Public Patent

Passenger seat for lawn and garden tractor

Abstract

The present invention relates to an auxiliary seat assembly for a lawn and garden tractor. The auxiliary seat assembly includes a mounting assembly and at least one auxiliary seat mounted to the mounting assembly. The mounting assembly is releasably secured to a rear frame of the tractor. The at least one auxiliary seat is located generally behind a seat of the associated tractor.

Claims

1. An auxiliary seat assembly for an associated lawn and garden tractor comprising: a mounting assembly releasably secured to a rear frame of the associated tractor; and at least one auxiliary seat mounted to said mounting assembly, wherein said at least auxiliary seat is located generally behind a seat of the associated tractor.

2. The seat assembly of claim 1, wherein said mounting assembly includes: a mounting plate secured to a frame of the associated tractor, and an extension member releasably attached to said mounting plate and extending away from the associated tractor, said extension member providing a predetermined distance between said at least one auxiliary seat and the associated tractor.

3. The seat assembly of claim 2, wherein said mounting plate includes a connecting member extending from said mounting plate, said connecting member releasably attaching said extension member to said mounting plate.

4. The seat assembly of claim 2, wherein said extension member includes a first section having a longitudinal axis generally perpendicular to said mounting plate.

5. The seat assembly of claim 4, wherein said extension member includes a second section spaced from and connected to said first section, wherein said second section is positioned above said first section.

6. The seat assembly of claim 5, wherein said second section has a longitudinal axis generally parallel to said longitudinal axis of said first section.

7. The seat assembly of claim 2, wherein said extension member includes at least one seating frame for mounting said at least one auxiliary seat to said extension member.

8. The seat assembly of claim 7, wherein said at least one seating frame is generally U-shaped.

9. A passenger seat assembly for an associated lawn and garden tractor comprising: an extension assembly mounted to a rear frame of the associated tractor and extending away from the associated tractor; and at least one passenger seat secured to said extension member, wherein a height of said at least one passenger seat is approximately equal to a height of a seat of the associated tractor.

10. The seat assembly of claim 9, wherein said extension assembly includes a mounting plate secured to the frame of the associated tractor and a connecting member extending from said mounting plate.

11. The seat assembly of claim 10, wherein said extension assembly includes an elongated arm having a first section attached to said connecting member and a second section spaced from said first section.

12. The seat assembly of claim 11, wherein said second section is positioned above said first section.

13. The seat assembly of claim 11, wherein said elongated arm includes a base interconnecting said first section and said second section, wherein said first section extends outwardly from said base at an angle such that a longitudinal axis of said first section is generally perpendicular to said mounting plate, wherein said second section extends outwardly from said base at an angle such that a longitudinal axis of said second section is generally parallel to the longitudinal axis if said first section.

14. The seat assembly of claim 9, wherein said extension assembly includes at least one seating frame for mounting said at least one passenger seat to said extension assembly.

15. An auxiliary seat assembly for an associated lawn and garden tractor comprising: a mounting plate releasably secured to a frame of the associated tractor; an elongated arm attached to said mounting plate and extending away from the frame of the associated tractor; and a first auxiliary seat mounted to an end section of said elongated arm, wherein said first auxiliary seat is located generally behind a seat of the associated tractor.

16. The seat assembly of claim 15, further comprising a first seating frame secured to said end section of said elongated arm for mounting said first auxiliary seat to said elongated arm.

17. The seat assembly of claim 16, further comprising a second seating frame secured to said end section of said elongated arm adjacent said first seating frame for mounting a second auxiliary seat to said elongated arm.

18. The seat assembly of claim 15, wherein a height of said first auxiliary seat is approximately equal to a height of a seat of the associated tractor.

19. An auxiliary seat assembly for use with a lawn and garden tractor, comprising: a mounting plate releasably secured to a frame of the tractor; an elongated arm attached to said mounting plate and extending away from the frame of the tractor; an auxiliary seat mounted to an end section of said elongated arm, wherein said auxiliary seat is located behind a seat of said tractor; and a foot support mounted to said elongated arm between said mounting plate and said auxiliary seat.

20. The auxiliary seat assembly of claim 19, wherein said foot support comprises a frame and a foot support wall positioned within said frame.

21. The auxiliary seat assembly of claim 19, wherein said foot support is secured to said elongated arm via a leg member.

Description

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/684,926 filed May 26, 2005 and is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to vehicle seating and, more particularly, to a passenger seat or a second seat to be attached to a lawn and garden tractor.

[0003] Modern lawn and garden tractors are generally designed as single occupant vehicles with a seat for the driver only; however, it is sometimes desirable for a passenger to also ride on the tractor. For example, it may be desirable for an instructor to ride along with a first time driver of a particular type of tractor. Alternatively, it might be convenient for a child to ride along with a parent who is operating the tractor so that the parent can be assured of the child's whereabouts.

[0004] Existing, conventional lawn and garden tractors do not provide seats for extra riders. Thus, the rider must assume a crouched position on the tractor to avoid interfering with the driver or blocking his view. Such a position is usually unsafe, as well as uncomfortable and unsteady. Since lawn and garden tractors can be driven over rough terrain, such a position can also be hazardous to the rider and to the driver, if the rider should be thrown off balance on the tractor.

[0005] In view of the foregoing, there is a need for a seating provision or attachment which allows a rider on a lawn and garden tractor to sit in a secure, comfortable position without causing interference to the driver and which can be stowed when not needed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The invention relates generally to lawn tractors. More particularly, the invention relates to a passenger seat attachment for use with a lawn tractor. In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, an auxiliary seat assembly for a lawn and garden tractor is provided. The auxiliary seat assembly includes a mounting assembly and at least one auxiliary seat mounted to the mounting assembly. The mounting assembly is releasably secured to a rear frame of the tractor. The at least one auxiliary seat is located generally behind a seat of the associated tractor.

[0007] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a passenger seat assembly for a lawn and garden tractor includes an extension assembly mounted to and extending away from a rear frame of the tractor. At least one passenger seat is secured to the extension member. A height of the at least one passenger seat is approximately equal to a height of a seat of the tractor.

[0008] In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, an auxiliary seat assembly for a lawn and garden tractor includes a mounting plate releasably secured to a rear frame of the tractor. An elongated arm is attached to the mounting plate and extends away from the frame of the tractor. A first auxiliary seat is mounted to an end section of the elongated arm. The first auxiliary seat is located generally behind a seat of the tractor.

[0009] Still another aspect of the invention is the provision of providing a passenger seat which is easily mounted to a lawn tractor.

[0010] Yet another aspect of the invention is the provision of a passenger seat which is releasably secured to a lawn tractor.

[0011] Still other aspects of the invention will become apparent from a reading and understanding of the detailed description of the preferred embodiments hereinbelow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0012] The present invention may take physical form in certain parts and arrangements of parts, preferred embodiments of which will be described in detail in this specification and illustrated in the accompanying drawings which form a part of the invention.

[0013] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tractor with a passenger seat extension in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0014] FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of a tractor with a passenger seat extension of FIG. 1;

[0015] FIG. 3 is a rear elevated view of the passenger seat extension of FIG. 2 showing a mounting bracket;

[0016] FIG. 4 is a right-side exploded elevational view of the passenger seat extension of FIG. 1; and,

[0017] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a tractor with a passenger seat extension having a foot support in accordance with an alternate embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0018] It should, of course, be understood that the description and drawing herein are merely illustrative and that various modifications and changes can be made in the structures disclosed without departing from the scope of the invention.

[0019] With reference now to FIG. 1, a lawn and garden tractor A is shown with a passenger seat extension assembly B in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention attached to a rear portion of the tractor. Certain components of the tractor will be mentioned to provide the context. The passenger seat is constructed so that it mounts behind the driver's seat provided for the tractor driver or operator. The tractor is constructed with a bottom floor plate or deck. Typically, the tractor has a drive shaft from the engine in front back to a rear axle which connects to the left and right with a hump in the floorboard. The hump houses the differential for the rear wheels. The rearwheels (not shown) are arranged to the left and right of the operator seat and are enclosed in appropriate fenders to the left and right of the driver. The fenders are mounted to the left and right of the driver. Collectively, these components form the tractor A.

[0020] With reference now to FIGS. 2 and 3, the passenger seat assembly B includes a passenger seat extension 10 which generally has a mounting plate 12 and an extension member 14 for supporting at least one seat S. The seat S includes a cushion and a seat belt. The extension member is releasably attached to the mounting plate and extends away from a rear frame 16 of the tractor A. The extension member 14 serves to provide spacing or distance D between the seat S and the rear portion of the tractor. The distance D can vary from about 12 inches to 18 inches or more, and allows the passenger to easily enter and exit the seat.

[0021] Referring to FIG. 3, the mounting plate 12 includes four spaced apart mounting holes 19 and a connecting member 20 (FIG. 4) extending generally normal from the mounting plate. The mounting plate is secured to the rear frame of the tractor by conventional fasteners, such as screws or bolts 21 and nuts, the fasteners extending through corresponding openings located in the frame of the tractor and the mounting holes 19 of the mounting plate. In operation, the mounting plate 12 is attached easily because the only connectors utilized are the fasteners 21. They are connected in a rear location so they are out of harm's way, and they are also connected so they can connect through permanently made holes in the rear frame without fear of rusting out that region. Attachment is easily achieved with suitable threaded fasteners. Removal is equally easy and is accomplished in the same manner.

[0022] Referring now to FIG. 4, the connecting member20 has a first end 22 fixedly secured to the mounting plate 12. In the illustrated embodiment, the first end is welded to the mounting plate. Walls 24, 26 of the connecting member each has an aperture 28 which extends through opposing sides of the connecting member 20 and is preferably located midway between the upper and lower surface of the connecting member. The connecting member 20 is preferably made out of 21/4 inch by 21/4 inch tubular steel. However, it should be appreciated that any size tubular steel can be used, such as 2 inch and 17/8 inch or other appropriate sizes. Other metals can also be used without departing from the scope of the invention. An important object of the connecting member 20 is that it be able to selectively receive the extension member 14.

[0023] The extension member 14 includes first and second portions 34 and 36, respectively, and a base portion 40. The cross-section of the extension member is of a generally square shaped configuration. The first portion 34 extends outwardly from an end of the base portion at an obtuse angle such that the first portion is parallel to the connecting member 20. The second portion 36 extends outwardly from an opposing end of the base portion 40 also at an obtuse angle such that the first portion is generally parallel to the second portion. As shown in FIG. 4, the second portion 36 is positioned above the first portion 34. The extension member 14 is preferably made out of 2 inch by 2 inch tubular steel, but it can be fabricated in other sizes and shapes without departing from the scope of the invention. The extension member is fabricated from material of sufficient strength to withstand the load of a passenger on the seat positioned on portion 36.

[0024] The first portion 34 of the extension member 14 includes an aperture 42 which extends through both sides of the first portion and is preferably located midway between the upper and lower surface of the first portion. The apertures 28 and 42 substantially align to serve to secure the extension member 14 to the connecting member 20. In particular, the aperture 42 is spaced inward from an end of the first portion 34 such that as the extension member is inserted within the connecting member 20, the center axis of the aperture 42 is coincident With the center axis of the aperture 28. Preferably, the apertures 28 and 42 have similar diameters so that the extension member 14 can be secured within the connecting member 20 by a locking member such as a dowel or pin P extending through the apertures 28 and 42 when they are aligned with each other. The portion 34 is inserted into a mating opening 25 of a generally square shaped configuration in an end wall of the connecting member 20. The opening 25 is slightly larger than an outer dimension of the portion 34 to telescopically receive the portion 34.

[0025] According to one aspect of the present invention, the extension member 20 includes at least one seating frame 50, which extends generally perpendicular from the second portion 36 for supporting the at least one seat S. As shown in FIG. 4, the extension member includes a pair of seating frames 50. Each seating frame includes first and second arms 52 and 54, respectively, and a back portion 56, the arms and the back portion creating a generally "U" shaped frame. The first and second arms are fixedly secured to the second portion 36, preferably by welding. The first and second arms 52 and 54 include mounting apertures 60 adapted to receive conventional fasteners F for securing an underside of a conventional seat S to each seating frame 50.

[0026] The back portion 56 and the first and second arms 52 and 54 are preferably made of 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches tubular steel. The first and second arms 52 and 54 are secured to opposing end portions of the back portion 56 by welding or other suitable means.

[0027] According to another aspect (not shown) of the present invention, the mounting plate and the extension member are identical to the first embodiment in all respects, except that no seating frames are provided. In this embodiment, the second portion of the extension member includes at least one mounting aperture adapted to receive conventional fasteners for securing a single seat.

[0028] Referring to FIG. 5, an alternate embodiment of the passenger seat extension includes a foot support or protective shroud 61 which would be mounted onto extension portion 40 via fasteners (not shown) or onto the seating frame 50 via a leg portion 62. The foot support or shroud 61 can include a rectangular frame 64 and a grid or mesh 66 formed within the frame walls. The frame can be made of tubular steel or other metal. Another alternative would be to add a foot support onto the extension member adjacent portion 34 to provide a means for bracing and preventing the passenger from sliding down out of the seat. The foot support/protective shroud serves to support the feet of the passenger. Another use of the support is as a protective shroud to deflect debris, rocks, twigs, etc. from flying up toward the rear of the tractor. The support or shroud can be level as shown or at an angle to further deflect the debris.

[0029] Thus, the seating assembly is easily mounted to and disassembled from a rear frame of a tractor. The extension member can be easily interchanged with varying sizes and configurations of extension members without requiring removal of the mounting plate.

[0030] The present disclosure has been described with reference to the preferred embodiments. Obviously, modifications and alterations will occur to others upon reading and understanding the preceding detailed description. It is intended that the disclosure be construed as including all such modifications and alterations.

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