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IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000029507D
Publication Date: 2004-Jul-01

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The IP.com Prior Art Database


A mounting structure assembly is disclosed. The mounting structure assembly comprises a first member, a second member, and a fastening member coupled to the first member and configured to couple the first member to the second member, the fastening member having a retaining portion including a body and a heel extending from the body. The fastening member is configured to be inserted through an aperture formed into the second member, and the heel is at least partially disposed within the aperture so that if a force is applied to the first member, the heel is inhibited from bending away from the insertion point.

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    [0001] The present invention relates to a mounting assembly. In particular, the present invention relates to a fastener clip for use in removably coupling a pair of structures, such as a component coupled to a vehicle body.

    [0002] It is generally known to provide for a fastening clip that may be used for attaching components or features (grab handles, courtesy lights, visor, headliners, airbag components, and the like) to a vehicle. When attaching such components to a vehicle, snap-in fasteners are frequently employed to allow the component to be snap-fitted within apertures in the vehicle supporting sheet metal at the assembly line. This is intended to facilitate installation without the utilization of tools such as screwdrivers so that components or features can be preassembled and quickly installed on the assembly. Such known snap-in fasteners are typically fabricated from sheet steel by stamping and bending operations and typically include two or more legs projecting from a base. The legs are bent or twisted to deform as the clip engages a substrate until the legs clear the aperture and "snap" into place. Such fastening clips, however, have many disadvantages.

    [0003] One problem with the preassembly of such snap-in accessories is that when a force is applied to the component, the legs have a tendency to spread or "fan out" until they buckle. Nothing inhibits the legs from moving (e.g., sliding) outward from the aperture and along the substrate. This condition is especially problematic when dealing with the


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fasteners that serve to anchor roof mounted assist handles or other headliner assembly components as well as components near or associated with side curtain airbags. Because such fasteners must withstand substantially higher forces than the typical fasteners that serve merely to hold the headliner or side rail in place, they may be more prone to buckling problems. Under these circumstances, the removal forces that such fasteners can withstand before separating from the sheet metal are greatly compromised.

    [0004] Accordingly, it would be advantageous to provide a fastening clip in which a vehicle component can be readily attached to a vehicle utilizing a snap-in feature that can be readily inserted into a receiving aperture for mounting to the underlying sheet metal support of a vehicle. Further, there exists a need for a fastener clip with a relatively high removal force as compared to a relatively low installation force and that is resistant to buckling problems. Furthermore, the fastener clip should be particularly adapted for securing structures to one another in a manner that minimizes vibration and the concomitant noise problems that are often associated with such fasteners. Thus, it would be advantageous to provide a fastening clip that positively engages the legs to the edges of the aperture. To provide an inexpensive, reliable, and widely adaptable fastening...