1. An apparatus, comprising:
- a mounting boss; and
an accessory bracket,the mounting boss comprising plural parallel rail mounting tubes;
the mounting tubes being adapted to receive at least one accessory bracket;
the accessory bracket comprising plural parallel rails;
the rails being insertably translatable and selectably securable to a desired distance inside the rail mounting tubes; and
wherein the boss comprises mounting features in an arrangement adapted to engage the retaining features of a spare tire mount, such that the mounting boss is mountable centrally, with respect to the mounting position of a spare tire retained to the exterior of a vehicle.
A cargo and storage rack for increasing the carrying capacity of a vehicle having a spare tire mount on the exterior of the vehicle. Retaining features of a mounting boss engage the retainment features of the spare tire to the spare tire mount. The mounting boss is adapted to receive storage brackets above or below or both of above and below the mounting boss, to secure cargo securing features at desired distances of engagement from the boss. Rails of any bracket secured to the boss provide support for alternately translating and selectably locatable cargo supporting features, such that the rack can secure cargo without a bracket that provides its own securing features. Optionally, the rack can support cargo with any combination of selectably locatable cargo supporting features on the rails and a bracket, and the rack comprises methods of construction and customization that facilitate rapid reconstruction of the rack and removal from the vehicle.
- 1. An apparatus, comprising:
a mounting boss; and an accessory bracket, the mounting boss comprising plural parallel rail mounting tubes; the mounting tubes being adapted to receive at least one accessory bracket; the accessory bracket comprising plural parallel rails; the rails being insertably translatable and selectably securable to a desired distance inside the rail mounting tubes; and wherein the boss comprises mounting features in an arrangement adapted to engage the retaining features of a spare tire mount, such that the mounting boss is mountable centrally, with respect to the mounting position of a spare tire retained to the exterior of a vehicle.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever. 37 CFR 1.71(d).
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/749,964, filed Oct. 24, 2018, titled “SUPPORT RACK”.
At least some embodiments disclosed herein relate, in general, to spare tires, spare tire mounts, exterior vehicle accessories, storage racks, rail-mounted supports, and vehicle lighting.
A variety of vehicles retain a spare tire with a permanent exterior mount on the rear doors of the vehicles. Especially popular with vehicles having significant ground clearance, the combination of the ground clearance and mounting the tire to the rear of the vehicle (because it assists maximizing departure angles) results in a vehicle with compromised storage capacity and access to storage, when compared to vehicles of similar size.
Such vehicles can best take advantage of their mechanical configuration on off-roading trips. Paradoxically, however, going on such trips can easily consume the relatively small storage capacity which results from the configuration. To deal with the compromise, there have been many attempted solutions to provide additional storage on the exterior of the vehicle. Some of these racks and containers attached to tow hook hitches, roof racks, the rear door or hatch of the vehicle, and even on the hood.
The spare tire itself is a difficult place to mount objects because it affords few places to securely mount cargo and is a bulky shape which obstructs accommodation of significant airspace volumes around the tire. Prior solutions attempting to support cargo in the vicinity of the spare tire result in massive exterior space consumption with limited usefulness, relative to the effort required to remove or alter the installation. Increased effort with respect to easily returning the vehicle to an unencumbered state, frustrate the ease of using the vehicle for purposes that would otherwise benefit from the advantages of its construction, such as off-road driving.
There is a persistent need in the art to better exploit the spare tire and surrounding areas for cargo support, without burdening such areas with such space consuming equipment as to frustrate the ability to easily access the vehicle'"'"'s capabilities.
Further, there is a need for such a versatile solution to accommodate customization to a desired type of storage that meets the specific needs of a particular user of the vehicle.
The present invention provides a support rack that is supported by the retaining features of a vehicle having a rear-exterior-spare-tire-mount. Its embodiments provide useful storage space in the vicinity of the rear tire and is easily removable. Further, the rack is fully customizable to support a variety of configurations, such that it is readily able to accommodate the specific needs of a particular user of the vehicle.
The various embodiments of the invention are adapted to mount to the mounting hardware (the lugs or other retaining features or probosces of the vehicle'"'"'s spare tire mounts) that supports and retains the spare tire. It then affixes and supports on the hardware a mounting boss that locates rails, the rails being elongate members that are alternately insertable and translatable relative to the mounting boss, such that the rails are adapted to provide support for accessories and other forms of cargo and cargo support. Such accessories include at least accessory brackets above and below the mount, in a desired quantity and arrangement of brackets, as desired by a user of the vehicle. For example, the mounting boss locating an upper accessory bracket above the boss, and a lower accessory bracket below the boss, where the upper and lower brackets integrally provide plural rails.
To further the versatility of the system, the rails connecting the mount to cargo supporting features (such as upper and lower brackets, above) support translating and selectably-locatable rail hangers. Some contemplated exemplary rail hangers are adapted to articulation about the rails angularly and along the length of the rails. Thereby, cargo can either be suspended or supported by any combination of any bracket (in isolation), any combination of plural brackets, any combination of a bracket and rail hangers, and any arrangement of rail hangers, in isolation from cargo being supported by a bracket.
Contemplated fasteners for the brackets relative to the amount and the hangers relative to the brackets'"'"' rails are all easily released, so that the rack can be reduced to fewer brackets or hangers, merely the mounting boss, or even completely removed, very rapidly. Many contemplated embodiments are even adapted to such rapid reduction entirely without tools.
The embodiments are illustrated by way of example and not limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings in which like references indicate similar elements.
The following description and drawings are illustrative and are not to be construed as limiting. Numerous specific details are described to provide a thorough understanding. However, in certain instances, well known or conventional details are not described in order to avoid obscuring the description. References to one or an embodiment in the present disclosure are not necessarily references to the same embodiment; and, such references mean at least one.
Reference in this specification to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the disclosure. The appearances of the phrase “in one embodiment” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment, nor are separate or alternative embodiments mutually exclusive of other embodiments. Moreover, various features are described which may be exhibited by some embodiments and not by others. Similarly, various requirements are described which may be requirements for some embodiments but not other embodiments.
The following elements are a list of several features that appear in the drawings, but the list is provided for clarity and brevity, and the embodiments depicted, which include the listed elements, are merely exemplary embodiments of the invention. Neither the list of elements nor the drawings in the figures are a comprehensive or limiting set of elements of every contemplate embodiment of the invention. The drawings and the elements shown therein are merely included in several exemplary embodiments of the invention shown in said drawings:
- 001 Upper accessory bracket
- 002 Lower accessory bracket
- 003 Mounting boss
- 004 Cover
- 005 Rail hanger
- 006 Screw
- 007 Locking pin
- 008 Pad, foam pad
- 009 Upper basket bracket,
- 010 Lower basket bracket,
- 011 Set screw
- 012 Hanging accessory frame
- 013 Tethered accessory bracket
- 014 Table
- 015 Jerry can/fluid container
- 016 Panel enclosure
Referring now to
A mounting boss (003; obscured in 4B-C), upper accessory bracket (001,
Also appearing in each of
Referring now to all of the
Also common to all of the rail hangers 005 shown in the drawings is the construction that comprises a vertical accessory support pin that is commonly shown as located outside the space between the rails. In many contemplated embodiments of the present invention which have such rail hangers, the rail hangers are optionally usable. The narrow and angularly offsettable construction which supports the vertical accessory support pin allows for the hangers to be angularly set out of the way of any accessory that might benefit from fitting against the rails (with respect to contact with the rails on a frontmost plane of the rails, parallel to the face of the tire (see
However, with the symmetric profile of a vertical, cylindrical, pin, parallel to the length of the rails, these rail hangers are each also capable of being angularly swiveled about the rails, such that they can extend forward, away from the face of the tire, such that the pins are closer together or located further away from the face of the tire. In such a position, supporting cargo or objects which would otherwise put a significant torque on the hangers, about the rails, can be eliminated by swiveling the hangers to an angle which aligns the cargo to load the rails without imposing a torque on the set screw or the rails.
Once swiveled and translated to the desired position and arrangement, then the set screws can be tightened to contact the face of the respective rails at the specific position, equally-well as at any other position or angle, without any other specific feature or shape for the rail, at which the screw would contact the rail.
The commonality of the rail hangers 005 to have such the construction shown in these figures is merely exemplary geometry that achieves a desired embodiment of function of the present invention and should not be considered limiting upon the broadest scope of the invention. Alternative contemplated embodiments also comprise alternative shapes for rail hangers, alternatively shaped or arranged pins, alternative geometries or features that are attachable to the hangers, other than vertical pins (such as holes, eyelets, hooks, screws, bolts, straps, buckles, tie downs, eye-screws, cleats, etc.), and hangers which are alternately secured (bolts, Velcro, clamps, cotter pins, quick release pins, aligned teeth or slots, straps, etc.).
Also, while set screws are excellent for providing hangers with the ability to translate and rotate about the rails and be secured at any such alternative angular and lengthwise positions on the rails, set screws are merely exemplary and non-limiting.
Referring now to
In the case of a Jeep Wrangler (and its predecessors of different name), an exemplary vehicle model anticipated as compatible with the depicted embodiment, the bolt pattern has varied over several generations, from 1955-2018, including: 114.3 mm, 127 mm, and 139.7 mm. All, however, used 5 lugs, and therefore are arranged at 72 degrees about the wheel center. Each of these models comprises a rear tire mount with the respective bolt pattern for its specific wheels. This way, the same mounting features of this plate embodiment of a mounting boss 003 are able to be used with any of the mounts of any of the Wrangler bolt patterns (or any 5-lug bolt pattern), without adjustment.
The Wrangler (and other off-road-capable vehicles) is a vehicle which has an enormous quantity of aftermarket equipment to alter its drivetrain. This aftermarket of replacement equipment includes replacement wheel hubs having bolt pattern diameters which significantly differ from the original specifications. In the case of a Wrangler with hubs having such alternative bolt circle diameters (for example, 140 mm), then the wheels and correspondingly-spaced bolts of the spare tire mount would also have larger diameters. Therefore, in addition to the depicted embodiments being compatible with 5-lug wheels of any size, with this type of elongate-slot mounting features, the same embodiment can be used with any user'"'"'s same Wrangler, both before and after making modification to differently sized hubs, without any modification to the present invention.
Also contemplated are alternative types of mounting features (not shown) which compensate for a change in quantity of lugs, such as embodiments which are otherwise similar to those shown in
Also contemplated are embodiments which are compatible with vehicles having features that unusually extend through where the mounting boss (003,
Referring now to
For such vehicles, in many applications, it is desirable to use a taller rolling-diameter tire. In either case, the tire is more likely to obstruct the vehicles'"'"' originally-manufactured center high mounted stop light (CHMSL). Previous solutions to such obstructions include light fixtures which bolt to the mount and which shine a light through the spokes of the spare tire'"'"'s wheel or enlarged brackets which relocate the light to a higher position, to clear the height of the aftermarket equipment arrangement. Lights that shine through the spokes of the wheel have the disadvantage of a narrower angle of view and limit the overall size and output of such lights, compared to the original CHMSL. Replacement lights which continue to locate the light above the tire, but at a higher position, only further-injure the rear visibility, even beyond the effect caused by the higher upper-bounds of the relocated or up-sized tire. By contrast, locating the light of the present embodiment in this position does not prevent the use of typical examples of the above-described equipment, upsized tire or relocated mount, while moving the light to a position which is closer to following traffic, and which has a similarly wide field of view as the original lamp.
In the case of mount-proboscis-mounted features extending through the wheel center (such as the rearview camera of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, described above), contemplated embodiments of the present invention include ones which locate the light (of the cover plate 004) and/or the cover plate 004 in an offset-position, relative to depicted position, centered on the boss 003. These include variations of the boss 003 and plate 003 that provide an opening or other conduit or path aligned with the position of the proboscis, such that the proboscis can extend beyond the cover plate, so as not to interfere with such proboscis-mounted features.
Beyond stylistic and lighting-value, the cover plate 004 is useful to protect the rack against theft of both itself and the spare tire. The cover plate 004 shown here (also
Referring now to
The enclosure 016 is supported at the top with a hanging accessory feature 012. The hanging accessory feature 012 is supported by two rail hangers 005 that are located on the rails of the upper bracket 001. In this position, while the lower bracket 002 prevents translation away from the vehicle and is the primary support against the weight of the enclosure 016 falling, the hanging accessory feature 012, via the rail hangers 005, is able to limit the enclosure 016 from tipping away from the spare tire, or swinging or falling laterally off of the horizontal regions of the lower bracket 002.
Referring now to
Alternately, it is contemplated that a similar hanging accessory feature 012 may be used at the lower end of the container 015, to provide support with the rail hangers 005, but is not shown here. Also contemplated is that such a container could be directly supported on the rail hangers 005, without a hanging accessory feature 012, but that is not shown here.
Referring now to
As discussed above, with respect to
The increased number of tubes of the lower basket bracket 010, relative to bracket 002, also gives more options for a user to wrap or strap or chain cargo against movement. Upper basket bracket 009 provides the advantages of the lower basket bracket 010 to the space above the spare, whereas upper bracket 001 does not offer a horizontal support surface at all.
Referring now to
Beyond the present figures, both the depicted brackets and other contemplated brackets and rails are able to support a wide variety of alternative storage and supports and accessories. Contemplated exemplary alternatives comprise at least toolboxes, weatherproof containers, coolers, and trunks.
Referring now to
Referring now to
Here (both 7A and 7B), though, instead of the hanging accessory bracket 012 of
Referring now to
Further contemplated, such as in the case of embodiments in which cargo would obstruct view of the lamp in the cover plate 004 (for example,
The above described embodiments are merely exemplary and non-limiting and should not be construed as limiting the patentable scope of the present invention, nor the language of the claims.
In the foregoing specification, the disclosure has been described with reference to specific exemplary embodiments thereof. It will be evident that various modifications may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope as set forth in the following claims. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative sense rather than a restrictive sense.