Patent application title: Aerodynamic transformable truck cap assembly
Brett Stuart Herndon (Little Rock, AR, US)
IPC8 Class: AB60P702FI
Class name: Load cover rigid hinged
Publication date: 2009-04-23
Patent application number: 20090102227
A transformable, aerodynamic cover assembly for pickup trucks which is
user switchable between a closed aerodynamic configuration and a fully
deployed truck cap configuration. The aerodynamic configuration reduces
vehicle wind resistance and drag, thus increasing fuel efficiency. The
cover assembly, constructed of rigid materials, comprises a fiberglass
shell mounted within the truck bed supporting a rigid, fiberglass cover.
Flexible fabric windows suspended from the cover are supported between
sidewall hangers and pivoted sleeve tubes. A flexible rear hatch is
supported by a transverse hanger. Internal stanchions pivoted to the
cover underside foldably switch between deployed, cover-elevating
positions an stowage positions. The cover sidewalls and hatch provide a
space for human habitation and increased cargo hauling capacity. The
cover is detachable from the body of the assembly for hauling oversized
1. A transformable cover assembly for conventional pickup trucks of the
type having a cab, a rear cargo bed bounded by sides, a rear, and a
tailgate, the cover assembly comprising:a rigid shell operationally
disposed within said bed, said shell comprising a pair of spaced apart,
generally triangular sidewalls extending from an elevated transverse
portion proximate the rear of said cab, said sidewalls tapering to a
reduced height towards said truck rear and overlying said truck bed
sides;means for semi-permanently attaching said shell within said bed;a
rigid aerodynamic cover pivotally coupled to said shell for covering said
truck bed, said cover having a front and a rear;means for securing said
cover to said shell in either an inclined, aerodynamic configuration that
provides reduced aerodynamic drag, or a fully deployed elevated
configuration in which said cover is substantially parallel with and
vertically spaced above said truck bed;a pair of flexible sidewalls and a
flexible rear hatch attached to said cover that are selectively
deployable to enclose said bed when said cover is disposed in said
elevated configuration; and,means associated with said aerodynamic cover
for stowing said sidewalls and said rear hatch when said cover is
disposed in said aerodynamic position.
2. The cover assembly as defined in claim 1 wherein said cover is hinged to and detachable from said shell.
3. The cover assembly as defined in claim 2 wherein said shell remains attached to said truck when said aerodynamic cover is removed.
4. The cover assembly as defined in claim 1 wherein said cover is detachably hinged to said shell, and wherein said shell remains attached to said truck when said aerodynamic cover is removed.
5. The cover assembly as defined in claim 4 wherein said cover comprises a hanger permanently attached to it for supporting said hatch, a pair of wall hangers for suspending the sidewalls, and a pair of sleeve tubes pivoted to it penetrating the sidewalls at their bottoms for deploying and tensioning them.
6. The cover assembly as defined in claim 5 wherein said cover comprises a pair of adjustable stanchions depending from it for supporting the cover when disposed in an elevated position, and means for coupling said stanchions to said sleeve tubes and wherein sides of said shell comprise cradles for nesting said cover sleeve tubes.
7. The cover assembly as defined in claim 5 wherein said shell comprises keeper brackets releasably coupled to said stanchions for supporting them when said cover is elevated.
8. The cover assembly as defined in claim 5 wherein said cover is detachable from said shell to facilitate complete removal of said cover from said shell to provide clearance for the transportation of cargo greater in height than the roof of the truck cab while said shell remains attached to the truck.
9. The cover assembly as defined in claim 6 wherein said means for coupling said stanchions to said sleeve tubes comprises stubs pivoted to said stanchions that can coaxially fit within ends of said sleeve tubes.
10. A cover assembly for mounting on a pickup truck having an open bed defined by upstanding sides and a tailgate disposed rearwardly of the cab, said cover assembly being transformable between a closed aerodynamic configuration in which said cover assembly completely enshrouds said truck bed for securing contents therein and a fully deployed camper configuration in which said cover assembly defines, in concert with the truck bed, a habitable enclosure, said assembly comprising:a rigid shell mountable upon said truck proximate said bed;a rigid aerodynamic cover detachably hinged to said shell, said cover comprising:a pair of flexible sidewalls and a flexible rear hatch that are selectively deployable to enclose said bed when said cover is disposed in said elevated configuration;elongated sidewall hangers secured underneath said cover for suspending said sidewalls;elongated sleeve tubes secured beneath and pivoted to said cover that captivate and tension said sidewalls when the cover is elevated and the sidewalls are deployed; stanchions pivoted to said cover at its rear underside that can be pivotally deployed to support the cover when elevated; and,a hanger attached to the cover for supporting said hatch;means for releasably coupling said stanchions to said sleeve tubes; and, keeper brackets associated with said shell for supporting the stanchions.
11. The cover assembly as defined in claim 10 wherein said shell comprises an elongated cradle at the top of each of its sides for nesting the sidewall sleeve tubes.
12. The cover assembly as defined in claim 10 wherein said sleeve tubes penetrate portions of the sidewalls at their bottoms for tensioning them.
13. The cover assembly as defined in claim 10 wherein said means for coupling said stanchions to said sleeve tubes comprises stubs pivoted to said stanchions that coaxially fit within ends of said sleeve tubes.
14. A cover assembly for mounting on a pickup truck having an open bed defined by upstanding sides and a tailgate disposed rearwardly of the cab, said cover assembly comprising:a shell mountable upon said truck proximate said bed the shell comprising a pair of triangular sidewalls and a transverse portion proximate said cab;a rigid, aerodynamic cover detachably hinged to said shell transverse portion, said cover comprising:a pair of flexible sidewalls and a flexible rear hatch that are selectively deployable to enclose said bed when said cover is disposed in said elevated configuration;elongated sidewall hangers secured underneath said cover for suspending said sidewalls;elongated sleeve tubes secured beneath and pivoted to said cover that captivate and tension said sidewalls when the cover is elevated and the sidewalls are deployed; stanchions that can be pivotally deployed to support the cover when elevated;stubs pivoted to said stanchions that coaxially fit within ends of said sleeve tubes for releasably coupling said stanchions to said sleeve tubes; and,brackets associated with said shell for supporting the stanchions.
15. The cover assembly as defined in claim 14 wherein said shell comprises an elongated cradle at the top of each of its sides for nesting the sidewall sleeve tubes.
16. The cover assembly as defined in claim 15 wherein said sleeve tubes penetrate portions of the sidewalls at their bottoms for tensioning them.
17. The cover assembly as defined in claim 16 further comprising struts secured beneath the cover that releasably couple to said shell.
18. The cover assembly as defined in claim 15 wherein said stanchions are pivoted at their tops to said cover.
19. The cover assembly as defined in claim 18 wherein said sleeve tubes penetrate portions of the sidewalls at their bottoms for tensioning them.
20. The cover assembly as defined in claim 19 further comprising struts secured beneath the cover that releasably couple to said shell.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
This utility patent application is based upon, and claims the priority filing date of my previously-filed, U.S. Provisional patent application entitled "Aerodynamic Transformable Truck Cap Assembly," filed Oct. 1, 2007, Ser. No. 60/997,085.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates generally to truck caps and cover assemblies for pickup trucks. More particularly, this invention relates to an aerodynamic cover assembly for pickup truck beds that is user-transformable between selected configurations. Known prior art relevant to this invention can be found in U.S. Patent Class 296, subclasses 100 and 165.
2. Description of Prior Art
For several years, cover assemblies of various forms have been mounted on the beds of pickup trucks. The modern truck cap is a popular pickup truck accessory, providing a variety of functional and aesthetic advantages. Prior art cover assemblies provide a covered space for human habitation and a weatherproof storage space for cargo. A variety of colored and styled bed cover assemblies for popular pickup truck models exist.
Typical truck caps are made of rigid material, and they often are shaped somewhat "squarish," i.e., generally in the form of a rectangle. Typical prior art truck caps comprise a front wall, opposed side walls, and a rear hatch, with all four sides containing safety glass for lateral and rearward visibility. The roof portion of most truck caps either extends above or is flush with the top of the cab. Such accessories often increase aerodynamic drag, and reduced fuel economy is unfortunately typical.
However, for purposes of streamlining, an aerodynamic truck cap has a roof, which begins flush in height with the roof of the truck cab and then slopes rearwardly to a height approximate to that of the tailgate of the pickup truck bed. This sloping fastback roof of the aerodynamic truck cap provides much less wind resistance than a truck cap with a roof that is flush with the truck cab roof. The greatest benefit of an aerodynamic truck cap is in increasing the fuel efficiency of the host pickup truck. The main drawback of the aerodynamic truck cap is that, with its slope, there is a substantial loss of interior volume over that provided by a truck cap with a roof flush with the cab of the pickup. This diminishes the space for human habitation and cargo stowage in the aerodynamic truck cap over that space provided by a standard truck cap.
Both U.S. Pat. No. 4,496,184 to Byrd (1985) and U.S. Pat. No. 5,335,960 to Benignu (1994) show aerodynamic truck caps. Both of these patents show the ability to change configuration.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,496,184 to Byrd provides a truck cap which can be stored in a relatively small space and minimizes wind resistance. The Byrd patent collapses from an aerodynamic configuration to a smaller stored configuration. In the aerodynamic configuration, the Byrd patent only allows cargo to be loaded through the open tailgate space. There is no hinging of the sloped roof, which, if allowed to open and shut would provide a more utilitarian design for cargo loading and unloading. Cargo size is reduced to the square footage of the tailgate opening. The small entrance through the tailgate opening does not facilitate easy access for human habitation. There is no ventilation provided for human or domestic animal occupancy. The truck cap in the Byrd patent is made of vinyl fabric that is more apt to flutter when acted upon by aerodynamic forces experienced at sustained freeway speeds. Valuable cargo is also more vulnerable to theft when the host vehicle is left unattended.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,335,960 to Benignu provides a tent-like arrangement with an aerodynamic contour. That configuration purports to create less air drag. With a growing global demand for fossil fuels, fuel prices are increasing annually. Such a global dynamic pleads for decreasing fuel consumption. When the truck bed is used for hauling, the tonneau top is removed. If cargo is to be transported, a large portion of the assembly must be removed. The fully deployed configuration of Benignu's design can only be assumed when the host vehicle is static. Additionally, the tailgate must be lowered to complete the interior expansion of the design. Benignu's structure, except for the support frame, is made from fabric. The design is not meant to be in the expanded configuration while the host vehicle is being operated on the road in motion.
In my prior patent, U.S. Pat. No. 5,951,095 entitled "Transformable truck bed cover assembly", issued Sep. 14, 1999, I provided transformable cover assembly for pickup trucks that was user-switchable between a low profile configuration covering the rear truck bed, and a fully deployed, camper configuration. The apparatus unfolds from a planar orientation into a pair of cooperating, stacked, generally wedge-shaped segments. The complementary segments form an inhabitable enclosure in the general form of a parallelepiped when erected. A planar deck that is foldably deployed comprises a top that ultimately covers the upper segment, and a shroud that unfolds to form a border between the adjacent, deployed segments. A foldable framework comprising a plurality of cooperating members enables foldable transformation. As the assembly deploys, it unfurls pliable, generally triangular walls at the segment sides. However, the overall configuration did not exhibit the desired reduction in wind drag necessary in today's world to maximize fuel economy.
In conclusion, I am aware of no easily removable, aerodynamic truck cap designed to reduce wind drag in one mode, to user-deploy into a convenient camping or storage mode, and which protectively enshrouds truck bed contents in either mode. Ideally, a truck cap should be made from rigid material with a hinged roof to enable easy deployment. It must provide the user with maximum space for enhanced cargo capacity, and for comfortable human habitation. An acceptable truck cap must also be weatherproof. I am aware of no such truck cap combining the attributes of reduced fuel consumption and wind drag in its compact, aerodynamic mode, while at the same time maximizing fuel economy. Furthermore, I am aware of no such analogous wind drag reducing structure that is quickly foldably transformable to an erected camping mode.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The invention, an improved aerodynamic truck cap assembly, is user transformable between a streamlined, aerodynamic position and an elevated position increasing cargo space. The aerodynamic configuration reduces vehicle wind resistance and drag, and increases fuel efficiency.
The assembly preferably comprises a rigid fiberglass shell mounted within the truck bed that supports a rigid, removable fiberglass cover. The roof-like cover can be opened from the aerodynamic configuration and elevated to a position level with the roof of the cab.
The cover includes a pair of sidewall hangers for suspending fabric or rigid sidewalls, that are tensioned at their bottoms by elongated sleeve tubes pivoted to the cover front at its underside. A fabric or rigid rear hatch deployed at the cover rear is supported by a transverse hanger glassed into the cover underside. Internal stanchions pivoted to the cover underside foldably switch between deployed, cover-elevating positions and out-of-the-way stowage positions. The cover, its sidewalls and hatch combine to provide an enclosed space for human habitation or cargo stowage. The cover is detachable from the shell for hauling oversized cargo.
The user can deploy the sidewalls and hatch from the underneath of the roof to fully enclose the truck bed. Thus my new aerodynamic truck cap is readily adaptable for hauling, or it can provide a space for human habitation. In the elevated and enclosed configuration, the user can operate the host vehicle at sustained freeway speeds.
Accordingly a fundamental object of the invention is to provide an improved aerodynamic truck cap to lower wind resistance and enhance the fuel efficiency of the host pickup truck.
Another basic object is to provide a truck cap assembly with a removable cover that quickly and conveniently mounts to or dismounts from the apparatus shell.
Another basic object is to provide greater space for human habitation and the transportation of cargo.
It is also an object to allow operation of the host pickup truck while in motion with the aerodynamic truck cap disposed in either an elevated or enclosed configuration. Further, an important object is to provide a truck cap of the character described with durable structure to endure aerodynamic forces experienced at sustained high rates of speed.
Another object is to provide a truck bed cover assembly of the character described that can be quickly transformed between configurations.
Still further objects and advantages will become apparent from a study of the following description and the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
In the following drawings, which form a part of the specification and which are to be construed in conjunction therewith, and in which like reference numerals have been employed throughout wherever possible to indicate like parts in the various views:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view showing my transformable truck cap disposed in a closed, aerodynamic position. mounted over a conventional pickup truck bed in accordance with the best mode of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary right side elevation view of the transformable truck cap disposed in a closed, aerodynamic position;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view similar to FIG. 1, but illustrating the truck cap in an open roof position;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary, right side elevation view similar to FIG. 2, with the transformable truck cap in an open roof position;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary perspective view similar to FIG. 3, with the transformable truck cap shown fully deployed in a transformed position;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary, right side elevation view similar to FIG. 4, with the transformable truck cap fully deployed, disposed in a transformed position;
FIG. 7 is a partially exploded, fragmentary perspective view showing the truck cap removed from the truck bed;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary perspective view with cutaway sections showing how the framework appears and showing interrelationships of frame members with the transformable truck cap roof; and,
FIG. 9 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of portions of the supporting framework, with portions omitted for brevity or shown in section for clarity.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
With initial reference directed to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the appended drawings, a conventional pickup truck having a cab 11 includes a conventional, rear truck bed 12 behind the cab 11, over and upon which my new truck cap is to be installed. The conventional truck bed 12 is defined by upstanding front panel 13 opposite cab 11, side panels 14, and a tailgate 15. My new transformable truck cap cover assembly, constructed in accordance with the best mode of the invention, has been generally designated by the reference numeral 16. Assembly 16 preferably comprises an aerodynamically configured, removably mounted cover 17 operationally associated with a preferably fiberglass shell 18 that is fitted to the truck bed rear peripherally about the bed. During use, shell 18 remains on the truck bed, but cover 17 may be removed completely.
When installed, the substantially rigid, preferably fiberglass cover 17 is disposed upon shell 18 over bed 12, between truck side panels 14. The cover 17 may be deployed in the closed, aerodynamic position shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, it may be fully deployed in the transformed position of FIGS. 5 and 6, or it may be completely removed as in FIG. 7. During the deployment procedure between mounted configurations, cover 17 assumes an open position of FIGS. 3 and 4. Cover 17 is semi-permanently pivoted to the truck cap shell 18, and it can be quickly detached or reattached as desired by the user, as explained hereinafter.
FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate the cover assembly 16 with the cover 17 disposed in the closed, aerodynamic position for fuel efficient travel. Cover 17 may be disposed over the truck bed, behind the cab 11, secured in part by shell 18. When installed in the aerodynamic position, cover 17 assumes an inclined orientation, with its rear disposed proximate truck tailgate 15, and its front coupled to the transverse front of assembly shell 18 proximate the cab 11 by hinge 33 (FIG. 3). The triangular sidewalls of shell 18 gradually taper in height towards tailgate 15 (i.e., FIG. 8).
Preferably cover 17 comprises a translucent, rear window 19 for rearward visibility. The triangular sides of shell 18 are aligned vertically, projecting upwardly from the tops of the truck bed side panels 14 to contact and support cover 17. The shell sides preferably comprise side windows 20 that enhance visibility and provide ventilation. In the best mode, cover 17 comprises an accessory brake light 21 adapted to be operationally positioned proximate conventional tailgate 15. Light 21 is electrically interconnected with the standard truck wiring according to conventional techniques. A pair of spaced apart locks 24, preferably mounted at the rear of cover 17, secure valuable cargo within bed area beneath cover assembly cover 17.
In FIGS. 3 and 4 the cover assembly cover 17 is disposed in the "open roof" position. To lift cover 17, locks 24 are first opened, and the cover 17 is raised from the truck shell 18. Cover 17 is pivotally attached to shell 18 by two-piece hinges 33 disposed at the assembly front (FIG. 3) on the transverse front portion of shell 18. The two piece hinges 33 include a portion permanently attached to and glassed into cover 17, and complementary portions permanently attached to the shell 18. Pins 34 releasably, pivotally couple the hinge portions together. Cover 17 thus is pivotal upwardly at its front end about hinges 33 adjacent the cab. The rear portion of cover 17 can deflect upwardly relative to the tailgate 15 as relative rotation of cover 18 occurs. Cover 17 can be raised to a position such that it is generally coplanar with the roof of the truck cab 11. Preferably, a pair of hydraulic struts 23 stabilizes deflection of cover 17 and enhances and braces the assembly 16. Fabric sidewalls 22 and a fabric rear hatch 25 shown in the stowed position in FIGS. 3 and 4 are secured beneath cap cover 17 and may be deployed as hereinafter explained when the assembly 16 is to assume the "fully transformed" position of FIGS. 5 and 6.
The cover assembly 16 is illustrated in a fully transformed position in FIGS. 5 and 6. The preferably flexible, bi-folded fabric sidewalls 22 are lowered along with the unfurled fabric rear hatch 25 and secured. Preferably rear hatch 25 comprises a clear vinyl, flexible rear window 40 for enhanced visibility. The rearward ends of the fabric sidewalls 22 are secured into place by a plurality of spaced-apart snap caps 26 with the fabric rear hatch 25 being releasably attached to the fabric sidewalls 22 by conventional zippers 39. The structures to which snap caps 26 are affixed, and other preferred internal framework of the cover assembly 16, are explained in conjunction with the discussion of FIGS. 8 and 9 appearing below. While it is preferred that sidewalls 22 and rear hatch 25 be fabric, they may be made from rigid materials, providing they are hinged or pivotally coupled to the cover 17 to enable them to be flexibly switched between deployed and stowage orientations.
In FIG. 7 cover 17 is shown in a "removed position" wherein it is completely disconnected and separated from the shell 18 and framework of assembly 16. Cap cover 17 is selectively user detached from the shell 18 by first disconnecting the lower ends of the hydraulic stabilizer struts 23 (i.e., FIGS. 3, 7) from ball studs 42 associated with the interior side edges of the shell 18 (FIG. 7). The upper ends of struts 23, are detachably connectable to upper ball studs attached to fabric sidewall hangers 30 which support the cover sidewalls 22.
Next, hinges 33 (FIG. 8) at the front of cover 17 are disassociated by removing quick release pins 34 from the two piece hinge structure that includes halves permanently secured to the truck cap shell 18 and to the underside of cover 17. Shell 18 remains attached to truck bed 12, affixed by clamps 38 secured to the upper edges lip portions of the truck bed side panels 18 (i.e., FIG. 7). Shell 18 has a safety glass window 37 (FIG. 7) is present for rearward visibility. As best seen in FIG. 7, the rear hatch 25 and the sidewalls 22 attached beneath opposite sides of cap cover 17, can remain in a compact stowed position upon removal of cover 17.
In FIGS. 8 and 9 the preferred framework that operationally mounts the cover assembly 16 within the truck bed is detailed. An elongated hatch hanger 27 is permanently transversely attached beneath the rear surface of cover 17, and it is preferably glassed into the cover undersurface. Hanger 27 mounts and/or stows the flexible rear hatch 25 beneath the rear of cover 17. If a rigid rear hatch is substituted for fabric, the rigid hatch can be hinged to hanger 27.
A pair of elevating stanchions 28 (FIG. 8) are permanently, pivotally coupled to the rear underside of cover 17. Stanchions 28 can be deployed vertically to support cover 17 in the elevated configuration, or they can be folded to a substantially horizontal, out-of-the way positions when the cover 17 is either removed completely as in FIG. 7 or secured in the aerodynamic position seen in FIG. 1. In FIGS. 5 and 8, for example, stanchions 28 have been rotatably manipulated to assume a substantially vertical orientation generally parallel with the edges of tailgate 15 for supporting cover 17. Each stanchion 28 pivotally terminates in an upper bracket 29 which is permanently attached to the cover 17, being glassed into the undersurface thereof. Brackets 29 (FIG. 8) provide vertical support for the cover 17 when it is deployed in the elevated position of FIGS. 5 and 8. The stanchions 28 can pivot relative to brackets 29 to facilitate installation and deployment or removal of cover 17.
Preferably the lower ends of stanchions 28 are permanently pivoted to tube stubs 36 that coaxially fit into the rear ends of sleeve tubes 31 (FIGS. 8, 9). Downward displacement of the cover 17 and stanchions 28 is limited by a pair of supporting keeper brackets 41 (FIGS. 8, 9), which are attached to inside portions of the triangular sides of shell 18 (FIG. 9). The enhanced adjustability provided by the assembly 16 allows the host pickup truck to transport cargo greater in height than the roof of the truck cab 11.
The deployable sidewalls 22 at either side of over 17 are supported by a pair of rigid, extruded sidewall hangers 30 attached to the rear underside of the cover 17. These lightweight, preferably aluminum hangers 30 are preferably glassed into the underside of cover 17. A pair of lower sidewall sleeve tubes 31 tension and captivate the sidewalls 22 for proper fit and positioning when the cover 17 is elevated. Sleeve tubes 31 penetrate an elongated loop formed in the fabric bottom of the sidewalls 22 to facilitate sidewall control. Sleeve tubes 31 are attached at their fronts to the underside of removable cover 17 by U-shaped brackets 32 (FIG. 8) that are preferably permanently attached to the underside of cover 17 and are permanently glassed in. Preferably the tops of the sides of shell 18 have an elongated cradle 51 formed in them in which the sleeve tubes 31 can nest when the cover 17 is mounted to the shell 18 (FIG. 9).
When cover 17 is deployed in the aerodynamic position, sidewall hangers 30 and lower sleeve tubes 31, and cover 17 all extend at an inclination proximate the triangular sides of the shell 18 (FIG. 8). Since sleeve tubes 31 are pivotally attached at their fronts to pivotal mounting brackets 32 secured beneath the front of cover 17 (FIG. 8), they both may be quickly manipulated during cover transformation to ease installation. When the cover 17 is raised, flexible sidewalls 22 are secured at their bottoms by the sleeve tubes 31 that penetrate elongated, lower loops in the sidewall fabric. Thus when sidewalls 22 are deployed, they extend between hangers 30 and sleeve tubes 31 occupying a substantially vertically oriented plane. Sleeve tubes 31 thus tension and hold sidewalls 22 down when the cover 17 is elevated. As cover 17 is raised or lowered, the sleeve tubes 31 pivot relative to cover 17 because of the brackets 32.
The rear end of each sleeve tube 31 (FIG. 9) can be removably secured to the shell rear by telescoped, rotatable, keeper stubs 36 which are pivotally attached to the lower ends of stanchions 28 (FIG. 9). The outer diameter of the rotational stubs 36 is slightly smaller than the inside diameter of the open end of the sleeve tubes 31, allowing adjustable coupling. Stanchions 28 are permanently pivoted to the underside of cover 17. The lower ends of stanchions 28 are then positioned upon the lower keeper brackets 41 (FIG. 9) which support the assembly. Quick release pins 34 removably couple stanchions 28 to keeper brackets 41. Suitable lower orifices in the stanchions 28 register with holes in the keeper brackets 41 to allow correct positioning and securement of the pins 34. In this manner the cover 17 is removably yet securely attached to the shell 18 when elevated. Snap cap buttons 35 are affixed to stanchions 28 to secure the rearward ends of the sidewalls 22 which contain snap caps 26.
To raise the cover 17 from the closed aerodynamic position of FIGS. 1 and 2 and deploy it as in the transformed position of FIGS. 5 and 6, the cover will first assume the intermediate raised, opened roof position of FIGS. 3 and 4. First, the user unfastens locks 24 (i.e., FIG. 3). With the subsequent manual application of upward pressure to the rear of cover 17 adjacent tailgate 15, lifting follows against slight resistance from stabilizer struts 23. Cover 17 rotates about hinges 33 (FIG. 8) and can thus be moved to a height the approximate level of the roof of the truck cab 11 (i.e., FIGS. 3, 4). (When the cover 17 is disposed in its aerodynamic position, or if it is completely removed from the assembly as in FIG. 7, the rear hatch 25 and the sidewalls 22 can remain in the unfurled stowed position beneath cover 17.)
Next, the user foldably deploys the nested or retracted stanchions 28 from their previous stowed positions beneath cover 17. Stanchions 28 unfold beneath cover 17 and drop into a substantially vertical position where they can be placed atop brackets 41. The user should interconnect the sleeve tubes 31, nested within cradles 51, to the stanchions 28 by inserting keeper stubs 36 coaxially into the open rear ends of the lower sleeve tubes 31 (FIG. 9). Stubs 36 are permanently pivoted to the bottoms of stanchions 28. The stanchions 28 can then be secured upon and releasably attached to brackets 41 (FIG. 9) by pins 34 (FIG. 9) that are inserted through correctly aligned orifices. Keeper brackets 41 are permanently secured to the rear inside edges of the shell walls towards the rear of the truck (i.e., FIG. 8).
After cover 17 is raised, the sidewalls 22 and hatch 25 can be conveniently lowered from their prior stowed position and unfurled for deployment. Ends of both of the fabric sidewalls 22 are wrapped around the stanchions 28 and secured with snap caps 26, which are attached to snap cap buttons 35. For example, when the cover 17 is positioned as in FIG. 8, hatch 25 and sidewalls 22 can be dropped into a position for fastening. After snap caps 26 discussed above are snapped to the stanchions 28 to secure the rear of sidewalls 22, zippers 39 are closed to secure the deployed hatch 25 to the sidewall ends (i.e., FIG. 5).
The cover assembly 16 has now undergone the full process to be positioned in the fully transformed configuration of FIG. 8. The user is able to operate the host pickup truck at sustained freeway speeds. To return to the closed Aerodynamic position of FIG. 1, the process is reversed. After detaching the hatch, the sidewalls and rear pins 34 and positioning them out-of-the way, the cover is manually pushed gently downwardly against moderate resistance from struts 23. Locks 24 can then be activated.
The user can optionally remove cover 17 from the truck cap shell 18 to facilitate the transportation of oversized cargo that, for example, might be higher than the roof of cab 11. First, the user opens the cover 17 as described above, from a closed aerodynamic position to a partially raised roof open position. Once the truck cap cover 17 is in the raised position with the fabric sidewalls 22 and the fabric rear hatch 25 still in the stowed positions underneath the truck cap cover 17, stabilizer struts 23 are disconnected from ball studs 42. The user then removes the front quick release pins 34 from the hinges 33 (FIG. 8), freeing the cover 17, with the sidewalls 22, sleeves tubes 31, hanger 27, stanchions 28, and the rear hatch 25 remaining attached to cover 17. The truck cap shell 18 remains fastened to the truck bed 12.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that this invention is one well adapted to obtain all the ends and objects herein set forth, together with other advantages which are inherent to the structure.
It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the claims.
As many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Patent applications by Brett Stuart Herndon, Little Rock, AR US
Patent applications in all subclasses Hinged