FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to gravel guards for trailers.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Roadway materials are frequently dislodged by a vehicle, and sent into the path of a trailer pulled by the vehicle. These roadway materials, such as gravel, sand, tar and oil, can damage the trailer and equipment mounted on the trailer. It is therefore desirable to protect a trailer from such roadway materials.
~UMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The inventor has provided a novel guard for protecting a trailer from roadway materials.Thus in one embodiment there is provided a trailer guard for protecting a trailer having a tongue from roadway materials, the trailer guard comprising: a center section having means for mounting the trailer guard on the trailer tongue; first and second flap means extending transversely from the center section and pivotally mounted on the center section for rearward rotation; andspring means for urging each of the first and second flap means to full transverse extension.
The flap means may each include a swing arm pivotally mounted on the center section and a flap depending from the swing arm, and the center section may include a center flap depending from the center section.
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There will now be described a preferred embodiment of the invention, with reference to the drawings, by way of illustration, in which like numerals denote like elements and in which:
Figure 1 is a perspective of a trailer guard according to the invention, showing the pivoting motion of one of the flap means;
Figures 2A and 2B are each perspectives of trailer wheel flaps for use with a trailer guard according to the invention;
Figure 3 is a perspective detail showing a method of mounting the trailer guard of the present invention on the tongue of a trailer;
Figure 4 is an end ~iew showing ~chematically another method of mounting the trailer guard of the present invention on the tongue of a trailer;
Figure 5 is an exploded perspective view showing the mounting of the swing arms and flaps on a trailer guard according to the invention;
Figure 6 is a front view of the flaps shown in Figures 2A and 2B for use with a trailer guard according to the invention;
Figure 7 is a perspective of a hinge for use with a hinged flap for use with a trailer guard : according to the invention; and Figure 8 is an exploded perspective showing the construction of the hinge shown in Figure 7.
In this patent, the following terms have the following meanings. "Forward" means the normal forward dire~tion of vehicle in operation, and rearward means ~.. , .~,~ , .
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the opposite direction. "Transverse" means the direction in a horizontal plane perpendicular to the forward and rearward directions. "Flap means" includes a combination of flap and a mechanism for supporting or fastening the flap on a swing arm.
Physical Configuration Referring generally to Fig. 1, there is shown a center section 10 mounted on a tongue 12 of a trailer (not shown). The center section 10 is formed of a bar 14 (including a short section 15 at either end for connection to the brackets 50 to be described later in reference to Figs. 5, 7 and 8) and clamp 16 (shown in Fig. 3) for fastening the bar 14 to the tongue 12, and preferably includes a center flap 20 that depends from the bar 14.
At each transverse end of the center section 10, there is a bracket and hinge assembly 22 fastened to the center section 10. To each bracket and hinge assembly 22 there is pivotally and transversely mounted a swing arm 24. The bracket and hinge assembly 22 is closed at its forward end to form a stop to prevent the swing arm 24 from moving forward. The rear end of each bracket and hinge assembly 22 is open to allow for rearward pivoting of the swing arm 24. Each bracket and hinge assembly 22 includes a spring 56 for urging each swing arm 24 respectively to the forward position shown at 26. A flap 28 depends from each swing arm 24, and includes a metal or hardened strip 23 which is fastened to the flap 28 and to the swing arm 24 by for example bolts (not shown) at positions 21.
Referring to Figs. 2A, 2B and 6, there is shown a pair of wheel guards 30 comprising a bar 32, , . ., . ~ . .
fenders 34, flap support bar 36 and flap 38. These components may be mounted to each other by any of several known methods.
Referring to Fig. 3, there is shown one method of mounting the trailer guard to a trailer tongue 12.
Clamp 16 is formed from U-brackets 42 and bars 44.
Bolts (not shown) may be used to fasten the U-brackets 42 and bars 44 about the tongue 12. In this embodiment, the center section 10 is mounted below the tongue, although as shown in Fig. 4, the center section 10 may be mounted above the tongue 12, through an opening in the flap 28.
Figs. 5, 7 and 8 shows the pivot bracket and hinge assembly 22 in more detail. Two bracket and hinge assemblies are shown in the figures, and this description will describe just one, the other being a mirror image o~ the first. Each bracket and hinge assembly 22 includes a bracket 50 that is secured for example by welding or bolting to the short bar 15.
Short bar 15 in turn is bolted or welded onto the end of bar 14. The swing arm 24 is pivotally attached to the bracket 50 by pin 52. Pin 52 passes through spring 56 which biases the swing arm 24 to the fully forward position shown at 26. Since the swing arm 24 used as shown here is an upside down channel member, a further channel bar 54 is welded or otherwise secured to the swing arm 24 to receive the pin 52 through holes 58 and 59 in the channel bar 54. Pin 52 therefore passes through the hole 62 in the bracket 50, the upper hole ~0 59 in the bar 54, the hole 64 in the swing arm 24, the spring 56, the lower hole 58 in the bar 54, and a lower hole (not shown) in the bracket 50, and is ~ secured in place by the cotter pin 60.
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: : ' - 203~1~6 One end of the spring 56 stops up against the interior of the bracket 50 and the other end against the inside edge 66 of the bar 54. With the spring 56 in tension, the swing arm 24 is biased to the forward position. A catch 70 is slidably secured onto the bar 54 by plate 72. When the swing arm 24 is in the rearward position, the catch 70 may be slid into recess 74 on the bracket 50 to secure the swing arm 24 in that position. Posts 76 secured to the tops of the swing arms 24 are used to meet the tail end of the towing vehicle and push the flaps 28 into the rearward position .
Operation of Preferred Embodiments In operation, when the towing vehicle makes a turn, the rearward end of the vehicle contacts the posts 76, forcing the swing arms 24 and flaps 28 to a rearward position. If desired, the flaps 28 and swing arms 24 may be secured in position by catch 70.
Alternative Embodiments A person skilled in the art could make immaterial modifications to the invention described and claimed in this patent without departing from the ~ ~ 25 essence of the invention.
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