Title:
Front-mounted scoop for a vehicle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A front-mounted scoop assembly for a vehicle includes a first frame mounted to the vehicle, a second frame movably supported by the first frame and lockable to the first frame, a scoop pivotally coupled to the second frame and lockable to the second frame, and a scoop lift lever accessible to a driver of the vehicle while driving the vehicle. The scoop lift lever is operatively coupled to the second frame to move the second frame relative to the first frame. The scoop assembly also includes a scoop pivot lever that is accessible to a driver of the vehicle while driving the vehicle. The scoop pivot lever is operatively coupled to the scoop to pivot the scoop relative to the second frame.



Inventors:
Wittkowski, Donald R. (Sullivan, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/155124
Publication Date:
12/21/2006
Filing Date:
06/16/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02F3/76
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MITCHELL, JOEL F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VEDDER PRICE P.C. (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A front-mounted scoop assembly for a vehicle comprising: a first frame mounted to the vehicle; a second frame movably supported by the first frame and lockable to the first frame; a scoop pivotally coupled to the second frame and lockable to the second frame; a scoop lift lever accessible to a driver of the vehicle while driving the vehicle, the scoop lift lever operatively coupled to the second frame to move the second frame relative to the first frame; and a scoop pivot lever accessible to a driver of the vehicle while driving the vehicle, the scoop pivot lever operatively coupled to the scoop to pivot the scoop relative to the second frame.

2. The front-mounted scoop of claim 1, further comprising a scoop pivot handle disposed on the scoop pivot lever, wherein engaging the scoop pivot handle releases the scoop from a loaded position, the scoop configured to pivot to a dumped position when released.

3. The front-mounted scoop of claim 1, wherein the first frame is removably mounted to the vehicle.

4. The front-mounted scoop of claim 1, wherein the scoop lift lever is pivotally connected to the first frame.

5. The front-mounted scoop of claim 1, wherein the scoop pivot lever is pivotally connected to the first frame.

6. The front-mounted scoop of claim 1, further comprising: a scoop pivot bar pivotally coupled to the first frame and connected to the scoop pivot lever; a first scoop actuation link connected to the scoop pivot bar and pivotable therewith; a second scoop actuation link pivotally connected to the first scoop actuation link at a pivot end and releasably connected to a top portion of the scoop; a scoop pivot handle disposed on the scoop pivot lever and operatively coupled to the pivot end of the second scoop actuation link; wherein movement of the scoop pivot lever pivots the scoop through the scoop pivot bar, the first scoop actuation link and the second scoop actuation link; wherein engaging the scoop pivot handle releases the connection between the pivot end of the second scoop actuation link and the top portion of the scoop; and wherein the scoop is pivotally biased toward a dumped position so that the scoop pivots to the dumped position when the scoop pivot handle is engaged.

7. The front-mounted scoop of claim 1, further comprising: a scoop lift bracket pivotally supported by a side of the first frame and being connected to the second frame, the scoop lift bracket having a sleeve for housing an end portion of the scoop lift lever; a slot disposed in the side of the first frame, the slot including a plurality of notches disposed along an edge thereof; a lift lock pin disposed on the scoop lift bracket, a tip of the lift lock pin disposed in the slot and being spring biased toward the edge of the slot having the notches; a scoop lift handle disposed on the scoop lift lever, the scoop lift handle coupled to the lift lock pin; wherein the lift lock pin is engageable with any one of the notches in the slot to lock the second frame relative to the first frame; and wherein engaging the handle disengages the lift lock pin from a notch to release the second frame from the first frame.

8. A scoop assembly to mount in front of a vehicle, the scoop assembly comprising: a first frame attached to the front of the vehicle; a second frame movably coupled to the first frame, the second frame movable between a lifted position and a lowered position, the second frame lockable in the lifted position; a scoop pivotally coupled to the second frame, the scoop pivotable between a loaded position and a dumped position, the scoop lockable relative to the second frame in the loaded position; a scoop lift lever disposed on a first side of a driver position of the vehicle, the scoop lift lever operatively coupled to the second frame, the scoop lift lever movable between a first position corresponding to the lifted position of the second frame and a second position corresponding to the lowered position of the second frame, the scoop lift lever including a lift lock handle to unlock the second frame from the lifted position; and a scoop pivot lever disposed on a second side of the driver position of the vehicle, the scoop pivot lever operatively coupled to the scoop, the scoop pivot lever being movable between a lowered position corresponding to the dumped position of the scoop when the scoop is coupled to the scoop pivot lever, and a raised position corresponding to the loaded position of the scoop when the scoop is coupled to the scoop pivot lever, the scoop pivot lever including a pivot lock handle operatively coupled to the scoop to unlock the scoop from the loaded position.

9. The scoop assembly of claim 8, wherein engaging the scoop pivot handle releases the scoop from a loaded position, the scoop configured to pivot to a dumped position when released.

10. The scoop assembly of claim 8, wherein the first frame is removably mounted to the vehicle.

11. The scoop assembly of claim 8, wherein the scoop lift lever is pivotally connected to the first frame.

12. The scoop assembly of claim 8, wherein the scoop pivot lever is pivotally connected to the first frame.

13. The scoop assembly of claim 8, further comprising: a scoop pivot bar pivotally coupled to the first frame and connected to the scoop pivot lever; a first scoop actuation link connected to the scoop pivot bar and pivoting therewith; a second scoop actuation link pivotally connected to the first scoop actuation link at a pivot end and releasably connected to a top portion of the scoop; wherein the scoop pivot handle is operatively coupled to the pivot end of the second scoop actuation link; wherein movement of the scoop pivot lever pivots the scoop through the scoop pivot bar, the first scoop actuation link and the second scoop actuation link; wherein engaging the scoop pivot handle releases the connection between the pivot end of the second scoop actuation link and the top portion of the scoop; and wherein the scoop is pivotally biased toward the dumped position so that the scoop pivots to the dumped position when the scoop pivot handle is engaged.

14. The scoop assembly of claim 8, further comprising: a scoop lift bracket pivotally supported by a portion of the first frame and being connected to the second frame, the lift bracket having a sleeve for housing an end portion of the scoop lift lever; a slot disposed in the portion of the first frame, the slot including a plurality of notches disposed along an edge thereof; a lift lock pin disposed on the scoop lift bracket, a tip of the lift lock pin disposed in the slot and being spring biased toward the edge of the slot having the notches; wherein the scoop lift handle is operatively coupled to the lift lock pin; wherein the lift lock pin is engageable with any one of the notches in the slot to lock the second frame relative to the first frame; and wherein engaging the handle disengages the lift lock pin from a notch to release the second frame from the first frame.

15. A vehicle comprising: a frame movably supported by a front portion of the vehicle and lockable from moving relative to the front portion; a scoop pivotally coupled to the frame and lockable from pivoting relative to the frame; a scoop lift lever accessible to a driver of the vehicle while driving the vehicle, the scoop lift lever coupled to the frame to move the frame relative to front portion of the vehicle; and a scoop pivot lever accessible to a driver of the vehicle while driving the vehicle, the scoop pivot lever coupled to the scoop to pivot the scoop relative to the frame.

16. The vehicle of claim 15, further comprising a scoop pivot handle disposed on the scoop pivot lever, wherein engaging the scoop pivot handle releases the scoop from a loaded position, the scoop configured to pivot to a dumped position when released.

17. The vehicle of claim 15, wherein the scoop lift lever is pivotally connected to the front portion of the vehicle.

18. The vehicle of claim 15, wherein the scoop pivot lever is pivotally connected to the front portion of the vehicle.

19. The vehicle of claim 15, further comprising: a scoop pivot bar pivotally coupled to the front portion of the vehicle and connected to the scoop pivot lever; a first scoop actuation link connected to the scoop pivot bar and pivotable therewith; a second scoop actuation link pivotally connected to the first scoop actuation link at a pivot end and releasably connected to a top portion of the scoop; a scoop pivot handle disposed on the scoop pivot lever and operatively coupled to the pivot end of the second scoop actuation link; wherein movement of the scoop pivot lever pivots the scoop through the scoop pivot bar, the first scoop actuation link and the second scoop actuation link; wherein engaging the scoop pivot handle releases the connection between the pivot end of the second scoop actuation link and the top portion of the scoop; and wherein the scoop is pivotally biased toward a dumped position so that the scoop pivots to the dumped position when the scoop pivot handle is engaged.

20. The vehicle of claim 15, further comprising: a scoop lift bracket pivotally supported by a side of the front portion of the vehicle and being connected to the frame, the scoop lift bracket having a sleeve for housing an end portion of the scoop lift lever; a slot disposed in the side of the front portion of the vehicle, the slot including a plurality of notches disposed along an edge thereof; a lift lock pin disposed on the scoop lift bracket, a tip of the lift lock pin disposed in the slot and being spring biased toward the edge of the slot having the notches; a scoop lift handle disposed on the scoop lift lever, the scoop lift handle coupled to the lift lock pin; wherein the lift lock pin is engageable with any one of the notches in the slot to lock the frame relative to front portion of the vehicle; and wherein engaging the handle disengages the lift lock pin from a notch to release the frame from the front portion of the vehicle.

Description:

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present disclosure generally relates to accessories for utility vehicles, and more particularly, relates to a front-mounted scoop for a vehicle.

BACKGROUND

Vehicles such as all terrain vehicles, tractors, riding lawn mowers, small trucks, and other similar vehicles can be provided with accessories that allow such vehicles to provide additional functions. Such accessories may include a snow plow, a scoop for loading and unloading materials, forklift, or a power brush.

Certain accessories must be capable of being manipulated by the driver of the vehicle during operation. A front-mounted scoop is such an accessory. The scoop can be used to carry material from one location to another. Accordingly, the scoop must be capable of being positioned for loading the material therein, moving the material to another location, and dumping the material. Thus, the scoop must be at least capable of being lowered to the ground and lifted off the ground. However, to prevent material spillage and provide more material loading and dumping control, the scoop should also be capable of pivoting.

Therefore, there is a need in the art for a front-mounted scoop that provides pivoting and lifting of the scoop by the driver of the vehicle while driving and operating the vehicle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Certain embodiments are shown in the drawings. However, it is understood that the present disclosure is not limited to the arrangements and instrumentality shown in the attached drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a vehicle having a front-mounted scoop constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of the vehicle of FIG. 1 with the scoop in a lifted position;

FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of the vehicle of FIG. 1 with the scoop in the dumped position;

FIG. 4 illustrates a side view of the vehicle of FIG. 4 with the scoop in the scrapping position;

FIG. 5 illustrates a top view of a front-mounted scoop constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present disclosure;

FIG. 6 illustrates a rear perspective view of a front-mounted scoop constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present disclosure;

FIG. 7 illustrates a top perspective view of a front-mounted scoop constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present disclosure; and

FIG. 8 illustrates a perspective view of a scoop release mechanism constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

For the purposes of promoting and understanding the principles disclosed herein, reference will now be made to the preferred embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope is thereby intended. Such alterations and further modifications in the illustrated device and such further applications are the principles disclosed as illustrated therein as being contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which this disclosure relates.

In accordance with a principal aspect of the present disclosure, a front-mounted scoop assembly for a vehicle includes a first frame mounted to the vehicle, a second frame movably supported by the first frame and lockable to the first frame, a scoop pivotally coupled to the second frame and lockable to the second frame, a scoop lift lever accessible to a driver of the vehicle while driving the vehicle, the scoop lift lever operatively coupled to the second frame to move the second frame relative to the first frame, and a scoop pivot lever accessible to a driver of the vehicle while driving the vehicle, the scoop pivot lever operatively coupled to the scoop to pivot the scoop relative to the second frame.

In accordance with another principal aspect of the present disclosure, a scoop assembly to mount in front of a vehicle includes a first frame attached to the front of the vehicle, a second frame movably coupled to the first frame, the second frame movable between a lifted position and a lowered position, the second frame lockable in the lifted position, and a scoop pivotally coupled to the second frame, the scoop pivotable between a loaded position and a dumped position, the scoop lockable relative to the second frame in the loaded position. The scoop assembly further includes a scoop lift lever disposed on a first side of a driver position of the vehicle, the scoop lift lever operatively coupled to the second frame, the scoop lift lever movable between a first position corresponding to the lifted position of the second frame and a second position corresponding to the lowered position of the second frame, the scoop lift lever including a lift lock handle to unlock the second frame from the lifted position. The scoop assembly additionally includes a scoop pivot lever disposed on a second side of the driver position of the vehicle, the scoop pivot lever operatively coupled to the scoop, the scoop pivot lever being movable between a lowered position corresponding to the dumped position of the scoop when the scoop is coupled to the scoop pivot lever, and a raised position corresponding to the loaded position of the scoop when the scoop is coupled to the scoop pivot lever, the scoop pivot lever including a pivot lock handle operatively coupled to the scoop to unlock the scoop from the loaded position.

In accordance with a principal aspect of the present disclosure, a vehicle includes a frame movably supported by a front portion of the vehicle and lockable from moving relative to the front portion and a scoop pivotally coupled to the frame and lockable from pivoting relative to the frame. The vehicle further includes a scoop lift lever accessible to a driver of the vehicle while driving the vehicle, the scoop lift lever coupled to the frame to move the frame relative to front portion of the vehicle, and a scoop pivot lever accessible to a driver of the vehicle while driving the vehicle, the scoop pivot lever coupled to the scoop to pivot the scoop relative to the frame.

Referring to FIG. 1, a vehicle 20 having a front mounted scoop assembly 22 constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present disclosure as shown. The scoop assembly 22 includes a first frame 24 and a second frame 26 that is pivotally coupled to the first frame 24. The first frame 24 can be mounted to the front of the vehicle 20. The scoop assembly 22 further includes a scoop 28 that is pivotally connected to both the first frame 24 and the second frame 26. The scoop assembly 22 further includes a scoop pivot assembly 30 that pivotally couples the scoop 28 to the first frame 24. A scoop pivot lever 32 is connected to the scoop pivot assembly 30. When the scoop pivot lever 32 is actuated, it will pivot the scoop 28. A scoop lift lever 34 is pivotally connected to the second frame 26 such that when actuated, it will lift the second frame 26 to thereby lift the scoop 28.

Referring to FIGS. 2-5, details of the scoop pivot assembly 30 and the operation thereof will now be described. The first frame 24 includes the pair of spaced apart side plates 40 that remain fixed relative to the vehicle 20 when the scoop assembly 22 is mounted to the vehicle 20. A scoop pivot bar 42 is pivotally connected to both the side plates 40 such that it covers the distance between the two side plates 40. The scoop pivot bar 42 further extends outside the side plate 40 that is positioned on the right side of the vehicle 20 to provide an attachment location for the scoop pivot lever 32. The scoop pivot lever 32 is attached to the scoop pivot bar 42 by a bracket 43. Referring to FIGS. 5 and 7, at a location below the scoop pivot bar 42, the bracket 43 is connected to the scoop 28 by a scoop pivot arm 41. Accordingly, any rotation of the scoop pivot lever 32 about the scoop pivot bar 42 will push or pull the scoop pivot arm 41, which will cause rotation of the scoop 28, respectively.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 4, 5 and 7, fixedly attached to the scoop pivot bar 42 between the side plates 40 is a first scoop actuation link 44 that pivots with the pivoting of the scoop pivot bar 42. A second scoop actuation link 46 is pivotally connected to the first scoop actuation link 44 such that the pair of actuation links 44 and 46 provide a scoop actuation arm. The second scoop actuation link 46 also includes a pivot end 48 that can be removably connected to a scoop pivot bracket 50, which is mounted fixedly on a top portion 52 of the scoop 28. The pivot end 48 of the second scoop actuation link 46 can be releasably connected to the scoop pivot bracket 50 by a scoop release pin 54. The scoop release pin 54 extends through the scoop pivot bracket 50 and can move laterally relative to the scoop pivot bracket 50. The movement of the scoop release pin 54, however, is biased toward the pivot end 48 of the second scoop actuation link 46. Accordingly, when the scoop release pin 54 is not actuated the scoop release pin 54 is biased by a spring 56 to secure the scoop pivot bracket 50 to the pivot end 48.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, the scoop pivot lever 32 includes a scoop pivot handle 60 at the end thereof that is disposed adjacent the right side of the driver seat 62. Accordingly, the driver of the vehicle 20 can easily access the scoop pivot handle 60 while driving the vehicle 20. A scoop release lever 64 is disposed on the scoop pivot handle 60 and is coupled to the scoop release pin 54. The coupling between the scoop release lever 64 and the scoop release pin 54 can be provided by any type of linkage that will provide movement of the scoop release pin 54 with the engagement of the scoop release lever 64. In the disclosed examples, the scoop release lever 64 is coupled to the scoop release pin 54 by a cable 66.

The driver can pivot the scoop 28 with the scoop pivot lever 32. By moving the scoop pivot lever 32 up or down, the scoop pivot arm 41 pulls and pushes the scoop 28, respectively, to rotate the scoop 28. Additionally, the movement of the scoop pivot lever 32 rotates the scoop pivot bar 48 to thereby rotate the first scoop actuation link 44. The rotation of the first scoop actuation link 44 causes the second scoop actuation link 46 to be pushed forward or inward relative to the front of the vehicle 20. The scoop pivot bracket 50 is disposed on the top portion 52 of the scoop 28. A lower forward portion 68 of the scoop 28, however, is pivotally connected to the second frame 26. Therefore, the forward and backward movement of the second scoop actuation link 46 when the pivot end 48 is connected to the scoop pivot bracket 50 in combination with the pushing and pulling of the scoop 28 by the scoop pivot arm 41 cause the scoop 28 to pivot about the lower portion 68, thereby changing the angle of the scoop 28. Therefore, the driver of the vehicle 20 can dump the contents of the scoop 28 by simply pivoting the scoop 28 with the scoop pivot lever 32 without having to engage the scoop release lever 64. However, by engaging the scoop release lever 64 the scoop 28 may pivot beyond the pivoting range that is provided by the scoop pivot lever 32 while the scoop 28 is connected to the second scoop actuation link 46.

When the scoop release lever 64 is not engaged by the driver of the vehicle 20, the scoop release pin 54 is biased toward the pivot end 48 of the second scoop actuation link 46 with the spring 56 to securely connect the scoop 28 to the pivot end 48. Accordingly, any movement of the scoop pivot lever 32 will cause a corresponding rotation of the scoop 28. Therefore, the driver of the vehicle 20 can rotate the scoop 28 to any position desired. When the scoop 28 is moved toward a dumped position, the driver can engage the scoop release lever 64 to thereby pull the cable 66, which will cause the scoop release pin 54 to release from the pivot end 48 of the second scoop actuation link 46. Accordingly, the scoop 28 freely rotates downward to a fully dumped position. To reconnect the pivot end 48 with the scoop pivot bracket 50, the driver of the vehicle can rotate the pivot end 48 until it contacts the scoop pivot bracket 50. Further rotation of the pivot end 48 toward the scoop pivot bracket 50 will cause the scoop release pin 54 to re-engage with the pivot end 48 to thereby reconnect the pivot end 48 with the scoop pivot bracket 50.

Referring to FIGS. 2-7, the scoop lift mechanism 80 will now be described in detail. The scoop lift mechanism 80 includes pivotal support bar 81 that is pivotally connected by the side plates 40. A lift bracket 82 is connected to the support bar 81 and pivots the support bar 81. The scoop lift bracket 82 includes a sleeve 83 that receives an end of the scoop lift lever 34. Accordingly, any up or down movement of the scoop lift lever 34 by the driver of the vehicle 20 causes rotation of the scoop lift bracket 82 about the side plate 40 to thereby cause the rotation of the support bar 81. A pair of spaced apart first lift linkages 84 are connected to the support bar 81. A second lift linkage 86 is pivotally connected to a corresponding first linkage 84. Each second linkage 86 is pivotally connected to a first scoop lift arm 87. The pair of spaced apart scoop lift arms 87 are connected to a horizontal scoop support bar 88 that at least spans the width of the scoop 28. A pair of second scoop lift arms 90 are connected to the ends of the scoop support bar 88 and extend forward relative to the vehicle 20. The forward ends of the lift arms 90 are pivotally connected to the lower portion 68 of the scoop 28. A pair of support beams 89 can also connect the corresponding first scoop lift arm 87 to the corresponding horizontal scoop support bar 88. Additionally, the first scoop lift arms 87 can be pivotally connected to the side plates 40 by a bar 91.

When the scoop lift lever 34 is raised or lowered by the driver of the vehicle 20, the first lift linkage 84 rotates with the scoop lift bracket 82 causing the lifting of the second lift linkage 86. Because the second lift linkage 86 is pivotally connected to the scoop support bar 88, the lifting to the second lift linkage 86 lifts the scoop support bar 88, thereby causing the lifting of entire scoop 28 by the pair of lift arms 90. Accordingly, the driver of the vehicle 20 can simply lift and lower the scoop 28 to any position desired by simply lowering or raising the scoop lift lever 34, respectively.

Referring to FIG. 6, a lift lock pin 110 is supported on the lift bracket 82 and can move vertically relative to the lift bracket 82. The lift lock pin 110 includes a locking end 112 that can engage a correspondingly sized notch 114 in an arcuate slot 116 disposed on the outer side of the side plate 40. A separate bracket 117 may also be attached to the side plate 40 that includes the slot 116 rather than the side plate 40 having the slot 116. The curvature of the slot 116 corresponds with the curvature that the lift bracket 82 traces when the lift bracket 82 is pivoted about the side plate 40. Accordingly, the locking end 112 of the lift lock pin 110 can traverse through the slot 116 when not engaged with the notch 114. However, when the locking end 112 of the lift lock pin 110 is engaged with the notch 114, the lift bracket 82 can no longer rotate relative to the side plate 40. Therefore, when the locking end 112 is engaged in the notch 114, the lifted position of the scoop 28 is locked at the position that corresponds to the notch 114.

The notch 114 is positioned at the lower end of the arcuate slot 116. Accordingly, when the lift lock pin 110 is engaged with the notch 114, the scoop 28 will be positioned at its highest lift. In the locked position of the lift lock pin 110, the driver of the vehicle 20 can transport materials that may be in the scoop 28, or simply drive the vehicle 20 without having the scoop 28 contact the ground.

The lift lock pin 110 is biased downward, which is toward engaging the notch 114 by a spring 120. The upward and downward movement of the lift lock pin 110 can be controlled by a scoop lift lock lever 120 that is disposed on the scoop lift lever 34 or on the scoop lift handle 122, which is positioned at the end of the scoop lift lever 34. The lift lock pin 110 can be coupled to the lift lock lever 120 with any type of linkages. In the disclosed example, the lift lock pin 110 is connected to the lift lock lever 120 with a cable 124.

When the scoop lift lock lever 120 is engaged, i.e., pressed by the driver of the vehicle 20, the cable 124 is pulled thereby causing the lifting of the lift lock pin 110. Accordingly, the locking end 112 disengages from the notch 114 and is allowed to traverse in the slot 116. Therefore, the lift bracket 82 is now free to rotate relative to the side plate 40. When the driver lifts or lowers the scoop lift lever 34, the locking end 112 moves in the slot 116. When the driver of the vehicle 20 wishes to fix the lift position of the scoop 28, he can lower the lift scoop lever 34 until the locking end 112 of the lift lock pin 110 engages the notch 114.

Referring to FIGS. 4-7, the scoop assembly 22 can be mounted to a front portion of the vehicle 20. The vehicle 20 can include a pair of spaced apart mounting plates 130 that can receive the side plates 40. The mounting plates 130 can include a pair of outwardly opposed mounting bars 132 and a pair laterally opposed apertures 134. The side plates 40 include a pair of laterally opposed L-shaped slots 136 that can receive the mounting bars 132 such that the scoop assembly 22 can be supported by the mounting plates 130. To secure the scoop assembly 22 to the mounting plates 130, the side plates 40 include apertures 138 that can align with the corresponding apertures 134 of the mounting plates 130. The scoop assembly 22 includes an L-shaped bar 140 that can be inserted into the aligned apertures 134, 138. To prevent the bar 140 from being disengaged from the apertures 134, 138, a cotter pin 142 can be inserted in corresponding bores at the ends of the bar 140.

As described above, the lifting and the pivoting of the scoop 28 can be independently performed. In other words, the lifting of the scoop 28 by the scoop lift lever 34 does not in any way affect the pivoting of the scoop 28. Similarly, the pivoting of the scoop 28 and the release thereof to a dumping position with the scoop pivot lever 32 does not in any way affect the lifting of the scoop 28. Accordingly, the independence of the lift and pivot operations of the scoop 28 provides numerous operational configurations for the scoop assembly 22. For example, as shown in FIG. 3, when the scoop 28 is lifted from the ground and is full of material, the driver can simply press or engage the scoop release lever 64 to release the scoop pivot bracket 50 from the pivot end 48 of the second scoop actuation link 46 to thereby allow the scoop 28 to pivot about its lower portion 68 to dump the contents thereof.

Before, during or after the dumping of the contents of the scoop 28, the operator can also change the lifting of the scoop 28 by raising or lowering the scoop lift lever 34. To load materials into the scoop 28, the scoop lift lever 34 can be raised so as to lower the scoop 28 such that the scoop is touching or scraping the ground. The angle of the scoop 28 can be adjusted by the scoop pivot lever 32 so that the front portion of the scoop is in a ground scraping position. The scoop 28 can scrape the ground when the vehicle 20 is driven forward, thereby loading any material that may be in front of the scoop 28 therein. Accordingly, the lifting and pivoting of the scoop 28 can be combined to put the scoop 28 in the scraping position for loading material into the scoop 28. Once enough material is loaded into the scoop 28, the scoop 28 can be pivoted towards the vehicle 20, so that when the scoop 28 is lifted, the material remains in the scoop 28. The driver of the vehicle 20 can then maintain the position of the scoop 28 and lift the scoop 28 with the scoop lift lever 34 so that the scoop 28 is no longer scraping the ground. In the lifted position shown, the driver of the vehicle 20 can move the vehicle to a location where the dumping of the contents of the scoop 28 is desired. Then, the driver of the vehicle 20 can either pivot the scoop 28 about the lower portion 68 so that the material in the scoop 28 is dumped out, or can simply engage the scoop release lever 64 to release the scoop 28 so that the scoop 28 assumes the dumped position as shown in FIG. 2 and the contents thereof are completely dumped out.

The scoop lift lever 34 and the scoop pivot lever 32 extend from the forward portion of the vehicle 20 to near the sides of the driver of the vehicle 20. Accordingly, the driver of the vehicle 20 can access both the scoop lift handle 122 and the scoop pivot handle 60 without having to change his driving position or having to stop the vehicle 20 or disrupt the operation of the vehicle 20 in any way. In other words, the driver of the vehicle 20 can lift and/or pivot the scoop 28 during the operation of the vehicle 20 without having to change his normal driving position. Because of the length of the scoop lift lever 34 and the scoop pivot lever 32, and because the pivot points for both levers being in front of the vehicle 20, both levers provide leverage to the driver so that the driver can easily manipulate the levers to lift heavy material that is disposed on the scoop 28 or in general operate the scoop assembly 22.

The scoop lift handle 122 and the scoop pivot handle 60 can be oriented and shaped in any way desired so as to make the operation of the scoop lift lever 34 and the scoop pivot lever 32 easier on the driver. For example, the scoop lift handle 22 can be L-shaped with an end that extends outward relative to the driver. The L-shaped scoop lift handle 122 can provide sufficient leverage for the driver to lift the scoop 28 when heavy material is loaded into the scoop 28.

The above-noted components can be rearranged so as to provide the above-described functions of the scoop assembly 22. For example, the scoop pivot lever 32 and the associated components that can provide pivoting of the scoop 28 can be positioned so that the scoop pivot lever 32 is disposed on the left side of the driver and the scoop lift lever 34 is disposed on the right side of the driver.

Furthermore, while the particular preferred embodiments have been shown and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from the teaching of the disclosure. The matter set forth in the foregoing description and accompanying drawings is offered by way of illustration only and not as limitation. The actual scope of the disclosure is intended to be defined in the following claims when viewed in their proper perspective based on the related art.





 
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