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Publication Date: 2012-Dec-13

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A vehicle roof rail system includes a roof rail, a vehicle roof structure and a vehicle body structure. A tolerance compensator is disposed between the roof structure and the body structure. The tolerance compensator has an internal, oversized entry. The tolerance compensator includes an anchor fixing the tolerance compensator to the vehicle roof structure. A fastener passes through the oversized internal entry of the tolerance compensator linking the roof structure and body structure. An angle compensator may be attached to the tolerance compensator. The angle compensator adjusts a contact angle of the tolerance compensator with the vehicle body structure.

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    Roof rails are popular on many types of vehicles. They offer both functionality for carrying loads and esthetics. Many roof rails are elongate structures that are attached to the roof of a vehicle via one or more fastening systems. In modern passenger vehicles the vehicle body and the roof overlap each other near the top edge of the vehicle. As such some fastening systems connect through both the vehicle roof and the body. To connect through both the vehicle body and the roof a tolerance compensator may be used as a means of fastening the roof rail to the roof without collapsing the roof / body separation.

    Fastening devices with tolerance compensation and those that anchor into hollow structures are generally known: see for example US 7,025,552 entitled "Assembly for Automatically Compensating Variations in the Spacing Between Two Structural Members"; US 5,288,191 entitled "Device For the Clamping Attachment of Spaced Structural Parts"; US 4,682,906 entitled "Device For the Clamping Connection of Structural Parts Which are Spaced From Each Other"; and US 8,066,465 entitled "Fastening Device With Tolerance Compensation" the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.

    However what is needed is a roof rail with an attachment system that has tolerance compensation and is easier to install.

    The present invention addresses the above mentioned problem(s) and/or others by providing a vehicle roof rail system including a roof rail and a tolerance compensator.

    In one aspect of the improvements disclosed herein there is provided a vehicle roof; a vehicle body structure; a tolerance compensator disposed between the roof panel and the body structure, the tolerance compensator having an oversized entry.

In another aspect there is provided an anchor fixing the tolerance compensator to a vehicle structure, such as a roof panel or body structure.

In another aspect there is provided a roof rail system including a tolerance compensator having an anchor fixed to a vehicle structure and a fastener passing through the vehicle structure through an oversized entry.

    Other improvement features that may form part of the system together or separately include an anchor having a snap fit to the roof panel with an insertion force that is lower than its extraction force, a tolerance compensator with various blocks; and a tolerance compensator having an oversized entry. In various embodiments of the roof rail system, the roof rail may 1

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have a curved base. Part of the system may include a vehicle roof with a hole section having a size larger than the outer diameter of the tolerance compensator, the size of the tolerance compensator being less than 1 mm wider than the nominal gap. In another aspect of the improvements disclosed herein there may be provided a tolerance compensator with a plurality of lateral...