I just returned from a residential call where a bolted connection on the aluminum bus had over time, become loose and has over heated. The plating has dulled and the bolt holding the connection of two piece bus has that terrible squeek to it when it is either tightened or loosened. It is an out of production panel, and suspect I will not find replacement parts. Is there an acceptable way of cleaning, polishing and retreating the bus to put it back in service ?
Even if you can clean it up and re tighten it, it will fail again. I am pretty sure the aluminum is coated with tin, which is now gone. I have patched them up enough to last a few days till we could change it out. But as the others have said, it needs to be changed out ASAP.
#73259 - 12/21/0612:17 AMRe: restoring plated bus bar
If you had a custom replacement made, you would be messing with the panel's UL listing by installing non-factory parts. If any metal has been heated to the point that it has been discolored, it can't be trusted anymore, electrically or physically. It must be replaced.
There are lots of companies selling used breakers and panels on the Internet; I would go there via Google to get started. The liability associated with this is way too high to risk replacement with custom-made replacement parts.
By the way, I don't know what brand the panel is that you mentioned, but there is an Eaton (Cutler-Hammer and Westinghouse) facility in Sumter, SC that handles obsolete/out of production products for these brands.
[This message has been edited by EV607797 (edited 12-20-2006).]
"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
#73260 - 12/23/0607:56 AMRe: restoring plated bus bar