I'm having a difficult time removing an existing ceiling junction box/pan. There was a nut holding the bolt in the center.

close up photo of existing old ceiling junction box in profile

I thought the nut was holding the box in place, but even with the nut gone the box won't come out. There are no screws or other hardware I can see holding the box in place.

close up photo of existing old ceiling junction box

I want to replace the box because the nipple on my chandelier mounting hardware butts right up against that bolt in the center of the box.

side view of mounting bracket/strap and nipple with nuts and grounding screw

The gap between the bolt and nipple is very slim and (so far) impossible to feed the wires through.

close up view illustrating the tight gap between the nipple and bolt

I was hoping to replace the box with a newer one that doesn't have that bolt in the middle. There is some space between the bolt in the junction box and the chandelier nipple, but the clearance is really small.

I could pre-thread the wires through the nipple to make it simpler to get the wires through the gap, but I'm also concerned about the wires getting pinched and damaged. It's a tight squeeze, especially when I actually screw the bracket in place.

I've seen other questions with ceiling junction boxes like mine. Unfortunately, those other examples aren't quite like mine. Either those examples don't have that bolt in the middle of the box, or if they do, they aren't having the same problem where there's a nipple that's colliding with that bolt.

I do not have access from above and there are no visible screws holding this in.

  1. How do I get this box out of there?
  2. Is there another solution I could persue to deal with the issue where the nipple and bolt are butting up against one another without needing to replace this box?
  • 2
    The purpose of the bolt is to support the weight (including dynamic forces) of a ceiling fan or chandelier. You'd regret swapping it for a lesser box. Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 20:46
  • 1
    If you push and pull the wires in those tubes by an inch, do they move in and out freely? Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 20:48
  • 1
    Those wires appear to be coming out of conduit and at the end of each of those conduits in the box there is a nut.
    – Dan D.
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 15:06
  • I can pull and push the junction box wires up and down through the knockout holes. When I move the wire I hear (what I'm assuming is) metal conduit in the ceiling above moving around. There does indeed seem to be nuts at the ends where the wires are coming out. I'll see if I can loosen those.
    – Will Haley
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 15:13
  • @Harper if I don't remove the box, as you're suggesting, can you provide another suggestion? Is there a way to fish the wires for my chandelier up without colliding with that bolt like I am now? I updated the question with additional photos and details if that helps. Thanks.
    – Will Haley
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 15:44

1 Answer 1


You don't need that bracket

The bracket you depict in your photos is intended to provide a mounting stud if your box lacks one. Since your box has a stud already, the thing you need isn't that bracket, but a piece called a hickey that screws onto the existing mounting stud and then provides a place for the fixture nipple to screw into, allowing the wires to exit it:

fixture hickey

Oh, and make sure to put that nut back on the fixture stud, by the way, so the box doesn't wind up putting excessive stress on the conduits in the ceiling.

  • Thanks. This does indeed seem to be the ideal solution to this question. Much easier to fish the wires up through this and no need to remove the pan box.
    – Will Haley
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 2:57
  • Yes! That's what I was trying to think of! It's also a way to exit wires from a nipple that is otherwise continuous. Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 16:25

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