Replacing a Pushmatic Breaker

My sister-in-law has an old "Pushmatic" breaker panel in her house, and the 2-pole 30A breaker (P230) that her clothes dryer is on has started tripping randomly. From what I've read this is a fairly common problem with Pushmatic breakers. The dryer is fairly new and the wiring appears to be in good shape.
Anyway, despite the high cost of the replacement breakers, it's still a faster and cheaper option than replacing the panel.
Other than pulling the panel cover, I haven't done any work on that panel yet. There is a metal "bar" than runs over the top of all the breakers (under the push buttons). When I looked at it last night, I did not see any obvious method of attachment, but it clearly needs to come out to remove the breaker.
So, can anyone with Pushmatic breaker experience tell me how that bar over the breaker is attached and removed?
Thanks,
Anthony
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I'll be killing the main breakers and verifying there is no voltage on the bus before I start messing around in there... :)
However, the real issue is a metal bar that runs across the TOP of the breakers. The breakers won't come out with that bar in place, and I didn't see any screws or anything holding it down. Looks like it might be crimped on each end or something.
I was just hoping someone knew how that restraining bar is fastened in place and the best way to remove it.
Anthony
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Pushmatic panels are very dangerous to work in. If you, as an amateur must do it, then kill the power to the panel first. The breaker is held in place by screws, one on either side for double pole breakers. The screws are captive to the breaker and are screwed into the live buss. Once the screws are turned out, pull the breaker straight out.

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The "retaining" bar runs above the breakers, but under the double-pole buttons. If it's coming out, it will need to slide down out of the way so the breaker can be lifted out. I only looked at it briefly last night, but I couldn't see how it was attached.
Anthony
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RBM wrote:

Amen, bro. Kill the panel. One slip and you're toast. Or blinded from molten copper...
Jim
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Been there, done that!!!

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I work on these only infrequently, and I'm thinking that the double pole breakers straddle the center bar, but if not, try pushing,or lifting the bar up from the bottom. Just be sure you kill the power first

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Anthony, I can't recall anything on that panel that would prevent the double poles from being pulled straight out. There is a small metal tab on the inside of each breaker that fits in a slot on that center piece of metal, which just keeps the breakers straight, and the one screw per breaker that is screwed to the buss. If you unscrew the thing, pull on it and see what happens. It will probably be apparent at that point, what you have to do to get it out. Again, kill the power

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I just looked up a picture of a panel. That center bar is stationary, just take out the two screws going into the buss, one on each side, grab the tie handle in the middle and pull

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RBM,

I picked up the new breaker this afternoon, and it makes a bit more sense to me now. I thought the breaker was one solid piece, trapped under that center bar. But, it looks like the breaker is kind of U-shaped to slip "over" the center bar.
I guess I'll see tomorrow when I get back to my sister-in-laws and open the panel again.
And yes, I'll make sure the power is off... :)
Thanks!
Anthony
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That's it exactly, it is u shaped and you'll see when you go to unscrew the breaker, how dangerous it can be. If it's live and you slip with the screwdriver, you get a face full of molten screwdriver

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050415 1734 - HerHusband posted:

Some of those old 100 amp Pushmatic panels didn't have a 100 amp breaker to feed the buss bars. The main buss was fed directly with the incoming line from the meter, and there was a 40 amp breaker that fed the lower section of the panel with the 120 volt branch circuits. The upper section was all 240 volt double pole breakers. Take a good look at the feed configuration. You just might have to open the meter box and pull the meter out to make a panel disconnect.
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I replaced the Pushmatic breaker yesterday. Fairly easy job overall.
I turned off both main breakers, and verified the power was truly off with my meter. Disconnected to two hot wires, unscrewed the two mounting screws, and the breaker lifted right out.
The new breaker cost me $42 locally, expensive, but cheaper than replacing the panel. It was an aftermarket brand, but it slid right in place for a perfect fit. I tightened down the mounting screws, reattached the hot wires, and put the panel cover back on.
I ran the dryer for more than an hour without any problems, and my sister- in-law followed that up with a full load of laundry.
Problem solved!
Thanks for everyones help.
Anthony
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050417 1312 - HerHusband posted:

Thanx for coming back and letting us know how it all turned out.
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