need help with porch light


Secretly in the back of my mind I think I know what I'm gonna have to do, but I'm hoping for an out.
The porch lights on my house are firetraps and have to go. So I get some new ones and begin the process of unmounting one of them - big mistake.
http://photos.imageevent.com/eigenvector/houseideas/websize/P5050111.JPG
As you can see its simply screwed onto the siding.
http://photos.imageevent.com/eigenvector/houseideas/websize/P5050112.JPG
And the romex is fed to it through a hole in the house.
Dare I cut the siding and hope that there's an electical box behind it? I really really hope there is, otherwise I have quite a task ahead of me - ripping out the drywall and installing an box to mount the new fixture.
So staring at that mess I look at the old fixture - bigger mistake
http://photos.imageevent.com/eigenvector/houseideas/websize/P5050113.JPG
No that isn't green insulation - that's exposed hot and neutral wires that are almost corroded through. In fact the Romex wires that it was connected to were corroded as well - not terribly but there was a definite green film on the wires.
So what am I looking at here - completely removing the old Romex, installing an exterior box, then cutting my siding to install the new fixture?
For now I've clipped the connection, wirenutted both the hot and neutral wires and wrapped them with electricians tape and put the old fixture back on the siding to keep it moderately covered from the elements. Should I be safe until I can do a permanent install or would it be a good idea to unhook the wires from the actual switch inside the house too?
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Three options: You can use a siding box, which would probably look silly on the wood, You can cut in a gem box, right around the existing cable, which would work fine, or you can mound a pancake box right on the surface and get new fixtures with deep canopies to accommodate the pancake box. You need new fixtures anyway

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PS, there is no box behind the siding

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If you have boards or plywood sheeting behind the siding, you could use a three of four inch hole saw . Just cut through the siding then screw the pancake box to the sheeting.

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Yep, they come in 3 and 4 inch

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They do make a full size 'old work' box that might work. You'd cut a full size 3 or 4 inch hole thru the siding and sheathing and the box has 'wings' that spring out inside the wall to hold it in place. I might prefer this to the thinner pancake box on the surface since it would let you get the wires back further inside the wall and help prevent water from causing more corrosion.

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Yes that's what I would do; if sufficient depth to put a regular (circular or 'octagon') box; screwed to something solid or the siding. Then the new light fixtures would be attached to the box. Found exactly same thing in the eaves of my daughter's house while replacing an outside light with one that had proximity sensors etc. No boxes at all! Wires were wire nutted to the fixture wires; fortunately nice and dry and no problems, but one heck of a surprise on a house not that old. Was able to get a box mounted to a piece of 2x4 which was inserted through the aperture and secured inside with screws. On my considerably older house I would not ever have mounted a fixture with 'wood' screws onto the siding as shown by the OP.! The OPs idea of caulking or a gasket to slow water entry around base of fixture is a good one IMO.
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wrote:

Well I've got it fixed anyhow. Turns out I couldn't use a old work box, wish I could have, there's a fricking! stud right where I don't want it to be. So I used the 1/2" short box and caulked the light the best I could.
I figure when I get a little more time and some help I'll square away the porch light properly and use the old-work box if I can.
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On Sat, 5 May 2007 12:00:53 -0700, "Eigenvector"

It is so sad that wiring like this becoming the standard today. Someone should loose their job for work like this. They should start with the building inspectors.
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wrote:

built in 1960. Also I'm not clear how inspections are done when the property is in county land - my house was pretty far out in the boondocks in 1960.
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On Sat, 5 May 2007 18:27:48 -0700, "Eigenvector"

I had a vinyl siding guy tell me that they never put an electrical box. They have just what you have, a piece of romex hanging through a hole in the wall.
This would never pass any inspection.
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It did pass an inspection. Electrical inspectors are just regular human beings, with no psychic abilities. When they do a roughing inspection, it can be normal to have a cable just sticking out of the sheeting or siding. It's expected that the electrician install the boxes afterwards and not cheat
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