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Patent appraised by patentsbase$ 218000
GLOBAL PATENTRANK# 56.000
A tailgate locking device includes a cylinder lock supported by a bracket which fits into the recess present in the standard insert or bezel which surrounds the latch handle in a truck tailgate. The bracket is secured to the tailgate in such a way that it cannot be removed from the tailgate either from the inside or outside thereof. When the lock is rotated to a locked position, it moves a locking arm into position in front of the latch handle thereby preventing actuation of the latch to open the tailgate. Rotation of the lock to its unlocked position frees the latch handle allowing the tailgate to be opened.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In the drawing:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the tailgate of a pickup truck and incorporating a tailgate locking device according to the invention;
FIG. 2is an exploded perspective view on a much larger scale of the FIG. 1 tailgate showing the tailgate handle in its raised unlatching position and the locking device components prior to installation.
FIG. 2is a perspective view of the tailgate showing the locking device fully installed and with the tailgate handle in its lower latching position;
FIGS. 3and are sectional view taken along line — of FIG. 2B showing the locking device in its locked and unlocked positions, respectively, and
FIG. 4 is an exploded isometric view of a second embodiment of my locking device.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENT
Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawings, an anti-theft locking device shown generally at is shown installed in the swing-down tailgate of a standard pick-up truck , e.g., a 1999 Chevrolet pickup. Tailgate is normally maintained in an upright latched position by a latching mechanism (FIG. 4) installed in the tailgate. However, when a tailgate handle , which is part of the latching mechanism, is pulled up, the latching mechanism releases the tailgate so that the tailgate may be swung down to an open position.
As will be described in more detail later, the locking device includes a lock supported by bracket (FIG. 2). The lock is movable between a locked position which prevents the tailgate handle from being raised in order to unlatch the tailgate and an unlocked position which releases the tailgate handle allowing the tailgate to be unlatched and swung open.
The tailgate and latching mechanism therefor are well known and do not constitute part of my invention. Rather, they are installed on truck at the factory. Suffice it to say that, as shown in FIG. 4, the tailgate comprises an outer panel and an inner panel , there being a space between the two panels. Panel is provided with a relatively large aperture to provide clearance for insertion of the latching mechanism into the tailgate through the aperture so that the mechanism can be seated against inner panel . Normally, the mechanism includes a base anchored to panel by a plurality of threaded fasteners which are inserted through holes in panel and turned down into threaded holes in the base of latching mechanism .
As shown in FIGS. 3, and , handle is a shell-like part having a front wall and a rear wall . A pair of laterally spaced-apart arms extends from the rear wall , which arms are connected by a pair of pivots to the base of latching mechanism per se so that the handle can be swung between the positions shown in FIGS. 3and in order to latch and unlatch tailgate .
When tailgate is installed on truck at the factory, it is normally provided with a bezel to cover the space between the latching mechanism and the edge of the aperture in the tailgate. As best seen in FIGS. 2and , bezel comprises a frame portion which surrounds a central recess . The lower half of recess defines a pocket . A through-hole is provided in the upper half of that recess to provide clearance for the tailgate handle and its arms so that the handle may be moved between its unlatching and latching positions shown in FIGS. 3and , respectively. As shown in FIGS. 2and , when the handle is in its latching position, the handle front wall is more or less flush with the face of the frame portion of bezel . On the other hand, the handle rear wall substantially fills the through-hole in the bezel. Note from FIG. 2, however, that a narrow gap G exists between the edge of the handle rear wall and the rear edge of pocket . Note also that when handle is in its raised unlatching position shown in FIG. 2, the left hand threaded hole in the base of the latching mechanism is exposed in the bezel via through-hole .
As best seen in FIG. 2the bracket comprises a stamped metal piece which is formed with a succession of steps that define five panels or flanges. More particularly, there is a relatively large outer panel to which the lock is mounted. A second panel of the bracket extends at right angles to panel and leads to a third smaller panel which is more or less parallel to panel . A fourth bracket panel extending at right angles to both panels and leads to a fifth or inner panel which is parallel to panels and . A screw hole is provided in panel .
Bracket is designed and dimensioned so that it can be positioned in the bezel recess with bracket panel seating against the bottom of pocket and the bracket panel extending through the gap G so that panel engages the latching mechanism base with hole in alignment with the left-hand threaded hole in the base . The bracket is secured to latching mechanism base and the rear panel of the tailgate by a threaded fastener (FIG. 2) which extends through the bracket hole and is turned down into the lower threaded hole in the base . That is, the original equipment fastener shown in FIG. 4 that was installed from inside the tailgate at that location is removed and replaced by fastener installed from outside the tailgate via through-hole . In order to preserve the multiple connections between the latching mechanism and the tailgate panel , a nut may be turned down onto the inner end of fastener behind that panel as shown in FIGS. 3and
As best seen in FIG. 2, when locking insert is properly installed, the bracket panels and form the two sides of a box that fits closely in the right side corner of the bezel pocket so that the keyhole end of lock is accessible directly under handle . The lock barrel extends down into pocket behind the bracket panel and contains a lock cylinder which controls the angular position of an L-shaped stop member or arm (FIG. 2) at the inner end of the barrel. When tailgate is latched and lock is in its locked position shown in FIG. 3, the arm extends up in front of the rear wall of handle thereby preventing the handle from being pulled up to its unlatching position shown in FIG. 3. Thus, so long as lock is in its locked position, the tailgate cannot be unlatched and opened. Also, it should be noted that when tailgate is latched and locked by lock , the handle substantially fills the through-hole in bezel and thus completely covers the head of fastener . Therefore, the locking insert and bezel cannot be removed from the tailgate .
By inserting the proper key into lock , the lock cylinder may be rotated one quarter turn so that the lock arm or stop is rotated away from handle to the position shown in FIG. 3. This allows the handle to be raised up to unlatch the tailgate as shown in that figure.
The bracket of locking device is specifically designed to be anchored to tailgate from the outside, access to the screw-hole being had via through-hole when the tailgate handle is raised as shown in FIG. 2. FIG. 4 shows a slightly different locking device embodiment ′ which is secured to tailgate from the inside. This locking device embodiment employs a slightly different bracket ′. More particularly, the inner panel of bracket has a threaded nut welded or otherwise anchored to that panel over the hole therein. In this embodiment, the fastener that normally secures the latching mechanism to the tailgate panel is replaced with a slightly smaller diameter fastener ′ which can be inserted through the lower hole in the tailgate panel and through the lower threaded hole in the latching mechanism and turned down into the nut on the bracket ′. Thus, both modes of securement described herein re-establish the holding power provided by the factory installed fasteners .
If desired, an additional measure of security may be provided by using for the fastener , ′ and/or known one-way fasteners which have a head that is slotted so that the fastener can only be turned in the screwing or tightening direction. Alternatively, known safety fasteners may be employed which have a head that breaks off when the fastener is tightened. In both cases, the fasteners cannot be removed except by drilling them out.
It will be seen from the foregoing that my locking device can be retrofit to a variety of different vehicles so that the tailgates of those vehicles cannot be opened or removed without access to the key for the locking device . This should greatly reduce the incidence of tailgate theft and prevent the tailgate from being opened when the vehicle is being used as a camper or the like.
The main component of the locking device , namely the bracket is a simple stamped metal part which can be fabricated in quantity relatively inexpensively. On the other hand, the lock component of device is an off-the-shelf item which can be purchased in quantity at low cost and assembled easily to the bracket. The locking device can be sold in kit form as an after-market item and be installed easily by the truck owner. Therefore, the locking device should prove to be a very marketable product.
It will thus be seen that the objects set forth, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained. Also, certain changes may be made in the above constructions without departing from the scope of the invention. Therefore, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description are shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention described therein.
1. A tailgate security device for a tailgate having an outer panel and an inner panel, said outer panel facing outwardly from the vehicle in which the tailgate is mounted, an aperture in the outer panel, a bezel positioned in the aperture, the bezel having a recess and a through-hole extending above the recess, a latch mechanism in the tailgate said mechanism including a base, a lever arm pivotally connected to the base and extending through said aperture to a handle positioned in said recess whereby when the handle is rotated outward, the latch mechanism unlatches the tailgate, the security device comprising: a lock rotable between a locked position and an unlocked position and having a locking arm; a rigid bracket having a first portion supporting the lock, a second portion which extends through the through-hole of the bezel substantially to said base and a third portion which mounts to the base; and a fastener securing said third portion to said base, when said lock is in said locked position, said arm preventing said handle from being rotated outward and when the lock is in said unlocked position, the arm being positioned to permit the handle to be rotated outward.
2. The security device defined in claim 1 wherein the lock is a cylinder lock.
3. The security device defined in claim 1 wherein said fastening means include a first threaded fastener extending through said bracket third portion and threaded into said base, and further including second fastener means securing said base to said inner panel.
4. The security device defined in claim 2 wherein said first threaded fastener extends through said base and said inner panel, and further including a nut threaded onto said first fastener behind said inner panel.
5. The security device defined in claim 4 wherein the second fastener means include a security fastener.
6. The security device defined in claim 1 wherein said fastener means include a security fastener extending through said inner panel and said base and being threaded into said bracket third portion, and further including one or more additional fasteners connecting said base to said inner panel.
7. The security device defined in claim 5 or 6 wherein said security fastener is a one-way threaded fastener.
8. The security device defined in claim 5 or 6 wherein said security fastener has a head which breaks away when sufficient torque is exerted on the head.
9. A tailgate security device for a tailgate having an outer panel and an inner panel, said outer panel facing outwardly from the vehicle in which the tailgate is mounted, an aperture in the outer panel, a bezel positioned in the aperture, the bezel having a recess and a through-hole extending above the recess, a latch mechanism in the tailgate said mechanism including a base, a lever arm pivotally connected to the base and extending through said aperture to a handle positioned in said recess whereby when the handle is rotated outward, the latch mechanism unlatches the tailgate, the security device comprising: lock means, having a locking arm for rotating between a locked position and an unlocked position; rigid bracket means for supporting a lock, said bracket means extending through the through-hole of the bezel substantially to said base and including means for mounting to said base; fastener means for securing said bracket means to said base, when said lock means is in said locked position, said arm preventing said handle from being rotated outward and when the lock is in said unlocked position, the arm being positioned to permit the handle to be rotated outward.
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