Title:
EXHAUST SYSTEM AND MUFFLER WITH REVERSIBLE END-CAPS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exhaust system is provided with a muffler with reversible end-caps, which allow a tailpipe to be switched over from one side of the muffler to the other before or after it is attached to an engine and mounted on an application.



Inventors:
Sammut, Paul H. (Oakville, CA)
Application Number:
12/257692
Publication Date:
04/30/2009
Filing Date:
10/24/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F01N13/18
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Primary Examiner:
SAN MARTIN, EDGARDO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Renner Kenner Greive Bobak Taylor & Weber Co., LPA (Akron, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An exhaust system for an engine comprising: a muffler body comprising: a hollow muffler housing having a tubular wall and first and second opposing ends, the first end containing portions defining a first end opening, the second end containing portions defining a second end opening, the tubular wall containing portions defining at least one inlet hole; first and second opposing end-cap flanges, the first end-cap flange attached to the portion of the first end of the muffler housing defining a first end opening, the second end-cap flange attached to the portion of the second end of the muffler housing defining a second end opening, the first and second end-cap flanges having portions defining a center opening; first and second end-caps having base plates, the base plate of the first end-cap removably attached to the first end-cap flange, the base plate of the second end-cap removably attached to the second end-cap flange, wherein at least one of the first or second end-caps has an element attached to the base plate that communicates with the muffler housing to receive exhaust gases; one inlet tube for each inlet hole of the tubular wall of the muffler housing, each inlet tube having a first and second end, the first end communicably attached to the muffler body to allow gas to flow into the muffler body through the inlet hole; one inlet connector for each inlet tube, the inlet connector attached to the second end of the inlet tube allowing the inlet tube to be communicably attached to an engine to allow for the flow of exhaust gas from the engine to the muffler body; wherein said first and second end-caps may be removed or attached to the end-cap flanges before or after the muffler body is attached to the engine.

2. The exhaust system of claim 1 wherein the tubular wall of the muffler housing contains portions defining a single inlet hole.

3. The exhaust system of claim 1 wherein the tubular wall of the muffler housing contains portions defining a first and second inlet hole.

4. The exhaust system of claim 1 further comprising a first gasket inserted between the first end-cap flange and the base plate of the first end-cap, and a second gasket inserted between the second end-cap flange and the base plate of the second end-cap.

5. The exhaust system of claim 1 wherein the first and second end-cap flanges contain a plurality of threaded holes for receiving bolts, the base plates of the first and second end-caps have a corresponding plurality of holes, the end-caps are removably attached to the flanges using bolts.

6. The exhaust system of claim 1 wherein the base plates of the first and second end-caps are attached to the flanges using a twist lock mechanism.

7. The exhaust system of claim 1 wherein the element that communicates with the muffler housing to receive exhaust gases that is attached to the base plate of at least one of the first or second end-caps, is selected from the group comprising: at least one tubular tailpipe member extending from the base plate; a flex tube extending from the base plate; a spark arrestor; a diffuser element.

8. The exhaust system of claim 5 wherein the first end-cap has at least one tubular tailpipe member extending from the base plate and the second end-cap has a solid base plate sealing the second end opening of the muffler housing preventing the flow of gas.

9. The exhaust system of claim 6 wherein the tubular tailpipe member of the first end-cap is bent.

10. The exhaust system of claim 8 further comprising a removable screen type spark arrestor inserted between the first end-cap flange and the base plate of the first end-cap.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/982,254 filed Oct. 24, 2007, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to exhaust systems, and more particularly to an exhaust system with a muffler with reversible end-caps.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Exhaust systems are generally provided for internal combustion engines to guide waste gases away from the engine. These systems typically direct waste gases through an inlet tube to a muffler to silence the noise of the escaping exhaust gases, before they are expelled from a tailpipe. Standard muffler designs have a fixed tailpipe position that does not allow end users to change the direction that exhaust exits from the muffler. “Reversible” mufflers are known in the art that allow for a user to switch the direction of exhaust flow from the muffler, by changing the manner in which the muffler is mounted to an application. These mufflers may be flipped over before mounting on an application to change which side the tailpipe extends from the muffler. Other prior art reversible mufflers are provided with a tailpipe with two open ends. With these mufflers end users have the choice of sealing one of the ends prior to mounting on an application to direct exhaust flow out the opposing end. While these prior art reversible mufflers provide a slight degree of freedom to end users, they do not provide full flexibility to end users who wish to choose and subsequently alter the direction of exhaust flow from a muffler.

Accordingly, there is a need in the art for an exhaust system with a reversible muffler that provides a greater degree of flexibility to end users, in an aesthetically pleasing, clean and professional design.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is an exhaust system having a muffler with reversible end-caps. The muffler of this invention allows the tailpipe to be removably attached to either side. Unlike previous “reversible” mufflers, the muffler allows for the tailpipe to be switched from one side of the muffler before or after it is attached to an engine and mounted. This provides added flexibility to alter the function of the muffler after it has been attached to an engine. The invention also provides a reversible muffler with bolt-on or screw-on end-caps with an aesthetically pleasing, clean and professional appearance.

According to a first aspect of the invention, an exhaust system is provided for use with an engine, comprising:

a muffler body comprising:

    • a hollow muffler housing having a tubular wall and first and second opposing ends, the first end containing portions defining a first end opening, the second end containing portions defining a second end opening, the tubular wall containing portions defining at least one inlet hole;
    • first and second opposing end-cap flanges, the first end-cap flange attached to the portion of the first end of the muffler housing defining a first end opening, the second end-cap flange attached to the portion of the second end of the muffler housing defining a second end opening, the first and second end-cap flanges having portions defining a center opening;
    • first and second end-caps having base plates, the base plate of the first end-cap removably attached to the first end-cap flange, the base plate of the second end-cap removably attached to the second end-cap flange, wherein at least one of the first or second end-caps has an element attached to the base plate that communicates with the muffler housing to receive exhaust gases;

one inlet tube for each inlet hole of the tubular wall of the muffler housing, each inlet tube having a first and second end, the first end communicably attached to the muffler body to allow gas to flow into the muffler body through the inlet hole;

one inlet connector for each inlet tube, the inlet connector attached to the second end of the inlet tube allowing the inlet tube to be communicably attached to an engine to allow for the flow of exhaust gas from the engine to the muffler body;

wherein said first and second end-caps may be removed or attached to the end-cap flanges before or after the muffler body is attached to the engine.

The exhaust system may be a single inlet design in which the tubular wall of the muffler housing contains portions defining a single inlet hole or a twin inlet design in which the tubular wall of the muffler housing contains portions defining a first and second inlet hole.

The exhaust system may further comprise a first gasket inserted between the first end-cap flange and the base plate of the first end-cap, and a second gasket inserted between the second end-cap flange and the base plate of the second end-cap.

The exhaust system may have first and second end-cap flanges that contain a plurality of threaded holes for receiving bolts, the base plates of the first and second end-caps may have a corresponding plurality of holes, and the end-caps may be removably attached to the flanges using bolts. Alternatively, the base plates of the first and second end-caps may be attached to the flanges using a twist lock mechanism.

The exhaust system may have an element that communicates with the muffler housing to receive exhaust gases, attached to the base plate of at least one of the first or second end-caps, selected from the group comprising:

    • at least one tubular tailpipe member extending from the base plate;
    • a flex tube extending from the base plate;
    • a spark arrestor;
    • a diffuser element.

The exhaust system may have a first end-cap with at least one tubular tailpipe member extending from the base plate and a second end-cap with a solid base plate sealing the second end opening of the muffler housing preventing the flow of gas.

The exhaust system may have a bent tubular tailpipe member extending from the first end plate of the first end-cap.

The exhaust system may further comprise a removable screen type spark arrestor inserted between the first end-cap flange and the base plate of the first end-cap containing a tubular tailpipe member extending from the first end plate.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

Embodiments of the invention will be described by way of example and with reference to the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a single inlet embodiment of the exhaust system of the present invention, showing the tailpipe end-cap.

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of a single inlet embodiment of the exhaust system of the present invention, showing the blank end-cap.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a twin inlet embodiment of the modular exhaust system of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

As shown in the figures, the present invention relates to an exhaust system having a muffler with reversible end-caps.

FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 show a single inlet embodiment of the exhaust system 1 of the invention, having a muffler body 2 comprising a muffler housing 3, first and second end-cap flanges 4 and 5, and first and second end-caps 6 and 7. The muffler housing 3 has a tubular wall 8, and first and second longitudinally separated ends 9 and 10 with portions that define a first end opening and a second end opening respectively. The first and second end-cap flanges 4 and 5 may be welded, or are attached by other means known in the art, to the first end opening and second end opening of the muffler housing 3 respectively. The first and second end-cap flanges 4 and 5 contain portions defining first and second central end flange openings 11 and 12 respectively, which allow exhaust gases to flow out of the muffler housing 3. The first and second end-cap flanges 4 and 5 also contain a plurality of smaller peripheral threaded holes 13 for receiving bolts 14. The first and second end-caps 6 and 7 have first and second end plates 15 and 16 respectively, each having a plurality of holes 17 corresponding to holes 13 that allow the base plates 15 and 16 of end-caps 6 and 7 to be removably attached to either of the flanges 4 and 5 with bolts 14. While attachment of the end-caps 6 and 7 to the flanges 4 and 5 in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 is depicted using bolts 14, the invention encompasses other means of removable attachment, including, but not limited to attachment with self-tapping bolts, self tapping-screws or via a twist lock mechanism.

In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the first end-cap 6 is a tailpipe end-cap that has a central tubular tailpipe member 18 extending from the base plate 15 of end-cap 6, which communicates with the muffler housing 3 through the first central end flange opening 11 of the first flange 4, allowing exhaust gases to flow out of the first end opening of muffler housing 3. If desired, a removable screen type spark arrestor may be inserted between the base plate 15 and first end-cap flange 7. The spark arrestor is held into place by the first base plate 15 and covers the first central end-cap flange opening 11, preventing flammable debris from exiting the muffler housing 3 through the first end opening. The base plate 16 of the second end-cap 7 is solid and attaches to the second end-cap flange 5, sealing the second central end flange opening 12, preventing exhaust gases from flowing through the second end opening of the muffler housing 3. A gasket may be used to seal the attachment of end-caps 6 and 7 to the flanges 4 and 5. With this setup of end-caps 6 and 7, exhaust gases that enter the muffler housing 3 will exit through the first end opening. The first and second end-caps 6 and 7 may be reversed (i.e. end-cap 6 may be attached to the second end-cap flange 5 and the second end-cap 7 may be attached to the first end-cap 4), to direct exhaust gases out of the second end opening of muffler housing 3 instead of the first. The end-caps 6 and 7 may be replaced with other end-caps to removably attach other devices to the end flanges 4 and 5, including, but not limited to diffusers, spark arrestors or flex tubes, which may be selected by a person skilled in the art to achieve a desired muffler function.

The muffler body 2 is attached to an engine by a first inlet tube 19, which has a first and second end. The first end of the first inlet tube 19 is attached to inlet flange 20 that allows the first inlet tube 19 to be communicably attached to an engine to receive exhaust gases. The second end of the first inlet tube 19 is communicably attached to the muffler housing 3, to allow exhaust gases to enter the muffler housing 3 through a first inlet hole 21 in the tubular wall 8. The location of the first inlet hole 21 and first inlet tube 19 is not limited to that shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, but includes any other suitable location(s).

The first and second end-caps 6 and 7 may be attached to the end-cap flanges 4 and 5 either before or after the muffler body 2 is attached to the engine. Since the first and second end-caps 6 and 7 are removably attached to the flanges 4 and 5 they may also be reversed after the muffler body 2 is attached to the engine to switch the direction that exhaust gases exit the muffler housing 3. The first end-cap 6, containing central tubular tailpipe member 18, may also be switched with another end-cap containing a different tubular tailpipe member, after it is attached to the engine, to alter the size or appearance of the tailpipe or the performance of the muffler.

FIG. 3 shows a twin inlet embodiment of the modular exhaust system 1 of the invention further comprising a second inlet tube 22 connecting the muffler body 2 to an engine. Like the first inlet tube 19, the first end of the second inlet tube 22 is attached to inlet flange 20 that allows the second inlet tube 22 to be communicably attached to the engine to receive exhaust gases. The second end of the second inlet tube 22 is communicably attached to the muffler housing 3, to allow exhaust gases to enter the muffler housing 3 through a second inlet hole 23 in the tubular wall 8. The locations of the inlet holes 21 and 23 and inlet tubes 19 and 22 are not limited to that shown in FIG. 3, but include any other suitable location(s).

The central bent tubular tailpipe member 24 of the first end-cap 6 of the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3, is bent at an angle that may be selected by a person skilled in the art to achieve a desired outlet of exhaust gases. The central bent tubular tailpipe member 24 can be mounted in various positions by rotating the first end-cap 6 so that the holes 17 on the end-cap 6 line up with a different corresponding hole 12 on the first end-cap flange 4.

The foregoing embodiments are considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, the described embodiments are not desired to limit the invention to the exact components shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention and the appended claims and their equivalents.