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Old 09-17-2008, 07:31 AM   #1
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Corroded Neutral In Meter Box


Power has been out since Sunday and is not expected to be on until Sat, so I figured what better time to upgrade the service entry and panel to 200A. One initial snag I am hitting is a severly corroded neutral terminal in my meter box. The screw on the terminal is a hex with a slot for flathead.
My question:
1. How do I break this sucker loose?
2. If I do get it loose should I re-use it? If not, can I replace the neutral terminal or do I have to replace the entire box?
3. If I can remove the old terminal can I attach a new one in the original position?
As it is right now the neutral terminal goes vertically through the center of the box and is bolted/riveted/attached to the back of the box in the center.

Things I have tried so far:
PB blaster penetrating oil
Torch heating
I have anit-oxidant for when it comes time to attach the new service entry.

Any ideas?
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Old 09-17-2008, 08:18 AM   #2
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Corroded Neutral In Meter Box


Your statement of "so I figured what better time to upgrade the service entry and panel to 200A" tells me you currently don't have a 200A service...and most likely don't have the proper size service entrance conductors for a 200A, and may not have a meter socket enclosure rated for 200A, in which case you would have to change the wires and probably the meter socket anyway. If the meter socket connections are in that bad of shape, I don't think I would even mess with it.
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Old 09-17-2008, 10:01 AM   #3
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Corroded Neutral In Meter Box


An air powered impact wrench might do the trick, however I would replace the meter base and the wire if it is that bad. Note these lugs are installed with a long torque wrench (or should be). They need to be tightened to the specifications of ft. lbs. on the panel/base label or the connections can get warm or hot. And if aluminum wiring, it should have had anti-oxidation compound applied to the bare wires before installation (I use an old toothbrush).

Also before upgrading your service, you need to ask the electric company if you can do this! They have "electric service requirements" which are a long list of do's and don'ts. Just because your old service was installed in a certain manner does not mean you new service can be installed the same way. They might not have the extra amperage available on their line and they need to check for this.

You need to have the electric company come out and look at your service, tell them what you want to do, then get their OK.

In my area I am required to get an electrical permit as well, then when the work passes inspection, the inspector gives you a sticker to place on the service panel. The electric company will not connect the electricity without this sticker being there!
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Old 09-17-2008, 10:12 AM   #4
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Corroded Neutral In Meter Box


I would bet your meter is to small (amps) and your service entrance conductors are to small (amps) too.
You also need the POCO to pull your meter and replace it. It is a very good thing you found this bad neutral connection now. This can cause catastrophic failures throughout the home.

Are you down due to the storm. If yes, I doubt that the utility will have any time for service upgrades at this time.
Have you ever upgraded a service before? Do you have knowledgeable help? This is not a beginners project.
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Old 09-17-2008, 01:33 PM   #5
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Corroded Neutral In Meter Box


Well, I finally got it loose.
You guys are right, the meter box is too small for the #4 service wire, Im calling a pro to change the box & deal with the electric company.

Yes we are down due to the storm, so we will see how it works with the power co. being so busy right now.

I have reasonably knowledgeable help, never upgraded service before but I've done everything else from the service panel back. Guess I bit off more than I could chew this time, thanks for the tips everybody.
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Old 09-17-2008, 01:54 PM   #6
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Corroded Neutral In Meter Box


#4 service wire? For a 200A service? You should be using 2/0 Cu or 4/0 Al.
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Old 09-17-2008, 01:57 PM   #7
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Corroded Neutral In Meter Box


Quote:
Originally Posted by HouseHelper View Post
#4 service wire? For a 200A service? You should be using 2/0 Cu or 4/0 Al.
Oops, 4/0 Aluminum is what I've got. Sorry for the confusion.
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