Screws Broken in Outlet Box


Old 01-20-07, 06:16 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Nevada
Posts: 5
Unhappy Screws Broken in Receptacle Box

I am living in an older place (1963), and need to
replace an receptacle.

The screws holding the receptacle into the (metal) box are "rusted" in the box -- tried vice grips and the screws broke, the heads came off, and part of the screw is left in the box..

The box is behind a hollow brick wall, so it wouldn't be
easy to replace.

Is there a way to secure the receptacle without using
the screw holes in the box?

I was thinking maybe about a wiremold type of receptacle
holder.... but would prefer a cleaner solution if available.


Last edited by abrid; 01-20-07 at 06:27 PM. Reason: less ambiguous terms
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Old 01-20-07, 06:48 PM
chandler's Avatar
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Get a drill bit smaller than the screw in the box, drill directly centered in the remaining screw. It may drive the remnant out into the box area, leaving your threads intact. If it boogers your threads, you may can increase the screw size and use a self tapping screw to replace it.
Old 01-20-07, 07:00 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 433
Drill it out with the smallest bit you can and if you booger the threads they make a re-tapping screw driver just for such an occasion.
Old 01-20-07, 09:35 PM
HotxxxxxxxOKC's Avatar
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Obviously the broken screw is going to have to be flush with the screw hole in order to drill.

One of my receptacles is the same way. Only thing holding the receptacle in place is the face plate. :-p
Old 01-21-07, 09:40 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Milwaukee WI
Posts: 1,338
Assuming your power is turned off upstream ...

Did you try soaking it with WD-40? Can you still grab the back of the screw?

If that won't work I would advise centerpunching the old screw and drilling as previously suggested.

If you have to use a larger bit or the threads are really mashed, you can easily upsize to an 8-32. You need a tap handle, tap, and the right size drill. The taps I've purchased have come with the right size drill bit right in the same package.

If all that fails somebody might make a spring steel clip that you can push over the hole, and insert the screw into the clip.

Do the next person a favor and use brass or stainless screws for the replacement.
Old 01-21-07, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: New Bern, NC
Posts: 1,623
Try PB Blaster, instead of WD 40 for your tough rusted parts needs.

This is not an ad, I do not work for them. I do swear by their product.
Old 01-21-07, 10:31 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Nevada
Posts: 5
I will Try...

Thanks everyone for the replies. I will try
soaking with the PB blaster, and then try to drill it
out (I will grind it flat with a dremel tool)...

I will give them a try when I get a chance... and let
you know what happened!

Thanks all!

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