Axle Tech: What Axle Splines Do

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You hear from your buddies “in the know” that say you need at least a 33 splined axle to drive those 35-inch tall tires or to put big power to the ground. What is he talking about?

Wouldn’t more splines mean less metal to hold against that torque the axle sees? We’ll be taking a quick look into axle splines and what they really translate into.

splinesAxle splines are designed to mesh with the side spider gears and transfer the torque motion of the differential to the axle. The idea of having a spline on the axle seems contradictory considering the massive amount of torque some of the axles can see.

The reality is that the splines actually are part of what makes your axle take the torque. If you look at the axle under a microscope, you’ll see that it’s not a perfect mesh.


The splines actually contact at very small portions of the splines on both the axle and the side gear. When you increase the spline count you increase the number of places that the splines make contact and increase the strength of that axle.

axlespline640However, is it also important to have your axle made of strong metals and spline count won’t matter if the metal twists around and ends up looking like a piece of licorice.

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Justin Banner is a regular contributor to LS1Tech and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

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