US20040041069A1 - Mounting bracket for a vehicle mirror - Google Patents

Mounting bracket for a vehicle mirror Download PDF

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Publication number
US20040041069A1
US20040041069A1 US10/402,419 US40241903A US2004041069A1 US 20040041069 A1 US20040041069 A1 US 20040041069A1 US 40241903 A US40241903 A US 40241903A US 2004041069 A1 US2004041069 A1 US 2004041069A1
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US
United States
Prior art keywords
mounting
vehicle
aperture
mounting bracket
portion
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US10/402,419
Inventor
Kevin Fiess
David Otto
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Velvac Inc
Original Assignee
Velvac Inc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US38765202P priority Critical
Application filed by Velvac Inc filed Critical Velvac Inc
Priority to US10/402,419 priority patent/US20040041069A1/en
Assigned to VELVAC, INC. reassignment VELVAC, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: FIESS, KEVIN D., OTTO, DAVID G.
Publication of US20040041069A1 publication Critical patent/US20040041069A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60RVEHICLES, VEHICLE FITTINGS, OR VEHICLE PARTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60R1/00Optical viewing arrangements
    • B60R1/02Rear-view mirror arrangements
    • B60R1/06Rear-view mirror arrangements mounted on vehicle exterior
    • B60R1/0605Rear-view mirror arrangements mounted on vehicle exterior specially adapted for mounting on trucks, e.g. by C-shaped support means

Abstract

A mounting bracket for securing a mirror assembly to a vehicle exterior includes a body having a non-planar outer surface and a mounting surface that is securable to the vehicle. A slit is defined in the body, opens away from the mounting surface, and defines a first plane. An aperture extends through the body and the slit substantially perpendicularly to the first plane. A counterbore is recessed with respect to the outer surface and surrounds the aperture. At least a portion of a cap is positioned in the counterbore and overlies the counterbore and the aperture.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 to provisional patent application No. 60/387,652, filed on Jun. 11, 2002.[0001]
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The invention relates to supports, and more particularly to a mounting bracket for a vehicle tripod mirror mounting system. [0002]
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Tripod mirror systems are well known for mounting safety mirrors to the fender areas of trucks, buses, and similar road-going vehicles. In some known systems, a safety mirror is supported by a first support, and the first support is in turn supported by second and third supports. All three supports are coupled to the vehicle fender area and the supports are often adjustable in a lengthwise direction to allow the mirror to be adjustably positioned. Generally, the supports are either fastened directly to the vehicle exterior, or are coupled to specialized mounting fixtures commonly referred to as “bells.” The bells pivotally couple the mirror supports to the vehicle to further improve the adjustability of the tripod mirror system. [0003]
  • Many prior art bells include a pair of tabs that cooperate to define a slot. A flattened end of each support is positioned in the slot of a respective bell, and a mounting fastener is extended through the tabs and the flattened support end to pivotally couple the support to the bell. [0004]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • While the above-described mounting bells are generally effective, the mounting bells present a problem in that the mounting fasteners are left uncovered and are therefore exposed to the environment. In this respect, rain, snow, salt, and other corrosive substances that the vehicle may encounter can corrode and damage the fastener. The corroded fastener may then become difficult to loosen in order to adjust or remove the mirror assembly. In addition, the fastener itself (and particularly a corroded fastener) is somewhat aesthetically unappealing and can detract from the overall appearance of the vehicle. [0005]
  • To address these and other concerns with conventional tripod mirror bells, the invention provides a mounting bracket for securing a mirror assembly to a vehicle exterior. The bracket includes a body having a non-planar outer surface and a mounting surface that is securable to the vehicle. The body defines a slit that opens away from the mounting surface and defines a first plane. An aperture extends through the body and the slit substantially perpendicularly to the first plane. A counterbore is recessed with respect to the outer surface and surrounds the aperture. At least a portion of a cap is positioned in the counterbore and overlies the counterbore and the aperture. [0006]
  • In some embodiments, the aperture defines a first axis and includes grooves that extend axially with respect to the first axis from the outer surface toward the slit. The cap may include tabs that are engageable with the grooves to secure the cap to the body. Preferably, a fastener extends through the aperture and includes a head portion, which is positioned in the counterbore. The cap may be positioned to overlay and conceal the head portion. The mounting surface may be engageable with a stud that extends from the vehicle exterior to secure the mounting bracket to the vehicle. [0007]
  • The invention also provides a mirror assembly for use on a vehicle. The assembly includes a reflective body, a first elongated support member including a first end couplable to the reflective body and a second end, a second elongated support member having a first end coupled to the first support member and a second end, and a third elongated support member having a first end coupled to at least one of the first and second support members and a second end. The assembly also includes a first mounting member that is securable to the vehicle and is coupled to the second end of the first support member by a first fastener. A second mounting member is securable to the vehicle and is coupled to the second end of the second support member by a second fastener. A third mounting member is securable to the vehicle and is coupled to the second end of the third support member by a third fastener. Each mounting member includes structure to overlie the fasteners and hide the fasteners from view. [0008]
  • Preferably, each mounting member includes a non-planar outer surface that provides a bell-shaped contour and a mounting surface that engages the vehicle. Each mounting member may include a slit that extends through the outer surface and opens away from the mounting surface to receive the second ends of the support members. [0009]
  • In some embodiments, the mounting members include counterbores and the fasteners include portions positioned within the counterbores. Preferably, the structure overlying the fasteners comprises removable caps positioned in the counterbores. At least one of the support members preferably includes an expandable portion between the first and second ends. [0010]
  • The present invention further provides a mounting bracket for securing a mirror assembly to a road vehicle. The bracket includes an upper portion having a non-planar outer surface and a lower surface. A lower portion is securable to the vehicle. The upper portion defines a slit and the slit defines a central plane. An aperture defines a first axis and extends through the upper portion and the slit generally perpendicularly to the central plane. A counterbore surrounds the aperture and provides an inner annular wall that is generally parallel to the central plane and a circumferential wall having a diameter and surrounding the first axis. [0011]
  • Preferably, a groove is formed in the circumferential wall and extends axially toward the annular wall. An elongated cutout extends from the lower surface into the upper portion to intersect the groove. The cutout preferably has a length greater than the circumferential wall diameter and cooperates with the groove to provide an internal lip in the upper portion. The cutout extends generally perpendicularly from the lower surface and is generally parallel to the central plane. [0012]
  • In some embodiments, a cap is received by the counterbore and includes a tab having a projection. The tab is received by the groove and the projection engages the internal lip to secure the cap to the body. The cap overlies the aperture, the annular wall, and the circumferential wall. [0013]
  • The upper portion and the lower portion may cooperate to provide a substantially bell-shaped outer contour. The lower portion preferably includes a substantially cylindrical boss that extends generally perpendicularly from the lower surface and defines a central axis. A skirt portion extends axially and radially away from the lower surface and surrounds the cylindrical boss. Preferably, the skirt portion has a substantially uniform thickness. [0014]
  • Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon review of the following detailed description, claims, and drawings.[0015]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tripod mirror mount including a mounting member embodying the invention. [0016]
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the mounting member illustrated in FIG. 1. [0017]
  • FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the mounting member illustrated in FIG. 1. [0018]
  • FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along line [0019] 4-4 in FIG. 3.
  • FIG. 5 is an end view of the mounting member illustrated in FIG. 1. [0020]
  • FIG. 6 is an enlarged view of the upper portion of the mounting member. [0021]
  • FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along line [0022] 7-7 in FIG. 6.
  • Before one embodiment of the invention is explained in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or being carried out in various ways. Also, it is understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. The use of “including” and “comprising” and variations thereof herein is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items. [0023]
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The drawings illustrate a tripod mirror mounting system [0024] 10 including mounting members 14 embodying the present invention. Referring first to FIG. 1, the mounting system 10 includes a safety mirror 18 mounted to a vehicle fender area and supported by three elongated support members 22 a, 22 b, 22 c. The first elongated support member 22 a extends between the safety mirror 18 and the vehicle fender area, the second support member 22 b extends between the first support member 22 a and the vehicle fender area, and the third support member 22 c also extends between the first support member 22 a and the vehicle fender area. Each support member 22 a, 22 b, 22 c is coupled to the vehicle fender area by a respective mounting member 14 a, 14 b, 14 c, each mounting member 14 a, 14 b, 14 c being secured to the vehicle fender area using one or more suitable mounting fasteners, as further discussed below (see FIG. 4, mounting stud 86, for example).
  • Specifically, the second and third support members [0025] 22 b, 22 c are coupled to the first support member 22 a by clamps 46, and the first and second support members 22 a, 22 b, each include an expandable portion 50. The expandable portions 50 allow the lengths of the first and second support members 22 a, 22 b to be adjusted, thereby providing positional adjustment of the mirror 18. Each support member 22 a, 22 b, 22 c also includes a flattened portion 54 having a hole formed therein. Each flattened portion 54 is coupled to one of the mounting members 14 by extending a fastener (hidden in FIG. 1) through the hole, as will be further explained below.
  • Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, each mounting member [0026] 14 includes a non-planar outer surface 56 that defines an upper frusto-spherical portion 58, and a lower skirt portion 62. The upper portion 58 includes a slit 66 that receives the flattened portion 54 of the support member 22 (each support member 22 a, 22 b, 22 c having a substantially identical flattened portion 54), and the skirt portion 62 extends toward and partially defines a mounting surface 70 that mates with the vehicle. The upper portion 58 is also configured to receive caps 74 that conceal and protect the support member mounting fasteners, as described further below.
  • As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the upper portion [0027] 58 includes a planar lower surface 76. A central boss 78 extends from the planar lower surface 76 toward the mounting surface 70 and is surrounded by the skirt portion 62. The central boss 78 defines a central axis 80 and includes a bore 82 that receives a mounting stud 86 to secure the mounting member 14 to the vehicle. The slit 66 is substantially aligned with the central axis 80 and defines a central plane 90 (see FIG. 7).
  • The upper portion [0028] 58 also includes an aperture 92 extending therethrough substantially perpendicularly to the central plane 90. The aperture 92 intersects the slit 66 and defines a first axis 94 that is generally perpendicular to the central axis 80. To secure the support member 22 to the mounting member 14, the hole in the flattened end 54 of the support member 22 is aligned with the aperture 92. A mounting fastener 96 having a head portion 98, and a threaded portion 102 is then extended through the aperture 92 and the hole, and a nut 104 is threaded onto the threaded portion 102, thereby securing the support member 22 to the mounting member 14.
  • The upper portion [0029] 58 also includes at least one counterbore 110 that is recessed with respect to the outer surface 56 and surrounds the aperture 92. The counterbore 110 provides an annular wall 112 that is substantially parallel to and faces away from the central plane 90. The counterbore 110 also provides a circumferential wall 114 that defines a diameter D (see FIG. 7) of the counterbore 110 and surrounds the first axis 94. In the illustrated embodiment, the mounting member 14 is substantially symmetric with respect to the central plane 90 and includes two counterbores 110, one on each side of the central plane 90. The head portion 98 of the fastener 96 engages one annular wall 112, and is surrounded by one counterbore 110, and the nut 104 engages the other annular wall 112 and is surrounded by the other counterbore 110. In alternative embodiments of the invention, one of the counterbores 110 is eliminated leaving a substantially solid mass of material on one side of the slit 66. A threaded blind bore may then be formed in the upper portion 58. The threaded blind bore is substantially aligned with the first axis 94 and opens toward the slit 66 such that the mounting fastener 96 may be extended through the aperture 92 and the hole in the flattened end 54, and threaded directly into the threaded blind bore.
  • The upper portion [0030] 58 also includes a pair of grooves 118 (FIG. 4) formed in each circumferential wall 114. The grooves 118 are diametrically opposed with respect to the first axis 94 and extend axially from the outer surface 56 toward a respective annular wall 112. The grooves 118 are oriented about the first axis 94 such that a plane extending through the grooves 118 is substantially perpendicular to the central axis 80 and substantially parallel to the lower surface 76.
  • Cooperating with each pair of grooves [0031] 118 is an elongated cutout 122 that extends from the planar lower surface 76, into the upper portion 58. The cutouts 122 intersect the grooves 118 (see FIG. 4) and include a length L (see FIG. 5) in a direction generally parallel to the central plane 90. The length L is greater than the diameter D of the counterbore 110 for reasons that will become apparent below. As best illustrated in FIG. 7, the cutouts 122 and the pairs of grooves 118 provide a pair of internal lips 126 on each side of the upper portion 58. The lips 126 are provided to secure the caps 74 to the upper portion 58 so that the caps 74 conceal and overlie the fastener 96, the nut 104, and the counterbores 110.
  • As best shown in FIG. 7, each cap [0032] 74 includes a pair of diametrically opposed tabs 130. The tabs 130 include radially outwardly extending projections 134 that engage the internal lips 126 to secure the caps 74 to the mounting member 14. The caps 74, tabs 130, and projections 134 are sized and configured such that the tabs 130 and projections 134 are received by the grooves 118 and guided toward the internal lips 126 as the caps 74 are inserted into the counterbores 110. As the caps 74 are inserted, the tabs 130 deflect inwardly until the projections 134 move past the lips 126 and snap radially outwardly into place, thereby securing the cap 74 to the mounting member 14. The caps 74 also include an outer surface 138 that is contoured to smoothly blend with the outer surface 56 of the mounting member 14. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, with the caps 74 installed, the mounting member 14 has a smooth, bell-shaped contour, and the fastener 96, the nut 104, the counterbores 110, the grooves 118 and the cutouts 122 are all hidden from view.
  • Various features of the invention are set forth in the following claims. [0033]

Claims (15)

What is claimed is:
1. A mounting bracket for securing a mirror assembly to a vehicle exterior, the bracket comprising;
a body having a non-planar outer surface and a mounting surface that is securable to the vehicle;
a slit defined in the body and opening away from the mounting surface, the slit defining a first plane;
an aperture extending through the body and the slit substantially perpendicularly to the first plane;
a counterbore, recessed with respect to the outer surface and substantially surrounding the aperture; and,
a cap having at least a portion positioned in the counterbore and overlying the counterbore and the aperture.
2. The mounting bracket of claim 1, further comprising a fastener extending through the aperture, the fastener having a head portion positioned in the counterbore, and wherein the cap overlies the head portion.
3. The mounting bracket of claim 1, wherein the mounting surface is engageable with a stud extending from the vehicle exterior to secure the mounting bracket to the vehicle.
4. The mounting bracket of claim 1, wherein the non-planar outer surface includes a bell-shaped contour.
5. The mounting bracket of claim 1, wherein the aperture defines a first axis, the mounting bracket further comprising grooves extending axially with respect to the first axis from the outer surface toward the slit, and wherein the cap includes tabs engageable with the grooves to secure the cap to the body.
6. A mirror assembly for use on a vehicle, the assembly comprising:
a reflective body;
a first elongated support member including a first end couplable to the reflective body and a second end;
a second elongated support member having a first end coupled to the first support member and a second end;
a third elongated support member having a first end coupled to at least one of the first and second support members and a second end;
a first mounting member, securable to the vehicle and coupled to the second end of the first support member by a first fastener;
a second mounting member, securable to the vehicle and coupled to the second end of the second support member by a second fastener; and
a third mounting member, securable to the vehicle and coupled to the second end of the third support member by a third fastener, each mounting member including a cap to substantially overlie the fasteners and hide the fasteners from view.
7. The assembly of claim 6, wherein the mounting members include counterbores and the fasteners include portions positioned within the counterbores, and wherein the caps to overlie the fasteners comprise removable caps positioned in the counterbores.
8. The assembly of claim 7, wherein each mounting member includes a non-planar outer surface providing a bell-shaped contour and a mounting surface engaging the vehicle.
9. The assembly of claim 8, wherein each mounting member includes a slit extending through the outer surface and opening away from the mounting surface, the slits receiving the second ends of the support members.
10. The assembly of claim 6, wherein at least one of the support members includes an expandable portion between the first and second ends.
11. A mounting bracket for securing a mirror assembly to a road vehicle, the bracket comprising:
an upper portion having a non-planar outer surface and a lower surface;
a lower portion securable to the vehicle;
a slit defined in the upper portion and defining a central plane;
an aperture extending through the upper portion and the slit generally perpendicularly to the central plane, the aperture defining a first axis;
a counterbore surrounding the aperture and providing an inner annular wall that is generally parallel to the central plane, and a circumferential wall having a diameter and surrounding the first axis;
a groove formed in the circumferential wall and extending axially toward the annular wall;
an elongated cutout extending from the lower surface into the upper portion to intersect the groove, the cutout having a length greater than the circumferential wall diameter and cooperating with the groove to provide an internal lip in the upper portion; and
a cap received by the counterbore and including a tab having a projection, the tab received by the groove, and the projection engaging the internal lip to secure the cap to the body, the cap substantially overlying the aperture, the annular wall, and the circumferential wall.
12. The mounting bracket of claim 11, wherein the lower portion includes a substantially cylindrical boss extending generally perpendicularly from the lower surface and defining a central axis, and a skirt portion extending axially and radially away from the lower surface and surrounding the cylindrical boss.
13. The mounting bracket of claim 12, wherein the skirt portion has a substantially uniform thickness.
14. The mounting bracket of claim 11, wherein the upper portion and the lower portion cooperate to provide a substantially bell-shaped outer contour.
15. The mounting bracket of claim 11, wherein the cutout extends generally perpendicularly from the lower surface and is generally parallel to the central plane.
US10/402,419 2002-06-11 2003-03-28 Mounting bracket for a vehicle mirror Abandoned US20040041069A1 (en)

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US38765202P true 2002-06-11 2002-06-11
US10/402,419 US20040041069A1 (en) 2002-06-11 2003-03-28 Mounting bracket for a vehicle mirror

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Cited By (1)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
JP2012061909A (en) * 2010-09-15 2012-03-29 Yupiteru Corp Stand device for on-vehicle electronic equipment

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