I was replacing a light in the entry vestibule at our new house with a cheap flush mounted light fixture. When I removed the old light I discovered that the ceiling box is an old type with a cross bar attached to a thread central nipple with a nut. The cross bar had screws pointing downwards that attached the old fixture with two nuts.

Unfortunately, the old screws didn't match up with the holes on the new light fixture (that would be too easy) and the cross bar that came with the new fixture wouldn't fit on the old box because of the central nipple (and there's no where to screw it in). I ended up rigging something up by screwing the new cross bar into the old one, but I'm not exactly happy about it. The light doesn't sit quite as flush and I'd hoped with the ceiling, but it seems secure.

Is there some kind of adapter available that would fit these old ceiling boxes? I really, really don't want to try and replace the box itself and I have some other light fixtures to replace that I fear may present the same problem.


I don't have a picture right now, but looking around on the internet, it's not entirely dissimilar to this box (although mine is completely cut out without the screws through the ceiling):

enter image description here

  • can you post a picture of the old box and the new hardware?
    – James
    Sep 2, 2014 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


There are a bunch of different styles of universal cross-bars, including ones that are designed to be mounted with a nipple. I'd just check your local hardware or big box store. Some examples: enter image description here

enter image description here

  • That looks like it might work. I'll check out the hardware store tonight and see what they have. Thanks. Sep 3, 2014 at 12:50
  • I tried one of the adapters like your top picture and didn't have much luck with the darn thing. I couldn't figure out a way to configure it so that I could put the screws in where they needed to go. Eventually I gave up in frustration and just drilled new holes in the original crossbar using the crossbar that came with the light as a template. That seemed to work okay. I have several more lights to tackle, so I'll keep the universal cross-bar on hand in case it might be usable in one of the other ones. Sep 4, 2014 at 14:44

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