The present invention relates generally to a sealing unit for movable
windows; and, more particularly, to a flexible sealing unit with decorative trim
mountable to a frame of a vehicle as a prefabricated unit for providing a seal
between the frame and a movable window of the vehicle. In addition, the present
invention relates to a method for sealing a movable vehicle window.
In the design of modern vehicles such as automobiles, it is desirable
for the movable windows of the vehicle to be flush or substantially flush with
the outer surface of the vehicle body in order to provide a more attractive, streamlined
appearance and to reduce drag on the vehicle when is being driven.
In such vehicle designs, however, it is often difficult to provide
an effective seal for the movable window. In particular, such a seal must properly
follow the contours of the vehicle frame and of the window so as to provide an
effective seal therebetween; and, in addition, it must reliably retain the window
so as to prevent the window from moving away from the vehicle body when the window
is closed, thus causing air gaps, even when the vehicle is moving at a high rate
Known glassrun seals for flush-mounted movable vehicle windows are
often formed of a plurality of components which are separately mounted to a frame
portion of the vehicle to provide a complete sealing assembly. For example, known
seals often include first and second generally U-shaped members which form outer
and inner guides, respectively, for a movable vehicle window. To mount such a seal
to a vehicle, the first U-shaped member is initially positioned relative to the
frame and then affixed to the frame with an adhesive. The second U-shaped member
is then mounted to the vehicle frame and to the first U-shaped member to complete
the sealing assembly. One or both of the U-shaped members are generally formed
of a relatively rigid material and/or are sometimes provided with a wire core
or other appropriate stiffening means for providing the seal with substantial
rigidity so as to effectively retain the window against movement. Often also, the
sealing assembly further includes a metallic strip, which is a separate component
from the U-shaped members and which is fastened to the vehicle frame and positioned
on a surface of the seal so as to be viewable from the exterior of the vehicle
to function both as a decorative trim and as a means for enhancing the rigidity
of the seal.
A movable vehicle window sealing assembly as described above must
be assembled to a vehicle frame in several steps; and, therefore, the mounting
process is relatively time-consuming and costly. Also, because of the relative
rigidity of the metallic strip decorative trim, it is difficult to properly conform
the various components to the contour of the vehicle frame; and gaps often occur
between the trim and the vehicle body which pose a source of leakage. Often, in
fact, adhesive strips or the like must be inserted at various locations between
the trim and the vehicle frame to fill in the gaps to provide a continuous seal
between the seal and the vehicle frame.
EP-A-385028 describes a sealing unit with features corresponding to
the preamble of claim 1, the first and second portions being generally U-shaped
channels inverted with respect to one another. The outer wall of the outer channel,
which is of hard elastomer, has an internal lip of softer elastomer to contact
the slidable window pane and this softer elastomer skin is continued onto the outer
surface of the channel wall to avoid the poor appearance of the hard durometer
FR-A-2431644 describes elastomeric profiles for fitting an element
into a frame and including a co-extruded embedded key exposed at the outer surface
of the profile. The key is of the same or a different elastomer, and has a basic
function of consolidating the profile section although it can also have a decorative
effect e.g. by being a different colour.
In a first aspect, the invention provides a sealing unit for a movable
window of a vehicle, consisting of an elongated, prefabricated flexible sealing
member mountable to a frame of the vehicle for providing a seal between the movable
window and the vehicle frame, and including a first portion for mounting the prefabricated
sealing unit to the vehicle frame and a second portion for receiving the movable
window, characterized by:
- a flexible, decorative trim strip affixed to a surface of said sealing member
which will be an external surface when said prefabricated sealing unit is mounted
to said frame, both the sealing member and said decorative trim strip affixed thereto
being sufficiently flexible to permit the prefabricated sealing unit to accurately
and closely conform to the contour of the vehicle frame as the prefabricated sealing
unit is being mounted to the vehicle frame for providing a substantially continuous
and gapless seal between the vehicle frame and the prefabricated sealing unit .
A second aspect is a method for providing a seal for a movable window
of a vehicle, comprising
providing a prefabricated flexible seating unit by
- (a) providing an elongated flexible seating member having a first portion for
mounting said sealing unit to a frame of the vehicle and a second portion for receiving
a movable window, and
- (b) affixing a flexible, decorative trim strip to a surface of said sealing
member at a position that will be viewable from the exterior of the vehicle when
said prefabricated sealing unit is mounted to said frame; and
mounting said prefabricated sealing unit with the decorative trim
strip (42) affixed thereto to said frame by mounting said first portion of said
sealing member to said frame while, at the same time, accurately and closely conforming
said flexible prefabricated sealing unit to the contour of said frame to prevent
gaps between said prefabricated sealing unit and the vehicle frame.
Because the sealing unit is a complete, prefabricated unit, it can
be easily mounted to the frame in a single mounting operation thus providing a
substantial reduction in manufacturing cost and time. Further, in the present
invention, both the sealing member and the decorative trim associated therewith
are sufficiently flexible to permit the sealing unit to accurately conform to the
contour of the frame as it is mounted thereto so as to provide a continuous and
effective seal without gaps between the sealing unit and the frame.
The sealing unit of the present invention is especially designed
as a seal for movable vehicle windows such as automobiles and other vehicles A
significant preferred advantage is that the decorative trim is not required to
contribute to the rigidity of the seal as in many prior art constructions. Accordingly,
it can be provided solely for decorative purposes as a part of the overall vehicle
trim and this provides the manufacturer with substantial latitude in selecting
a decorative trim having the desired characteristics and appearance for a particular
The sealing member, according to a presently preferred embodiment
of the invention, comprises a first generally U-shaped portion which is mountable
to a pinchweld flange of a vehicle door window frame, and a second generally U-shaped
window sealing portion which is adapted to receive the edge of a movable window.
The first and second U-shaped portions are integrally formed and have a common
central wall portion to define a generally S-shaped overall cross-section for
the member. An outer surface of the sealing member is exposed to and viewable from
the exterior of the vehicle and bears the decorative trim thereon.
The sealing member is preferably formed by extruding or molding a
thermoplastic or thermoplastic elastomeric material and can include dual or multi-durometer
profiles. The decorative trim can comprise a bright trim strip subassembly, and
may include e.g. a thin polymeric e.g. polyester e.g. a Mylar strip of a desired
colour, which can be affixed to the outer surface of the sealing member by a suitable
The method according to the present invention permits the sealing
unit to be mounted to the frame of a vehicle in a single mounting operation without
the need for clips or special tools and thus provides substantial savings in both
manufacturing time and costs.
Yet further advantages and specific details of the invention will
become apparent hereinafter in conjunction with the following detailed description
of presently preferred embodiments thereof.
Brief Description of the Drawings
- Fig. 1 is a schematic view of a front side door assembly of an automobile schematically
illustrating sealing units according to a presently preferred embodiment of the
- Fig. 2 is a schematic, cross-sectional view of an embodiment of a sealing unit
of Fig. 1 mounted to a frame of the vehicle; and
- Fig. 3 is a cross-sectional view illustrating the decorative trim subassembly
of the sealing unit of Fig. 2 in greater detail.
Fig. 1 is a schematic view of a front side door assembly of a vehicle
such as an automobile incorporating sealing units according to a presently preferred
embodiment of the invention. The front side door assembly is generally designated
by reference number 12 and includes a window 14 which is movable in a vertical
direction. As is well-known in the art, the window 14 is slidably received in vertical
guide tracks in the door frame so as to be flush or substantially flush with the
adjacent vehicle structure when in its raised or closed position as illustrated
in the Fig 1.
When the window 14 is closed, its edges are adapted to be received
within and engaged by sealing unit 16 which is mounted to a frame of the vehicle.
The sealing unit 16 functions to provide a seal between the window and the adjacent
vehicle structure; and, in addition, to keep the window secure, particularly when
the vehicle is travelling at a high speed. In the illustrated embodiment, the sealing
unit 16 includes, for example, a header glassrun 16', an A-pillar glassrun 16''
and a B-pillar glassrun 16'''.
It should be recognized that the sealing unit 16 illustrated in Fig.
1 is exemplary only, and different arrangements may be provided depending on, for
example, the particular vehicle on which the sealing unit is to be provided.
Fig. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a sealing unit 16a, affixed
to a pinchweld flange 20 of the door frame of the vehicle. The sealing unit 16a
comprises a one-piece sealing member 18 having a first generally U-shaped portion
21 which is securable to the pinchweld flange 20 of the vehicle door window frame,
and a second generally U-shaped window sealing portion 22 for receiving the upper
edge of the movable window 14. As illustrated in Fig. 2, the second U-shaped portion
22 is generally inverted relative to the first U-shaped portion 21 such that the
sealing member defines a generally S-shaped overall cross-section.
The first U-shaped portion 21 includes a first wall portion 26 which
is adapted to face inwardly of the vehicle and a second wall portion 27 which
functions as a common wall portion for both the first and second generally U-shaped
portions. The walls 26 and 27 define a recess 28 therebetween within which the
pinchweld flange 20 of the vehicle door window frame is received and includes various
finger structures 29 which engage the flange to secure and retain the sealing
unit to the flange.
The second generally U-shaped portion 22 comprises an outer wall
portion 31 which, together with the common wall portion 27, defines a recess 32
for receiving the edge of movable vehicle window 14 as shown in the Fig. As shown
in Fig. 2, inwardly extending finger structures 33 are formed in the second U-shaped
portion to engage the window when the window is in a closed position to provide
an effective seal therebetween.
The sealing member 18 also includes appropriate finger structures
34 and is otherwise configured to provide a continuous and effective seal between
the sealing member and the vehicle window frame as will be described more fully
The sealing member 18 can be formed by extruding or molding suitable
thermoplastic or thermoplastic elastomeric materials and is designed to have sufficient
flexibility so that it can accurately conform to the shape of the vehicle window
frame without leaving any air gaps therebetween. For example, suitable materials
for the sealing member include EPDM, TPR and TPO, and a suitable flexibility could
be about 80 durometer. Alternatively, the sealing member 18 can include dual or
multidurometer profiles wherein the sealing portions of the element have a different
durometer than other portions of the element.
The outer wall portion 31 of second U-shaped portion 22 includes
a decorative trim on the outer surface 41 thereof that is viewable from the exterior
of the vehicle when the sealing unit 16a is mounted to the vehicle window frame
and which functions as a part of the overall decorative trim of the vehicle. In
the presently preferred embodiment illustrated in Fig. 2, the decorative trim
comprises a brite trim strip subassembly 42 that is affixed to the sealing member;
and Fig. 3 is a schematic cross-sectional view illustrating the construction of
the brite trim strip subassembly 42.
As shown in Fig. 3, the subassembly includes a core 51 of, for example,
PVC to the outer surface of which is affixed a thin, flexible decorative strip
52 of, for example, Mylar tape. The Mylar tape can be of any desired color, for
example, to match the exterior color of the vehicle. The decorative strip 52 is
covered by a coating of clear PVC 53, and a protective tear strip 54 is applied
to and covers the PVC coating and is adapted to be removed after installation of
the sealing unit. An adhesive layer 56 is provided on the lower surface of the
core 51 to affix the brite trim strip subassembly 42 to the surface 41 of sealing
member 18 although other forms of attachment may also be utilized.
An important property of brite trim strip 42 is that it is quite
flexible so that it will not, in any way, interfere with the overall flexibility
of the sealing unit 16a. Accordingly, the strip 42 can be affixed to the sealing
member 18 to provide a complete sealing unit 16a that can be installed as a prefabricated
unit to the vehicle window frame without interfering with the ability of the unit
to be accurately conformed to the shape of the frame.
The sealing unit 16a as disclosed herein is adapted to be mounted
to a window frame such as a vehicle window frame in a single mounting operation,
and because it is capable of readily conforming to the contour of the frame, provides
a continuous, effective seal between the sealing unit and the frame throughout
the length of the frame. The sealing unit can be applied along both the header
and side portions of the window frame and be readily adapted for any conventional
movable vehicle window.
While what has been described constitutes presently preferred embodiments,
it should be understood that the invention could take numerous other forms. For
example, although the preferred embodiments are described in connection with a
movable window of a front automobile door, it may be utilized in connection with
any movable window of any vehicle or in other applications. Also, the particular
cross-sectional shape and configuration of the sealing member 18 can be varied
in many ways without departing from the invention. Further, in addition to the
brite trim strip subassembly described herein, other brite trim strips, including
flexible metallic strips, can also be utilized.