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Method of assembling vehicle top structure

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Publication number
USRE32165E
USRE32165E US06672353 US67235384A USRE32165E US RE32165 E USRE32165 E US RE32165E US 06672353 US06672353 US 06672353 US 67235384 A US67235384 A US 67235384A US RE32165 E USRE32165 E US RE32165E
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US
Grant status
Grant
Patent type
Prior art keywords
vehicle
top
headliner
structure
roof
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.)
Expired - Lifetime
Application number
US06672353
Inventor
Harold E. Gerring
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.)
GERWIN VANS Inc
Original Assignee
GERWIN VANS 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
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60RVEHICLES, VEHICLE FITTINGS, OR VEHICLE PARTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60R13/00Elements for body-finishing, identifying, or decorating; Arrangements or adaptations for advertising purposes
    • B60R13/02Internal Trim mouldings ; Internal Ledges; Wall liners for passenger compartments; Roof liners
    • B60R13/0212Roof or head liners
    • B60R13/0225Roof or head liners self supporting head liners
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60RVEHICLES, VEHICLE FITTINGS, OR VEHICLE PARTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60R13/00Elements for body-finishing, identifying, or decorating; Arrangements or adaptations for advertising purposes
    • B60R13/02Internal Trim mouldings ; Internal Ledges; Wall liners for passenger compartments; Roof liners
    • B60R2013/0281Internal Trim mouldings ; Internal Ledges; Wall liners for passenger compartments; Roof liners made of a plurality of visible parts
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60RVEHICLES, VEHICLE FITTINGS, OR VEHICLE PARTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60R13/00Elements for body-finishing, identifying, or decorating; Arrangements or adaptations for advertising purposes
    • B60R13/02Internal Trim mouldings ; Internal Ledges; Wall liners for passenger compartments; Roof liners
    • B60R2013/0287Internal Trim mouldings ; Internal Ledges; Wall liners for passenger compartments; Roof liners integrating other functions or accessories
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60RVEHICLES, VEHICLE FITTINGS, OR VEHICLE PARTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60R13/00Elements for body-finishing, identifying, or decorating; Arrangements or adaptations for advertising purposes
    • B60R13/02Internal Trim mouldings ; Internal Ledges; Wall liners for passenger compartments; Roof liners
    • B60R2013/0293Connection or positioning of adjacent panels
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T29/00Metal working
    • Y10T29/49Method of mechanical manufacture
    • Y10T29/49716Converting
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T29/00Metal working
    • Y10T29/49Method of mechanical manufacture
    • Y10T29/49826Assembling or joining
    • Y10T29/49904Assembling a subassembly, then assembling with a second subassembly

Abstract

A rigid vehicle top of unitary construction and method of making the same is provided. The rigidity of the roof and headliner portions allows for the complete off-line assembly of lighting systems, switches, clocks, environmental control apparatus and decorations. Additionally, a method of converting an existing passenger vehicle is provided.

Description

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The general field of the present invention is that of vehicle body top structures and their methods of assembly. While various top structures for vehicles have been known for many years, it has not been until the recent windspread utilization and, especially mass assembly, of the automobile and other motor vehicles that on simplicity, reproducibility and cost-effectiveness has lead to an ever increasing interest in structural and assembly improvements.

Early attempts at improvements in this field are exemplified by U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,020,346 and 2,466,366. Other more recent designs and methods are demonstrated by U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,768,026; 3,300,357; 3,719,383; 3,953,067; 4,119,749; and U.S. Pat. Nos. Des. 203,033; 213,189; 239,101; and 251,292.

As pointed out in U.S. Pat. No. 3,953,067, there are generally two different types of vehicle top structures and consequently, methods of assembly. These two types are (1) cut- and sewn and (2) molded. The cut- and sewn structure is fabricated and installed by highly skilled laborers at an assembly plant whereas the molded structure may be molded elsewhere and installed by slipping it through the front window or back light opening. Both of these methods demand an excessive amount of installation time and therefore promulgate excessive labor costs due to the necessary utilization of highly skilled labor within a cramped and crowded working area; namely the passenger or storage area of the motor vehicle being assembled.

The present invention relates to a rigid vehicle top of unitary costruction which may be unitarily attached to the vehicle body after the complete off-line assembly of all electrical (i.e. clocks, radios, etc.) and mechanical (i.e. ventilation ducts, storage spaces, etc.) components of the vehicle top. This construction assembly eliminates many of the problems existing in the present vehicle top assembly methods. In particular, the present method promulgates a substantial reduction in labor costs over the presently existing methods. The labor cost reduction is a direct result of the application of the presently disclosed inventive method and structure since assembly of the vehicle top is achieved at an off-line assembly location which may or may not be within an assembly plant. The off-line assembly of the vehicle top from its components parts (i.e. roof portions, headliners, clocks, ventilation ducts, etc.) allows the workers ready access to the inside area of the vehicle top thus totally obviating the necessity of assembling the components of the vehicle top and headliner within the confines of the vehicle passenger or cargo area, itself. Therefore, the rigid vehicle top of unitary structure of this invention may be unitarily attached to the vehicle body at a predetermined point or points in the assembly line.

This invention relates generally to vehicle top structure and more particularly to a new improved vehicle top structure and method of attaching the same which is intended to overcome the many disadvantages and objectional features of both the cut- and sewn and molded vehicle top structures.

Various advantages, aspects and objects of the present invention include:

(i) to provide a new and improved vehicle top structure;

(ii) to provide a new and improved method of affixation (attachment of the vehicle top structure to the vehicle body);

(iii) to provide a vehicle top structure that has the customized appearance of either cut- and sewn or molded type structures, but which eliminates many of the problems of assembly and fitting associated therewith;

(iv) to provide a vehicle top structure which may be assembled off-line and then be unitarily affixed or attached to the vehicle body;

(v) to provide a rigid vehicle top of unitary structure which can be economically manufactured and assembled;

(vi) to provide aesthetically pleasing vehicle top structures of durable nature.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparently from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings showing a plurality of preferble embodiments thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the affixation (attachment) and the vehicle top structure as affixed to a motor vehicle body which is assembled and constructed according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an interior plan view of an embodiment of a vehicle top structure according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional right side view taken along line III--III of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an interior plan view of another embodiment of the vehicle top structure of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a rear view of the embodiment of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a front sectional view along line VI--VI of the embodiment of FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the affixation and joining area of the vehicle top structure conversion as affixed (attached) to a motor vehicle body constructed and assembled according a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now in detail to the drawings and in particular to FIG. 1 thereof, a rigid, unitary and self-supporting vehicle roof portion 1, is affixed to vehicle body 2 by means of wall attaching flange 3. Other affixing or attachment embodiments are also contemplated. For example pressure sensitive adhesives, spot welding, nuts and bolts, etc. Self-supporting headliner 4 is preferably provided with a raceway 5 for electrical or air conditioning duct work. A flattened area 6 to provide direct seat lighting is also preferably provided. Ceiling fasteners 7 maintain rigid contact between headliner 4 and self-supporting vehicle roof portion 1 and are also preferably hidden for aesthetic purposes, from passenger view by decorative panels 8 which are recessed into a ceiling insert area 9. Affixation of vehicle roof portion 1 and headliner 4 to vehicle body 2 is maintained at all contact points in the manner previously described. Placement of various instruments and indicators, i.e. clocks, speedometers, oil pressure gauge, tachometer, etc. may be such that all passengers may view them.

FIG. 2 discloses a preferred embodiment of decorative panels 8, and, additionally, the usage of windows 10.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of FIG. 2 along line III--III and further discloses rear molded storage compartment 11 and front molded console 12. A cross-sectional view of the interior liner 13 is also revealed.

FIG. 4 reveals another embodiment of decorative panels 8 and the provision for stereo speakers 14.

FIG. 5 is a rear view of the embodiment of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a front sectional view along line VI--VI of FIG. 4.

FIG. 7, as previously stated, is a transverse, cross-sectional view of the affixation (attachment) and adjoining area of a vehicle top conversion structure as affixed to a motor vehicle body and constructed and assembled according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

From the above drawings and detailed description, the distinct advantages of constructing a rigid and unitary vehicle top structure consisting of a vehicle roof portion and headliner is readily recognizable. Since the headliner 4 is also rigid and of unitary structure, workers at an off-line location may assemble the vehicle roof portion 1 and headliner 4 structures to form the vehicle top without the inherent problems of a cramped working area. Workers would thus have ready and easy access to the wiring and duct work area between the self-supporting headliner and vehicle top 1. Consequently, the labor necessary per unit assembled would be drastically reduced. Furthermore, all clocks, radios, speakers, decorative panelling, etc. could be assembled into the headliner with ease at the off-line assembly area. Thus, a completely assembled vehicle top structure could be unitarily attached to the vehicle body at a predetermined point or points in the assembly line.

Another application of the present method and structure resides in vehicle top conversions. A hypothetical owner of a vehicle might desire an aesthetic "new look" or additional space in his vehicle. Such a modification could be readily practiced through usage of the present rigid unitary vehicle top structure. In this regard, workers would merely have to cut off the existing vehicle top structure, preferably three inches below the roof line, and then attach the new vehicle top structure of the owner's choice. Therefore a quite economical modification of existing vehicles may be envisioned through application of the present invention.

The present invention lends itself to yet another unique and unobvious construction method. In this regard, a conversion dealer would simply cut off the existing vehicle top structure and then affix the rigid, unitary, self-supporting molded headliner of the present invention to the sidewalls of the vehicle to be converted. Thereafter, electrical wiring duct work etc. could be easily affixed to the headliner since the area above the headliner which would eventually be beneath the vehicle roof structure would be readily accessible to the workers. Thereafter the vehicle roof structure would be attached to the body sidewalls above the headliner. While this method might involve slightly more labor costs (due to the double attachment costs necessary), these costs could be well overcome through a dealer not having to carry a large inventory of all possible combinations of headliners/vehicle roof structures.

While it will be apparent that the preferred embodiments of the invention disclosed are well calculated to fulfill the objects abovestated, it will be appreciated that the invention is acceptable to modification, variation and/or change without departing from the proper scope or fair meaning of the claims appended hereto.

Claims (13)

We claim:
1. A method of converting a passenger compartment of a motor vehicle of the type bound by body side walls and a roof structure attached to the top of said side walls, comprising:
cutting through the side walls at a position below the roof structure and removing the roof structure and upper portion of the side walls as a unit from the vehicle passenger compartment,
forming a vehicle roof,
forming a relatively rigid self-supporting headliner separate from the vehicle roof, including means for accommodating vehicle lighting fixtures .[.and the like..].
attaching said self-supporting headliner to the top of the cut side walls of the vehicle,
attaching said vehicle roof on top of said headliner and to the top of the cut side walls of the vehicle to form a vehicle body top structure,
whereby assembly workers are allowed great freedom of movement and ease of access in assembling said headliner and said vehicle roof.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising affixing electrical wiring to the headliner from above after attaching the headliner to the side walls and before attaching the roof to the side walls.
3. The method of claim 1 or 2, further comprising affixing duct work to the headliner from above after attaching the headliner to the side walls and before attaching the roof to the side walls.
4. The method of claim 1, comprising fastening said roof part and said headliner by ceiling fasteners to maintain rigid contact between said roof and headliner.
5. The method of claim 4, comprising attaching decorative panel means to said headliner to conceal said ceiling fasteners.
6. The method of claim 1, comprising forming said roof with attaching flange means, wherein said attaching of the roof includes placing said attaching flange means in contact with at least one of said headliner and said side walls.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein said forming said headliner includes forming of a raceway for electrical or air conditioning duct work in said headliner.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein said forming said headliner includes forming a rear molded storage compartment and a front molded in console in said headliner.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein said forming said headliner includes forming a flattened area in said headliner to provide direct seat lighting.
10. The method of claim 7, wherein said forming said headliner includes forming a rear molded storage compartment and a front molded in console in said headliner.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein said forming said headliner includes forming a flattened area in said headliner to provide direct seat lighting.
12. The method of claim 7, further comprising affixing electrical wiring to the headliner from above after attaching the headliner to the side walls and before attaching the roof to the side walls. .Iadd.
13. A method of converting a passenger compartment of a motor vehicle of the type bound by body side walls and a roof structure attached to the top of said side walls, comprising:
removing the existing roof structure at the top of said side walls from said vehicle passenger compartment;
forming a new vehicle roof part;
forming a relatively rigid self-supporting headliner, including means molded therein for receiving, structurally supporting and positively locating vehicle accessory component fixtures;
attaching said new vehicle roof part and said headliner to one another to form a relatively rigid unitary vehicle body top structure;
then affixing said vehicle accessory component fixtures to said relatively rigid unitary vehicle body top structure;
thereafter attaching said relatively rigid unitary vehicle body top structure as a preassembled unit with said accessory component fixtures therein to the vehicle to replace said existing vehicle roof structure previously removed; and
whereby assembly and conversion of said compartment can be made with minimal on-site modification and installation at the vehicle body itself. .Iaddend.
US06672353 1979-12-14 1984-11-16 Method of assembling vehicle top structure Expired - Lifetime USRE32165E (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US06103586 US4358883A (en) 1979-12-14 1979-12-14 Vehicle top structure and method of assembly
US06672353 USRE32165E (en) 1979-12-14 1984-11-16 Method of assembling vehicle top structure

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Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US06672353 USRE32165E (en) 1979-12-14 1984-11-16 Method of assembling vehicle top structure

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US06103586 Reissue US4358883A (en) 1979-12-14 1979-12-14 Vehicle top structure and method of assembly

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Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6438843B1 (en) * 1999-12-21 2002-08-27 Patent Holding Company Removable hard top for an automotive vehicle and method of making a composite removable hard top
US20030159264A1 (en) * 2002-02-22 2003-08-28 The Dow Chemical Company Automotive roof module and method of assembly of the module to an automotive vehicle
US6619716B1 (en) 2002-03-28 2003-09-16 Lear Corporation Integrated vehicle console system
US6694036B2 (en) * 2001-01-19 2004-02-17 Suzuki Motor Corporation Speaker mounting structure
US6918169B2 (en) 2002-05-14 2005-07-19 Mathson Industries Method of assembling a vehicle

Citations (18)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1652359A (en) * 1926-08-16 1927-12-13 John E Hill Automobile top
US1850705A (en) * 1931-03-05 1932-03-22 Bridgeport City Trust Company Vehicle top
US2466366A (en) * 1946-07-10 1949-04-05 Budd Co Automobile roof and end wall
US2768026A (en) * 1953-05-13 1956-10-23 Gustin Bacon Mfg Co Premolded self-sustaining automobile headliner with air-conditioning ducts
US2816794A (en) * 1955-01-31 1957-12-17 Conrad R Temp Vehicle body assembly
US3635519A (en) * 1970-08-12 1972-01-18 Gen Motors Corp Vehicle body roof structure
US3642317A (en) * 1970-08-28 1972-02-15 Gen Motors Corp Vehicle body headlining
US3719383A (en) * 1970-09-30 1973-03-06 M Ferro Removable camper unit
US3815307A (en) * 1972-05-05 1974-06-11 Rohr Industries Inc Roof-to-sidewall unit method joint structure for transportation type vehicles
US3827137A (en) * 1972-03-01 1974-08-06 Rohr Industries Inc Method of assembling a vehicle roof and sidewall on a completed base by external joint structures
US3867240A (en) * 1972-05-22 1975-02-18 Detroit Gasket & Manufacturing Decorative resilient laminar panel
US3953067A (en) * 1974-09-18 1976-04-27 Isola Richard A Vehicle headliner construction
US4099313A (en) * 1977-08-09 1978-07-11 Grandeur Motorcar Corp. Method of converting motor car
US4101159A (en) * 1977-07-12 1978-07-18 Stewart Buster D Van overhead console
US4211590A (en) * 1978-07-21 1980-07-08 Inmont Corporation Method of making perforated contoured trim panel
US4231144A (en) * 1979-01-31 1980-11-04 National Custom Van Corp. Method of converting a van-type vehicle to a multi-passenger commercial transportation vehicle
US4238876A (en) * 1978-09-05 1980-12-16 Gary S. Monroe Method for converting hard top vehicles to removable top vehicles
US4261615A (en) * 1979-09-20 1981-04-14 Deaver Dann T Convertible top structure and method

Patent Citations (18)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1652359A (en) * 1926-08-16 1927-12-13 John E Hill Automobile top
US1850705A (en) * 1931-03-05 1932-03-22 Bridgeport City Trust Company Vehicle top
US2466366A (en) * 1946-07-10 1949-04-05 Budd Co Automobile roof and end wall
US2768026A (en) * 1953-05-13 1956-10-23 Gustin Bacon Mfg Co Premolded self-sustaining automobile headliner with air-conditioning ducts
US2816794A (en) * 1955-01-31 1957-12-17 Conrad R Temp Vehicle body assembly
US3635519A (en) * 1970-08-12 1972-01-18 Gen Motors Corp Vehicle body roof structure
US3642317A (en) * 1970-08-28 1972-02-15 Gen Motors Corp Vehicle body headlining
US3719383A (en) * 1970-09-30 1973-03-06 M Ferro Removable camper unit
US3827137A (en) * 1972-03-01 1974-08-06 Rohr Industries Inc Method of assembling a vehicle roof and sidewall on a completed base by external joint structures
US3815307A (en) * 1972-05-05 1974-06-11 Rohr Industries Inc Roof-to-sidewall unit method joint structure for transportation type vehicles
US3867240A (en) * 1972-05-22 1975-02-18 Detroit Gasket & Manufacturing Decorative resilient laminar panel
US3953067A (en) * 1974-09-18 1976-04-27 Isola Richard A Vehicle headliner construction
US4101159A (en) * 1977-07-12 1978-07-18 Stewart Buster D Van overhead console
US4099313A (en) * 1977-08-09 1978-07-11 Grandeur Motorcar Corp. Method of converting motor car
US4211590A (en) * 1978-07-21 1980-07-08 Inmont Corporation Method of making perforated contoured trim panel
US4238876A (en) * 1978-09-05 1980-12-16 Gary S. Monroe Method for converting hard top vehicles to removable top vehicles
US4231144A (en) * 1979-01-31 1980-11-04 National Custom Van Corp. Method of converting a van-type vehicle to a multi-passenger commercial transportation vehicle
US4261615A (en) * 1979-09-20 1981-04-14 Deaver Dann T Convertible top structure and method

Non-Patent Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Title
Automobile Body Reconditioning, by Wohlfeil et al., McGraw Hill Book Co. Inc., 1952, pp. 109, 108, 107, 106, 105. *
Automobile Body Reconditioning, by Wohlfeil et al., McGraw-Hill Book Co. Inc., 1952, pp. 109, 108, 107, 106, 105.

Cited By (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6438843B1 (en) * 1999-12-21 2002-08-27 Patent Holding Company Removable hard top for an automotive vehicle and method of making a composite removable hard top
US6575521B2 (en) 1999-12-21 2003-06-10 Patent Holding Company Composite removable hard top
US6694036B2 (en) * 2001-01-19 2004-02-17 Suzuki Motor Corporation Speaker mounting structure
US20030159264A1 (en) * 2002-02-22 2003-08-28 The Dow Chemical Company Automotive roof module and method of assembly of the module to an automotive vehicle
US6619716B1 (en) 2002-03-28 2003-09-16 Lear Corporation Integrated vehicle console system
US6918169B2 (en) 2002-05-14 2005-07-19 Mathson Industries Method of assembling a vehicle

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