US20070252360A1 - Trailer hitch assembly - Google Patents

Trailer hitch assembly Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070252360A1
US20070252360A1 US11/823,979 US82397907A US2007252360A1 US 20070252360 A1 US20070252360 A1 US 20070252360A1 US 82397907 A US82397907 A US 82397907A US 2007252360 A1 US2007252360 A1 US 2007252360A1
Authority
US
United States
Prior art keywords
support arm
assembly
trailer hitch
support
receptacle
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
US11/823,979
Inventor
Donald Wooten
Original Assignee
Wooten Donald W
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 US11/041,376 priority Critical patent/US7258359B2/en
Application filed by Wooten Donald W filed Critical Wooten Donald W
Priority to US11/823,979 priority patent/US20070252360A1/en
Publication of US20070252360A1 publication Critical patent/US20070252360A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60DVEHICLE CONNECTIONS
    • B60D1/00Traction couplings; Hitches; Draw-gear; Towing devices
    • B60D1/48Traction couplings; Hitches; Draw-gear; Towing devices characterised by the mounting
    • B60D1/52Traction couplings; Hitches; Draw-gear; Towing devices characterised by the mounting removably mounted
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60DVEHICLE CONNECTIONS
    • B60D1/00Traction couplings; Hitches; Draw-gear; Towing devices
    • B60D1/01Traction couplings or hitches characterised by their type
    • B60D1/06Ball-and-socket hitches, e.g. constructional details, auxiliary devices, their arrangement on the vehicle

Abstract

A trailer hitch assembly is removably attachable to a receiver connected to a towing vehicle. The receiver has a rectangular port defining a receptacle. The trailer hitch assembly includes a support arm assembly and at least one hitch ball. The support arm assembly has a first support arm and a second support arm. Each of the first and second support arms are sized and dimensioned to be disposed in the receptacle for attachment to the receiver. The at least one hitch ball is supported by the support arm assembly.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a continuation of U.S. Ser. No. 11/041,376, filed on Jan. 24, 2005, which is hereby expressly incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
  • Not Applicable.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Trailer hitches are well known in the towing industry. There are many different types of trailer hitch configurations attached to the back end of a variety of different vehicles, such as pick-up trucks, flatbed trucks, station wagons, sport utility vehicles and the like. The trailer hitches are used to tow many different types of trailers. Generally, trailer hitches which are attached to the back end of a vehicle protrude from the rear of the vehicle, thus increasing the length of the vehicle. When the trailer is attached to the hitch connected to the vehicle the fact that the hitch protrudes from the vehicle doesn't raise much concern. However, concerns may arise when the trailer is not connected to the hitch. For example, due to the increase in length of the vehicle most drivers tend to misjudge the distance of objects behind the vehicle, thus raising the risk of accidents with other vehicles or damage to the driver's vehicle. Moreover, the hitch extending beyond the rear end of the vehicle also causes a safety hazard because people can walk into it.
  • To avoid such problems, most drivers will remove the trailer hitch from the receiver connected to the vehicle and place it in the trunk, back, or cab of the vehicle. However, this increases the chances of the vehicle becoming dirty due to the trailer hitch being greasy or dirty. Further, driving with a trailer hitch in the open cab of a vehicle increases the risk of damage to an individual or the vehicle. For example, during a traffic accident the trailer hitch can become a flying projectile.
  • To this end, although trailer hitches of the existing art are operable, further improvements are desirable to enhance the ease of use of the trailer hitch. It is to such a trailer hitch assembly that the present invention is directed.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a trailer hitch assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention removably attachable to a receiver of a towing vehicle in a towing position.
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the trailer hitch assembly removably attached to the towing vehicle in a first stowed position.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the trailer hitch assembly removably attached to the towing vehicle in a second stowed position.
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the trailer hitch assembly illustrated in FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the trailer hitch assembly illustrated in FIG. 3.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Referring now to the drawings and in particular to FIGS. 1-5, shown therein and designated by reference numeral 10 is a trailer hitch assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention. The trailer hitch assembly 10 is removably attachable to a receiver 12 connected to a towing vehicle (not shown) in a towing position (FIG. 1), a first stowed position (FIG. 2) and a second stowed position (FIG. 3). The towing vehicle can be any vehicle used for towing such as a pick-up truck, flatbed truck, sport utility vehicle, station wagon, snowmobile, mower, or the like. The receiver 12 has a rectangular port defining a receptacle 14. The receiver 12 also includes one or more holes 16 which can be used to secure the trailer hitch assembly 10 to the vehicle, as will be discussed further herein. The construction and attachment of receivers is well known in the art and could include various configurations. Thus, no further description or discussion will be made with respect to the receiver 12.
  • The trailer hitch assembly 10 includes a support arm assembly 18, a ball support plate 20, a hitch ball 22, and a step member 24. The support arm assembly 18 has a first support arm 26 and a second support arm 28. The first support arm 26 and the second support arm 28 can be constructed from steel, aluminum, or any other rigid material and can be produced at various lengths. Further, although the first support arm 26 and the second support arm 28 are shown as tubular, it should be understood that the first support arm 26 and the second support arm 28 may be solid as well. The first and second support arms 26 and 28, respectively, are sized and dimensioned to be disposed in the receptacle 14 for attachment to the receiver 12.
  • The first support arm 26 has a first end 30 and a second end 32. The second support arm 28 has a first end 34 and a second end 36. The second end 32 of the first support arm 26 is connected to the first end 34 of the second support arm 28 such that when the first end of the first arm 26 is positioned within the receptacle 14, the second support arm 28 extends perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the receptacle 14. Thus, the first support arm 26 and the second support arm 28 are substantially perpendicular to one another. However, it should be understood that the connection formed between the first support arm 26 and the second support arm 28 may not be perpendicular so long as the second support arm 28 extends a distance away from the first support arm 26 such that the first and second support arms 26 and 28 can be positioned individually within the receptacle 14. The first support arm 26 and the second support arm 28 can be connected by any means known in the art, such as welding, bonding, bolting, or any other such means known in the art for connecting one thing to another.
  • The first support arm 26 is shown provided with a hole 38 and the second support arm 28 is provided with holes 39. When the first support arm 26 is disposed in the receptacle 14, the hole 38 is aligned with the corresponding hole 16 in the receptacle 14. A pin or bolt (not shown) is inserted into the holes 38 and 16 to secure the first support arm 26 to the receiver 12. Likewise, when the second support arm 28 is disposed in the receptacle 14, one of the holes 39 is aligned with the hole 16 in the receptacle 14. A pin is inserted into the holes 39 and 16 to secure the second support arm 28 to the receiver 12.
  • The ball support plate 20 has a first end 40, a second end 42, a first side 44, and a second side 46. The first end 40 of the ball support plate 20 is supported by the support arm assembly 18. The first end 40 of the ball support plate 20 can be connected to the support arm assembly 18 by any means known in the art, such as welding, bonding, bolting, or other such means known in the art for connecting one thing to another.
  • At least one hitch ball 22 is supported by the support arm assembly 18. Preferably, as shown in FIGS. 1-5, the hitch ball 22 is mounted near the second end 42 of the ball support plate 20. Typically, the hitch ball 22 is fixed to a threaded screw which penetrates the ball support plate 20 and a bolt 48 is screwed thereon to secure the hitch ball 22 to the ball support plate 20. However, it should be understood that the hitch ball 22 can be attached to the ball support plate 20 by any means known in the art, such as welding, bonding, or other such means. Although a single hitch ball 22 is shown in FIGS. 1-5, it should be understood that the support arm assembly 18 and the ball support plate 20 can each be adapted so that a plurality of hitch balls may be attached.
  • The step member 24 has a first end 50, a second end 52, a first side 54 and a second side 56. The first side 54 of the step member 24 is shown attached to the second side 46 of the ball support plate 20 near the first end 50 of the step member 24. The step member 24 may be connected by any means known in the art, such as welding, bonding, bolting, or the like. The trailer hitch assembly 10 may be inverted, as shown in FIG. 3, so that the second side 56 of the step member 24 can be used as a step by the user of the trailer hitch assembly 10. Optionally, the first and second support arms 26 and 28, respectively, can be used as a step when not disposed in the receptacle 14 of the receiver 12, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • In use, referring to FIG. 1, the trailer hitch assembly 10 is placed in the towing position wherein the first support arm 26 is disposed in the receptacle 14 so that the hitch ball is positioned so as to engage or receive a trailer (not shown) and the second support arm 28 extends perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the receptacle 14. Referring to FIG. 2, the trailer hitch assembly 10 is placed in the first stowed position wherein the first support arm 26 is removed from the receptacle 14 and the second support arm 28 is disposed in the receptacle 14 such that the first support arm 26 extends perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the receptacle 14. Referring to FIG. 3, the trailer hitch assembly 10 is placed in the second stowed position wherein the trailer hitch assembly 10 is inverted so that the second side 56 of the step member 24 may be utilized as a step by the user of the trailer hitch assembly 10. The second support arm 28 is disposed in the receptacle 14 and the first support arm 26 and the step member 24 extend perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the receptacle 14.
  • Changes may be made in the combinations, operations, and arrangements of the various parts and elements described herein without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.

Claims (12)

1. A trailer hitch assembly removably attachable to a receiver connected to a towing vehicle, the receiver having a rectangular port defining a receptacle, the trailer hitch assembly comprising:
a support arm assembly having a first support arm and a second support arm, each of the first and second support arms being sized and dimensioned to be disposed in the receptacle for attachment to the receivers the support arm assembly constructed so as to be positioned in a towing position when the first support arm is positioned within the receptacle, and the support arm assembly constructed so as to be positioned in one of a first and second stowed position when the second support arm is positioned within the receptacle; and
at least one hitch ball supported by the support arm assembly.
2. The trailer hitch assembly of claim 1, wherein the first support arm and the second support arm are positioned perpendicular to one another.
3. The trailer hitch assembly of claim 1, wherein the first and second support arms are mounted such that upon the first support arm being positioned within the receptacle the second support arm extends perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the receptacle.
4. The trailer hitch assembly of claim 1, wherein the first and second support arms are mounted such that the second support arm extends horizontally when the first support arm is positioned within the receptacle and the support assembly is in the towing position.
5. The trailer hitch assembly of claim 1, wherein the first and second support arms are fixed relative to one another.
6. The trailer hitch assembly of claim 1, wherein the hitch ball is positioned laterally in a horizontal direction from the rectangular port when the trailer hitch assembly is positioned in one of the first and second stowed positions.
7. The trailer hitch assembly of claim 1, further comprising:
a step member; and
a ball support plate extending between the support assembly and the step member.
8. The trailer hitch assembly of claim 7, wherein the step member is connected to the ball support plate.
9. The trailer hitch assembly of claim 7, wherein the step member extends beyond an outer periphery of the ball support plate.
10. The trailer hitch assembly of claim 1, further comprising a step member positioned in parallel with the first support arm.
11. The trailer hitch assembly of claim 1, wherein the first and second support arms are mounted such that the first support arm extends horizontally when the second support arm is positioned within the receptacle and the support assembly is in the first stowed position.
12. The trailer hitch assembly of claim 1, wherein the first support arm and the hitch ball are aligned with a longitudinal axis of the receptacle when the support arm assembly is positioned in the towing position.
US11/823,979 2005-01-24 2007-06-29 Trailer hitch assembly Abandoned US20070252360A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US11/041,376 US7258359B2 (en) 2005-01-24 2005-01-24 Trailer hitch assembly
US11/823,979 US20070252360A1 (en) 2005-01-24 2007-06-29 Trailer hitch assembly

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US11/823,979 US20070252360A1 (en) 2005-01-24 2007-06-29 Trailer hitch assembly

Related Parent Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US11/041,376 Continuation US7258359B2 (en) 2005-01-24 2005-01-24 Trailer hitch assembly

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
US20070252360A1 true US20070252360A1 (en) 2007-11-01

Family

ID=36695999

Family Applications (2)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US11/041,376 Expired - Fee Related US7258359B2 (en) 2005-01-24 2005-01-24 Trailer hitch assembly
US11/823,979 Abandoned US20070252360A1 (en) 2005-01-24 2007-06-29 Trailer hitch assembly

Family Applications Before (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US11/041,376 Expired - Fee Related US7258359B2 (en) 2005-01-24 2005-01-24 Trailer hitch assembly

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Country Link
US (2) US7258359B2 (en)

Cited By (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20080179861A1 (en) * 2006-03-10 2008-07-31 Columbia John R Maximum Security/Maximum Versatility Ball Mount Assembly
US20090218789A1 (en) * 2008-03-03 2009-09-03 Beck Kent F Low movement trailer hitch
US20100007116A1 (en) * 2006-03-10 2010-01-14 Columbia John R Maximum Security/Maximum Versatility Ball Mount Assembly
US20100084449A1 (en) * 2006-03-10 2010-04-08 Columbia John R Maximum Security/Maximum Versatility Ball Mount Assembly
US20100320728A1 (en) * 2005-03-11 2010-12-23 Columbia John R Multi-Task Trailer Hitch Assembly
US9630463B2 (en) 2006-03-10 2017-04-25 John R. Columbia Maximum security/maximum versatility ball mount assembly
USD881078S1 (en) 2019-10-03 2020-04-14 Michael S Rebick Hitch mount assembly

Families Citing this family (16)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
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US20060220347A1 (en) * 2005-03-29 2006-10-05 Bryan Witchey Hitch storage device
US20090079157A1 (en) * 2007-09-21 2009-03-26 Harold Fratzke Vehicle mounted step
US8079611B2 (en) * 2009-12-30 2011-12-20 Vern Schroeder Trailer hitch tow bar caddy
US8251387B2 (en) * 2010-02-10 2012-08-28 Theodore Thomas Gansberger Folding step-on for a vehicle
US8602440B2 (en) * 2010-05-03 2013-12-10 Kazimierz Kenjora Multifunction tow hitch
US8308183B1 (en) * 2010-06-09 2012-11-13 Mcelhinney Jr Arthur R Ball mount storage device
US8231035B1 (en) 2010-06-17 2012-07-31 JRM International Products, Inc. Hitch ball assembly holder
US8893939B2 (en) 2010-08-25 2014-11-25 Brass Wolf Enterprises Ltd. Trailer hitch storage apparatus
US8348314B2 (en) * 2011-01-25 2013-01-08 Garfield Gibbs Gibbs' bumper guard
NL1038754C2 (en) * 2011-04-14 2012-10-16 Peter Wagter Coupling device for a trailer.
US20120313343A1 (en) * 2011-06-10 2012-12-13 Fletcher Bryan Ball mount step platform
USD740183S1 (en) 2014-09-18 2015-10-06 TowSafe, Inc. Ball hitch safety device
US9783016B2 (en) 2015-09-18 2017-10-10 Greg Thomas Forhan Adjustable bracket for storage of trailer hitch ball mount
US10421405B2 (en) * 2017-03-17 2019-09-24 Advanced Engineering Group, LLC Step hitch assembly
USD873180S1 (en) * 2018-05-03 2020-01-21 Scott McCuskey Trailer hitch lock
USD873179S1 (en) * 2018-05-03 2020-01-21 Scott McCuskey Trailer hitch lock

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US8276932B2 (en) 2005-03-11 2012-10-02 Columbia John R Multi-task trailer hitch assembly
US20100320728A1 (en) * 2005-03-11 2010-12-23 Columbia John R Multi-Task Trailer Hitch Assembly
US8840130B2 (en) * 2006-03-10 2014-09-23 John R. Columbia Maximum security/maximum versatility ball mount assembly
US20100007116A1 (en) * 2006-03-10 2010-01-14 Columbia John R Maximum Security/Maximum Versatility Ball Mount Assembly
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US8226107B2 (en) 2006-03-10 2012-07-24 Columbia John R Maximum security/maximum versatility ball mount assembly
US20080179861A1 (en) * 2006-03-10 2008-07-31 Columbia John R Maximum Security/Maximum Versatility Ball Mount Assembly
US9630463B2 (en) 2006-03-10 2017-04-25 John R. Columbia Maximum security/maximum versatility ball mount assembly
US8371603B2 (en) 2006-03-10 2013-02-12 John R. Columbia Maximum security/maximum versatility ball mount assembly
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US20090218789A1 (en) * 2008-03-03 2009-09-03 Beck Kent F Low movement trailer hitch
USD881078S1 (en) 2019-10-03 2020-04-14 Michael S Rebick Hitch mount assembly
USD897247S1 (en) 2019-10-03 2020-09-29 Michael S Rebick Hitch mount assembly

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
US20060163843A1 (en) 2006-07-27
US7258359B2 (en) 2007-08-21

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