Changing the Circuit Breaker on a Westfalia

Circuit BreakerAnyone that has had a vanagon Westfallia has noticed that little button near the outlets at the back seat.

That button is a 15 amp circuit breaker. What this does is keep your wiring from burning up if you plug in something that uses too much amps or if something else were to happen. It will kick the circuit breaker and the line will go to dead possibly preventing a fire.

A lot of people want to simply take that circuit breaker out and replace it with a GFCI outlet or also known as a ground fault circuit interrupt. What the GFCI does is kick the circuit if there is a ground fault which most commonly would occur from somebody sticking a fork in the outlet or dropping the toaster in the sink. It is not a circuit protector in the sense of an overload.

ReplacementIf your circuit breaker goes bad you should replace your circuit breaker with one that is not bad. Sometimes theyre hard-to-find but at places like Go Westy you can find them for about$20 when they are available.

When you get a replacement they are pretty easy to replace. Simply unscrew the faceplate unscrewed the knurled knob for the circuit breaker. Take the two screws off the bracket and pull the circuit protector out of the metal box and unscrew the two wire nuts. Those wires can be cut off and resoldered onto the replacement part and reinstalled.

Use a soldering gun instead of the much lighter soldering iron. I would recommend tinning your wires, which is putting a little bit of solder on the wires before attachment, and sanding the leg of the circuit breaker before you start the soldering. Any good 60/40 flux core solder should do.

Plate removed.After you have soldered the wires back on use some heat shrink tubing and slip it over the tag end of the wire and snug it up over the post. Using a lighter or heat gun carefully shrink the wire protector over the base of the wires and legs. Do this to both wires and make sure that it is snug but don’t overheat it or it will make it rubbery and ineffective.

Soldered jointsNow that you have soldered the wires on to the circuit protectors posts, have placed the heat shrink over the posts. you’re now ready to reattach the bracket and put it back into the box. It is not very difficult to do just make sure your wires are not jammed up against anything terribly and screw everything back together.

Now you can enjoy your electrical system in your van without worrying about plugging in something heavy duty and burning your wiring up. It is an easy and inexpensive thing to do but is necessary if you want to remain safe.





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