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United States Patent [w]
US005837132A [ii] Patent Number: 5,837,132  Date of Patent: *Nov. 17, 1998
 FUEL SYSTEM WITH SIGHT-GLASS
 Inventor: Erwin E. Hurner, 920 Belsly Blvd.
South, Moorhead, Minn. 56560
[ * ] Notice: This patent issued on a continued prosecution application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(d), and is subject to the twenty year patent term provisions ol 35 U.S.C. 154(a)(2).
 Appl. No.: 802,307
 Filed: Feb. 18, 1997
Related U.S. Application Data
 Division of Ser. No. 376,420, Jan. 23, 1995, Pat. No. 5,682,661, which is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 176, 641, Dec. 30, 1993, Pat. No. 5,471,964.
 Int. CI.6 B01D 35/143
 U.S. CI 210/95; 210/248; 210/249;
 Field of Search 210/94, 95, 248,
210/249, 259, 262, 311, 260; 73/323; 248/94;
116/276; 220/663; 165/DIG. 4
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
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4,684,786 8/1987 Mann et al. .
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5,471,964 12/1995 Hurner 123/514
Primary Examiner—Matthew O. Savage
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Hardaway Law Firm, P.A.
By providing a fuel treating system with a strategically positioned sight-glass, it is possible to replace an fuel filter without either spilling large amounts of fuel all over or allowing for air bubbles, which can degrade the lubricating system's operation and cause siphoning. The sight-glass is positioned above the fuel inlet and outlet passages but below the filter. Thus, as soon as no fuel is seen in the sight-glass, a mechanic knows that the fuel filter has been substantially emptied of fuel yet the fuel inlet and outlet are still full.
20 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets
FUEL SYSTEM WITH SIGHT-GLASS
This application is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 06/376,420 filed on Jan. 23, 1995, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,682,661, which was a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/176,641 filed on Dec. 30, 1993, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,471,964.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 10
This invention relates generally to the art of fuel treatment and more particularly to an apparatus for making the process of changing a fuel filter cleaner, safer, and more reliable.
When changing a diesel fuel filter, two problems typically 15 arise: (1) excess fuel spills all over the work area and onto the mechanic and (2) air bubbles enter into the fuel inlet and outlet lines. The first problem results in an unclean work environment detrimental to all, reduces the amount of fuel that can be recycled, and can violate the Environmental 20 Protection Agency's (EPA) strict rules regarding the treatment of hazardous materials. The second problem, which results upon draining the system of its fuel, can seriously degrade the performance of the fuel system and lead to severe engine damage as well as lead to a siphoning effect 25 wherein after the filter is removed large amounts of fuel flowing from the fuel inlet spill all over.
Thus, because fuel spillage and air bubbles are problems that need to be solved, there is room for improvement within the art.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
It is thus an object of this invention to provide a novel apparatus that makes it easier, cleaner, and safer to replace 35 a filer of an internal combustion engine.
It is a further object of this invention to provide an apparatus wherein the introduction of air bubbles into a fuel line is reduced during a fuel change and reliability is increased. 40
It is a still further object of this invention to provide an apparatus wherein the effects of siphoning during a fuel change are greatly reduced.
These and other objects are accomplished by: A fuel filter 4J support head, comprising: a unitary block; the block having a fuel inlet passage, a fuel outlet passage, and a plurality of through passages; and a sight-glass structure in communication with at least one of the through passages; wherein a mechanic can see if any fuel is in the through passage by looking at the sight-glass.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 of the drawings is a sectional view of a fuel treating apparatus having a sight glass in accordance with this 55 invention;
FIG. 2 of the drawings is a bottom plan view along line 2—2 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 of the drawings is an elevational view of the sight-glass structure in accordance with this invention.
It has been found in accordance with this invention that a fuel treatment apparatus having a fuel filter support head 65 with a sight-glass thereon can be provided which allows a vehicle mechanic to determine when the fuel filter is drained
of fuel and therefore can be removed. Various other advantages and features will become apparent from a reading of the following description given with reference to the various Figures of the drawings.
FIG. 1 is a sectional view of a fuel treating apparatus 10 and is a sectional view of an otherwise generally cylindricalshaped apparatus. Fuel treating apparatus 10 is part of the overall fuel system of an internal combustion engine. The structures illustrated in FIG. 1 are shown in the same plane for purposes of illustration and many of the details, such as hose fittings, are not shown.
Fuel treatment apparatus 10, substantially taught and disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,995,992, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference, has a fuel filter support head 12 positioned thereon. When a conventional fuel filter 5 is screwed on fuel filter support head 12, filter 5 causes the fuel treating apparatus to become a closed system. The means by which filter 5 is sealingly mounted on support head 12 are conventional and not shown. Treatment apparatus 10 also defines a settling chamber including side wall 16 and bottom 18.
Support head 12 is preferably a unitary block structure 15 which is maintained in position on fuel treatment apparatus 10 by any conventional means such as clamping means 20 thereby forming a closed system within the fuel treatment apparatus 10. Support head 12 has a plurality of passages defined therein including inlet passage 22, outlet passage 28, and through passages 58. Through passages 58 comprise a series of passages circularly surrounding (FIG. 2) the coaxial portions of inlet passage 22 and outlet passage 28 (FIG. 1). Inlet passage 22 and outlet passage 28 have hose fittings (not shown) affixed thereto.
A conduit means 42 passes through the settling chamber of fuel treatment apparatus 10 in direct communication with inlet passage 22 of support head 12. Conduit means 42 defines a fuel inlet in the bottom of the chamber through slots 44 fully illustrated and 46 and 48 only partially illustrated.
It is seen that fuel travels from inlet passage 22 of support head 12 into and through conduit means 42 and out the fuel inlets 44, 46, 48, and 50 located in a lower portion of the settling chamber. Conduit means 42 has located therein a buoyant valve means 52 which during non-operation and a full fuel condition floats up conduit means 42 to a restriction 54 in the form of an O-ring sealing the conduit means within the chamber. Thus, in operation, the buoyant valve means 52 is forced down to permit the fuel to flow through conduit means 42 and out the fuel inlets 44, 46, 48, and 50, but upon non-operation of the fuel engine, the buoyant valve means 52 floats upwardly through conduit means 42 and prevents fuel from passing through inlet passage 22 of support-head 12 and to conduit means 42.
The floatation time between the bottom or lower portion of the chamber as illustrated in FIG. 1 of the drawings to contact restriction 54 has a lag time preferably of about four 4 seconds. During this lag time, any debris within the fuel passes down conduit means 42 such that upon contact of buoyant valve means 52 with restriction 54, no debris remains to adversely affect the seal between buoyant valve means 52 and restriction 54.
Buoyant valve means 52 is illustrated here in the form of a metallic hollow shell ball of much the same form as a ping-pong ball so as to be buoyant within diesel fuel.
Thus, during normal operation, fuel from the tank enters support head 12 at inlet passage 22 and continues until exiting support head 12 through opening 32 which commu