1. Trailer Brake Controller
  2. Curt
  3. Electric
  4. Electric over Hydraulic
  5. Proportional Controller
  6. Dash-Mounted Knob
Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller - 1 to 4 Axles - Proportional - Dash Mount

Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller - 1 to 4 Axles - Proportional - Dash Mount

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Trailer Brake Controller
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Curt Trailer Brake Controller - C51170
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Proportional brake controller installs anywhere in your cab and at any orientation. User-friendly, dash-mounted control knob with 10 tri-color LEDs creates a clean, OEM look. Easily adjust braking output, switch between modes, and view diagnostics. Lowest Prices for the best trailer brake controller from Curt. Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller - 1 to 4 Axles - Proportional - Dash Mount part number C51170 can be ordered online at etrailer.com or call 800-298-1624 for expert service.
  • All Info
  • Reviews (136)
  • Q & A (148)
  • Photos
  • Why etrailer?

Curt Trailer Brake Controller

  • Curt
  • Electric
  • Electric over Hydraulic
  • Proportional Controller
  • Dash-Mounted Knob
  • Up to 4 Axles
  • Hidden
  • Automatic Leveling
  • 360 Degrees

Proportional brake controller installs anywhere in your cab and at any orientation. User-friendly, dash-mounted control knob with 10 tri-color LEDs creates a clean, OEM look. Easily adjust braking output, switch between modes, and view diagnostics.


Features:

  • Brake controller activates trailer brakes in proportion to your vehicle's braking action
    • Automatically adjusts trailer's braking based on deceleration of tow vehicle
    • Activates immediately - no pausing like with time-delayed brake controllers
  • Push-button rotary control knob mounts on your dash for easy access and a clean appearance
    • Allows for convenient braking output and sensitivity adjustment
    • Equipped with 10 tri-color LEDs to display settings and diagnostics
    • Provides easily accessible manual override - just press knob to activate
  • Main module mounts out of sight and at any orientation
    • No more banging your knee on a bulky controller
    • No interference with airbags or other vehicle accessories
  • Triple-axis accelerometer is highly responsive to ensure smooth, uniform stopping action
    • Allows unit to automatically level and calibrate
  • Manual override functions as time-based for a slow reduction in trailer braking
  • Compatible with ABS brakes, cruise control, low-voltage, and pulse width modulation (PWM) systems
  • Multiple mounting options - choose between drill-mount or adhesive-mount
    • Mounting hardware and adhesive pads included
  • Plug-in, vehicle-specific brake-control adapter (sold separately) can be used for certain applications to reduce installation time
  • Assembled in the USA


Specs:

  • Application: trailers with up to 4 axles (8 brake assemblies)
    • Designed for use with electric or electric-over-hydraulic trailer brakes
    • Works with 12-volt vehicle electrical systems
  • Main module dimensions: 3" long x 3-1/2" wide x 7/8" tall
    • Horizontal distance between mounting holes (center to center): 3/4"
    • Vertical distance between mounting holes (center to center): 2-3/4"
  • Control knob diameter:
    • Base diameter: 1-3/4"
    • Knob diameter: 1"
  • Control knob overall height: 1-1/2"
  • Full length of wiring harnesses when connected: 48"
  • Limited lifetime warranty


Spectrum Dimensions

Whether you're a seasonal or weekend tower, you'll appreciate the out-of-the-way, easy-mount design and factory appearance of the Spectrum brake controller. The rotary knob allows for convenient adjustment, and it is lined with sleek, multi-color LEDs that provide valuable diagnostics.


Proportional Braking

With a proportional brake controller, you can get heavy-duty emergency braking, general braking, or slow-to-an-idle braking for your trailer automatically. The intensity with which your trailer brakes are activated and the rate at which they are applied are dependent on the deceleration of your tow vehicle. This means that, unlike time-delay controllers - which send the same amount of preset power to your trailer brakes every time - proportional controllers are able to adapt to every braking situation differently. So, if you slam on the brakes in your truck, your trailer brakes will activate with that same extreme intensity. And if you merely slow down as you approach a red light, your trailer will gradually brake in the same manner.


Once the Spectrum is mounted, it will sense - via an internal 3-axis accelerometer - how your tow vehicle brakes. This inertia-based sensor responds to the deceleration of your tow vehicle as you brake by signaling the controller to send out enough power to your trailer brakes so that they are activated with an intensity that matches. The result is uniform braking across your towing setup. No push-pull action - just smooth, proportional braking every time.


How to Use the Spectrum Brake Control

The Spectrum provides the smooth, precise braking action that you've come to expect from Curt brake controllers while allowing you to maintain the from-the-factory look of your vehicle. Make all of your braking adjustments from the dash-mounted rotary knob, which is equipped with 10 tri-color LEDs for simple monitoring. The LED lights change color to display different information about the controller, including which of the 4 operating modes is selected and multiple diagnostic indicator sequences.


Spectrum Control Knob

To switch between modes, press the control button in the center of the knob.


Spectrum Modes and Functions

Output: The output mode lets you adjust the maximum amount of power that will be applied to your trailer's brakes. You will need to adjust the output during the initial setup, but following that, you should only need to adjust the output control when the trailer load changes, if you switch trailers, or when road conditions change. Optimum output should cause your trailer brakes to function effectively without locking up.


Sensitivity: In sensitivity mode, you can fine-tune the power by adjusting the sensitivity of the internal sensor to get either more or less aggressive braking.


Boost the setting to get your trailer brakes to activate with more intensity right off the bat. This means that they will also reach maximum braking faster simply because they will start out at that higher intensity. This is particularly beneficial if you are towing a heavy load because the intensity required to stop that load may be far greater than that needed to halt your vehicle. Therefore, sending out more initial power to the trailer brakes - and causing them to reach maximum braking faster - allows you to better control the trailer so that it doesn't push your tow vehicle before coming to a complete stop.


You may need to adjust the sensitivity to accommodate for driver preference, trailer load changes, or changing road conditions.


Manual Control: Press and hold the button on the knob to activate the manual override.


Manual control mode is used to activate the trailer brakes independently of your tow vehicle. Doing this can have several advantages. Slowing the trailer down a bit as you travel can help to pull the trailer back in line behind your tow vehicle when you experience sway. You can also use the manual override to achieve a slow reduction in speed by creating just enough drag to slow your entire setup using only the trailer brakes. In addition, the manual override can help prevent a jackknife situation by limiting the momentum of your heavy trailer as you travel down steep hills.


When the manual control is pushed, the brake control will ramp up the trailer brakes until the maximum power output set is reached. If you realize that you need more power immediately, turn the control knob clockwise to reach maximum power faster.


The maximum power for the manual override can be chosen during installation via a small switch at the rear of the unit. The brake control unit is factory-set with the switch in the "ON" position, which allows 100% trailer braking power when manual control mode is actuated, regardless of the output control setting. When the switch is in the "OFF" position, the maximum override braking power will be determined by the output control setting.


The state of California requires that your trailer's brake lights illuminate when the manual override on your electric brake controller is activated. Therefore, to comply with state regulations, the Curt Spectrum offers a brake light activation feature. A small switch at the rear of the unit controls the unit's brake light activation feature, and it is factory-set in the "ON" position.


Simple, Out-of-the-Way Installation

Long gone are the days of knocking your knees on your brake controller. The 2-piece Spectrum can be installed nearly anywhere, and at any orientation.


Spectrum Control Knob LEDs Illuminated

First, determine your preferred location for the control knob. This is where you'll make braking adjustments, so it will need to be easily accessible while you're driving. Whether the knob is installed in a blank panel switch, on an open area of your center console, or somewhere on your dashboard, the simple, subtle design will provide a clean, uncluttered look. And the knob sits flush against any flat surface with no parts protruding behind the mounting location. This means that there is less chance of interference with wires and instrumentation behind your dash or console, so you have more mounting options than you might with other similar brake controllers.


Spectrum Control Unit Mounted Under Dash

Once you have determined where to mount the control knob, you'll need to find a good place to install the main unit. The only mounting restriction for the unit is that the included 4' long plug-in cable must be able to reach between the main unit and the knob.


The triple-axis motion-sensing accelerometer that is inside the main unit detects the inertia of your vehicle and trailer, and it uses this information to recognize the direction of travel and any change in position. Because this feature can read the direction of travel, the main unit can be mounted at any orientation for greater flexibility.


If your vehicle already has a plug-in brake controller wiring harness, just connect the main control module to it. Otherwise, you will need to purchase a vehicle-specific wiring harness (sold separately) to plug into. If a harness is unavailable for your vehicle, hardwiring will be necessary.


Both the control knob and main module can be mounted using the included hardware or adhesive pads for fast and easy installation.


For assistance in properly wiring the Curt Spectrum, please refer to the diagram below:


Spectrum Wiring Diagram

Installation Accessories

See etrailer.com's exclusive 7- and 4-way brake-control installation kit (ETBC7 - sold separately) if you don't already have a 7-way plug at the back of your vehicle.


Note: If a custom brake control wiring adapter is not available for your vehicle, a 30-amp circuit breaker (sold separately) may be required for installation.



51170 Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller

Item # C51170

Installation Details C51170 Installation instructions


California residents: click here



Customer Reviews

Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller - 1 to 4 Axles - Proportional - Dash Mount - C51170

Average Customer Rating:  4.7 out of 5 stars   (136 Customer Reviews)

Proportional brake controller installs anywhere in your cab and at any orientation. User-friendly, dash-mounted control knob with 10 tri-color LEDs creates a clean, OEM look. Easily adjust braking output, switch between modes, and view diagnostics.

- C51170
by:

I bought this because I wanted a factory look. This was easy to install and looks great. You have to learn what the different colors and settings do but it’s not that difficult. Overall I am very happy with this brake controller.


Comments
I have thousands of miles on the trailer now. The brake controller has worked flawlessly. I have towed cars, ATVs and loads of lumber just set the controller for the load and it does the rest. Excellent product.
Doug - 04/26/2021


- C51170
by:

I knew I wanted to have something like this due to the look, function and size. The package was small. Installed pretty easily with minimal headaches. I just watched the videos online to see how others did it and how to steer away from making damaging mistakes. The booklet was also very helpful to make everything fit as it should while putting the steps in order. As I pull a trailer 90% of the time, I wanted something to have the easy manipulation for the brakes yet have an aesthetically pleasing look. This does just that. Brakes on one setting. Adjustable on two other settings. Very quick. Although I did have to play with the settings to make sure it wasn’t jerking me in my seat every time I pushed the brake pedal, after a day, smooth sailing. I do recommend you seriously think about this brake controller. Ease of install and the application is perfect.


Comments
Wonderful! It has been a great tool!
Evan - 11/10/2020


- C51170
by:

The compact remote control knob feature is a good plus for this product. Installation was really easy with the interface harness on the second generation Tacoma. I haven't had a lot of towing time with it but can offer the following insight. The control lights are easy to use and adjust. They appear to be dimmed with pulse width modulation so if your eyes are sensitive to it you might look at one before you buy. Hopefully they can go PWM-free at some point. The "white" color lamps appear as a mix of flashing red green and blue. Indicator lights are plenty bright in the daytime but the lowest dim setting is too bright. Perhaps this was done to minimize the PWM flashing at the dim setting. I had to locate the knob in the shadow of the steering wheel to keep the light out of my eyes at night. I've also noticed a single artifact light on many occasions after brake release (see pictures). So far the lamp color has been red, green, and blue however I have not yet seen a "white" one. One of these lights often come up in random positions on the dial. This lamp will continue to burn after I get out of the truck, and won't go out until I press the brake pedal again or push the knob. If I push the knob the output or sensitivity adjustment mode arc comes up briefly and it goes out after a bit (as it's supposed to). OEM brake control harness and grounding were sound with typical resistances around a milliohm or less. This controller is a considerable parasitic draw on the battery even with the lamps out and the ignition switch off. This could be an issue particularly if an artifact light is not noticed and the truck sits for more than a week(which mine sometimes does). A depleted battery made me look into this with a Fluke ammeter. You might consider pulling the fuse if the truck will sit or hook up a trickle charger. I tried to make contact with the manufacturer to see if they had any free convection requirements for air flow around the main module (air cooling at 100% duty cycle), and to understand what is going on with the controller and if there was something that could be done to fix the lights, perhaps a firmware update or something but never got any replies. The folks at etrailer maintained good communication and were excellent to work with but I don't feel the manufacturer is willing to support their product. This could be an excellent product if they can address these issues.



- C51170
by:

2019 Honda Ridgeline RTL AWD— The Curt Spectrum C51170 controller and harness C51392 was exactly as I had read it would be! All connections hooked up as described and all connectors fit! The knob works as described but I have yet to hook up trailer to get response from the accelerometer! I’m sure the quality shown it will work fine! Only problem I had was access under the dash. Thanks Bill and etrailer! Pictures attached!


Comments
I really haven’t used it much after install except to test with empty car trailer. It worked well. Three or four people I have showed it to have been impressed! Thanks
George - 05/27/2020


- C51170
by:

I chose this controller as the main module fits out of sight and does not have to be aligned or leveled. I attached it to the parking brake bracket on our Pilot. The LED rotary control knob fits nicely on the dash and after inserting the cable through a small hole in the dash, connecting the plug was simple with the pins that were attached to the cable. What was confusing was the instructions do not mention there are two base plates - one for adhesive mounting to the dash and the other for drill mounting (what I did). I tried to snap the rotary knob into the base plate I mounted, but it would not fit. I found out that the rotary knob actually comes with the adhesive mount already attached and you have to use a small screw driver to pry it off so you can use the other base plate. Luckily Curt has an installation video on their web site that showed removing the adhesive plate. I generally do not start taking apart precision gear without some hint of what should be done. Curt also has a custom cable that plugs into this unit and the port on my Pilot. When I get our trailer I will be able to review the performance of this controller.



- C51170
by:

The installation went very quickly and the end result was very satisfying. The location of the switch on the dashboard makes it hard to spot as an aftermarket add on. The whole installation took 1 hour start to finish. I can't wait to tow a trailer so that I can get the Cuurt Spectrum Brake Controller calibrated and dialed in. Thanks etrailer! Thank Curt!



- C51170
by:

Worked well in my Infiniti 2017 QX60 but install was not that easy. First unlike other etrailer products, I could not find an install video for my car. For other Infiniti owners out there, the brake controller connector is located along the wiring harness connected to the OBD connector. You cannot see it as it is lightly taped up, you just need to feel for it and pull it down. Secondly it is *capped*. The cap looks very much like the plug itself so don't be confused. Remove the cap and you can install. Make sure you get the right Curt adapter for your car. Secondly the install requires the user to insert the crimped controller wires into a connector for control module. There are videos on how to do this however it did not go as easy as shown. Maybe I had a defective part, but there is clearly only one way to insert the wires but I had to insert with significant force to get them in all the way. Once installed the unit worked fine with my 3,800lb RV trailer. A few nits: Occasionally the control knob will leave as one of its lights on after the car is turned off. Its happens occasionally and can be reset by pushing the brakes again but seems like a bug? Also the knob will *always* light up if you press the brakes even if you do not have a trailer attached. There is no way to turn this feature off and can be kinda annoying if you do not tow that much. Overall, works as advertised and like how it can be tucked away, but wish the install was better explained for my vehicle and didn't bother if there was no trailer attached.



- C51170
by:

After knocking my knee into my brake control for the last 20 years with the new GMC Savana I wanted something a little different. Technology has moved trailer brakes forward quite a bit and Etrailer has an immense amount of information! I original looked at the Tekonsha Prodigy RF Wireless Trailer Brake Controller but it would take up a valuable power outlet with the control unit but it's kind of trailer specific as the control mounts to the trailer you never know when you might have to tow another trailer and was leery of the control wandering around the console, Next up was the Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Trailer Brake Controller but did not like the control mounting options. Then ran across the Tuson DirecLink Lite Trailer Brake Controller crazy amounts of technology in this unit but again concerns over the remote so after lots of head scratching the Curt Spectrum seemed like the best choice. Easy install very small control box mounted easily with the included double stick tape under the dash. I moved my traction control button to the left where a blank filler was you have to cut a little piece of it off to get it into the hole as the are "keyed" to specific locations I guess but worked perfectly! I left enough slack in the connection so I can simply disconnect the harness if I am not towing for awhile as the blue indicator lights come on every time you hit the brake if its disconnected. Just installed it so I will send an update after our first trip with the new rig but I'm thinking it will work as described. Thanks again etrailer fast shipping great information!!!!


Comments
It has worked out great, I have over 4,000 miles of towing with it highly recommend it!!
Bob I - 01/13/2020



- C51170
by:

Etrailer.com - Awesome! Excellent customer service. Have dealt with them many times, Knowledgeable, Friendly and Helpful, great products at competitive prices. Highly Recommend. Curt Spectrum - Neat and clean, straight forward installation. Just make sure the wires to the plug connector are fully seated to the plug connector. Custom wire adapter makes installation plug and play. Picture is 2017 Silverado 1500.



- C51170
by:

Excellent Product, especially if you want an OEM look. The heart of the system mounts out of sight behind your dash, while the control knob mounts wherever you can find a convenient spot. The Brake works great on my trailer as well as any that I have used in the past. So, the bottom line is that if you want a clean, OEM look and don't mind spending a little extra time with it's planning and installation, I highly recommend it,


Comments
We used the product and it worked well, but we have sold that Truck. I liked it for its OEM look and it performed well. It was a little challenge to install, but worth it in the end. Our replacement truck has a factory built-in controller.
-- Etrailer Expert Charlie - 04/23/2021


- C51170
by:

Installed on 2011 Toyota Sequoia - Wanted a controller solution that was not bulky or required drilling into the dash panel. This foot the bill. See photos - I was able to install without a single hole drilled into the dash panels. Mounted knob on left 4-switch panel which is easily accessible by driver and hidden away from passengers (so they are not bothered by the glow). VERY CLEAN LOOK.



- C51170
by:

Great product. Easy install in under 45 minutes to integrate into factory OEM harness. 2017 Land Ro er Discovery Sport with factory trailer tow package will be plug and play with this controller, and Curt custom wiring Adapter C51322. The factory brake controller integration harness is directly behind the OBDII connector on the driver’s side. Everything else is in place. Note: your factory OEM tow connection MUST be dealer activated in your vehicle. Without that activation, the body controller will not pass power to the brake module. There is ample space inside the dash on the left side, behind the left knee bolster to place the control module in a securable and protected location. This requires only 3 easy to remove panels, and 2 screws to reach. If oriented properly, the DIP switches are accessible in future by removing the dash side panel (zero tools required). There are multiple locations for the control knob. The look and style of the control knob fits perfectly with the design of the interior. Love the ability to use a drill or no-drill installation method. We haul our Forrest River travel trailer with this vehicle and previously used a time-based controller that “fought” with the vehicle’s integrated trailer stability control and anti-sway detection. This controller has solved this issue and gives complete control while integrating seamlessly with factory stability systems. Even with the output or sensitivity at high levels, this system still works perfectly with the vehicle trailer stability control. This was a vast improvement over our old time-based controller. Great function and fantastic look. For a non-OEM product, this truly does have an OEM look, function and ease of installation. Curt did a great job with this. My only nit is that both Curt and etrailer do not recognize the factory connection adapter harness as an option on the Discovery Sport. TIP: If you select the Land Rover Evoque (shares the same platform as the Discovery Sport) the options become correct for your Discovery Sport as far as factory adapter harnesses. Super fast delivery. Would be better if drop-ship items included an actual tracking number instead of only the user login web based tracking option. The web based tracking required logging in to monitor for delivery times. Some kind of automated text or email shipping updates for drop-ship items would make a great buying experience into a fantastic one.



- C51170
by:

Nice little unit. Really like the fact you only have the control knob showing. Was hoping it was small enough to fit in extra spot on Tundra next to the traction control button. Was a little large but found a great out of the way really factory looking spot for it. Have not had a chance to hook up trailer yet but as far as install goes it was super easy using the pigtail plug. True plug and play. Instructions were very easy to read and understand.



- C51170
by:

I was looking for a trailer brake controller that would not be such a eye sore. The Carter Spectrum brake controller was the perfect fit and design. Very easy to install on my Buick.



- C51170
by:

I installed this unit on my 2015 Chevy Colorado yesterday and all went pretty well thanks to a online install video. I have not hooked it up to a trailer yet so I can not give a review on how well it works. I would have given this five stars except I was forced to use the two sided tape mounting system after drilling an additional hole in my dash for the bolt on install. I discovered that there is not enough room for the wires behind the knob to snap into the bolt on mounting ring. Great service and fast delivery from etrailer; five stars for them all the way.



- C51170
by:

I do a lot of towing, with a mox of trailers from large car trailers, equipment trailers pulling skidsteers through to horse trailers. Im very impressed with this Curt brake controller. Not only could I put it where I wanted on my dash, but its super simple to use. I like the jog dial style of control and display. I also appreciate the instant feedback it provides war thing if the trailer is not communicating with the truck. I will be transferring this unit to my next truck.



- C51170
by:

Recently purchased my first travel trailer. The brake controller installed easily in my 2019 Ram Warlock. The installation instructions and videos made this a simple task. The adapter cable fit my prewired connector perfectly. Miraculously, I did not have to go to the dealer to have the onboard computer reprogrammed (Flashed) to recognize the brake controller.



- C51170
by:

I wanted to install a brake controller on a new 2020 Tacoma that looked like it was factory installed and not undermounted on the dash. I also needed the controller quickly for an upcoming trip. Chrissy with etrailer.com was able to help me find one in stock that met my needs. Only took about 30 minutes to install and it looks great in the dash. I really appreciated the assistance and suggestions provided.



- C51170
by:

We needed a brake controller for a Jeep Wrangler JL. If you've never been in one before, there is not a lot of space around the driver, so it would have been difficult to install a traditional brake controller where it wouldn't get in the way of legs. This was perfect. I really like that you have the option to mount the control knob over a hole if you want a clean installation with the wire hidden behind the dashboard, or to just use provided adhesive if you don't mind seeing the wire but don't want to drill a hole. (If you go the adhesive route, note that I'm not sure how easy it is to remove the adhesive. We drilled a hole.) If you do go the drilled-hole route, it does make installation more involved than most brake controllers. You probably have to remove trim panels from the dashboard to run the wire from the knob to the main box. But that's simply the price you pay for clean installation, and you can avoid that hassle if you go the adhesive route. The main box is very easy to mount. There are no restrictions on orientation and the box is fairly small, so it's easy to just screw or zip-tie it to anything up under the dashboard (so long as it's mounted securely--you don't want it to bounce or shake). As for ease of use: With just one knob and a few lights, it's not as dead simple as most brake controllers, but it's still pretty easy. Definitely easier than it seemed after I read the manual. Here's how it works: Pressing the knob cycles through the adjustment settings. There are three settings, and the color tells you which one you are on. White means you are adjusting brightness, bluish-pinkish means the sensitivity, and greenish-yellowish means the maximum braking level. Then tap your brakes (or wait 10 seconds) to go back to normal mode. Hold the knob to manually activate the brakes. That's really all there is to it. One minor quibble: I noticed that the lights sometimes get a bit "confused" and one of them will stay lit up in a random color. When this happens, the brakes themselves are working fine, it's just the light is mistakenly lit. Tapping the brakes fixes it. My only other complaint is that the lights are pretty bright at night. There is a brightness adjust setting, but even at the lowest setting it's still pretty bright. It doesn't bother me much, but my father-in-law does find it annoying. Overall, it's a very nice product.


Comments
A year later, and the brake controller is still working great. It didnt take long to get fully used to the knob control, even though its not as dead simple as a traditional brake controller. Still have the same minor quibbles: the indicator lights sometimes get confused for a moment and they are bright, but neither actually bothers me much. Having the clean, hidden-wire install with the knob in easy reach has been really nice.
Dominick P - 10/02/2020


- C51170
by:

I haven't had the chance to try it out hauling my 20 ft. travel trailer, but everything seems to be working hooking it up to my 2019 GMC Colorado. I like the compact size of the controller. It was pretty simple to install, especially watching the install video. I don't usually take the chance of drilling into my dashboard, but felt more confident after watching the video. The install went as the video explained.



- C51170
by:

Purchased this controller for use on my 2017 Toyota Tundra. It looks great after the install. I took a couple of hours to get it in from box opening to completion (with frequent distractions from children) but the manual was great and installation went smoothly. To clarify the issue with the blue lights I’ve seen as a complaint. When you start the car, it goes through it’s calibration procedure. If no trailer is attached, it blinks the two blue LEDs for a bit saying no trailer is detected. If you touch the brake pedals those blinking lights turn off. While you’re driving no lights are on. Then, every time you push the brakes the two blue LEDs turn on while the brake pedal is depressed to say you’re braking and it doesn’t detect a trailer. Honestly, I’m glad for those lights because if my trailer was connected and I saw those lights while braking I’d know there was something wrong with the connection. I put my unit directly to the left of the steering wheel so I’ll only see the lights when I lean over and look yet it’s easily accessible while in the drivers seat. Everyone was telling me to grab a P2 or P3, I’m glad I didn’t listen. This is nicely out of the way, easily accessible, clean and simple, and very capable unit with all the necessary capabilities one needs in a brake controller.



- C51170
by:

Very easy install. I have a 2020 Silverado WT and did not come with a trailer brake controller. I originally had it quoted from the dealership to install this shortly after I bought the truck and it was going to be about $200 for parts and labor. I was still going to have them do it but they were worried about drilling into the dash. I ended up buying the trailer brake controller online instead and installing myself. Since the truck does not have heated seats I just drilled into that blank cover and mounted the brake controller there. The adapter took seconds to plug in and saved me $180!



- C51170
by:

I really like the finished look of this controller after it is installed (see before and after pictures attached)! I also like being able to finely tune it to my need using the power output and sensitivity adjustments. I do have a minor issue with connecting a trailer to my 2020 Jeep Gladiator, though. If I connect the trailer while the engine is running, the electronic stability control and engine start/stop services on the truck disable themselves. Turning the ignition all the way off an on again resolves the issue, as does having the engine off when I connect the trailer. Aside from that minor inconvenience, this controller works admirably and I would buy it for other vehicles. Installing was simple with the adapter for factory wiring. The most difficult part was identifying the location for the knob and taking the dash apart to install it properly. The finished appearance is clean and the only visible aspect of the entire system is the control knob. With the sensitivity and power controls on mid-level, the trailer tires were skidding on quick stops. Tuning the settings to have less sensitivity and less power quickly corrected that issue. I am quite happy with this controller!



- C51170
by:

I've had the brake controller in use for over a year in my 2012 Nissan Frontier. The install was easy and took about an hour. My truck is a 2WD model so I mounted the controller in the plug that is used to select between 2WD and 4WD on vehicles equipped with 4WD. So the install look like factory.



- C51170
by:

This controller is a really good concept but kind of challenging to get dialed in correctly for each load. When braking in a straight line it performs as expected but when braking while turning or on bumpy roads it often times surges the brakes making them lock up. I have been using this product for 1 year and am now figuring out ways to work around the surges. Best way I've found is to keep the sensitivity on high and only adjust the power setting. The 4 star rating on this product is for how small and sleek the adjustment knob is vs standard brake controllers installed In the dash it feels almost factory. Install took about 5 -10 minutes Overall I am happy with this purchace it's just not quite as user friendly as I'd hoped.


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Ask the Experts about this Curt Trailer Brake Controller

  • Comparing the Curt Spectrum Brake Controller to Redarc Tow-Pro Elite
    By all accounts the Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller # C51170 works well and is easy to use and install on most vehicles. It is a brand new item so not a lot of feedback has come in on it. I did learn a few things though after speaking with our install team about this controller. First, compared to the Redarc controller # 331-EBRH-ACCV2, the Curt Spectrum is easier to install. It can be surface mounted meaning that drilling is not necessarily required (depends on how you run the...
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  • Parts Needed to Install Curt Spectrum Brake Controller in 2019 Toyota Tacoma
    Your 2019 Toyota Tacoma has a plug and play style of brake controller install port under the dash which will easily allow you to install the Curt Spectrum part # C51170. All you need is the adapter part # C51455. To reach the connector, first locate the notch in the access panel in the center of the dash, near the driver's side. Using a trim panel puller, carefully pry the panel out and undo the locking tabs to remove the panel. You will find the mating connector behind this portion...
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  • Do Curt Spectrum and Redarc Tow Pro Elite Brake Controllers Have Boost Settings
    Actually the Curt Spectrum # C51170 that you referenced does have a boost feature that makes the braking action more aggressive using the sensitivity setting. In the second row of the picture I attached you can see this setting. The further into the red section you set the controller the more aggressive the braking action will be when sensing braking action. To switch between modes basically you just will press the center section until you see the three blue and three red lights that...
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  • Is Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller A Good Option For 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500
    The Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller part # C51170 and the custom wiring adapter part # C51525 is a great option for the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 because of its simple out of the way installation. The knob can be installed in any easy to reach location at any orientation. The main unit installs out of the way and utilizes the custom adapter plug for your truck to plug into the factory port. I have attached the measurements of both the main unit and the knob for you to get an idea...
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  • Comparing the Curt Spectrum Brake Controller and Redarc Tow-Pro Elite for a 2016 Audi Q5
    Both the Curt Spectrum # C51170 and the Redarc Tow-Pro Elite # 331-EBRH-ACCV2 are excellent brake controller options for your 2016 Audi Q5 but in comparison I recommend going with the Tow-Pro Elite over the Spectrum. Although both controllers can be used as proportional brake controllers (they activate your trailer brakes at the same time and with the same intensity as the brakes on your Q5) the Tow-Pro Elite can also be switched to "User Control" mode which means your trailer brakes...
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  • Brake Controller Recommendation More Reliable than Curt Spectrum
    Curt should cover that. But the Curt controllers in general are just less reliable than the P2 part # 90885 that you mentioned. If I was going to recommend you the best option I'd say go back to the P2, see if Curt might warranty the controller, and then sell it used.
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  • Easy to Install Brake Controller Recommendation for 2020 Jeep Gladiator
    For your 2020 Jeep Gladiator there is one brake controller that's going to provide a simple and easy install and that's the Curt Mobile Echo part # C51180. This basically just plugs into the 7-way of the vehicle and once synced to your phone is ready to go with one of the most advanced brake controllers out there. The Spectrum # C51170 would require hardwiring as there isn't an easy brake controller install port under the dash of your vehicle. I attached a review video for the Echo...
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  • Comparing Curt Spectrum and Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Brake Controllers for a 2019 Audi Q5
    I would be happy to compare the Curt Spectrum # C51170 with part # C51515 and Redarc Tow-Pro Elite # 331-EBRH-ACCV2 brake controllers as well as make a recommendation for your 2019 Audi Q5. To establish a starting point, both controllers are unique when compared to standard brake controllers because they can be mounted virtually anywhere. This is due to the box that the control knob connects to which can sense the direction of movement without having to be in a specific orientation....
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  • Is Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller a Good Option for 2018 Chevy Silverado 1500
    The Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller # C51170 is a great choice for a brake controller in your 2018 Chevy Silverado 1500 because it is easy to use with the control knob you referenced and is a proportional controller so you will get smooth braking. To install it in your '18 Silverado you would also need the Curt Custom Wiring Adapter # C51451. The only other brake controller I recommend checking out is the Curt Echo Mobile Trailer Brake Controller # C51180 because this is even...
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  • Hidden Brake Controller Recommendation for 2016 Ford Transit T350
    I would strongly recommend the Prodigy P2 part # 90885 over the Curt Spectrum part # C51170 if those are the two options you are considering since the Prodigy controllers have over the years consistently been much more reliable long-term than Curt. Now if you want a sleeker designed controller like the Spectrum but is also as reliable as the Prodigy I would recommend the Redarc TowPro Elite part # 331-EBRH-ACCV2. This gives you a similar style of proportional brake controller that only...
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  • Correct Wiring Harness for Curt C51170 Spectrum on a 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee with Factory 7-Way
    To install the Curt Spectrum brake controller # C51170 that you referenced in your 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee that has a factory 7-way all you need is the install harness # 3045-S and you'd be set.
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  • Curt Brake Controller Plug for a 2020 Ford Explorer
    Yes, the Curt Custom Wiring Adapter for Trailer Brake Controllers part # C51322 will allow you to use a Curt brake controller like the Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller part # C51170 on a 2020 Ford Explorer (All Models). I checked with Curt just to confirm that the Curt Custom Wiring Adapter for Trailer Brake Controllers is indeed correct for a 2020 Ford Explorer so you can be confident this is the correct harness. The plug will be located under the driver dash, near the center...
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  • Recommended Brake Controller for a 2018 Thor Ace Motorhome
    For your 2018 Thor Ace Motorhome, I recommend using the Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller part # C51170. The reason for this is because this unit is composed of two main parts, the control box and the output knob. The control box gets mounted out of site and then the output knob will get installed up on your dash for easy use and a very aesthetically pleasing look. The color output of the knob also helps with ease of use. Since your motorhome is on a Ford F-53 chassis, you can use...
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  • What Install Harness is Needed for Curt Spectrum in 2019 Chevy Suburban
    The install harness you need for the Curt Spectrum part # C51170 in your 2019 Chevy Suburban is the part # C51451 which plugs directly into the port on your vehicle and then into this controller for a simple install.
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  • Availability of Curt Brake Controller Harness for 2020 Jeep Gladiator
    Curt doesn't yet offer a wiring harness for the 2020 Gladiator or Wrangler. What you could do is remove the black connector from the # C51170 Spectrum and the Tekonsha, part # 3073-P. You'd then wire the 3073-P to the Spectrum brake controller, color for color. Very easy. Another option would be the Curt Echo, part # C51180. The unit is wireless and would plug inline at the 7-way connector between the vehicle and the connector for the trailer. The unit would communicate wirelessly with...
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  • Installing Brake Controller on 2020 Jeep Gladiator without Splicing Into Brake Light Switch Wire
    As of this writing (10-2019) there is not yet a brake controller plug-in adapter available that allows for a plug-and-play installation on your 2020 Jeep Gladiator. With that being said, there are still a couple of ways you can install a brake controller (depending on the model controller) even if you aren't showing power on the brake light switch wire with the brake pedal depressed. First, to install a traditional brake controller like the excellent Curt Spectrum # C51170 you were...
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  • Choosing Curt C51170 Spectrum or Redarc 331-EBRH-ACCV2 Tow Pro Brake Controller for 2019 Audi Q5
    The controllers are fairly similar in that they're designed so that the user interface is very unobtrusive. No more ugly box hanging on the underside of the dash that you can bang your knee on. Both controllers use a small knob that can be mounted pretty much wherever it would be within the driver's reach. Now, for the differences. The control knob of the # C51170 is quite a bit larger than that of the Redarc # 331-EBRH-ACCV2 Tow Pro Elite, and it surface mounts. The Redarc would require...
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  • Correct Wiring Harness for Curt C51170 Spectrum Brake Controller on Ford Cutaway Van Chassis
    If your E450 Van Cutaway Chassis is a 2009 to 2020 model year, you'll need the Curt # C51432 harness to connect the # C51170 Curt Spectrum Brake Controller to the factory plug located behind the cubbyhole in the dash. If your van chassis is a different model year, please let me know and I'd be happy to make a recommendation. I've linked to a product description video that explains the features of the Curt Spectrum Brake Controller.
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  • Brake Controller Solution for 2010 Lexus GX-460 That Does Not Require Modifying Dash
    Before getting into install locations for the knob of the Curt Spectrum part # C51170 you might be best off with the Curt Echo Mobile brake controller part # C51180 instead as this controller plugs into the 7-way at the rear of your vehicle and once you sync your phone to it you are ready to tow without needing to wire anything or modify your vehicle in any way. But back to the knob location for the Spectrum...you could mount it near the AC controls on the center console like in the...
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  • Parts Needed to Install Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller on 2020 Subaru Ascent
    Since your 2020 Subaru Ascent is already equipped with a factory 7-way connector, you will not need any additional parts other than the ones included with the Curt Spectrum Brake Controller part # C51170. There isn't a custom wiring adapter available from Curt for your Ascent, so you will need to hardwire the Spectrum controller in order to install it, or you can easily make your own adapter, using part # 3062-P. Basically, you'll cut off the black end of this adapter (the one that...
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  • Do Curt Spectrum and TriFlex Brake Controllers Use Same Adapter for 2018 Chevy Silverado 1500
    Thank you for your purchase of the Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller # C51170 for your 2018 Chevy Silverado 1500. And I can tell you that both the Spectrum and Curt TriFlex # C51140 use the same wiring adapter for your Chevy, the Curt Custom Wiring Adapter for Trailer Brake Controllers # C51451. So assuming that's what you already have then you will not need a new one.
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  • Curt Spectrum Lights On Overnight in my Chevrolet
    Good news is nothing is wrong with your system. I reached out to Curt and they have ran into this a few times with the newer model Chevrolet pickups. Basically the truck occasionally will run a systems check. This is a quick surge of power that gets sent around to verify everything. The Spectrum picks up that signal and gets confused when you open and close the door it is basically resetting it for lack of a better term. The LEDs that you see are just that lights similar to a phone...
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  • Recommended Easy to Install Brake Controller for 2019 Subaru Ascent
    Yes, you will need a brake controller to control your trailer brakes and I recommend the RedArc Tow Pro Elite # RED44FR with plug and play adapter # 3062-P because the knob is a bit smaller and easier to find an acceptable place to mount in most vehicles. Overal the Tow Pro Elite and Curt Spectrum # C51170 are very similar controllers in their operation and the installation process, I just prefer the Red Arc because the knob is a bit more aesthetically pleasing and easier to install. In...
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  • Brake Controller Installation 2014 Volkswagen Touareg
    If your tow package includes the factory 7-way trailer connector on the rear bumper, you'll need a few parts from the dealer. You'll need one #1J0-972-782 housing and (qty. 2) #000-979-228-E wire/terminal assemblies. I've linked to the tech bulletin that explains the procedure as well as to an install video showing how those VW parts work. I've also linked to a demonstration video explaining how the Spectrum Brake Controller works.
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  • No Power at Knob on Curt Spectrum Brake Controller
    I would start by using a hook probe tester like the # PTW2993 to check and see if you're getting a power feed on the wire coming out of the box on the Curt Spectrum # C51170 when the knob is plugged in. This will give you an idea if the knob might be faulty or not. If you can let me know whether or not the box of the Spectrum is providing power out we can troubleshoot from there.
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  • How to Install Curt Spectrum Brake Controller on 2011 GMC Yukon with Factory 7-Way Connector
    While there isn't a direct plug for installing the Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller # C51170, there are blunt cut wires under the driver's side dash of your 2011 GMC Yukon that you will connect the Adapter # C51515 to so that connecting the Spectrum is more of a plug-and-play installation. According to the online owner's manual for your Yukon you will connect the following wires from the adapter to the following wires on your Yukon: Blue - Dark Blue Black - Red/Black White...
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  • Wiring Harness for Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller on 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
    The correct adapter for the Curt Spectrum # C51170 trailer brake controller on your 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is Wiring Adapter for Curt Trailer Brake Controllers # C51515. One end of this adapter will plug into your Spectrum brake controller and the other end will splice into your Jeep's brake controller wiring; you can use Butt Connectors # 05731-5 to help make this connection. I have added a link to a video review of Adapter # C51515 for you to check out as well.
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  • Can Curt Spectrum Brake Controller Install in 2011 Ford F-350 with Integrated Brake Controller
    The Ford factory brake controller that is in the dash does not have to be removed. You will need to unplug the connector under the dash and plug in the # C51432 adapter for the Curt Spectrum brake controller # C51170 to the factory brake controller plug behind the dash. The vehicle will need the computer flashed so it will keep from searching for the connection to the OEM brake controller in the future, eliminating any fault codes. This will usually have to be done at the Ford Dealer.
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  • Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller Single Red LED Light When Braking
    It sounds like your Curt Spectrum Trailer Brake Controller # C51170 is working properly. You are not getting an error code, but the number of red lights should increase as more brake power is asserted. The actual number of red lights that appear depends on how you have tuned the controller and it may depend on the inertia as well because it is a proportional controller. If you need more braking pressure then simply adjust the setting. I've attached the installation instructions to assist...
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