Title:
Mudflap Retainer
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mudflap retainer comprising two halves wherein each half has protrusions to extend through the standard hole placements of the mudflap. The halves are mated together through the mudflap creating a wedge at the top of the mudflap. The mudflap can then be inserted through a slot in a mudflap hanger assembly wherein the wedge created by the retainer couples with the mudflap hanger assembly.



Inventors:
Archer, David (Orion, MI, US)
Oberholtzer, David M. (Beverly Hills, MI, US)
Pritchett, Michael (Waterford, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/025510
Publication Date:
08/07/2008
Filing Date:
02/04/2008
Assignee:
Fontaine Spray Suppression Company (Springfield, TN, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B62D25/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VANAMAN, FRANK BENNETT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LANIER FORD SHAVER & PAYNE P.C. (HUNTSVILLE, AL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A mudflap retainer comprising: a first retainer portion releasably connected to a second retainer portion for receiving and retaining a mudflap between said first retainer portion and said second retainer portion.

3. The mudflap assembly of claim 1 wherein said first retainer portion and said second retainer portion are shaped like elongated triangles.

4. The mudflap assembly of claim 1 wherein said first retainer portion and said second retainer portion arc substantially rectangular.

5. The mudflap assembly of claim 1 wherein said first retainer portion and said second retainer portion are substantially cylindrical.

6. The mudflap assembly of claim 1 wherein said first retainer portion and said second retainer portion further comprise at least one fastener.

7. The mudflap assembly of claim 6 wherein said fastener further comprises a plurality of protrusions.

8. The mudflap assembly of claim 7 wherein said protrusions are alternating male/female protrusions such that when mated together, said body is securely attached to said mudflap.

9. A mudflap retainer comprising: a body dimensioned to fit within a slot of a mudflap hanger; and at least one fastener on said body spaced for reception by the openings of a mudflap.

10. The mudflap assembly of claim 9 wherein said body is shaped like an elongated triangle.

11. The mudflap assembly of claim 9 wherein said body is substantially rectangular.

12. The mudflap assembly of claim 9 wherein said body is substantially cylindrical.

13. The mudflap assembly of claim 9 wherein said fastener further comprises a plurality of protrusions.

14. The mudflap assembly of claim 13 wherein said protrusions are alternating male/female protrusions such that when mated together, said body is securely attached to said mudflap.

15. A method for retaining a mudflap comprising the steps of: aligning at least one fastener of a first retainer with at least one opening of a mudflap; and mating said fastener with at least one fastener of a second retainer.

16. The method of claim 15 wherein said aligning step further comprises the step of inserting at least one protrusion of said first retainer through said opening of said mudflap.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/887,940, entitled “Ramping Mudflap Assembly,” filed on Feb. 2, 2007, which is fully incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present disclosure relates generally to the field of spray suppression in commercial trucking. In particular, the present disclosure relates to a mudflap assembly.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Mudguards or mudflaps are used primarily behind single or dual rear-wheeled truck and trailer vehicles, particularly heavy duty class 6, 7, and 8. Typically, the mudflap assemblies have the ability to flex in horizontal and vertical directions in order to withstand forces placed upon them during normal operation. Some mudguard mounting structures comprise a single piece of spring-like bar stock bent in a shape for supporting the mudguards and for flexing in all directions.

Other mounting assemblies for mudflaps use a rigid hanger assembly and resiliently bias the hanger assembly to a seat which is attached to a vehicle. In such assemblies, devices are often provided for restraining rotational movement of the hanger assembly with respect to the seat so that the mudflap always remains in its vertical orientation. If the hanger rotates so that the flap moves toward the wheels, the wheels orientation. If the hanger rotates so that the flap moves toward the wheels, the wheels may prematurely wear the mudflap away. If the hanger rotates in an opposite direction, the effectiveness of the mudflap may be diminished.

Mudflap brackets having a horizontal tube with a longitudinal mudflap mounting flange on its underside are known. Such brackets comprise a vehicle frame-mounted plate having bolts or studs of a predetermined, fixed separation, often selected to match existing manufacturer provided apertures in the vehicle frame. A proximate end of the horizontal tube is held against the frame-mounted plate, generally in an abutting relationship, by the bias of an elongate spring residing in the tube, the spring connected at one end to the frame-mounted plate and at the other end to the tube, at a location on the tube distal from the vehicle frame.

The abutting relationship of the horizontal tube and mounting plate to the frame-mounted plate may result in misalignment of the tube, which occurs when the tube is struck or subjected to the forces experienced by the vehicle traveling down the road. The bias of the elongate spring may not overcome the misalignment by itself. Corners or edges between the mounting plate, or tube, and the frame-mounted plate catch or hang up on each other, preventing realignment of the tube. Furthermore, such devices can be expensive to manufacture and replace, and are difficult to install and assemble.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present disclosure is directed to a mudflap retainer to allow for the incorporation of a mudflap into an associated mudflap assembly device. This is accomplished by providing two halves of a mudflap retainer wherein each half of the retainer has protrusions extending through the standard hole placements of the mudflap. The halves are mated together through the mudflap creating a wedge at the top of the mudflap. The mudflap can then be inserted through a slot in a mudflap hanger assembly wherein the wedge created by the retainer couples with the mudflap hanger assembly.

For purposes of summarizing the disclosure, certain aspects, advantages, and novel features of the disclosure have been described herein. It is to be understood that not necessarily all such advantages may be achieved in accordance with any one particular embodiment of the disclosure. Thus, the disclosure may be embodied or carried out in a manner that achieves or optimizes one advantage or group of advantages as taught herein without necessarily achieving other advantages as may be taught or suggested herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present disclosure is described with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the drawings, like reference numbers indicate identical or functionally similar elements. Additionally, the left-most digit(s) of a reference number identifies the drawing in which the reference number first appears.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a mudflap assembly showing mudflap retainers according to the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 is a front internal view of the mudflap assembly of FIG. 1 with the mudflap retainers wedged therein.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the mudflap retainer of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the mudflap retainer of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a front profile view of the mudflap retainer of FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The various embodiments of the present disclosure and their advantages are best understood by referring to FIGS. 1 through 5 of the drawings. The elements of the drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the disclosure. Throughout the drawings, like numerals are used for like and corresponding parts of the various drawings.

Referring now to FIG. 1, a mudflap assembly 101 comprises a bracket 105, a hanger 110, a mudflap 115, and two mudflap retainers 120, 125. The bracket 105 attaches to a vehicle (not shown) behind its wheel (not shown). A hanger 110 couples to the bracket 105 and extends away from the vehicle (not shown) in order to retain a mudflap 115 in a position to deflect flying debris (not shown). The mudflap 115 is coupled to the hanger 110 by two retainers 120, 125, wherein each retainer has a plurality of protrusions (FIGS. 3, 4, 5) which extend through the holes 135 of the mudflap 115. The protrusions of the retainers join together through the holes 135 of the mudflap 115 creating a wedge at the top of the mudflap (FIG. 2). The mudflap 115 can then be inserted through a slot 130 in the hanger 110 wherein the wedge created by the retainers couples with the crevice formed in the slot 130 of the hanger 110.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the inner surfaces 205, 210 of the slot (FIG. 1) form a V-shaped crevice upon which the retainers 120, 125 rest. In this way, the mudflap 115 is retained within the hanger 110, without the need for bolts or other fasteners.

FIGS. 3, 4, and 5 show the side, top, and front views, respectively, of a mudflap retainer 120. Referring now to FIGS. 3-5, a plurality of protrusions 305, 310 are located on the inner wall 340 (FIG. 5), and are spaced such that they match the standard holes 135 (FIG. 1) on the mudflap 115 (FIG. 1). When the inner wall 340 of two retainers 120, 125 (FIG. 1) face each other, the protrusions 305 mate with the protrusions 310 similar to a male/female connection. In other embodiments, other means of attaching the retainers together through the mudflap, such as snaps, buttons, screws, and bolts are possible with or without such protrusions. Furthermore, the two retainers do not have to be separate halves. They may be hinged together at the top such that they clamp down onto the mudflap.

As shown in FIG. 5, in one embodiment the profile of the retainer creates a wedge sufficient to couple with the inner surfaces 205, 210 (FIG. 2) of the slot 130 (FIG. 1) of the hanger 110 (FIG. 1). Accordingly, the top edge 315 of the retainer 120 is wider than the bottom edge 320. In other embodiments, the profile of the retainer may resemble other shapes (square, rectangular, circular) sufficient to fit within the top of the slot 130 (FIG. 1) of the hanger, yet not pass through the bottom of the slot 130 (FIG. 1). In this regard, the profile of the retainer will match the shape of the crevice formed by the inner surfaces of the slot of the hanger.

This disclosure may be provided in other specific forms and embodiments without departing from the essential characteristics as described herein. The embodiments described above are to be considered in all aspects as illustrative only and not restrictive in any manner. The following claims rather than the foregoing description indicate the scope of the disclosure.

As described above and shown in the associated drawings, the present disclosure comprises a mudflap retainer. While particular embodiments of the disclosure have been described, it will be understood, however, that the disclosure is not limited thereto, since modifications may be made by those skilled in the art, particularly in light of the foregoing teachings. It is, therefore, contemplated by the appended claims to cover any such modifications that incorporate those features or those improvements that embody the spirit and scope of the present disclosure.





 
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