Title:
LOW PROFILE HEATER CORE CONNECTOR
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A low profile heater core connector is disclosed which facilitates installation in a plurality of positions, wherein a size, a weight, and a cost of production of the heater core connector is minimized.



Inventors:
Harris, Richard Kenneth (Pinckney, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/755796
Publication Date:
12/04/2008
Filing Date:
05/31/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F28F9/26
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DUNWOODY, AARON M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP (Toledo, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A heater core connector comprising: a first section having a first end and a spaced apart second end; and a second section having a first end and a spaced apart second end, wherein the first end of the second section receives the second end of the first section, and wherein the first section is selectively positionable with respect to the second section.

2. The heater core connector according to claim 1, wherein the first section is connected to an extension tube.

3. The heater core connector according to claim 1, wherein the second section is disposed on a heat exchanger tank.

4. The heater core connector according to claim 1, wherein a substantially fluid tight seal is formed between the first section and the second section.

5. The heater core connector according to claim 4, wherein the substantially fluid tight seal is facilitated by a brazing of the first section to the second section.

6. The heater core connector according to claim 1, wherein an annular lip formed on the first end of the second section abuts an annular bend formed on the second end of the first section.

7. The heater core connector according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the first section and the second section are formed from aluminum.

8. The heater core connector according to claim 1, wherein the first section is selectively positionable so that a longitudinal axis of the first section is disposed at a 135 degree angle with respect to the longitudinal axis of the second section and at a 255 degree angle with respect to the longitudinal axis of the second section.

9. The heater core connector according to claim 1, wherein the second section is disposed on a cover portion of the heat exchanger tank.

10. A heater core connector comprising: a first section having a first end and a spaced apart second end; and a second section having a first end and a spaced apart second end, wherein the first end of the second section receives the second end of the first section, and wherein a longitudinal axis of the first section is selectively positionable with respect to a longitudinal axis of the second section.

11. The heater core connector according to claim 10, wherein a substantially fluid tight seal is formed between the first section and the second section.

12. The heater core connector according to claim 11, wherein the substantially fluid tight seal is facilitated by a brazing of the first section to the second section.

13. The heater core connector according to claim 10, wherein an annular lip formed on the first end of the second section abuts an annular bend formed on the second end of the first section.

14. The heater core connector according to claim 10, wherein at least one of the first section and the second section are formed from aluminum.

15. The heater core connector according to claim 10, wherein the second section is selectively positionable so that a longitudinal axis of the second section is disposed at a 135 degree angle with respect to the longitudinal axis of the first section and at a 225 degree angle with respect to the longitudinal axis of the first section.

16. The heater core connector according to claim 10, wherein the second section is disposed on a cover portion of the heat exchanger tank.

17. A heater core connector comprising: a first section connected to an extension tube and having a first end and a spaced apart second end; and a second section disposed on a heat exchanger tank and having a first end and a spaced apart second end, wherein the first end of the second section receives the second end of the first section, and wherein a longitudinal axis of the first section is selectively positionable with respect to a longitudinal axis of the heat exchanger tank.

18. The heater core connector according to claim 17, wherein the substantially fluid tight seal is facilitated by a brazing of the first section to the second section.

19. The heater core connector according to claim 17, wherein an annular lip formed on the first end of the second section abuts an annular bend formed on the second end of the first section.

20. The heater core connector according to claim 17, wherein the first section is selectively positionable so that a longitudinal axis of the first section is disposed at a 135 degree angle with respect to the longitudinal axis of the heat exchanger tank and at a 225 degree angle with respect to the longitudinal axis of the heat exchanger tank.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a heater core connector and more particularly to a low profile heater core connector which facilitates installation in a plurality of positions.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Heater core connectors are typically used to connect heat exchanger tanks to other components in a vehicle. Ideally, the connectors have low profiles to comply with packaging requirements and facilitate a fluid tight seal between the heat exchanger tank and the other components.

Prior art heater core connectors are typically comprised of stamped pieces that are brazed together with the heat exchanger to form a fluid-tight connection therebetween. However, the brazing employed on multiple-piece connectors often leaves the connection susceptible to leaking, and limits the available options for connection to extension tubes. Typical stamped, single-piece connectors only allow for use of circular cross-section inlet or outlet configurations, which limit the fluid circuit and the efficiency of the heat exchanger device.

To overcome this problem, heater core connectors have been formed from a single piece of material that is bent to form a desired angle, wherein the brazing step is eliminated. However, typical design guides recommend that a minimum centerline bend radius of a tube section is one and one half times a diameter of the section. Such a bend radius yields connectors having lengths that are undesirable due to packaging limitations which require the connector to have smaller profiles.

It would be desirable to produce a heater core connector having a low profile, wherein a size, a weight, and a cost of production thereof are minimized and wherein the heater core connector can be installed in a plurality of positions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Harmonious with the present invention, a heater core connector having a low profile, wherein a size, a weight, and a cost of production thereof are minimized and wherein the heater core connector can be installed in a plurality of positions, has surprisingly been discovered.

In one embodiment, a heater core connector comprises: a first section having a first end and a spaced apart second end; and a second section having a first end and a spaced apart second end, wherein the first end of the second section receives the second end of the first section, and wherein the first section is selectively positionable with respect to the second section.

In another embodiment, a heater core connector comprises: a first section connected to an extension tube and having a first end and a spaced apart second end; and a second section having a first end and a spaced apart second end, wherein the first end of the second section receives the second end of the first section, and wherein a longitudinal axis of the first section is selectively positionable with respect to a longitudinal axis of the second section.

In another embodiment, a heater core connector comprises: a first section connected to an extension tube and having a first end and a spaced apart second end; and a second section disposed on a heat exchanger tank and having a first end and a spaced apart second end, wherein the first end of the second section receives the second end of the first section, and wherein a longitudinal axis of the first section is selectively positionable with respect to a longitudinal axis of the heat exchanger tank.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above, as well as other objects and advantages of the invention, will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from reading the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention when considered in the light of the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a heater core having an inlet heater core connector and an outlet heater core connector in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of the inlet heater core connector illustrated in FIG. 1 showing the inlet heater core in section;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a heater core having an inlet heater core connector and an outlet heater core connector in accordance with another embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary side elevational view of the inlet heater core connector illustrated in FIG. 3 showing the inlet heater core in section.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The following detailed description and appended drawings describe and illustrate various exemplary embodiments of the invention. The description and drawings serve to enable one skilled in the art to make and use the invention, and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention in any manner.

FIG. 1 shows a heater core 10 including a hollow inlet heater core connector 12 and a hollow outlet heater core connector 14 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. In the embodiment shown, the heater core connectors 12, 14 are formed from aluminum. However, other materials can be used to form the heater core connectors 12, 14 as desired. The heater core 10 includes a first heat exchanger tank 16 having a longitudinal axis LT and disposed at a first end 18 thereof. In the embodiment shown, the heater core 10 is a U-flow type heater core. However, other types of heater cores can be used as desired.

For exemplary purposes, only the inlet heater core connector 12 will now be described. It is understood that the outlet heater core connector 14 is substantially identical in structure to the inlet heater core connector 12. As more clearly shown in FIG. 2, the inlet heater core connector 12 includes a first section 20 and a second section 21.

The first section 20 of the inlet heater core connector 12 includes a first end 22, a spaced apart second end 24, an intermediate portion 26, and a longitudinal axis L1. The first end 22 of the first section 20 is substantially circular in cross section. A first flared portion 28 is formed on the first end 22. The first flared portion 28 is flared substantially radially outwardly from the first end 22. A distal end 30 of the first flared portion 28 is adapted to abut a radially outwardly extending protuberance 32 formed on a first extension tube 34.

A clamp 36 is disposed around the first flared portion 28 of the inlet heater core connector 12 and the protuberance 32 of the first extension tube 34, such as is disclosed in commonly owned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/594,548, hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. In the embodiment shown, the clamp 36 includes a pair of opposed, radially inwardly extending lips 38 that engage the first flared portion 28 of the inlet heater core connector 12 and the protuberance 32 of the first extension tube 34. It is understood that clamps having other shapes and configurations can be used as desired without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. The second end 24 of the first section 20 is substantially circular in cross section. The intermediate portion 26 of the first section 20 has an inner surface 40 having a transition in diameter 42 that is adapted to abut a distal end 43 of the first extension tube 34. The inner surface 40 is adapted to engage an O-ring 44 that is optionally disposed in a channel 46 formed in the extension tube 34. While a single O-ring 44 is shown in the drawings, additional O-rings (not shown) may be disposed in the channel 46 or in additional channels (not shown) as desired. The intermediate portion 26 has an outer surface 48 including a radially outwardly extending annular bend 50 formed adjacent to the second end 24.

In the embodiment illustrated, the second section 21 of the inlet heater core connector 12 is formed separately from and secured to an inlet cover portion 51 of the heat exchanger tank 16. It is understood that the second section 21 can be formed integrally with the inlet cover portion 51 as desired without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention.

The second section 21 of the inlet heater core connector 12 includes a first end 52, a spaced apart second end 54, an intermediate portion 56, and a longitudinal axis L2. The first end 52 includes a substantially circular shaped aperture 58 formed therein adapted to receive the second end 24 of the first section 20 of the inlet heater core connector 12. A radially inwardly extending annular lip 60 formed on the first end 52 is adapted to abut the bend 50 formed on the intermediate portion 26 of the first section 20. The second end 54 of the second section 21 is disposed on the first end 18 of the heater core 10.

To assemble the heater core 10, the first end 22 of the first section 20 of the inlet heater core connector 12 receives the first extension tube 34. The distal end 43 of the first extension tube 34 abuts the transition in diameter 42 of the intermediate portion 26 of the first section 20 of the inlet heater core connector 12. The O-ring 44 disposed between the first extension tube 34 and the inner surface 40 of the first section 20 of the inlet heater core connector 12 forms a substantially fluid tight seal therebetween. The clamp 36 is secured to the first flared portion 28 of the first section 20 of the inlet heater core connector 12 and the first extension tube 34 to militate against relative axial movement therebetween. It is understood that other means of securing the first section 20 of the inlet heater core connector 12 to the first extension tube 34 can be used as desired such as by brazing, for example.

The second end 24 of the first section 20 of the inlet heater core connector 12 is disposed in the aperture 58 formed in the second section 21 of the inlet heater core connector 12, so that the longitudinal axis L1 of the first section 20 is disposed at an angle of approximately 135 degrees with respect to the longitudinal axis L2 of the second section 21. The bend 50 formed on the first section 20 of the inlet heater core connector 12 is then brazed, press fit, or otherwise connected to the lip 60 formed on the second section 21 of the inlet connector 12.

A second extension tube 64 is connected to the outlet heater core connector 14 and the outlet heater core connector 14 is connected to an outlet cover portion 66 of the heat exchanger tank 16 in substantially the same manner as described for the inlet heater core connector 12. The heat exchanger tank 16 is then press fitted or otherwise disposed onto the heater core 10.

In use, a fluid (not shown) is caused to flow through the first extension tube 34 into the inlet heater core connector 12. The fluid flows through the inlet heater core connector 12, into the inlet cover portion 51 of the heat exchanger tank 16, and into the first end 18 of the heater core 10. The fluid then flows through tubes 67 in the heater core 10 to the second end thereof. The tubes 67 extend within the heater core 10 in a generally U-shaped pattern, and guide the fluid to the outlet cover portion 66 of the heat exchanger tank 16. The fluid flows through the outlet cover portion 66 of the heat exchanger tank 16 and into the outlet heater core connector 14. Thereafter, the fluid flows through the outlet heater core connector 14 and into the second extension tube 64.

FIG. 3 shows a heater core 110 including a hollow inlet heater core connector 112 and a hollow outlet heater core connector 114. In the embodiment shown, the heater core connectors 112, 114 are formed from aluminum. However, other materials can be used to form the heater core connectors 112, 114 as desired. The heater core 110 includes a first heat exchanger tank 116 having a longitudinal axis LT2 and disposed at a first end 118 thereof. In the embodiment shown, the heater core 110 is a U-flow type heater core. However, other types of heater cores can be used as desired.

For exemplary purposes, only the inlet heater core connector 112 will now be described. It is understood that the outlet heater core connector 114 is substantially identical in structure to the inlet heater core connector 112. As more clearly shown in FIG. 4, the inlet heater core connector 112 includes a first section 120 and a second section 121.

The first section 120 of the inlet heater core connector 112 includes a first end 122, a spaced apart second end 124, an intermediate portion 126, and a longitudinal axis L11. The first end 122 of the first section 120 is substantially circular in cross section. A first flared portion 128 is formed on the first end 122. The first flared portion 128 is flared substantially radially outwardly from the first end 122. A distal end 130 of the first flared portion 128 is adapted to abut a radially outwardly extending protuberance 132 formed on a first extension tube 134. A clamp 136 is disposed around the first flared portion 128 of the inlet heater core connector 112 and the protuberance 132 of the first extension tube 134. In the embodiment shown, the clamp 136 includes a pair of opposed, radially inwardly extending lips 138 that engage the first flared portion 128 of the inlet heater core connector 112 and the protuberance 132 of the first extension tube 134. It is understood that clamps having other shapes and configurations can be used as desired without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. The second end 124 of the first section 120 is substantially circular in cross section. The intermediate portion 126 of the first section 120 has an inner surface 140 having a transition in diameter 142 that is adapted to abut a distal end 143 of the first extension tube 134. The inner surface 140 is adapted to engage an O-ring 144 that is optionally disposed in a channel 146 formed in the extension tube 134. While a single O-ring 144 is shown in the drawings, additional O-rings (not shown) may be disposed in the channel 146 or in additional channels (not shown) as desired. The intermediate portion 126 has an outer surface 148 including a radially outwardly extending annular bend 150 formed adjacent to the second end 124.

In the embodiment illustrated, the second section 121 of the inlet heater core connector 112 is formed separately from and secured to an inlet cover portion 151 of the heat exchanger tank 116. It is understood that the second section 121 can be formed integrally with the inlet cover portion 151 as desired without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention.

The second section 121 of the inlet heater core connector 112 includes a first end 152, a spaced apart second end 154, and an intermediate portion 156, and a longitudinal axis L12. The first end 152 includes a substantially circular shaped aperture 158 formed therein adapted to receive the second end 124 of the first section 120 of the inlet heater core connector 112. A radially inwardly extending annular lip 160 formed on the first end 152 is adapted to abut the bend 150 formed on the intermediate portion 126 of the first section 120. The second end 154 of the second section 121 is disposed on the first end 118 of the heater core 110.

To assemble the heater core 110, the first end 122 of the first section 120 of the inlet heater core connector 112 receives the first extension tube 134. The distal end 143 of the first extension tube 134 abuts the transition in diameter 142 of the intermediate portion 126 of the first section 120 of the inlet heater core connector 112. The O-ring 144 disposed between the first extension tube 134 and the inner surface 140 of the first section 120 of the inlet heater core connector 112 forms a substantially fluid tight seal therebetween. The clamp 136 is secured to the first flared portion 128 of the first section 120 of the inlet heater core connector 112 and the first extension tube 134 to militate against relative axial movement therebetween. It is understood that other means of securing the first section 120 of the inlet heater core connector 112 to the first extension tube 134 can be used as desired, such as by brazing, for example.

The second end 124 of the first section 120 of the inlet heater core connector 112 is disposed in the aperture 158 formed in the second section 121 of the inlet heater core connector 112 so that the longitudinal axis L11 of the first section 120 is disposed at an angle of approximately 225 degrees with respect to the longitudinal axis L12 of the second section 121. The bend 150 formed on the first section 120 of the inlet heater core connector 112 is then brazed, press fit, or otherwise connected to the lip 160 formed on the second section 121 of the inlet connector 112.

A second extension tube 164 is connected to the outlet heater core connector 114 and the outlet heater core connector 114 is connected to an outlet cover portion 166 of the heat exchanger tank 116 in substantially the same manner as described for the inlet heater core connector 112. The heat exchanger tank 116 is then press fitted onto the heater core 110.

In use, a fluid (not shown) is caused to flow through the first extension tube 134 into the inlet heater core connector 112. The fluid flows through the inlet heater core connector 112, into the inlet cover portion 151 of the heat exchanger tank 116, and into the first end 118 of the heater core 110. The fluid then flows through tubes 167 in the heater core 110 to the second end thereof. The tubes 167 extend within the heater core 110 in a generally U-shaped pattern, and guide the fluid to the outlet cover portion 166 of the heat exchanger tank 116. The fluid flows through the outlet section 166 of the heat exchanger tank 116 and into the outlet heater core connector 114. Thereafter, the fluid flows through the outlet heater core connector 114 and into the second extension tube 164.

The heater core connectors 12, 14, 112, 114 can be arranged as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 or as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 to facilitate use in a plurality of heater core compartments (not shown), such as in a vehicle (not shown), for example. Further, a size of a package (not shown) required to house the heater core connectors 12, 14, 112, 114 and the costs associated with the shipment thereof are minimized. Further, since the connectors 12, 14, 112, 114 can be connected directly to the heat exchanger tanks 16, 116 the need for additional tubes or conduits disposed therebetween is eliminated. Accordingly, the cost required for producing the heater cores 10, 110 and the time and effort required for assembly thereof are minimized.

From the foregoing description, one ordinarily skilled in the art can easily ascertain the essential characteristics of this invention and, without departing from the spirit and scope thereof, can make various changes and modifications to the invention to adapt it to various usages and conditions.