Title:
ANTI SIPHON TANK INLET AND METHOD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of fitting an anti-siphon inlet assembly to a fluid tank inlet having an extending neck. The inlet assembly comprises a generally tubular body having an inlet aperture at a first end and depending from a mounting means located at or adjacent the first end. The mounting means comprises at least one skirt spaced from a portion of the tubular member to define a gap therebetween which is open to receive the neck of the tank inlet. The tubular body is passed into said tank inlet so that the tank inlet neck is slidably received within the gap such that at least a portion of the skirt overlaps at least a portion of the inlet neck. The skirt is then secured to the inlet neck.



Inventors:
Wholey, Brian (Blackpool, GB)
Application Number:
11/740987
Publication Date:
10/04/2007
Filing Date:
04/27/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65B3/00; B60K15/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAUDRY, ATIF H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOSE MCKINNEY & EVANS LLP (INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of: fitting an anti-siphon inlet assembly to a fluid tank inlet having an extending neck; the inlet assembly comprising a generally tubular body having an inlet aperture at a first end and depending from a mounting means located at or adjacent said first end; one or more apertures remote from said first end to allow the passage of fluid through the tubular body into said tank; a blocking member disposed within said tubular body to block the passage of a siphon tube through said tubular body; wherein the mounting means comprises a skirt spaced from a portion of the tubular member to define a gap therebetween which is configured to receive the neck of the tank inlet; the method comprising: passing the tubular body in to said tank inlet so that the tank inlet neck is slidably received within the gap such that at least a portion of said skirt overlaps at least a portion of the inlet neck, and securing the skirt to the inlet neck.

2. The method according to claim 1, wherein said skirt comprises an annular skirt and said gap is an annular recess defined around said portion of the tubular member.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein securing the annular skirt to the inlet neck comprises bonding the skirt to the inlet neck around the circumference of the skirt.

4. The method according to claim 2, wherein securing the annular skirt to the inlet comprises welding the skirt to the inlet neck around the circumference of the skirt.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein securing said skirt to the inlet neck comprises fastening the skirt to the inlet neck using fasteners.

6. The method according to claim 3, further comprising the step of riveting the annular skirt to the inlet neck subsequent to said bonding.

7. The method according to claim 1, wherein an annular seal member is located around said portion of the tubular member so that said tank inlet neck is slidably received over said seal member so that the seal member provides a fluid seal between the inlet neck and the tubular member.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the skirt comprises a plurality of skirts and the gap comprises a plurality of gaps, each said skirt and the tubular body defining one of said gaps therebetween.

9. A fluid tank inlet assembly adapted for fitting to a tubular neck of a fluid tank inlet, the inlet assembly comprising: a generally tubular body having an inlet aperture at a first end and depending from a mounting means located at or adjacent said first end; one or more apertures remote from said first end to allow the passage of fluid through the tubular body into said tank; and a blocking member disposed within said tubular body to block the passage of a siphon tube through said tubular body, wherein the mounting means comprises a skirt spaced from a portion of said tubular body, a gap being defined between said portion of tubular body and said skirt, the gap having an open end for slidably receiving a portion of the neck of a tank inlet, the gap having a radial width and a length extending from said open end to receive a neck portion of the same length, wherein the length of the gap is not less than half its radial width.

10. A fluid tank inlet assembly according to claim 9, wherein said skirt comprises an annular skirt surrounding said portion of the tubular body and said gap comprises an annular recess defined between said portion of the tubular body and the annular skirt.

11. A fluid tank inlet assembly according to claim 10, wherein the annular skirt depends from a annular flange extending radially from the tubular body, a surface of the annular flange defining an end of the annular recess opposing said open end.

12. A fluid tank inlet assembly according to claim 9, wherein said portion of the tubular body has an enlarged radial thickness relative to at least the majority of the tubular body depending therefrom.

13. A fluid tank inlet assembly according to claim 9, further comprising an annular seal member disposed around said portion of the tubular body, such that the width of the gap is defined between said skirt and said seal member.

14. A fluid tank inlet assembly according to claim 9, wherein the gap has a radial width sufficient to accommodate a range of different diameter tank inlet necks.

15. A fluid tank inlet assembly according to claim 9, wherein said first end of the tubular inlet is provided with fuel cap engagement means.

16. The method of claim 9, wherein the skirt comprises a plurality of skirts and the gap comprises a plurality of gaps, each said skirt and the tubular body defining one of said gaps therebetween.

17. A fluid tank inlet assembly adapted for fitting to a tubular neck of a fluid tank inlet, the inlet assembly comprising: a generally tubular body having an inlet aperture at a first end and depending from a mounting means located at or adjacent said first end; one or more apertures remote from said first end to allow the passage of fluid through the tubular body into said tank; and a blocking member disposed within said tubular body to block the passage of a siphon tube through said tubular body, wherein the mounting means comprises a skirt spaced from a portion of said tubular body, a gap being defined between said portion of tubular body and said skirt, the gap having an open end for slidably receiving a portion of the neck of a tank inlet, the gap having a radial width and a length extending from said open end to receive a neck portion of the same length, wherein said portion of the tubular body has an enlarged radial thickness relative to the radial thickness of at least the majority of the tubular body depending therefrom.

18. A fluid tank inlet assembly according to claim 17, wherein said skirt comprises an annular skirt surrounding said portion of the tubular body, and said gap comprises an annular recess defined between said portion of the tubular body and the annular skirt.

19. The method of claim 17, wherein the skirt comprises a plurality of skirts and the gap comprises a plurality of gaps, each said skirt and the tubular body defining one of said gaps therebetween.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This is a continuation application of International Application PCT/GB2005/004259, filed Nov. 3, 2005, which claims priority to GB 0424338.2, filed Nov. 3, 2004, both of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to inlets for fluid tanks such as a vehicle fuel tank. Particularly, but not exclusively, the present invention relates to an anti-siphon inlet for vehicle fuel tanks.

The theft of fuel by siphoning from the fuel tanks of vehicles and, in particular, commercial road vehicles, is a recognized problem. It is conventional to fit vehicles with a lockable fuel tank filler cap to prevent unauthorized access to the tank inlet. However, since the fuel filler cap is accessible, it is vulnerable to tampering and can often be forced open by the determined thief. In addition, it is not always practical to fit a vehicle with a lockable fuel filler cap.

This problem has been addressed in the prior art by provision of a fluid tank inlet pipe incorporating a float valve to prevent fuel being drawn off by siphoning from the tank inlet.

For example, French Patent No. FR 2 534 888 discloses a fuel tank inlet pipe assembly provided with a float valve at its inner end. The float valve comprises a ball float retained in an apertured float chamber and which sits against a valve seat defined at the end of the inlet pipe when the fuel level in the tank is above the end of the inlet pipe to thereby prevent fuel flow back through the pipe. A grill is fitted in the inlet pipe a short distance above the valve seat to prevent a siphon tube being used to force the ball valve away from its seat. The grill itself is protected by a gentle S bend in the inlet pipe which prevents insertion of a rigid tool to penetrate the grill. A thief would only be able to remove any fuel present in the inlet pipe above the level of the grill.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,995,007 discloses an anti-siphon inlet assembly comprising an inlet pipe provided with a baffle plate within its inlet portion and a float valve disposed in the pipe below the baffle plate. Examples of anti-siphon fuel tank inlet assemblies provided with baffles to prevent insertion of a siphon tube, but which do not have a float valve, are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,145,759 and 3,951,297.

The applicant has now recognized that it is desirable to provide an inlet assembly which can be easily fitted to an existing fluid tank inlet aperture. However, it may be appreciated that in order for such an inlet assembly to provide an effective means for preventing theft it is essential that the assembly can be securely attached to the tank inlet aperture to prevent its easy removal. Thus, the need for secure attachment must be balanced with the ease and simplicity of installing the inlet in place of an existing inlet.

For example, the fuel inlet pipe disclosed in French Patent No. FR 2 534 888 appears to be either welded or brazed into position by a fillet around the neck of the tank aperture, and in U.S. Pat. No. 1,995,007 the inlet pipe is provided with an exterior flange midway along its length for attachment to the tank. Although these arrangements provide a secure attachment, they do not allow for ease of attachment and are, therefore, not ideal for an assembly to be fitted to an existing tank.

The anti-siphon inlet assemblies disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,145,759 and 3,951,297 are more readily fitted to a tank inlet neck, but in each case the inlet assembly is designed to fit to a specific tank inlet neck size and configuration. For instance, the inlet assembly of U.S. Pat. No. 3,951,297 comprises a tubular member depending from a tank inlet extension 22 which is provided with an internal screw thread for screwing onto a similarly threaded tank inlet (and may then be bonded or welded to the inlet to prevent removal). U.S. Pat. No. 2,145,759, on the other hand, discloses an inlet assembly comprising a tubular body having lugs which are designed to interlock with an appropriately configured tank inlet neck provided with an internal flange defining locking tongs which engage with the lugs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments incorporating these teachings address the above problems.

According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a method is provided of fitting an anti-siphon inlet assembly to a fluid tank inlet having an extending neck, the inlet assembly comprising a generally tubular body having an inlet aperture at a first end and depending from a mounting means located at or adjacent said first end with one or more apertures remote from said first end to allow the passage of fluid through the tubular body into said tank. A blocking member is disposed within said tubular body to block the passage of a siphon tube through said tubular body, wherein the mounting means comprises a skirt spaced from a portion of the tubular member to define a gap therebetween which is open to receive the neck of the tank inlet. The method comprises passing the tubular body into said tank inlet so that the tank inlet neck is slidably received within the gap such that at least a portion of said skirt overlaps at least a portion of the inlet neck, and securing the skirt to the inlet neck.

Embodiments of the present invention provide a method of fitting a fuel tank inlet assembly (configured in accordance with the present invention) to the neck of a vehicle fuel tank inlet which is relatively straight-forward to perform, provides good security against unauthorized removal, and is not limited to one particular size or configuration of inlet neck. The latter feature is significant in that a single installation method, and inlet assembly, can be fitted to a range of differently sized and configured fluid tank inlet necks. For instance, it will be appreciated that the types of fluid tanks which require protection from siphoning come in a variety of sizes and configurations. For example, vehicle fuel tanks, although often standardized for a particular range of vehicles, can vary dependent upon the manufacturer, size and particular model of the vehicle that the fuel tank is fitted to. However, the fuel tank will generally have an inlet with an extending neck portion designed to receive a cap. The method of fitting an anti-siphon inlet assembly according to the present invention is independent of any particular inlet neck configuration. Moreover, with appropriate dimensioning a single inlet assembly can be configured to accept a range of inlet neck sizes. Accordingly, the present invention provides a method of fitting an anti-siphon inlet assembly to a fuel tank which is wider in application than the prior art anti-siphon inlet assemblies and installation methods discussed above.

The mounting means could comprise a plurality of skirts circumferentially spaced around the tubular member, for example, three or four skirts spaced at 120° or 90° angles around the circumference. Each skirt could effectively define a “tab” which can be secured to the inlet neck by riveting or another similar method. In an exemplary embodiment, there is a single annular skirt surrounding the tubular member so that the gap receiving the inlet neck is an annular recess.

An exemplary anti-siphon inlet assembly comprises a fluid tank inlet assembly adapted for fitting to a tubular neck of a fluid tank inlet, the inlet assembly comprising a generally tubular body having an inlet aperture at a first end and depending from a mounting means located at or adjacent said first end with one or more apertures remote from said first end to allow the passage of fluid through the tubular body into said tank. There is a blocking member disposed within said tubular body to block the passage of a siphon tube through said tubular body, wherein the mounting means comprises a skirt spaced from a portion of said tubular body, a gap being defined between said portion of tubular body and said skirt, the gap having an open end for slidably receiving a portion of the neck of a tank inlet, the gap having a radial width and a length extending from said open end to receive a neck portion of the same length, wherein the length of the gap is not less than half its radial width.

This ensures that the skirt will overlap the top of the inlet tank neck to a degree sufficient to enable secure attachment between the two in the method according to the exemplary embodiment. For instance, the inlet assembly disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,951,297 mentioned above has an annular skirt intended to sit around the very top portion of the inlet neck, the skirt defining a recess the length of which is limited by a sealing gasket so that only a very small portion of the inlet neck is received within the recess. This portion is insufficient to provide secure attachment using rivets or similar fasteners, nor does it provide sufficient contact area between the neck and the skirt to enable secure bonding between the two.

Another exemplary anti-siphon inlet assembly comprises a fluid tank inlet assembly adapted for fitting to a tubular neck of a fluid tank inlet, the inlet assembly comprising a generally tubular body having an inlet aperture at a first end and depending from a mounting means located at or adjacent said first end with one or more apertures remote from said first end to allow the passage of fluid through the tubular body into said tank. A blocking member is disposed within said tubular body to block the passage of a siphon tube through said tubular body, wherein the mounting means comprises a skirt spaced from a portion of said tubular body, a gap being defined between said portion of tubular body and said skirt, the gap having an open end for slidably receiving a portion of the neck of a tank inlet, the gap having a radial width and a length extending from said open end to receive a neck portion of the same length, wherein said portion of the tubular body has an enlarged radial thickness relative to the radial thickness of at least the majority of the tubular body depending therefrom.

Such embodiments of the inlet assembly are particularly suitable for fitting to tank inlet necks of a relatively large diameter. The enlarged portion of the tubular member provides that the radial width of the gap (which is preferably an annular recess defined by an annular skirt) is not so great as to present a problem in centering the inlet assembly within the inlet neck. On the other hand, the internal diameter of the tubular body is no greater than necessary to accommodate a standard fuel pump nozzle (which is desirable to prevent backflow of fuel past the nozzle when filling the fuel tank). In addition, the enlarged portion reinforces the tubular member in the region of its attachment to the inlet neck.

At least one vent aperture is provided in the inlet pipe adjacent to the collar which communicates with the inlet of the fluid tank. The vent aperture is provided to allow the gas to escape as the fuel level rises when the fluid tank is filled. In an exemplary embodiment, a plurality of vent apertures are provided and spaced circumferentially around the inlet pipe.

In another exemplary embodiment, the fluid tank inlet assembly comprises a cap engagement means at its proximal end. An exemplary cap engagement means is arranged to receive the same cap as the fluid tank inlet aperture. Thus, upon installation of the fluid tank inlet assembly, the original fluid tank cap may continue to be used.

In an exemplary embodiment, a blocking member is provided as a means to permit the flow of fluid into the tank but block the passage of a siphon tube. The blocking member comprises a valve means disposed at the distal end of the inlet pipe to allow fluid flow from the distal end of the inlet pipe but to prevent return flow through the inlet pipe. The valve means may be a float valve comprising a float trapped in an apertured float chamber which cooperates with a valve seat defined adjacent the distal end of the inlet pipe.

An exemplary float valve chamber is generally cylindrical and comprises a plurality of fluid flow slots arranged axially relative to the inlet pipe. The float valve may be a ball float.

The exemplary float valve is secured to the end of the inlet pipe by a screw thread connection. In an exemplary embodiment, the float chamber has an axial length no less than half the axial length of the inlet pipe.

In another embodiment, the blocking member comprises a baffle disposed within the inlet pipe. As discussed above, in an arrangement having a valve it is advantageous to provide a baffle between the proximal end of the inlet assembly and the valve to prevent the valve from being mechanically forced open.

In other exemplary embodiments, a baffle is provided rather than a valve. Such arrangements are simplified. It will be appreciated that such an arrangement would not prevent siphoning of fluid from above the distal end of the inlet assembly. However, the applicants have recognized that many commercial road vehicle users routinely fill their vehicle fuel tanks partially full and therefore the provision of a valve is unnecessary.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above-mentioned aspects of the present invention and the manner of obtaining them will become more apparent and the invention itself will be better understood by reference to the following description of the embodiments of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of an anti-siphon inlet assembly with a float valve;

FIG. 2 is a schematic view of an anti-siphon inlet assembly without a float valve;

FIG. 3 is a cross-section of an exemplary mounting arrangement of the anti-siphon inlet assembly; and

FIG. 4 is a cross-section of another exemplary mounting arrangement of the anti-siphon inlet assembly.

Corresponding reference numerals are used to indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The embodiments of the present invention described below are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed in the following detailed description. Rather, the embodiments are chosen and described so that others skilled in the art may appreciate and understand the principles and practices of the present invention.

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a fluid inlet assembly 1 for fitting to a fluid tank 10 comprises a substantially straight body 5, an attachment means 2 at its proximal end and a blocking member 3 to permit the flow of liquid into the tank but block the passage of a siphon tube (the “anti-siphon means”) at its distal end. The attachment means 2 according to the present invention is discussed in more detail further below with reference to FIG. 3.

The body 5 and anti-siphon means 3 of the assembly 1 are similar to that disclosed in the applicants co-pending application No. GB 0 322 594, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety. The attachment means 2, which is provided for attaching the assembly 1 to the inlet aperture 11 of the fuel tank 10, is a novel feature that is described in detail below.

In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the anti-siphon means 3 includes a float valve comprising a float ball 6 held within a float cage 7. The float ball 6 is a spherical, hollow plastic ball. Thus, the float valve is arranged to allow the float ball 6 to be movable along the longitudinal axis of the assembly 1 from a first, open position (as shown in FIG. 1) to a second, closed position when fuel rises above the distal end of the assembly 1. In the illustrated embodiment, the float valve is manufactured separately from the body 5 of the assembly 1 and is attached by a screw thread to the distal end of the body 5. It will be appreciated that when the float valve is closed it is still possible to fill the tank with fuel as the fuel pressure entering the tank opens the valve against its buoyancy.

A baffle plate 8 is provided within the body 5 towards its distal end. The baffle plate 8 comprises a metal plate provided with a plurality of fuel outlet holes and is securely attached across the body 5. The baffle plate 8 protects the float valve and further prevents siphoning when the fuel level is below the level required to close the valve.

The body 5 is provided with a plurality of vent outlets 9 spaced around its circumference adjacent to the attachment means 2. These vent outlets 9 assist the filling of the tank by allowing gas to escape the tank as it is displaced by fuel.

An alternative embodiment, as shown in FIG. 2, comprises an anti-siphon assembly as described above but without a float valve.

This embodiment is intended for use where a tank is generally only filled to a level below the distal end of the assembly. Thus, only a baffle plate 8 is required. The applicant has found that a number of commercial vehicle operators routinely only partially fill their vehicles tanks. This reduces the amount of capital held in fuel at any given time. Such a policy is especially advantageous for companies with large fleets of vehicles which are used for short to medium range transit. Although the amount of fuel held inside the tank is reduced, it is still desirable to protect the fuel from theft.

In this embodiment, the body 5 is further provided with a plurality of inlet holes 20 which are advantageous in reducing the tendency of fuel welling up within the assembly during filling. This is undesirable as it can result in either spilling out of the inlet or causing the dispensing nozzle to shut off (most fuel dispensers are designed to shut off when the fluid level reaches the end of the dispensing nozzle).

With reference to FIG. 3, the attachment means 2 will now be described in detail.

In FIG. 3, the attachment means 2 is provided at the proximal end of the inlet assembly 1 and comprises a mounting flange 30 which extends in the radial direction of the assembly 1. A depending skirt 31 is provided which extends down from the outer edge of the flange 30 in the longitudinal direction of the inlet pipe. The tubular body 5 has a region of increased thickness, i.e., collar 32, adjacent to the skirt 31 such that the flange 30, skirt 31 and collar 32 define an annular recess 33 extending around the outside circumference of the body 5. The annular recess 33 defines a mounting seat arranged to be located over the neck 14 of the tank inlet aperture 11 which includes cap engagement means 12 in the form of a recess formed in the neck of the inlet forming part of a bayonet fitting.

The assembly 1 is attached to the tank inlet aperture 11 by bonding the mounting seat 33 over the neck 14 of the aperture 11. The depending skirt 31 and neck 14 are then drilled and riveted together for additional security.

The collar 32 extends only a limited distance along the body 5 to allow sufficient clearance 34 for any internal rim 13 which may be provided on the tank inlet aperture 11. The collar 32 is provided so that the tubular body 5 is a reasonably snug fit with the inlet neck 14 to centralize the inlet assembly 1 in the tank inlet while avoiding a tubular body 5 with an undesirably large internal diameter. That is, the internal diameter of the tubular body 5 is a minimum required to accommodate a fuel filling nozzle to avoid backflow of fuel past the nozzle when filling the tank. Provision of the collar 32 is, for instance, useful for embodiments of the invention designed for fitting to fuel tank inlet necks of the diameter in the region of 80 mm. The collar 32 would not, for example, be necessary for embodiments of the invention intended for fitting to substantially smaller inlet neck diameters such as 60 mm.

It will be appreciated that the inlet assembly 1 illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 can be fitted to any inlet neck 14 that can be received within the recess 33. Accordingly, a single inlet assembly can accommodate inlet necks of a range of sizes. For example, in one exemplary embodiment the collar 32 has an outside diameter of 77.5 mm and the depending skirt 31 has an inside diameter of 107.8 mm to provide a mounting seat suitable for tank inlet apertures 11 having a neck with a typical inside diameter of 78-80 mm and a typical outside diameter of 104-106.5 mm. The depending skirt 31 extends 15.8 mm from the lower surface of the mounting flange 30 to provide sufficient area for attaching the assembly 1 to the fuel tank 10 and allowing the assembly 1 to be attached to tanks 10 having a neck 14 of varying sizes. Typically the applicant has found that the neck depth on commercial vehicle fuel tanks varies from 25-50 mm. The collar 32 reinforces the inlet assembly 1 in the region of its attachment to the inlet, but is limited to extend less than 37 mm from the lower surface of the rim to allow for a typical internal rim location.

In FIG. 3, the uppermost end of the inlet assembly 1 is provided with a cap engagement means 35. The illustrated engagement means 35 is a bayonet type fitting but other fitting types can be provided as known in the art. The engagement means 35 is arranged so as to allow the original fuel tank cap 36, which prior to fitting of the inlet assembly 1 would be received by engagement means 12, to close the inlet assembly 1.

In the above description, and in FIGS. 1-3, the inlet assembly 1 is fitted to a fluid tank inlet neck which has a bayonet type fitting to receive a fuel cap. The same embodiment can similarly be fitted to fuel tank inlet necks having other configurations, including a neck provided with an external, or internal, screw thread to receive a correspondingly screw threaded cap. The existence of the screw thread will have no impact on the method of fitting the inlet assembly according to the invention. However, in such cases it may be desirable to provide an inlet assembly with a screw threaded surface to receive a cap of the same configuration as would be fitted to the unmodified inlet neck (as an alternative to the bayonet fitting 35 described above).

As mentioned above with regard to the previously described embodiment, the method of securing the inlet assembly 1 to the tank inlet neck 14 is to first bond the skirt 31 to the inlet neck 14 and then to rivet the skirt 31 to the inlet neck 14. The bonding step may provide in some cases initial securement of the inlet assembly 1 for the subsequent riveting operation, but also provides a fluid tight seal to prevent fluid leaking out of the inlet through the annular recess 33. The riveting step then provides further security against unauthorized removal. In other cases, the riveting may be performed before the adhesive used to bond the skirt 31 to the inlet neck 14 has dried or set, in which case the rivets secure the inlet in position while the adhesive hardens.

It will be appreciated that alternative fasteners could be used to secure the inlet assembly 1 to the tank inlet neck 14. For instance, grub screws could be used. In this case, appropriate holes would need to be drilled through the inlet assembly skirt 31, but not through the inlet tank neck 14. This may be advantageous in some applications, although provides less security against removal than riveting.

In an alternative embodiment, an o-ring or similar annular seal member could be located around the tubular body 5 within the recess 33 to be received between the tubular body 5 and an internal annular surface of the tank inlet neck 14. This embodiment is illustrated in FIG. 4 and shows the inlet assembly 1 of FIGS. 1-3 installed within a screw threaded tank inlet neck 38, with an o-ring 37 located around the collar 32 so as to seal the annular gap 33 between the tubular body 5 of the inlet assembly 1 and the inlet neck 38. The skirt 31 can then be secured to the neck 38 by riveting, or using other fasteners such as grub screws etc. Additionally, the skirt 31 could be bonded to the neck 38.

As another modification to the installation procedure, the skirt 31 could be welded to the inlet neck 38. This is not preferred, but nevertheless is a possibility contemplated by the present invention.

Other possible modifications will be readily apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art.

While exemplary embodiments incorporating the principles of the present invention have been disclosed hereinabove, the present invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments. Instead, this application is intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention using its general principles. Further, this application is intended to cover such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice in the art to which this invention pertains and which fall within the limits of the appended claims.