stuck mounting screws for electrical outlet

robmszJune 2, 2010

I'm trying to replace the original electrical outlets in a 60+ year old house. Over the years (never mind the paint)the mounting screws holding the outlet into the metal electrical are IMPOSSIBLE to remove! I was able to (with much difficulty) back the screw out 1/16th of an inch maybe, but due to the thin slot on the screw head I am unable to remove these screws. Any advice on how to make this job go a litle more smoothly?

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Ron Natalie

If you've gotten them backed out a 1/16" I'd just grab them with a pair of pliers.
Yeah it's tedious but the new one will go in much better.

If you can't get them to budge at all, I've got a cute little thing called a "Grabit" for extracting stuck screws. Best $20 I spent on a tool I think (not just for electrical work).

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 7:34AM
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A bit of penetrant on the screw threads probably would help. A spout type can, such as the packaging of Liquid Wrench, would be useful for such application. The screws will twist off if forced too much and removal then requires some skill with a punch, drill and tap. If the screw moves just a little, applying the penetrant and moving the screw back and forth will usually loosen it.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 7:41AM
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Grab the head with pliers or us a utility knife to clean up the slot.

A thin file also works.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 3:12PM
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If the pliers don't work, what ronnatalie suggested makes sense, if I understand it, it's also called an "easy-out" and is basically a reverse threaded, tapered screw, you drill a hole into the centre of the stuck screw, then screw this thing in anti-clockwise, and it undoes the screw with it.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 12:47AM
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'Easy outs' rarely work well on small screws outside of a machine shop.

You simply cannot hold a drill accurately enough on a #6 screw head to drill into the shank of the screw.

I have had plates so painted onto receptacles the front of the receptacle came off with the plate (after filing a slot into the screw).

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 2:43PM
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