REMOVABLE VEHICLE ROOF CAP ASSEMBLIES WITH SELF-ALIGNING MOUNTING SYSTEMS

US 2019 291 552 A1

Assignee
FORD GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES, LLC
Inventors
Ronald M. LOVASZ, David Brian GLICKMAN
Filing date
March 23 2018
Publication date
September 26 2019
Table of contents
Classifications
CPC: B60J7/106, B60J7/1851
IPC: B60J7/185

This disclosure details vehicles that are equipped with one or more removable roof cap assemblies. Exemplary roof cap assemblies include a roof cap and a mounting system with one or more self-aligning brackets configured to self-articulate into alignment with one or more receiving brackets that are mounted to the vehicle.

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Claims

1. A vehicle, comprising:
a windshield header;
a body structure aft of the windshield header;
a roof cap removably mounted between the windshield header and the body structure;
a latching assembly configured to latch the roof cap to the windshield header; and
a bracket assembly configured to self-articulate into engagement with the body structure to secure the roof cap relative to the body structure.

Show 13 dependent claims

15. A method, comprising:
removably installing a roof cap assembly between a windshield header and a body structure of a vehicle, wherein removably installing the roof cap assembly includes physically latching the roof cap assembly to the windshield header and excludes performing any physical latching operation between the roof cap assembly and the body structure.

Show 5 dependent claims

Description

TECHNICAL FIELD

This disclosure relates to removable vehicle roof cap assemblies that are equipped with self-aligning mounting systems for simplifying installation and removal of the roof cap assemblies.

BACKGROUND

Some vehicles include removable roof assemblies that may be unlatched and removed from the vehicle to provide vehicle passengers with an open air riding experience. Known removable roof assemblies are often difficult to install and remove.

SUMMARY

A vehicle according to an exemplary aspect of the present disclosure includes, among other things, a windshield header, a body structure aft of the windshield header, a roof cap removably mounted between the windshield header and the body structure, a latching assembly configured to latch the roof cap to the windshield header, and a bracket assembly configured to self-articulate into engagement with the body structure to secure the roof cap relative to the body structure.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of the foregoing vehicle, the vehicle is a pickup truck.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of either of the foregoing vehicles, the body structure is a front wall of a cargo bed of the pickup truck.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of any of the foregoing vehicles, the latching assembly includes a J-hook latch mounted near a front edge of a top surface of the roof cap and J-hook latch receiver mounted to the windshield header.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of any of the foregoing vehicles, the act of latching the J-hook latch to the J-hook latch receiver forces a portion of the bracket assembly into engagement with the body structure.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of any of the foregoing vehicles, the latching assembly is located near a front edge of a top surface of the roof cap, and the bracket assembly is located near a lower edge of a rear surface of the roof cap.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of any of the foregoing vehicles, the bracket assembly includes an alignment bracket mounted to the roof cap and a receiving bracket mounted to the body structure.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of any of the foregoing vehicles, the alignment bracket is received within an opening that extends between the body structure and the receiving bracket.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of any of the foregoing vehicles, the alignment bracket includes an upper section extending along a first longitudinal axis and a lower section extending along a second longitudinal axis that is transverse to the first longitudinal axis.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of any of the foregoing vehicles, the alignment bracket includes a plurality of notches or gripping surfaces located at an interface between the alignment bracket and the body structure.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of any of the foregoing vehicles, the receiving bracket includes a first mounting flange, a second mounting flange, and a bracket body extending between the first and second mounting flanges and bulging in a direction away from the body structure.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of any of the foregoing vehicles, the roof cap includes a window panel.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of any of the foregoing vehicles, the window panel is mounted within a rear surface of the roof cap, and a second window panel or a roof panel is removably mounted within a top surface of the roof cap.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of any of the foregoing vehicles, the window panel includes a sliding panel.

A method according to another exemplary aspect of the present disclosure includes, among other things, removably installing a roof cap assembly between a windshield header and a body structure of a vehicle. Removably installing the roof cap assembly includes physically latching the roof cap assembly to the windshield header but excludes performing any physical latching operation between the roof cap assembly and the body structure.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of the foregoing method, removably installing the roof cap assembly includes tilting a roof cap of the roof cap assembly away from the windshield header, and moving an alignment bracket that is mounted to the roof cap toward a receiving bracket that is mounted to the body structure, thereby forcing the alignment bracket to self-align within an opening extending between the body structure and the receiving bracket.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of either of the foregoing methods, the method includes tilting the roof cap toward the windshield header, thereby forcing the alignment bracket to self-articulate further through the opening.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of any of the foregoing methods, the method includes tilting the roof cap further until it is received against the windshield header, and physically latching the roof cap to the windshield header includes applying a downward latching force. Applying the downward latching force creates a rearward force that forces the alignment bracket into engagement with the body structure.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of any of the foregoing methods, removably installing the roof cap assembly includes physically latching the roof cap assembly to the windshield header with a latching assembly and mounting the roof cap assembly relative to the body structure with a self-aligning and self-articulating bracket assembly.

In a further non-limiting embodiment of any of the foregoing methods, the vehicle is a pickup truck and the body structure is a front wall of a cargo bed of the pickup truck.

The embodiments, examples and alternatives of the preceding paragraphs, the claims, or the following description and drawings, including any of their various aspects or respective individual features, may be taken independently or in any combination. Features described in connection with one embodiment are applicable to all embodiments, unless such features are incompatible.

The various features and advantages of this disclosure will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description. The drawings that accompany the detailed description can be briefly described as follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a vehicle equipped with removable roof cap assembly.

FIG. 2 illustrates the removable roof cap assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view through section 3-3 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a blown-up view of a region of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 illustrates optional griping surfaces of an alignment bracket of a removable roof cap assembly.

FIG. 6 illustrates a top view of a receiving bracket of a removable roof cap assembly.

FIGS. 7A, 7B, and 7C schematically illustrate a method of installing a removable roof cap assembly onto a vehicle.

FIG. 8 illustrates an exemplary roof cap of a removable roof cap assembly for a vehicle.

FIG. 9 illustrates another exemplary roof cap.

FIG. 10 illustrates yet another exemplary roof cap.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This disclosure details vehicles that are equipped with one or more removable roof cap assemblies. Exemplary roof cap assemblies includes a roof cap and a mounting system with one or more self-aligning brackets configured to articulate into alignment with one or more receiving brackets that are mounted to the vehicle. These and other features of this disclosure are described in greater detail below.

FIG. 1 illustrates a vehicle 10. In an embodiment, the vehicle 10 is a pickup truck. However, the teachings of this disclosure could extend to other vehicles including cars, vans, sport utility vehicles, or any other type of vehicle that includes a removable roof assembly. The vehicle 10 could also be a conventional motor vehicle, a battery powered hybrid or electric vehicle, or an autonomous vehicle (i.e., a driverless vehicle) within the scope of this disclosure.

Although a specific component relationship is illustrated in the figures of this disclosure, the illustrations are not intended to limit this disclosure. In other words, the placement and orientation of the various components of the vehicle 10 are shown schematically and could vary within the scope of this disclosure. In addition, the various figures accompanying this disclosure are not necessarily to scale, and some features may be exaggerated or minimized to show certain details of a particular component.

The vehicle 10 may include a passenger cab 12 and a cargo bed 14 that extends rearward of the passenger cab 12. Together, the passenger cab 12 and the cargo bed 14 establish a vehicle body 16 of the vehicle 10.

The passenger cab 12 includes a roof 18 supported by a plurality of pillars 20 of the vehicle body 16. In the illustrated embodiment, the vehicle body 16 includes A-pillars 20A, which are positioned nearest to the front of the vehicle 10, C-pillars 20C, which are positioned nearest to the cargo bed 14, and B-pillars 20B, which are located between the A-pillars 20A and the C-pillars 20C. In other embodiments, the vehicle body 16 might only include only the A-pillars 20A and the B-pillars 20B.

The roof 18 may include a roof cap assembly 22 and a windshield header 24. The roof cap assembly 22 can be removed from the roof 18 to provide vehicle passengers with an open air riding experience. In an embodiment, the roof cap assembly 22 is removably latched relative to the windshield header 24 at the A-pillars 20A and is removably secured relative to a body structure 26 located near either the B-pillars 20B or the C-pillars 20C. In an embodiment, the body structure 26 is a front wall of the cargo bed 14. As discussed in greater detail below, the roof cap assembly 22 is configured to self-articulate into alignment with the body structure 26 in order to simplify installation and removal of the roof cap assembly 22 from the passenger cab 12.

The cargo bed 14 establishes a cargo space for storing and hauling cargo at a rear location of the vehicle 10. The cargo bed 14 may include a floor 28 that extends between a pair of longitudinally extending side walls 30, the body structure 26, which extends laterally between the side walls 30, and a tailgate 32. The tailgate 32 is moveable between a closed position (not shown) and a deployed or open position. When in the closed position, the tailgate 32 generally encloses an end of the cargo bed 14 that is opposite from the body structure 26 to prevent cargo from sliding out of the cargo bed 14. When in the open position, the tailgate 32 is generally horizontal and thus parallel to ground level such that cargo can be loaded onto or unloaded from the cargo bed 14.

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Assignee
FORD GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES, LLC
Inventors
Ronald M. LOVASZ, David Brian GLICKMAN
Filing date
March 23 2018
Publication date
September 26 2019
Table of contents
Classifications
CPC: B60J7/106, B60J7/1851
IPC: B60J7/185