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Publication numberUS3632087 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 4, 1972
Filing dateOct 28, 1970
Priority dateOct 28, 1970
Publication numberUS 3632087 A, US 3632087A, US-A-3632087, US3632087 A, US3632087A
InventorsPhillips Henry N
Original AssigneePhillips Henry N
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for leveling vehicles
US 3632087 A
Abstract
A method for leveling a vehicle on an irregular surface including the steps of positioning a first body having a sloped surface adjacent and with its sloped surface in engagement with a tread portion of one wheel of a vehicle, positioning a second body having an oppositely disposed sloped surface adjacent the oppositely facing tread portion of said wheel with its sloped surface in engagement therewith, moving the vehicle in a direction toward one of the bodies causing the wheel to move upwardly on the sloped surface of that body while, simultaneously, moving the second body toward the first body to maintain its sloped surface in engagement with the oppositely facing tread portion of the wheel, and stopping the movement of the vehicle when the vehicle attains a level attitude.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Henry N. Phillips 1418 State Rd. #18 E, Marion, 1nd. 46952 [21] Appl. No. 84,802

[22] Filed Oct. 28, 1970 [45] Patented Jan. 4, 1972 [72] Inventor [54] METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR LEVELING 3,353,789 ll/l967 Scott 3,386,703 6/1968 Thumma ABSTRACT: A method for leveling a vehicle on an irregular surface including the steps of positioning a first body having a sloped surface adjacent and with its sloped surface in engagement with a tread portion of one wheel of a vehicle, positioning a second body having an oppositely disposed sloped surface adjacent the oppositely facing tread portion of said wheel with its sloped surface in engagement therewith, moving the vehicle in a direction toward one of the bodies causing the wheel to move upwardly on the sloped surface of that body while, simultaneously, moving the second body toward the first body to maintain its sloped surface in engagement with the oppositely facing tread portion of the wheel, and stopping the movement of the vehicle when the vehicle attains a level attitude.

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ATTORNEYS- METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR LEVELING VEHICLES An apparatus for preforming the method includes a pair of blocks each of which has an upwardly facing and sloped supporting surface, the blocks being relatively disposed in a position wherein their sloped surfaces define a valley therebetween, coupling means securing the blocks together for relative movement along a line between a contracted and an extended position, the lower extremities of the supporting surfaces of the blocks being closely adjacent when the blocks are in their contracted position, the coupling means being provided with universal means which enables universal movement of the blocks about axes parallel to and perpendicular to the line of movement of the blocks respectively, and elastic means coupled to the blocks for urging them into their contracted posiu'on.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1.Field of the Invention The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for leveling a wheeled vehicle on an irregular surface, and more particularly to a method of lifting and maintaining the wheels of one side of a vehicle above an irregular surface by an amount sufiicient to position the vehicle on a level attitude, and an apparatus for automatically performing the method.

1. Description of the Prior Art When it is desired to level a vehicle, such as a camper trailer or pickup truck equipped with camping facilities, on uneven terrain, it has been common practice to use a variety of mechanical or hydraulic jacks to raise one side of the vehicle and place blocks or shims beneath the frame of the vehicle to maintain it in that position. This method requires a considerable amount of manual effort, and a person is exposed to some risk of personal injury since he must place portions of his body beneath the vehicle when inserting the blocks, and because the various types of jacks that are sufiiciently portable to be carried with the vehicle can slip, especially when the jack is being used on a soft or slippery surface.

In another type of prior art leveling device, and adjustable platform is provided for leveling the vehicle on the surface which utilizes a plurality of pieces which must be manually assembled prior to mounting a vehicle thereupon. This type of device does not prevent the vehicle from rolling, is not automatically adjustable, and the height of the platform can only be preset in discrete increments.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In the broader aspects of this invention there is disclosed a method for leveling vehicles which comprises the steps of positioning a first body having a sloped surface on the irregular surface adjacent a thread portion of that wheel of the vehicle that is resting on the lower terrain, the body being positioned with its sloped surface in engagement with the tread portion, positioning a second body having an oppositely disposed sloped surface adjacent the oppositely facing tread portion of the wheel with its sloped surface in engagement therewith, moving the vehicle in a direction towards one of the sloped surfaces causing the vehicle to move upwardly upon the sloped surface while, simultaneously, moving the second body towards the first body and maintaining its sloped surface in engagement with the oppositely facing tread portion, and halting the movement of the vehicle when the vehicle attains a level attitude. To facilitate lowering the vehicle from a raised position, the first body is provided with a second sloped surface disposed in alignment with and upwardly convergent with the first-mentioned sloped surface of said first body, whereby, when the vehicle is further moved in a direction towards said first body the vehicle moves upwardly on the sloped surface of the first body, over the upper extremity thereof, and smoothly down the second sloped surface of the first body.

In an apparatus for performing the method of this invention there is provided a device for leveling vehicles which comprises a pair of blocks movably secured together in juxtaposition along a line by a coupling. Each of the blocks has two upwardly facing and oppositely sloped supporting surfaces. The blocks are disposed in a position wherein one of the sloped surfaces of each of the blocks angle downwardly thereby forming a valley therebetween, the oppositely sloped surfaces being downwardly divergent with respect to the first surfaces. The coupling includes two slidably engaged members which pennit movement of the blocks towards and away from each other along a line. The members are rotatable with respect to each other, and a pair of hinges secure each of the blocks to a respective one of the members, the relatively rotatable members and hinges acting as a universal joint which enables pivotal movement of the blocks about axes parallel to, and perpendicular to the line respectively. Means secured to the blocks elastically urge the blocks towards a retracted position.

To perform the method using this apparatus, the blocks are manually spread apart and positioned adjacent the forwardly and rearwardly facing tread portions of one tire of a wheeled vehicle. When the blocks are released, the elastic means draws the blocks towards each other, wedging each of the blocks into a position wherein their convergent supporting surfaces are contiguous with the forwardly and rearwardly facing tread portions of the tire respectively. The vehicle is then drawn forwardly or rearwardly causing the tire to move upwardly upon one of the convergent supporting surfaces of one of the blocks, and, simultaneously, the other of the blocks is drawn forwardly, the elastic means maintaining the last-mentioned block contiguous to the oppositely facing tread portion of the tire. When the force drawing the vehicle forwardly is released, the blocks will be wedged under the wheel and the wheel will remain in its last position.

To lower the vehicle it is only necessary to move the vehicle forwardly or rearwardly causing it to move over the peak of one of the blocks and smoothly down the oppositely sloped supporting surface.

The extensible coupling of the present invention is rigid in a direction normal to the above-mentioned line whereby the coupling maintains the two blocks in proper alignment while, simultaneously, the rotational freedom of the two members and the pivotal securement of the blocks to the members enables universal swiveling of the blocks rendering them selforienting so that their bases are always firmly resting upon the ground.

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a method for leveling a vehicle on an irregular surface without the use of mechanical or hydraulic jacks.

It is another object of this invention to provide such a method which facilitates the easy removal of the vehicle from its leveled position.

It is yet another object of this invention to provide such a method which does not require working beneath the vehicle.

It is still another object of this invention to provide such a method which is simple in performance and requires no special skills.

It is another object of this invention to provide a device for automatically leveling a vehicle.

It is another object to this invention to provide such a leveling device which provides a stable platfonn for a vehicle supported thereon.

It is still another object of the invention to provide a vehicleleveling apparatus which restrains a vehicle resting thereon from movement.

It is yet another object of this invention to provide an automatic leveling device which enables the easy removal of the vehicle from the leveling device.

It is still another object of this invention to provide such a leveling device which is simple in construction, economical to produce, and reliable in operation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The above-mentioned and other features and objects of this invention and the manner of attaining them will become more apparent and the invention itself will be best understood by reference to the following description of an embodiment of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side plan view of the automatic vehicle-leveling device of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the vehicle-leveling device;

FIG. 3 is a longitudinal sectional illustration of the extensible coupling of the invention showing details of its construction;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an elastic cord restraining collar shown in FIG. 3; and

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective of the pivot bracket and related parts.

DESCRIPTION OF A SPECIFIC EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings there is illustrated an automatic vehicle-leveling apparatus comprising a pair of triangular blocks and 12 secured together by an extensible coupling 14.

Each of the triangular blocks 10 and 12 is provided with two upwardly facing and oppositely sloped supporting surfaces 16a, 16b and 18a, 18b and base surfaces 20a, 20b, respectively. The supporting surfaces 16a, 16b and 18a, 18b are inclined at an angle of approximately with respect to bases 20a, 20b, these surfaces extending inwardly from the ends 22a, 22b and 24a, 24b of bases 20a, 20b and meeting in peaks 26a, 26b. These blocks 10 and 12 have a width sufficient to provide a stable support for the forwardly and rearwardly facing tread positions 27a, 27b of a wheel or tire 28 resting thereon, and may be made of any suitable material which has sufficient compressive strength to support the weight of a vehicle. For example, the blocks 10, 12 are illustrated to be made of a plurality of 2-inch thick wood laminations secured together with elongated bolts 30a and 30b which extend transversely through the blocks in a direction parallel to the supporting surfaces 16a, 16b and 18a, 18!) through holes 32a and 32b in the blocks 10 and 12 and secured thereto with nuts 38a, 38b and washers 40a and 40b. The holes 32a, 32b are countersunk at their opposite ends with the boltheads 42a and 42 b, nuts 38a, 38 b and washers 40a and 40 b being recessed therein.

Referring now to FIG. 3 there is shown an extensible coupling indicated generally at 14 having a longitudinal axis 52 and including two telescopically engageable tubular members 54 and 56. These two tubes 54 and 56 are hollow and dimensioned such that they slide freely one within the other and are freely rotatable with respect to each other.

Tube 54 has an end 58 distal from its engagement with tube 56, to which is fitted collar 62 having a cylindrical engagement portion 64 and having an outside diameter dimensioned to provide a light press fit with the inside surface 66 of the tubular member 54 and an annular shoulder 68 which abuts the end 58 of the tubular member 54 to secure the collar against movement axially into the tubular members 54.

The collar 64 is provided with a pair of radially aligned holes 70 in engagement portion 64 through which is inserted a tying pin 72. This tying pin 72 has a length equal to the inside diameter of the tube 54 whereby, when the pin is inserted in the radially aligned holes 70 and the collar inserted into the tubular member 54, the typing pin 72 is locked into position.

A collar 78 and tying pin 80 are similarly constructed and secured to the end 82 of tubular member 56.

An elastic cord 84 is disposed within the tubular members 54 and 56 coaxially of longitudinal axis 52 and has its opposite ends 86 and 88 wrapped about and tied to the tying pins 72 and 80 respectively. This elastic cord has a relaxed length sufficiently shorter than the length of either of the tubular members 54 or 56 to enable the cord 84 to resiliently maintain the tubular members 54 and 56 in a retracted position as shown in FIG. 3. Further, the elastic cord 84 is of the kind provided with a plurality of rubber and fabric threads (not shown), the fabric threads being serpentine when the cord 84 is in a relaxed state and which are drawn straight in axial alignment with longitudinal axis 52 when the cord is stretched whereby the maximum length to which the cord 84 can be extended is limited by the extended length of the fabric threads. The length of the cord 84 is selected such that, when the cord is extended to its maximum length, the tubular members 54 and 56 are maintained in telescopic engagement.

A pair of rubber caps 90 and 92 are frictionally pressed over the ends 58 and 82 of the tubular members 54 and 56 sealing same against dirt and contamination and affording protection to external objects from the sharp edges of the collars 62 and 78.

Referring to FIG. 5, a hinge bracket 94 formed of flat steel is provided with a cylindrical portion 96 and a wind portion 98 which includes two parallel tabs 100 and 102. In a static state the tabs I00 and 102 are slightly spaced apart, and the cylindrical portion 96 has an inside diameter which fits snugly about the outside surface of the cylindrical member 54. This bracket 94 is fitted around the end 64 of tubular member 54 and secured to the triangular block 10 with an elongated bolt 104 which extends transversely through triangular block 10 in a direction parallel to sides 16a, 18a and adjacent the intersection of sloped side 18a and base 20a and through hole 108 in the bracket 94. A locknut 106 is threaded onto threaded portion of bolt 104 and a plurality of flat washers 109 are disposed between the locknut 106 and the bracket 94 and between the bracket 94 and triangular block 10, the locknut 106 being lightly tightened against tab 100 permitting the bolt 104 to function as a hinge pin which rotates freely within hole 108.

A similar hinge bracket 110 is fitted to end 82 of tubular member 56 and secured to triangular block 12 with an elongated bolt 1 l2, locknut 114 and flat washers I16.

Hinge brackets 94, 110 and binge bolts I04, I 12 cooperate with the relatively rotatable members 54 and 56 to provide the mechanical movement of a pair of universal joints having their axes parallel to and perpendicular to longitudinal axis 52.

To level a vehicle which is resting upon uneven terrain in accordance with the method of this invention, the leveling device is placed on the ground with the bases of the blocks 10 and 12 resting thereon. The blocks 10 and 12 are then manually spread by gripping the respective ends 58 and 82 of the tubular members 54 and 56 and sliding them apart against the tension of the elastic cord 84. The blocks are then slid into a position wherein the sloped supporting surface of block 10 and the sloped supporting surface 18b of block 12 are positioned adjacent the forwardly and rearwardly facing treads 27a and 27b of the vehicle wheel 28, respectively. The tubular members 54 and 56 are released and the elastic cord 84 forces the tubular members 54 and 56 together drawing the triangular blocks 10 and 12 toward each other until their respective supporting surfaces 16a and 18b are engaged with the forwardly and rearwardly facing treads 27a and 27b of the vehicle wheel 28. The vehicle is then drawn forwardly (to the left), causing the wheel 28 to roll up the sloped supporting surface 16a. Simultaneously, the elastic cord 84 forces the blocks 10 and 12 toward their contracted position, thereby maintaining the sloped surfaces 18b in engagement with the rearwardly facing tread 27b of the vehicle wheel 28. As the triangular blocks 10 and 12 move together they define a progressively narrower valley therebetween. When the vehicle attains a level attitude, the drawing force moving the vehicle forwardly (leftwardly) is released, and the triangular blocks 10 and 12 are firmly wedged between the forwardly and rearwardly facing treads 27a, 27b of the vehicle wheel 28 and the ground, respectively, thereby stably maintaining the wheel in its last position.

When it is desired to remove the vehicle from the leveling apparatus, it is only necessary to draw the vehicle forwardly causing it to move upwardly along sloped supporting surface 160 over the peak 260 and smoothly down sloped supporting surface 180. When the vehicle is again resting upon the ground, the leveling apparatus is free to be removed and stored for future use.

It can thus be seen that the leveling device of this invention provides a convenient and automatic method for leveling a vehicle on uneven terrain, the apparatus further providing for the smooth and easy removal of the vehicle from the leveling apparatus when it is desired to move the vehicle to a new location.

Plural-axle vehicles may be leveled using one of the devices for each wheel on one side of the vehicle as for example two of the devices would be used for a vehicle having tandem wheels.

If the vehicle after having first been leveled should settle, that is the device sinks slightly into the ground thereby throwing the vehicle off level, it is only necessary to perform again the leveling operation previously described to relevel the vehicle with the device remaining in place. In other words, releveling may be accomplished without removing and reinstalling the device.

While there have been described above the principles of this invention in connection with specific apparatus, it is to be clearly understood that this description is made only by way of example and not as a limitation to the scope of the invention.

What is claimed is;

l. A method for leveling a vehicle on an irregular surface comprising the steps of positioning a first body having a sloped surface on an irregular surface adjacent a tread portion of one wheel of a vehicle with its sloped surface in engagement therewith, positioning a second body having an oppositely disposed sloped surface on the irregular surface adjacent the oppositely facing tread portion of said wheel with its sloped surface in engagement therewith, moving said vehicle in a direction towards one of said sloped surfaces causing said wheel to move upwardly upon said sloped surface while, simultaneously, moving said second body toward said first body, maintaining the sloped surface of said second body in engagement with said oppositely facing tread portion, and halting the movement of said vehicle when said vehicle attains a level attitude.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein, when it is desired to lower the vehicle, moving the vehicle in a direction towards said first body causing said wheel to move upwardly on said sloped surface of said first body until the wheel has moved beyond the upper extremity of said last-mentioned sloped surface and is resting upon the irregular surface.

3. The method of claim 2 further comprising the step of, providing said first body with a second sloped surface disposed in alignment with and upwardly convergent with said firstmentioned sloped surface of said first body, whereby, when the vehicle is further moved in a direction towards said first body said vehicle moves upwardly on said first-mentioned sloped surface of said first body, over the upper extremity thereof, and down said second sloped surface of said first body.

4. A device for leveling vehicles comprising a pair of blocks each having an upwardly facing and sloped supporting surface, said blocks being disposed in a position wherein said sloped surfaces define a valley therebetween, coupling means securing said blocks together for relative movement along a line between a contracted and an extended position, the lower extremities of said supporting surfaces being closely adjacent when said blocks are in said contracted position, said coupling means including universal means for enabling pivotal movement of said blocks about axes parallel to and perpendicular to said line respectively, and elastic means coupled to said blocks for forcibly urging said blocks into said contracted position.

5, The leveling device of claim 4 wherein the cross-sectional shape of each of said blocks in a plane perpendicular to said supporting surfaces and perpendicular to said line is a triangle.

6. The leveling device of claim 5 wherein said coupling means includes a pair of telescopically engaged hollow tubes disposed in a direction parallel to said line, and two hinges, each of said hinges being secured to a respective one of said tubes at a point distal to the engagement thereof, the distal comers of said blocks bein secured to said hin es.

7. The leveling device 0 claim 6 wherem eac of said hinges comprises a bracket secured to each of said tubular members, and an elongated hinge pin secured to said bracket for rotational movement therewith, said hinge pins being fixedly secured to respective ones of said blocks at the distally disposed corners thereof and extending therethrough in a direction perpendicular to said line.

8. The leveling device of claim 6 wherein said elastic means comprises an elongated body of resilient material disposed within said tubes, and body having its opposite ends secured to the distally disposed ends of said tubes respectively, the relaxed length of said body being shorter than the distance between said distally disposed ends of said tubes when said tubes are fully engaged one within the other.

9. The leveling device of claim 8 wherein said elastic cord comprises a plurality of strands of rubber and fabric woven together to form a cord, said cord generating sufiicient tensive force to move said blocks together in the absence of pressure thereon.

10. The leveling device of claim 9 wherein said cord has a maximum length when stretched shorter than the combined length of said tubes, said length being limited by said fabric threads.

11. The leveling device of claim 6 wherein said sloped supporting surfaces have a width dimensioned to provide a stable support for a wheel resting thereon, said blocks further having a flat base surface, said supporting surfaces being inclined at an angle with respect to said bases of less than 45.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2142379 *Feb 24, 1938Jan 3, 1939Michael SharkeyTruck tipper and wheel lock
US2532149 *Oct 15, 1947Nov 28, 1950Cone Loris ETire chain installer and car mover
US2556796 *Sep 16, 1949Jun 12, 1951Frederick SievernVehicle jack
US3326525 *Dec 13, 1965Jun 20, 1967Hjalmar KauppiTilt up ramp for vehicles
US3353789 *May 2, 1966Nov 21, 1967Scott Louis FSafety jack for automotive vehicles and the like
US3386703 *Feb 23, 1967Jun 4, 1968Francis L. ThummaPortable wheel stand
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5482236 *Dec 23, 1993Jan 9, 1996Storage Technology CorporationLocking leveler
US6829856 *Nov 1, 2001Dec 14, 2004Charles W. MoormanPortable arm support
Classifications
U.S. Classification254/88
International ClassificationB60P3/36, B60P3/32, B66F7/24, B66F7/00
Cooperative ClassificationB60P3/36, B66F7/243
European ClassificationB66F7/24B, B60P3/36