Title:
Fuel cap and filler tube combination and method therefor
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fuel cap and filler tube combination has a cap having a top and a circumferential skirt extending down from the top. The cap has a plurality of recesses in an interior section of the cap along the circumferential skirt. A filler tube having a first and second opening is provided. A channeling is in fluid communication with the first and second opening to allow a fluid to enter the first opening and exit the filler tube via the second opening. The filler tube has a plurality of protrusions equal in number to the plurality of recesses. The protrusions mate with the recesses to secure the cap to the filler tube. A ring member is coupled to an outer circumference of the filler tube at an upper end near the first opening. The ring member is made of a strong and resilient material. A pressure plate assembly is coupled to an under side of the cap. The pressure plate assembly exerts a downward pressure to cover the first opening when the cap is secured to the filler tube. The downward pressure keeps the protrusions mated with the recesses to secure the cap to the filler tube.



Inventors:
Keller, Russell D. (Boulder City, NV, US)
Application Number:
10/970212
Publication Date:
04/27/2006
Filing Date:
10/21/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/86.2, 220/304
International Classes:
B65D47/02; B65D41/06; B65D53/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HYLTON, ROBIN ANNETTE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEISS & MOY, P.C. (PHOENIX, AZ, US)
Claims:
1. A fuel cap and filler tube combination comprising: a cap having a top and a circumferential skirt extending down from the top, the cap having a plurality of recesses in an interior section of the cap along the circumferential skirt; a filler tube having a first and second opening, a channeling in fluid communication with the first and second opening to allow a fluid to enter the first opening and exit the filler tube via the second opening; a ring member coupled to an outer circumference of the filler tube at an upper end near the first opening, the ring member having a plurality of protrusions equal in number to the plurality of recesses, the protrusions mating with the recesses to secure the cap to the ring member; a pressure plate assembly coupled to an under side of the cap, the pressure plate assembly exerting a downward pressure to cover the first opening when the cap is secured to the filler tube, the downward pressure keeping the protrusions mated with the recesses to secure the cap to the ring member coupled to the filler tube, wherein the pressure plate assembly comprises: a circular plate member, the circular plate sized so that a diameter is slightly smaller than a diameter of an interior section of the cap between edges of the circumferential skirt; and a spring having a first end coupled to a central interior area of the cap and a second end coupled to a central area of the circular plate member.

2. (canceled)

3. A fuel cap and filler tube combination in accordance with claim 1 wherein the circular plate member is covered by an elastomer material which is compressible and resilient.

4. A fuel cap and filler tube combination in accordance with claim 1 wherein the ring member is made of stainless steel.

5. A fuel cap and filler tube combination in accordance with claim 1 further comprising an incline member coupled to each recess to partially form said recess and to guide the protrusion into the recesses.

6. A fuel cap and filler tube combination in accordance with claim 1 further comprising an apron member coupled to an upper exterior section of the filler tube to secure the fuel cap and filler tube combination to a fuel tank.

7. A fuel cap and filler tube combination comprising: a cap having a top and a circumferential skirt extending down from the top, the cap having a plurality of recesses in an interior section of the cap along the circumferential skirt; a filler tube having a first and second opening, a channeling in fluid communication with the first and second opening to allow a fluid to enter the first opening and exit the filler tube via the second opening; a ring member coupled to an outer circumference of the filler tube at an upper end near the first opening, the ring member having a plurality of protrusions equal in number to the plurality of recesses, the protrusions mating with the recesses to secure the cap to the ring member; a pressure plate assembly coupled to an under side of the cap, the pressure plate assembly exerting a downward pressure to cover the first opening when the cap is secured to the filler tube, the downward pressure keeping the protrusions mated with the recesses to secure the cap to the filler tube, wherein the pressure plate assembly comprises: a circular plate member, the circular plate sized so that a diameter is slightly smaller than a diameter of an interior section of the cap between edges of the circumferential skirt wherein the circular plate member is covered by an elastomer material which is compressible and resilient; and a spring having a first end coupled to a central interior area of the cap and a second end coupled to a central area of the circular plate member.

8. A fuel cap and filler tube combination in accordance with claim 7 wherein the ring member is made of stainless steel.

9. A fuel cap and filler tube combination in accordance with claim 7 further comprising an incline member coupled to each recess to partially form said recess and to secure protrusion into the recesses.

10. A fuel cap and filler tube combination in accordance with claim 7 further comprising an apron member coupled to an upper exterior section of the filler tube to secure the fuel cap and filler tube combination to a fuel tank.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,405,040 entitled “CAP FOR FUEL INLET,” issued on Apr. 11, 1995 in the name of the same inventor as the present patent application. The above is hereby incorporated into the present patent application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to fuel caps and, more specifically, to an improved fuel cap and filler tube which provides a better seal between the fuel cap and the filler tube so that the seal will not become compromised.

2. Description of the Prior Art

It is common for large vehicles such as trucks adapted for heavy duty performance to be powered by diesel engines. In general, the fuel for running the engine is contained in one or more tanks appropriately mounted on the vehicle. Fuel is admitted to a fuel tank through what is referred to herein as a filler tube. In order to fill the fuel tank, one must remove the fuel cap from the filler tube to expose an open inlet end of the filler tube where the fuel enters the fuel tank. The filler tube is closed by the cap at times other than when fuel is being admitted to the tank.

A number of regulations apply to the cap in order to minimizing fuel leakage and fire hazards as a result of collision or other vehicle mishap. One regulation is known as the so-called drop test. The drop test, as it names implies, is a test where a load is dropped a given distance onto a cap closing off a filler tube. The fuel cap after the drop test must continue to maintain an effective seal with the filler tube.

Another requirement is that the fuel cap must be able to vent a high pressure condition within a tank caused by high temperature conditions (for instance, a fire), to inhibit explosion of the truck.

Presently, U.S. Pat. No. 5,405,040, discloses a fuel cap and filler tube which overcomes the above problems. However, during refueling of the fuel tanks, many people are extremely rough in their handling of placing the fuel nozzle in the inlet of the filler tube. Thus, damage may occur to the lip area of the neck portion of the filler tube. The damage may compromise the seal between the fuel cap and the filler tube.

Therefore, a need existed to provide an improved fuel cap and filler tube. The improved fuel cap and filler tube must overcome the problems associated with prior art fuel caps and filler tubes. The improved fuel cap and filler tube must provide a better seal between the fuel cap and the filler tube so that the seal will not become compromised.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved an improved fuel cap and filler tube.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved fuel cap and filler tube that overcomes the problems associated with prior art fuel caps and filler tubes.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide an improved fuel cap and filler tube that provides a better seal between the fuel cap and the filler tube so that the seal will not become compromised.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a fuel cap and filler tube combination is disclosed. The fuel cap and filler tube combination has a cap having a top and a circumferential skirt extending down from the top. The cap has a plurality of recesses in an interior section of the cap along the circumferential skirt. A filler tube having a first and second opening is provided. A channeling is in fluid communication with the first and second opening to allow a fluid to enter the first opening and exit the filler tube via the second opening. The filler tube has a plurality of protrusions equal in number to the plurality of recesses. The protrusions mate with the recesses to secure the cap to the filler tube. A ring member is coupled to an outer circumference of the filler tube at an upper end near the first opening. The ring member is made of a strong and resilient material. A pressure plate assembly is coupled to an under side of the cap. The pressure plate assembly exerts a downward pressure to cover the first opening when the cap is secured to the filler tube. The downward pressure keeps the protrusions mated with the recesses to secure the cap to the filler tube.

The foregoing and other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following, more particular, description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features believed characteristic of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. The invention itself, as well as a preferred mode of use, and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description of illustrated embodiments when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 is an elevated perspective view of the fuel cap filler tube assembly of the present invention with the fuel cap secured to the filler tube.

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of the fuel cap filler tube assembly of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a top view looking down from lines 3-3 of FIG. 2 of the filler tube assembly used in the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a side view illustrating the details of a pin system employed in securing the fuel cap to the filler tube.

FIG. 5 is an elevated perspective view of the fuel cap filler tube assembly of the present invention with the fuel cap removed from the filler tube.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIGS. 1-5, wherein like numerals and symbols represent like elements, a fuel cap and filler tube combination 10 is shown. The fuel cap and filler tube combination 10 is comprised of a fuel cap assembly 12 and a filler tube assembly 14. The fuel cap and filler tube combination 10 provides a better seal between the fuel cap assembly 12 and the filler tube assembly 14 so that the seal will not become compromised.

The filler tube assembly 14 is coupled to a fuel tank (not shown). The filler tube assembly 14 allows for fuel to be deposited into the fuel tank. The filler tube assembly 14 includes a filler tube 16 which extends into the interior of the tank and an apron 18 extending about the filler tube. The tube apron 18 is coupled to the fuel tank wall. In general, the tube apron 18 is welded to the fuel tank wall.

The filler tube 16 has at its upper end an opening 20. In the embodiment depicted in the Figures, the opening 20 is circular in shape. The opening 20 is in fluid communication with a second opening 22 via a channeling 24 which runs the length of the filler tube 16. The second opening 22 connects to the interior of the fuel tank through filler tube 16. Thus fuel is introduced into the fuel tank by dispensing the fuel through the filler tube 16 and into the fuel tank.

A ring member 26 is coupled to the filler tube 16 at its upper end near the opening 20. The ring member 26 is coupled to the outer circumference of the filler tube 16. The ring member 26 is generally welded to the filler tube 16. The ring member 26 is made of a strong and resilient material such as stainless steel. However, other material may be used without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. The ring member 26 is used to protect the seal between the fuel cap 12 and the filler tube assembly 14. When refueling the fuel tank, many individuals are extremely rough when inserting the fuel pump nozzle into the filler tube 16. The rough handling can damage a lip area 25 around the opening 22 of the filler tube 16. If the lip area 25 of the filler tube 16 is damaged, the seal between the fuel cap 12 and the filler tube assembly 14 may be compromised. By coupling the ring member 26 to the outer circumference of the filler tube 16, the ring member 26 will protect the lip area 25 of the filler tube 16 by making the area surrounding the opening 22 more durable. Thus, the ring member 26 is used to ensure the seal between the fuel cap 12 and the filler tube assembly 14.

Located along the outer perimeter of the ring member 26 is a plurality of protrusions 30. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3, four protrusions 30 are shown. However, any number of protrusions may be located along the outer perimeter of the ring member 26 without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. The protrusions 30 are generally equally spaced along the outer perimeter of the ring member 26 and extend out and away from the filler tube 16. The protrusions 30 are used for locking the fuel cap 12 and the filler tube assembly 14.

Closing off the opening 22 of the filler tube assembly 14, at periods other then when the tank is being filled with a fuel, is a fuel cap assembly 12. The fuel cap assembly 12 includes a cap 32 with a top 34 of generally circular outline. Joined to and extending downwardly from this top is a substantially cylindrical skirt 36.

Joined to the underside of the top 34 and extending downwardly in an axial direction is a pressure plate assembly 38. The pressure plate assembly 38 is mounted on the underside of the cap 32. The pressure plate assembly 38 includes a plate 40. The plate 40 is circular in shape and is positioned in the underside of the top 34. The plate 40 is sized so that the diameter of the plate 34 is slightly smaller than the diameter of the interior of the cap 32 between the edges of the cylindrical skirt 36. The plate 34 is movably coupled to the interior of the cap 32 by a spring 42; One end of the spring 42 is coupled to the interior of the cap 32. The other end of the spring 42 is coupled to a central area of the plate 34. The spring 42 will force the plate 34 in a downward manner thereby closing the opening 22 and providing a seal. In order to enhance the seal, the plate 34 may be covered by an elastomer material which is compressible and resilient, whereby it may provide a proper shield with a closure member pressed there against.

Formed on the interior of the cylindrical skirt 36 is a plurality of recesses 44. The number of recesses 44 is equal to the number of protrusions 30. The recesses 44 run in a vertical direction. A ramp 46 is formed next to each recess 44 and leads up to and helps form the recess 44. When the fuel cap assembly 12 is placed over the filler tube assembly 14, one aligns each protrusion 30 with a corresponding recess 44. When properly aligned, the protrusions 30 will slid into the corresponding recesses 44. The spring 42 will exert a downward pressure on the plate 40 thereby securing the protrusions 30 into the corresponding recesses 44. The spring 42 will force the plate 34 in a downward manner thereby closing the opening 22 and providing a seal.

The cap assembly 32 disclosed is what is referred to as a quick-closing cap 32. This is because the cap 32 to secure it in place on the upper end of the filler tube assembly 14 need be given only a small fraction of a turn with catch structure then engaging establishing an anchored position for the cap.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing and other changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.