Title:
Exhaust system of a marine vessel
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exhaust system for a marine propulsion device is configured to dispose two exhaust conduits in generally concentric overlapping relation with each other in order to minimize the potential cross sectional area of a leak path in the event that a seal fails. One of the exhaust conduits extends through a transom or other surface of a marine vessel and another exhaust conduit conducts exhaust gas from an engine to the exhaust conduit extending through the surface of the marine vessel.



Inventors:
Eichinger, Charles H. (Oshkosh, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/824782
Publication Date:
10/29/2009
Filing Date:
07/03/2007
Assignee:
Brunswick Corporation
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63H21/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AVILA, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARK J. LEMKE (FOND DU LAC, WI, US)
Claims:
1. A marine vessel exhaust system, comprising: a first exhaust conduit; a second exhaust conduit, an end portion of said second exhaust conduit being disposed within an end portion of said first exhaust conduit; and a seal disposed between said end portion of said second exhaust conduit and said end portion of said first exhaust conduit.

2. The exhaust system of claim 1, wherein: said seal is disposed between an outer surface of said end portion of said second exhaust conduit and an inner surface of end portion of said first exhaust conduit.

3. The exhaust system of claim 2, wherein: said seal has a radial inward extension deformed along a taper as it extends from said inner surface of said end portion of said first exhaust conduit to said outer surface of said end portion of said second exhaust conduit.

4. The exhaust system of claim 2, wherein: said seal extends from said inner surface of said end portion of said first exhaust conduit to said outer surface of said end portion of said second exhaust conduit such that increasing exhaust pressure in said exhaust conduits increases sealing pressure applied by said seal between said exhaust conduits.

5. The exhaust system of claim 2, wherein: said end portion of said second exhaust conduit and said end portion of said first exhaust conduit are generally concentric in axially overlapped relation, and comprising a ridge formed on one of said exhaust conduits facilitating clamping of said exhaust conduits together and limiting and defining axial travel therebetween.

6. The exhaust system of claim 2, further comprising: an engine connected in fluid communication with said first and second exhaust conduits; and a surface of a marine vessel, said first and second exhaust conduits being configured to conduct a stream of exhaust from said engine through said surface; wherein said seal has a radially inward extension deformed along a taper as it extends from said inner surface of said end portion of said first exhaust conduit to said outer surface of said end portion of said second exhaust conduit; said seal extends along said taper such that increasing exhaust pressure in said exhaust conduits applied to said taper increases sealing pressure applied by said seal between said exhaust conduits.

7. The exhaust system of claim 6, wherein: said surface is a transom of said marine vessel.

8. The exhaust system of claim 6, further comprising: a marine propulsion drive connected in torque transmitting relation with a crankshaft of said engine.

9. The exhaust system of claim 2, wherein: said end portion of said second exhaust conduit and said end portion of said first exhaust conduit are generally concentric in axially overlapped relation, and comprising axial retention clamp rings providing axial retention force retaining said exhaust conduits in axially clamped relation.

10. The exhaust system of claim 9 comprising one or more axial biasing members providing axially biased clamping force between said exhaust conduits.

11. A marine vessel exhaust system, comprising: a first exhaust conduit; a second exhaust conduit, an end portion of said second exhaust conduit being disposed within an end portion of said first exhaust conduit; a seal disposed between said end portion of said second exhaust conduit and said end portion of said first exhaust conduit; an engine connected in fluid communication with said first and second exhaust conduits; and a surface of a marine vessel, said first and second exhaust conduits being configured to conduct a stream of exhaust gas from said engine through said surface.

12. The exhaust system of claim 11, wherein: said seal is disposed between an outer surface of said end portion of said second exhaust conduit and an inner surface of end portion of said first exhaust conduit; said seal has a radially inward extension deformed along a taper as it extends from said inner surface of said end portion of said first exhaust conduit to said outer surface of said end portion of said second exhaust conduit; said seal extends along said taper such that said taper is exposed to increasing exhaust pressure in said exhaust conduits such that said increasing exhaust pressure applied against said taper increases sealing pressure applied by said seal between said exhaust conduits.

13. The exhaust system of claim 12, further comprising: a marine propulsion drive connected in torque transmitting relation with a crankshaft of said engine.

14. The exhaust system of claim 13, wherein: said end portion of said second exhaust conduit and said end portion of said first exhaust conduit are generally concentric in axially overlapped relation; and comprising a ridge formed on one of said exhaust conduits facilitating clamping of said exhaust conduits together and limiting and defining axial travel therebetween; and comprising axial retention clamp rings providing axial retention force retaining said exhaust conduits in axially clamped relation; and comprising one or more axial biasing members providing axially biased clamping force between said exhaust conduits.

15. The exhaust system of claim 14, wherein: said seal is an elastomeric lip seal.

16. The exhaust system of claim 14, wherein: said surface is a transom of said marine vessel.

17. The exhaust system of claim 16, wherein: said marine propulsion drive is a stemdrive unit and said stream of exhaust gas is conducted through said stemdrive unit.

18. A marine vessel exhaust system, comprising: a first exhaust conduit; a second exhaust conduit, an end portion of said second exhaust conduit being disposed within an end portion of said first exhaust conduit; a seal disposed between an outer surface of said end portion of said second exhaust conduit and an inner surface of end portion of said first exhaust conduit, said end portion of said second exhaust conduit and said end portion of said first exhaust conduit being generally concentric in axially overlapped relation; an engine connected in fluid communication with said first and second exhaust conduits; and a surface of a marine vessel, said first and second exhaust conduits being configured to conduct a stream of exhaust gas from said engine through said surface, wherein: said seal has a radially inward extension deformed along a taper as it extends from said inner surface of said end portion of said first exhaust conduit to said outer surface of said end portion of said second exhaust conduit; said seal extends along said taper such that said taper is exposed to increasing exhaust pressure in said exhaust conduits which increasing exhaust pressure applied to said taper increases sealing pressure applied by said seal between said exhaust conduits; and comprising a ridge formed on one or said exhaust conduits facilitating clamping of said exhaust conduits together and limiting and defining axial travel therebetween; and comprising axial retention clamp rings provides axial retention force retaining said exhaust conduits in axially clamped relation; and comprising one or more axial biasing members providing axially biased clamping force between said exhaust conduits.

19. The exhaust system of claim 18, further comprising: a marine propulsion drive connected in torque transmitting relation with a crankshaft of said engine.

20. The exhaust system of claim 19, wherein: said surface is a transom of said marine vessel, said marine propulsion drive is a stemdrive unit and said stream of exhaust gas is conducted through said stemdrive unit.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is generally related to exhaust systems of marine vessels and, more particularly, to an exhaust system which directs an exhaust flow to a point external to a marine vessel which is beneath the surface of a body of water in which the marine vessel is operated.

2. Description of the Related Art

Those skilled in the art of marine vessels and engine systems are aware of many different types of exhaust systems that direct exhaust gas away from an engine. Some marine systems direct the flow of exhaust gas to a location which is under the surface of a body of water. This is done for several reasons, including the silencing effect that can be obtained by exhausting the gases below the water level. The exhaust conduits of a marine propulsion system typically use more than one individual exhaust pipe, or conduit, to direct the exhaust gas from the engine to the point at which the gas is emitted from the exhaust system. The various components of the conduit system are connected together, either by flanges or intermediate elastomeric connectors, such as bellows structures.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,802,491, which issued to Plank et al. on Apr. 9, 1974, describes a marine exhaust system. It comprises inner and outer concentrically arranged flexible conductors held in concentric relation by spacers and fittings at the opposite ends. The fitting at one end is adapted to connect the inner and outer conductors, respectively, to the manifold of an engine and to a coolant pump. The fitting at the other end is adapted to connect the inner and outer conductors, respectively, to a muffler and to an overboard line.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,861,296, which issued to Wlezien on Aug. 29, 1989, describes a marine propulsion device exhaust system. It comprises a sterndrive unit including a gimbal housing adapted to be fixed to a boat transom. It also comprises an exhaust gas passage in a propulsion unit which includes an outlet normally located underwater and an inlet normally located above the water. A flexible exhaust gas bellows has a rearward end connected to the inlet of the gas passage in the propulsion unit and a forward end. An exhaust gas and coolant discharge conduit extends through the gimbal housing and comprises a forwardly located inlet passage adapted to receive combined exhaust gas and coolant discharge from an engine.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,911,666, which issued to Gage et al. on Mar. 27, 1990, describes a boat propulsion device with an internal exhaust. A marine drive mounts through a hole in the bottom surface of a boat utilizing a driveshaft housing assembly. An engine mounted to the driveshaft assembly and a lower propeller drive unit mounted to the driveshaft housing assembly are also provided. The driveshaft housing assembly mounts the drive within the hole in the boat and includes a driveshaft housing. A steering assembly is constructed to rotate about a generally vertical axis within the driveshaft housing assembly to provide steering. A trimming assembly is connected to the steering assembly to pivotably swing the lower propeller drive unit to provide trimming and tilting. It also comprises a driveshaft and an exhaust passage therethrough.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,421,756, which issued to Hayasaka on Jun. 6, 1995, describes an exhaust system for the marine propulsion machine. It provides an exhaust gas discharge system for a watercraft. The system has a first discharge path, including a first outlet, primarily for use during high speed vessel operation and a second discharge path, including a second outlet, for use during both low and high speed vessel operation.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,022,254, which issued to Neisen on Feb. 8, 2000, discloses an exhaust system for an inboard/outboard marine propulsion system. The exhaust system includes intermediate exhaust pipes which are physically separate components than the water separator. A sealed latching mechanism connects an outlet portion of the intermediate exhaust pipes to an inlet portion of the water separator. The sealed latching mechanism is secure yet flexible and allows the orientation of the intermediate exhaust pipe to be adjusted relative to the water separator. This allows the exhaust system to be installed and serviced without dismounting or loosening the engine. The intermediate exhaust pipes also have a flared inlet part to facilitate alignment of the intermediate exhaust pipe at the exhaust elbow.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,508,681, which issued to Neisen on Jan. 21, 2003, describes a low friction exhaust bellows and techniques for constructing and assembling the bellows. A propulsion system has a low friction exhaust bellows relative to an engine located in the interior of a marine vessel. The engine has an exhaust discharge member in communication with a propulsion unit and an exhaust passage having an exterior coupling member flexibly connected to pass exhaust from the exhaust discharge member to the propulsion unit. The interior surface of the passage is configured to provide a relatively smooth surface to the exhaust passage therein.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,018,255, which issued to Phillips et al. on Mar. 28, 2006, discloses an exhaust system for a marine propulsion device having two stationary tubes to define an annular exhaust passage. The system is provided with inner and outer bellows, or tubes, which are rigidly attached to both the transom bracket and the driveshaft housing of a sterndrive system. Neither the inner nor outer tubes rotate with the driveshaft. Both the inner and outer tubes, or bellows, allow the driveshaft to rotate relative to the transom bracket about either a steering axis or trim axis. An exhaust passage is defined between the outer surface of the inner tube and the inner surface of the outer tube.

The patents described above are hereby expressly incorporated by reference in the description of the present invention.

When an exhaust system of a marine vessel conducts the flow of exhaust gases to a point below the surface of a body of water in which the marine vessel is operated, any leak or rupture of the exhaust system below the surface level of the water can cause water to flow into the marine vessel. Bilge pumps are typically provided and are intended to remove water from the bilge of the marine vessel but, in many instances, the bilge pump has a limited flow capability and may not be able to remove water from the bilge at the rate that it is leaking into the bilge. This is particularly true if a catastrophic failure occurs in an exhaust conduit at a point below the surface of the body of water. It would therefore be significantly beneficial if this potentially serious problem could be alleviated.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An exhaust system of a marine vessel made in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a first exhaust conduit and a second exhaust conduit. An end portion of the second exhaust conduit is disposed within an end portion of the first exhaust conduit. A seal is disposed between the end portion of the second exhaust conduit and the end portion of the first exhaust conduit. The seal can be disposed between an outer surface of the end portion of the second exhaust conduit and an inner surface of the end portion of the first exhaust conduit.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the seal can be an elastomeric seal which, in turn, can be a lip seal. The end portion of the second exhaust conduit and the end portion of the first exhaust conduit can be generally concentric.

A preferred embodiment of the present invention further comprises an engine connected in fluid communication with the first and second exhaust conduits and a surface of a marine vessel. The first and second exhaust conduits are configured to conduct a stream of exhaust gas from the engine through the surface, which can be a transom of a marine vessel.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, it further comprises a marine propulsion drive connected in torque transmitting relation with a crankshaft of the engine. The marine propulsion drive can be a sterndrive unit. The stream of exhaust gas can be conducted through the transom of the marine vessel and through the sterndrive unit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be more fully and completely understood from a reading of the description of the preferred embodiment in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows an exhaust pipe connection known to those skilled in the art;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an assembled view of the structure shown in FIG. 2;

FIGS. 4 and 5 show the geometric advantages of the present invention;

FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 shows the present invention used in conjunction with a sterndrive system; and

FIG. 8 shows the present invention used in conjunction with an inboard drive system.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Throughout the description of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, like components will be identified by like reference numerals.

FIG. 1 shows the manner in which two exhaust conduits are typically connected in marine propulsion devices known to those skilled in the art. An exhaust pipe 10 which is connected to an engine (not shown in FIG. 1) is attached to an exhaust pipe 12 which conducts the flow of exhaust gas E to and through a transom or hull of a marine vessel. Functionally, an engine and its exhaust manifold would be located to the left of the illustration in FIG. 1 and the transom or lower hull of the marine vessel is located to the right of the schematic representation in FIG. 1. The ends of the exhaust pipes 10 and 12, which face each other, are identified by reference numerals 16 and 18, respectively. These ends, 16 and 18, can be butted together or spaced apart as shown in FIG. 1. An elastomeric connection member 20 is typically attached to both exhaust pipes, 10 and 12, by clamps which are schematically represented in FIG. 1 and identified by reference numerals 22 and 24. The elastomeric connection member 20 allows some relative movement between the two exhaust pipes, 10 and 12, and provides a seal that prevents the escape of exhaust gas from the region within the elastomeric connection member 20. Naturally, if a leak forms through the elastomeric connection member 20 or if the clamps, 22 and 24, become disconnected, exhaust gas can escape from that region and, more importantly, water can flow from a point external to the marine vessel to the end face 18 and into the bilge of the marine vessel. This type of leak is possible when the stream of exhaust gas E is directed through the transom at a point which is below the surface of the water in which a marine vessel is operated. For example, the marine propulsion unit described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,911,666 extends through the bottom surface of a marine vessel. Any leak in the exhaust system below the level of the water can result in a flow of water from the body of water into the marine vessel bilge. Similarly, the marine propulsion system described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,022,254 can potentially develop a leak within the exhaust conduits inside the marine propulsion device and below the level of the body of water.

FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of an exhaust system joint made in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. It comprises a first exhaust conduit 31 and a second exhaust conduit 32. An end portion 42 of the second exhaust conduit 32 is disposable within an end portion 41 of the first exhaust conduit 31. A seal 40 is disposed between the end portion 42 of the second exhaust conduit 32 and the end portion 41 of the first exhaust conduit 31 as will be described below in conjunction with FIG. 3. In the exploded view of FIG. 2, the first and second exhaust conduits, 31 and 32, are shown spaced apart and the seal 40 is shown between them. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the seal 40 is made of an elastomeric material and, in a particularly preferred embodiment, is a lip seal.

FIG. 3 is similar to FIG. 2, but with the components assembled together. In FIG. 3, the seal 40 is shown disposed between the end portion 42 of the second exhaust conduit 32 and the end portion 41 of the first exhaust conduit 31. In this preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the seal 40 is disposed between an outer surface 52 of the end portion 42 of the second exhaust conduit 32 and an inner surface 51 of the end portion 41 of the first exhaust conduit 31. The seal 40 can be an elastomeric seal, as described above, and a lip seal. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the end portion 42 of the second exhaust conduit 32 and the end portion 41 of the first exhaust conduit 31 are generally concentric.

FIGS. 4 and 5 are provided to illustrate the primary advantage provided by the present invention. FIG. 4 is a simplified representation of a cross section of an exhaust pipe. The cross section shown in FIG. 4 is the cross section through which water would flow from the body of water into the bilge of a marine vessel if the two exhaust conduits are separated. As an example, the illustration in FIG. 4 shows a section view of the exhaust pipe 12 described above in conjunction with FIG. 1. The flow of water, from a body of water and into the boat, would flow through the internal area of the exhaust pipe 12. If, on the other hand, the exhaust system incorporated the principles of the present invention, as illustrated in FIG. 3, and the elastomeric seal 40 fails, water is limited to flowing in the region identified by reference numeral 140 in FIG. 5, between the outer surface of the second exhaust conduit 42 and the inner surface 51 of the first exhaust conduit 41. If clearances between the first and second exhaust conduits are limited appropriately, this cross sectional area 140 can be significantly less than the area within the exhaust pipe 12 shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of the present invention in which an external clamp is used to maintain the axial relative positions of the first 31 and second 32 exhaust conduits. The seal 40 is shown with the radially inward extension deformed slightly as a result of the contact with the outer surface 52 of the second exhaust conduit 32. A circumferential ridge 200 of the second exhaust conduit facilitates the clamping of the first and second exhaust conduits together as shown. A plurality of bolts 202, nuts 204, washers 206 and springs 208 facilitate the retention of the two exhaust conduits in relation to each other. In addition, two clamp rings, 210 and 212, assist in providing the axial retention forces.

FIG. 7 is a schematic representation of the general location of the present invention in relation to a marine vessel and its engine and drive unit. The engine 300 has a manifold 302 from which exhaust gases are emitted. It should be understood that the engine 300, manifold 302 and drive unit 304 are represented in a highly schematic manner in FIG. 7. The purpose of FIG. 7 is to illustrate the relative positions of the various components and not to show the precise way in which they are connected to each other. As those skilled in the art of marine propulsion devices are well aware, many different configurations are provided in exhaust systems and many types of interconnections between various components are well known. The general direction of the exhaust flow is represented by arrows E in FIG. 7. The first exhaust conduit 31 extends through the transom 310 of a marine vessel. This directs the flow of exhaust gas E through the marine drive unit 304 which can be a sterndrive unit.

With continued reference to FIG. 7, it can be seen that the connection between the first and second exhaust conduits, 31 and 32, is relatively low within the bilge of the boat. In some applications, the exhaust connection in the region of the seal 40 can be below the water line of the surface of the body of water in which the marine propulsion system is being operated. In those cases, hydrostatic pressure will cause water to rise within the first exhaust conduit toward the engine. A failure of the seal between the first and second exhaust conduits can therefore lead to a flow of water into the bilge of the boat. One advantage of the present invention is that such a failure, of the seal 40, will lead to a significantly reduced flow of water into the bilge if the seal fails, whereas a failure of the connector 20 in FIG. 1, as typically used in the prior art, can lead to a much more catastrophic failure. This difference is described above in conjunction with FIGS. 4 and 5.

FIG. 8 is a schematic representation of a section view of a marine vessel with an inboard drive system. The crankshaft 400 of the engine 300 provides torque to a transmission device 402 which, in turn, provides torque to a propeller shaft 404. The propeller shaft has a propeller attached to its distal end (not shown in FIG. 8). The basic configuration of the exhaust conduit is generally similar to that described above. If the connection region between the first and second exhaust conduits, 31 and 32, is below the water level of the body of water in which the marine propulsion system is operated, a failure of the seal between the two exhaust conduits can lead to the flow of water into the bilge of the boat as a result of the hydrostatic pressure experienced by that region of the exhaust conduit structure. Again, the present invention limits that flow of water.

With reference to FIGS. 2-8, it can be seen that an exhaust system for a marine vessel made in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, comprises a first exhaust conduit 31, a second exhaust conduit 32, and end portion 42 of the second exhaust conduit 32 which is disposed within an end portion 41 of the first exhaust conduit 31, and a seal 40 disposed between the end portion 42 of the second exhaust conduit 32 and the end portion 41 of the first exhaust conduit 31. The seal 40 is disposed between an outer surface 52 of the end portion 42 of the second exhaust conduit 32 and an inner surface 51 of the end portion 41 of the first exhaust conduit 31. The seal 40 can be an elastomeric seal and, in certain embodiments of the present invention, can be a lip seal. The end portion 42 of the second exhaust conduit and the end portion 41 of the first exhaust conduit are generally concentric in a preferred embodiment of the present invention. An engine 300 is connected in fluid communication with the first and second exhaust conduits, 31 and 32, and a surface of a marine vessel, such as a transom surface, is provided such that the first and second exhaust conduits direct a stream of exhaust gas from the engine 300 through the surface. The surface can be a transom 310 of a marine vessel. The marine propulsion drive, such as a sterndrive unit 304 or a propeller shaft 404 is connected in torque transmitting relation with a crankshaft 400 of the engine.

It should be understood that many different sizes of first and second exhaust conduits can be used in various embodiments of the present invention. The advantage of the physical arrangement provided by the present invention is that the outer diameter of the second exhaust conduit 32 and the inner diameter of the end 41 of the first exhaust conduit 31 can be selected to minimize the circumferential gap between those surfaces. This gap defines the radial thickness of the seal and further defines the area through which water can pass if the seal fails. This area can be selected to limit the flow of water, in the event of a catastrophic failure, to that which can be accommodated by a bilge pump. On the other hand, if the flow of water in this type of failure mode is limited only to the internal area of the first exhaust conduit, the flow of water into the bilge can easily exceed the capability of the bilge pump. These relative areas are discussed above in conjunction with FIGS. 4 and 5. The primary advantage of the present invention is, therefore, its ability to inherently limit the flow of water into the bilge of a boat from the body of water in which the boat is operated when a catastrophic failure occurs in the seal between the first and second exhaust conduits.

Although the present invention has been described with particular specificity and illustrated to show a preferred embodiment, it should be understood that alternative embodiments are also within its scope.