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Publication numberUS3664447 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 23, 1972
Filing dateOct 9, 1970
Priority dateOct 9, 1970
Publication numberUS 3664447 A, US 3664447A, US-A-3664447, US3664447 A, US3664447A
InventorsPatrick A Kane
Original AssigneePatrick A Kane
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Convertible snowmobile
US 3664447 A
Abstract
A conversion kit for adapting a snowmobile with wheels for traversing dry surfaces including wheel assemblies for replacing the front-end-supporting skiis and in addition to the conventional drive track and movable between a ground engaging position wherein the track is supported spaced upwardly from the surface and a retracted position wherein the wheels are elevated and the track is supported upon the ground. Means are provided to drive the last-named assemblies from the powered track and selectively de-clutch each driven wheel to facilitate steering.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Kane [54] CONVERTIBLE SNOWMOBILE [72] Inventor: Patrick A. Kane, Hartline, Wash. 99315 [22] Filed: Oct. 9, 1970 21 Appl. Nd; 79,431

[52] U.S.Cl. ..l80/5 R, l80/6.7, ISO/9.3,

I [51] Int. Cl. ..B62m 27/02,B62d 11/08 [58] Field of Search 1 80/5 R, 9.3, 9.26, 9.24, 9.34, 180/936, 6.7, 964

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,375,959 5/1945 Stolte.. 180/5 3,469,553 9/1969 Gagne 3,480,096 1 H1969 3,521,717 7/1970 [4 1 May 23, 1972 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 455,979 2/1928 Germany ..180/9.3 459,393 9/1950 Italy ..l80/9.3

Primary Examiner-Richard J. Johnson An0rneyNorman H. Huff ABSTRACT A conversion kit for adapting a snowmobile with wheels for traversing dry surfaces including wheel assemblies for replacing the front-end-supporting skiis and in addition to the conventional drive track and movable between a ground engaging position wherein the track is supported spaced upwardly from the surface and a retracted position wherein the wheels are elevated and the track is supported upon the ground. Means are provided to drive the last-named assemblies from the powered track and selectively de-clutch each driven wheel to facilitate steering.

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CONVERTIBLE SNOWMOBILE My present invention relates broadly to motorized vehicles and more particularly to such vehicles which are convertible for adaptation to the type of terrain upon which the vehicle is required to travel. Specifically, my invention lies in the provision of means for converting a snow-traversing vehicle to a wheeled vehicle for traversing dry surfaces.

Motorized vehicles for traversing snow covered surfaces are becoming more and more prevalent because they aredesirable as a means of enjoyment and sport as well as being utilitarian. However, their year-around use is restricted to those areas where snow exists perpetually or in other areas where snow is seasonal to those times when snow is present. The cost of vehicles of this type varies widely, depending upon how sophisticated they become with desireable options; for example; from $400.00 to $1500.00.

Since providing these vehicles with other running gear capable of traversing dry surfaces will extend the areas and times of utility therefore, it is extremely desireable to provide a kit or means for converting the vehicle thereto, which means must be relatively inexpensive, uncomplicated and easily applied and operated.

It is therefore a principle object of the present invention to provide a snowmobile which is readily and manually convertible to traverse alternately snow-covered and dry terrain according to manual selection.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a wheel assembly kit by means of which a conventional snowmobile may be converted from a snow-traversing vehicle to a dry. ground-traversing vehicle. 1

Yet another object of this invention lies in the provision of a wheel assembly kit as aforesaid and means for drivingly connecting at least certain predetermined drive wheels to the conventional power source for mobilizing the vehicle upon a dry surface.

A further object of the invention is to include in the means for drivingly connecting, clutch mechanisms whereby the driving power may be selectively disengaged from driving a selected wheel to facilitate steering actions of the vehicle.

Obviously, the body of the vehicle may be modified to accomplish many desired functions both as a' snow and a land traversing vehicle. For example; light hauling, towing, as a golf cart, merely for transportation of persons, etc..

The foregoing and other objects of this invention will become more readily apparent to the reader as he examines the accompanying drawings in conjunction with the following descriptive material comprising the specification wherein like reference numerals are employed to designate like or similar parts. It is to be understood, however, that the drawings are illustrative only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention. It should also be understood that various changes in construction may be resorted to in the course of manufacture without in any way departing from the spirit of the invention which is to be understood only in accordance with the appended claims. Furthermore, it is to be understood that while the invention is described in one particular association, it is not my intention to unnecessarily limit the applicability of the invention, but I desire to reserve to myself the claimed invention for every use of which it is now known or subsequently discovered to be susceptible.

Other advantages and features of this invention will become apparent from the more detailed description following in whcih like reference numerals are employed to designate similar parts in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a snowmobile converted to a wheel supported vehicle and showing two alternate front or steerable end suspensions;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken on a vertical lateral plane at the axis of one rear wheel;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken upon a vertical longitudinal median plane showing the front caster wheel support;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken upon a vertical longitudinal plane and showing an alternate front steering wheel assembly;

FIG. 5 is a skeletonized perspective view of a conventional steering mechanism;

' FIG. 6 is a view partially insection taken upon the lateral vertical plane indicated by line 6-6 of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary side elevation of the wheeled front portion of the vehicle;

FIG. 8 is a schematic wiringdiagram showing the functions of the disengaging drive clutches;

FIG. 9 is a side elevation of one species and its drive mechanism;

FIG. 10 is a bottom view of the divided endless d'rive member of the vehicle of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is an enlarged lateral vertical section taken substantially on the plane indicated by line 1 1-11 of FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is a side elevation of a vehicle having a modified drive; and

FIG. 13 is an enlarged lateral vertical section taken substantially on the plane indicated byline 13-13 of FIG. 12.

Referring now more particularly to the several views of the drawings, reference numeral 20 indicates a rotatable steering column having a radial arm 21 to which a connecting rod 22 is attached for rectilinear movement as the column 20 is rotated back and forth. The connecting rod 22 is attached to a steering lever 23. A tie rod 24 interconnects the steering lever 23 and a companion steering lever 25 at the opposite side of the front end of the vehicle, for coincident steering movements.

The levers 23 and 25 are rigidly fixed to laterally spaced axially vertical steering posts 26-26, which are journaled for rotation by means of thrust bearings 27-27 anchored with respect to the frame 28. At their lower ends the posts 26-26 are each provided with a laterally disposed sleeve 29-29 adapted to receive U-shape yoke 30-30 of the running gear which may comprise a conventional ski assembly 31 or a wheel assemblv 32.

The wheel assembly 32 includes spaced standards 33-33 to which are secured at their upper ends said yokes 30-30 and at their lower ends have fixed thereto'horizontally disposed outward projecting spindles 34-34 upon which steering wheels 35-35 are journaled.

Radial bearings 36-36 mounted one on each end of a cross axle 37 braced rearwardlv b angle braces 38-38 rigidly support the standards against forces created by movement over the terrain. The axle 37 may be slotted along its length at 39 to admit caster wheel support bolt 40 which releasably anchors bracket 41 in the position shown in FIG. 3 wherein the bracket lip 42 mates with slot 43 in support block-44 fixed rigidlv to the frame 28. In FIGS. 3 and 7 the caster wheel 45 is shown in its active supporting position. It may, however, be stored by loosening bolt 40, sliding the bracket along the axle 37 to remove lip 42 from slot 43; rotating the bracket to dispose the axis of the caster rod 46 parallel to the axle 37 whereupon the wheels 35 are resting upon the surface.

It will thus be seen that the freely castering wheel 45 or the manually steerable wheels 35 may be selectively employed to support the front end of the vehicle.

The steering column 20 also has switch actuating members 47 which move laterally as the column 20 is rotated. These .48 and 49 which are carried by yieldable or spring arms 50- 50. As the column 20 is manually turned from a straight forward position (full line disclosure of FIGS. 6 and 8) one member 47 strikes its respective switch, for example 48, and opens it. Further steering movement of column 20 merely flexes the supporting arm 50 to the broken line position. The open switch 48 or 49 opens the circuit including the battery 51 and its respective clutch 52 or 53 to disengage the clutch so that it does not transmit rotary motion therethrough. For example, considering switch 49 as being activated in a right turn, clutch 52 is disengaged so that the right driven wheel 54 (FIG. 2) becomes an idler onlv while driving power is continued through clutch 53 to wheel'55 (FIG. 1) thus assisting the turn by means of the driving power.

In this simplified version, the powered endless track (not shown) is trained about and drives the shaft 56 through spaced sprockets 57. The shaft 56 is journaled with respect to and supports the frame 28 as seen in FIG. 2. Crank arms 60-60 are journaled on extensions 58-58, one on each end of shaft 56 and have spindles 59-59 journaled at their free ends and supporting the wheels 54 and 55.

The clutches 52 and 53 are mounted to the extensions 58- 58 and selectively engage and disengage sprockets 61-61 which through conventional chain and drive sprocket transmissions 62-62 transmit rotary motion to their respective wheels 54 and 55.

The crank arm is secured as by bolts 63 alternately in operating position (full line FIGS. 1 and 2) or the stored inoperative position (phantom FIG. 1) as manually selected.

It may thus be seen mobilization may be accomplished by powering the rear wheels from the single driven track shaft 56 and steering may be facilitated by selective disengagement of clutches 52 and 53 in cooperation with either a front caster wheel 45 or the front manually steered wheels 35.

Referring now to FIGS. 9-1 1, I have shown an endless drive member 70 which is medially divided to comprise two drive tracks 71-71 driven from the motor, indicated in its entirety by the sprocket S, by the laterally central drive chain 62. In this species, the drive is at the rear shaft 64. In FIGS. 12-13, the drive chain 62 is trained about the identical sprocket 63 but the driving shaft 64 is located at the leading end of the tracks 71-71, while the rear shaft 65 is an idler shaft but is interrelated to the tracks 71-71 by sprockets 66-66 and thus becomes a driven shaft coincidental in rotation to the drive member(s) 70 (71).

Shaft 64, as well as plural intermediate shafts support bogie wheels 67-67 which press the ground engaging flight of the track(s) 70-(71) into face to face traction engagement with the supporting surface, or guide the path of the tracks at their forward and rearward ends.

In addition, shaft 64 is adapted at its outer ends to receive one element 68 of the clutches 52 and 53 while the other element 69 is fixed to a sleeve 72, rotatable about the shaft 64 and carrying a track drive sprocket 73. Since the clutches shown (52 and 53) are electromagnetic they are engageable and disengageable by an electrical impulse or its interruption as is common and well known in the art. In the species shown in FIGS. 9-1 1 the clutches 52 and 53 are disposed to function between the source of power S and the tracks 71-71. Wheels may then be applied by the methods shown in FIG. 2; utilizing shaft extensions 58 et seq. on the shaft 64.

In the species shown in FIGS. 12 and 13, where shaft 64 is at the leading edge of tracks 71-71, I provide crank arms 80- 80 which are releasably secured by bolts 81-81 to rotate concentrically with respect to the rotatable shaft 65 on the frame boss 82-82 through which the shaft 65 extends. The power is carried to the wheels 54-54 by means of sprockets 61-61, transmissions 62-62, sprockets 83-83, to wheels 54-54 carried by spindles 84-84.

Since clutches 52 and 53 engage and disengage driving power to the spaced tracks 71-71, and they in turn through sprockets 66-66 rotate the medially split shaft 65, the wheels 54 are selectively driven and disengaged to idle in accordance with the actuation of switches 48 and 49 by steering movements of column 20.

Off-on switch 85 is provided in the electrical circuit to permit deactivation of the steering control circuit when the vehicle is not in use.

Having thus described my invention I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States the following:

1. In a snowmobile having an elongate frame carrying a motor and adapted to be supported at one end by a pair of skiis releasably attached to steering mechanism including laterally spaced, axially vertical posts journaled on the frame for simultaneous manual rotation about their axes for imparting steering movements to said skiis and supported at the other end by at least one motor driven endless ground supported drive member having a coincidentally rotatable shaft extending laterally of and journaled with respect to said frame, the improvement comprising:

crank arms journaled with respect to said frame for rotation about an axis substantially coincidental to said shaft, one at each side of the longitudinal median of said frame;

means for fixing said crank arms alternately in raised and lowered positions;

ground support wheels mounted for coaxial rotation on the free ends of said lowered crank arms and parallel to the axis of said shaft to support said frame with said drive member elevated; and

power transmission means for imparting driving force from said shaft to said wheels.

2. The invention according to claim 1 wherein:

said drive member comprises two sections drivingly separated intermediate its lateral dimension; and

said power transmission means consists of two independent transmissions one driving each wheel from its companion section.

3. The invention according to claim 2 wherein:

each said section of said drive member is drivingly connected to be driven by said motor through a clutch mechanism adapted to disengage alternately with respect to its counterpart in accordance with manual selection.

4. The invention according to claim 3 wherein:

each said clutch is controlled by an electrical circuit consisting of a source of electrical energy, a manually actuated circuit make and break switch and its respective clutch.

5. The invention according to claim 4 wherein:

said clutch controlling switches are alternately actuated to activate their respective clutches by means sensitive to the movement of said steering mechanism at all points throughout its steering limits exclusive of a position designed for straight travel.

6. The invention according to claim 5 wherein:

said clutches are mechanically operative between said motor and said drive member.

7. The invention according to claim 5 wherein:

said clutches are mechanically operative between their respective drive member sections and wheels.

8. The invention according to claim 5 wherein:

said drive member comprises:

a pair of rubberized endless tracks spaced from each other longitudinally of said frame and laterally coincident.

9. The invention according to claim 8 wherein:

said drive member comprises:

a counter shaft drivingly connected for rotation by said motor;

a pair of sleeves carried by and rotatable about said counter a clutch element and a track supporting sprocket fixed for rotation with respect to each sleeve;

a second clutch element fixed for rotation with said counter shaft and adapted to alternately engage and release said first-named clutch element for driving and releasing association therewith.

10. The invention according to claim 8 wherein:

said coincidentally rotatable shaft is:

a counter shaft drivingly connected for rotation by said motor;

a pair of sleeves carried by and rotatable about said counter shaft;

a clutch element and a track supporting sprocket fixed for rotation with respect to each sleeve;

a second clutch element fixed for rotation with said counter shaft and adapted to alternately engage and release said first-named clutch element for driving and releasing association therewith.

11. The invention according to claim 1 wherein:

said coincidentallv rotatable shaft comprises:

an uninterrupted axle shaft journaled for rotation with respect to and supporting the frame;

a pair of sleeves journaled for rotation upon said shaft, one

adjacent each end thereof;

a sprocket fixed to and rotatable with each said sleeve;

ground support means drivingly associating said shaft and each said sleeve for rotation in at least one direction;

means drivingly connecting said shaft to be rotated by the motor; and

said drive member consisting of two endless tracks spaced 5 from each other intermediate the lateral dimension of said snowmobile and being drivingly associated each with one said sprocket.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2375959 *May 24, 1943May 15, 1945Gen Motors CorpSteering by braking
US3469553 *Jul 31, 1967Sep 30, 1969Gagne Archie RAmphibious vehicle
US3480096 *Jan 18, 1968Nov 25, 1969Max M HammittSuspension system for a snow vehicle
US3521717 *Nov 29, 1968Jul 28, 1970Coons Robert CDevice for converting a snowmobile to a wheeled vehicle
DE455979C *Feb 15, 1928Joseph VollmerAntriebsvorrichtung fuer Gleiskettenfahrzeuge mit einstellbaren Raedern
IT459393A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3810662 *Feb 2, 1973May 14, 1974Commanda ERetractable wheels for snowmobiles
US4082155 *Feb 3, 1977Apr 4, 1978Wayne ParrowWheeled undercarriage for snowmobiles
US4204582 *Mar 31, 1978May 27, 1980Soest Gerrit J VanWheel conversion kit for snow vehicle
US5564517 *Sep 12, 1994Oct 15, 1996Levasseur; Gary R.Snowmobile conversion frame kit
US6412582 *May 24, 2001Jul 2, 2002Robert B. LeavittWheeled cart accessory for snowmobiles
US6527282Mar 26, 2001Mar 4, 2003Michael J. OuelletteConvertible ski-supported vehicle
US6824147Jan 27, 2003Nov 30, 2004Michael J. OuelletteConvertible ski-supported vehicle
US7513327Oct 13, 2005Apr 7, 2009Kent PetersonSystem for converting a recreational vehicle
US7891447 *Oct 2, 2008Feb 22, 2011Jakks Pacific, Inc.Remotely controlled vehicle with a track mechanism and independently operated wheels
US7891455Aug 22, 2008Feb 22, 2011James Kevin FeutzSnowmobile conversion kit
DE3636594A1 *Oct 28, 1986Jan 28, 1988Agiplan Unternehmensberatung GVehicle for yielding terrain
Classifications
U.S. Classification180/185, 180/9.64, 180/9.3, 180/6.7
International ClassificationB62M27/02, B62D55/07, B62D55/04, B62K5/00, B62K13/00
Cooperative ClassificationB62D55/07, B62D55/04, B62M27/02, B62K13/00, B62K5/01
European ClassificationB62K5/01, B62D55/04, B62M27/02, B62K13/00, B62D55/07