting plate 40, receiving a side rail 60, is fit into an incised portion 33 formed on the side bar 30. The shape of the incised portion 33 of the side bar 30 may be modified in accordance with the bottom shape of the mounting plate 40. Further, the locations and the number of incised portions 33 in the side bar 30 may be adjustable in conjunction with the thickness of the mounting plate 40 and the strength of the fastening means in order to determine the overall strength of the roof rack assembly. According to an embodiment, the fastening means for fixing the pad 20, the side bar 30, and the mounting plate 40 to the roof panel is bolt 50 with nut 10 coupled thereto. However, it will be appreciated by one of ordinary skill in the art that the fastening means may be substituted by other equivalents such as a screw, a rivet, welding, or the like.

The mounting plate 40 is provided with rail parts 41 that extend upwardly from both ends of the mounting plate 40. The side rail 60 is integrally formed with grooves 61 configured for engaging with the rail parts 41 of the mounting plate 40. According to an embodiment, the side rail 60 is provided with an opening 222 adapted to receive a crossbar which is slidably inserted therein. When the side rail 60 is installed to the roof panel 100, the opening is located at the lateral surface facing the center of a vehicle. Such arrangement of the lateral opening effectively prevents invasion and accumulation of dust or other contaminants into the inside of the side rail, whereby the crossbar can smoothly move along the side rail.

Moreover, the fastening means, for example, the bolt 50 and nut 10, is concealed by the side rail 60 when the side rail 60 is engaged with the mounting plate 40 leading to enhancing the outer appearance of the roof rack assembly.

As described above, the roof rack assembly according to the present invention is advantageous in that the locations and numbers of the mounting plate are readily adjustable in accordance with the application necessity. The roof rack assembly has an aesthetically pleasing appearance encouraged by concealing the fastening means. A strength of the roof rack assembly can be easily adjusted by changing a thickness of the mounting plate and a strength of the fastening means. The opening formed at the lateral surface of the side rail effectively prevents invasion and accumulation of dust or other contaminants into the inside of the side rail, whereby the crossbar can smoothly move along the side rail. And the outer appearance of a vehicle can be improved by employing the side bar having the flange that covers a ditch while constituting a substantially flat surface along the outer side panel.

Even though the present invention is described in detail with reference to the foregoing embodiments, it is not intended to limit the scope of the present invention thereto. It is evident from the foregoing that many variations and modifications may be made by a person having an ordinary skill in the present field without departing from the essential concept of the present invention.





 
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