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Tonneau cover apparatus having engagement member with integral fastening element

Imported: 24 Feb '17 | Published: 06 Jan '04

Charles M. Schmeichel

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

A tonneau cover apparatus can attach a flexible cover about a cargo box of a vehicle, preferably a pickup truck. The apparatus preferably includes, a support frame removably attached about the perimeter of a cargo box of the vehicle, an elongated end plate attached to an end of the flexible cover, an end plate engagement member attached to the support frame, a latching member movably attached to the support frame, and a locking member movably attached to the end plate. The end plate and the end plate engagement member are preferably provided with complimentarily shaped surfaces which enable the end plate to engage with and swing around or pivot with respect to the support frame into and out of a fixed stretching position where the flexible cover may be alternatively tensed and relaxed. The end plate may be retained in the fixed stretching position by a latching member that operatively connects the end plate to the support frame or a locking member that operatively connects the support frame to the end plate. The latching member and the locking member may be used individually or in combination with each other to prevent accidental or deliberate unauthorized access to a covered cargo box of a vehicle. In alternate embodiments, a plurality of locking members are provided that slide within a channel in the end plate. The end plate engagement member preferably includes an integrally attached fastening element. In certain embodiments the locking members are spring biased toward a locking position where the locking member engages a flange to prevent the end plate from moving out of the fixed, stretching position.

Description

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a partially broken away perspective view of a preferred embodiment of a tonneau cover apparatus

8 of the present application, including a flexible cover

10 in accordance with the present invention, attached to a pickup truck

6 (shown in broken lines) with the cover

10 being disposed in a covered or fixed stretching position;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary perspective view of the preferred tonneau cover apparatus

8 shown in FIG. 1 (but separated from the pickup truck), illustrating the end plate and flexible cover after they have been rotated out of the covered or fixed stretching position shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view which illustrates (1) the preferred apparatus in the fixed stretching position, shown in FIG. 1, in which the end plate exerts a tensile force on the flexible cover, and (2) (in phantom lines) the preferred apparatus as it is unlatched and rotated out of the fixed stretching position in which the flexible cover is relatively loose or relaxed;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged simplified side view of a latch member

190 of the preferred apparatus, when disengaged from the apparatus partial or complete views of the latch member, or parts thereof, shown in situ in various;

FIG. 5 is a simplified fragmentary perspective view of a side rail

106 of the preferred apparatus, partially shown in FIG. 3, with the latch member attached;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged perspective view of the locking member

60 of the preferred apparatus, which illustrates the position of the locking finger and the location of the frictional elements;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of the locking member

60 as it is being inserted into a channel

38 in the end plate

20 and illustrates the interaction between the end plate channel

38 and the frictional imparting element

74 and the guide strips

80 (not shown) and

82;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view as seen generally along line

8

8 of FIG. 3 which shows a portion of the preferred apparatus as it is attached to an inner wall

14 of a side wall

12 of a cargo box of a pickup truck and which illustrates in phantom lines the locking member as it moves into engagement with the side rail

106;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the latching member illustrating the range of motion as the release member

196 is depressed from the position shown in phantom so that the end plate

20 (not shown) can be disengaged from the end plate engagement member

170 (not shown) and showing the adjustability of the latching member relative to the inwardly extending flange

118 of the side rail;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary perspective view from inside a cargo box of the pickup truck when the tailgate is in an open position (not shown), the view showing the preferred apparatus in the fixed stretching position with the latching member operatively engaging the end plate, and the locking member disengaged from the inwardly extending flange;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary perspective view showing an alternate embodiment of the invention, which is similar to the preferred embodiment, but has different end plate

420 which engages in a somewhat different way with the end plate engagement member

440, wherein the end plate

420 is shown in an engaged position, but not in a fixed stretching position similar to that shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 12 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the alternate embodiment of FIG. 11 which illustrates the alternate apparatus in a fixed stretching position in which the end plate

420 exerts a tensile force to a flexible cover

410, and which illustrates in phantom lines the apparatus as it is unlatched and rotated out of the fixed stretching position in which the flexible cover is relatively relaxed;

FIG. 13 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of a further alternate embodiment of the present tonneau cover apparatus, showing only a very small portion of an alternate pickup truck

506 in phantom, and showing the end plate

520 in a fixed stretching position;

FIG. 14 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the further alternate embodiment shown in FIG. 13, shown separate from the pickup truck, but showing the end plate

520 pivoted out of the fixed stretching position such that the flexible cover

510 is relatively loose or relaxed;

FIG. 15 is a fragmentary sectional view of the further embodiment shown in FIG. 13 as generally seen from line

15

15 of FIG. 13 showing the side rail

606 clamped to the sidewall

512 of the pickup truck

506 and showing the locking member

560 in a locking position where the finger portion

568 of the locking member

560 is engaged with an inwardly extending flange

618 of the side rail

606 to hold the end plate

520 in the fixed stretching position;

FIG. 16 is a fragmentary section view similar to that shown in FIG. 8, but of a portion of yet another alternate embodiment which is the same as the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 8 except that there is no latch member and the locking member

760, while it is similar to the locking member

60 shown in FIG. 8, is shown in a disengaged position where the locking member

760 is in contact with the inwardly extending flange

818, furthermore, the locking member

760 does not have guide strips or a friction imparting element as disclosed in association with locking member

60 and locking member

760 slides easily within channel

738 which is the same as channel

38 in end plate

20 of the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 8; the locking member

760 differing from locking member

60 also because it is secured within the end plate

720 with a tension spring

774 which biases the locking member

760 toward a position consistent with a latched or locked position shown in FIG. 17;

FIG. 17 is a further fragmentary sectional view of the alternate embodiment shown in FIG. 16 except the locking member

760 is shown in a locked or latched position where the finger portion

768 is fully engaged with the inwardly extending flange

818 and abuts against stop bolt

819 which prevents locking member

760 from being drawn in further by the tension spring

774; and

FIG. 18 is a fragmentary sectional view similar to that shown in FIG. 17, but of a further alternate embodiment the same as that shown in FIG. 17 except that the locking member

960 is biased toward a position consistent with a locked or a latched position by a compression spring

980 pushing the locking member

960 to such position rather than operating in the manner the tension spring

774 shown in FIG. 17, that biases the locking member

760 by pulling on it.

Claims

1. A tonneau cover apparatus for removable attachment about a perimeter of a cargo box and tailgate of a pickup truck, the tonneau cover apparatus comprising:

2. The tonneau cover apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the end plate engagement member includes an end plate receiving area, and wherein the fastening element is adjacent to the end plate receiving area.

3. The tonneau cover apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the end plate engagement member further includes an extension portion, the extension portion configured to slidingly support and guide a portion of the end plate as it moves into and out of the end plate receiving area.

4. The tonneau cover apparatus according to claim 3, wherein the end plate engagement member is composed of a glass filled nylon resin material.

5. The tonneau cover apparatus of claim 2, wherein the fastening element has an axis passing through a longitudinal center and the end plate receiving area includes an end plate engaging surface having a pivot point forward of the axis of the fastening element, the pivot point being a point about which the end plate can slideably pivot when transitioning into the fixed stretching position, the distance between the axis of the fastening element and pivot point being equal to or less than 2.0 inches.

6. The tonneau cover apparatus of claim 5, wherein at least a portion of the end plate is flat.

7. The tonneau cover apparatus of claim 1, wherein the integrally attached fastening element is a bolt having screw threads for receiving a nut, the bolt having a head which is completely encapsulated within the end plate engagement member.

8. The tonneau cover apparatus of claim 5, wherein the end plate engaging the surface comes to an end at the pivot point.

9. A tonneau cover apparatus for removable attachment about a perimeter of a cargo box and tailgate of a pickup truck, the tonneau cover apparatus comprising:

10. The tonneau cover apparatus according to claim 9, wherein the end plate engagement member includes an end plate receiving area, and wherein the fastening element is adjacent to the end plate receiving area.

11. The tonneau cover apparatus according to claim 10, wherein the end plate engagement member further includes an extension portion, the extension portion configured to slidingly support and guide a portion of the end plate as it moves into and out of the end plate receiving area.

12. The tonneau cover apparatus according to claim 11, wherein the end plate engagement member is composed of a glass filled nylon resin material.

13. The tonneau cover apparatus of claim 9, wherein at least a portion of the end plate is flat.

14. The tonneau cover apparatus of claim 9, wherein the integrally attached fastening element is a bolt having screw threads for receiving a nut, the bolt having a head which is completely encapsulated within the end plate engagement member.

15. The tonneau cover apparatus of claim 9, wherein the end plate engaging the surface comes to an end at the pivot point.