Jeep Gladiators have become increasingly popular over the past few years. As each year passes Gladiator sales has been increasing and with good reason. The Jeep Gladiator is not a full-size truck and it's not a regular jeep. It's a pretty good blend of both. It's one of the newest models in the Jeep family and it has quickly become a great choice for offroading enthusiasts and weekend warriors alike.
Jeep Gladiators are pretty popular with the overland crowd and for good reason. Gladiator owners also have the advantage of extra capacity for gear without compromising comfort.
A common upgrade Gladiator owners make is an aftermarket driveshaft. Jeep stock shafts are known to be weaker than custom driveshafts. They are not made to take the abuse that comes with rock crawling and running the trails. So if you have a stock driveshaft and you are looking to go offroad you will need to find a driveshaft shop that can give you an upgrade.
A 2 Piece Driveshaft is Less Likely to Get Damaged
An after market 2 piece driveshaft with stronger parts is the perfect upgrade for your Gladiator with a Jeep lift. One of the top reasons is the driveshaft, being two pieces, is held higher up and has far less tube exposed to the rocks and obstacles you are likely rolling over on the trail. A 1 piece driveshaft on a lifted Gladiator will typically have well over 75-80% of the driveshaft exposed to the rocks and debris. With a 2 piece driveshaft, you will only have a few inches exposed to the rocks greatly reducing your opportunity for damage.
When you are driving on the street there is very little that you have to worry about running over. You are driving on a flat surface, and for the most part, all you have to worry about is the occasional speed bump. The street provides a flat surface and that alone won't do anything to harm your driveshaft. However, in an off-road setting, there are rocks everywhere, from big boulders to fallen trees, and everything in between. It's difficult to go far without hitting something or having something hit your Jeep Gladiator driveshaft, that is if you have a 1 piece. With a 2 piece tucked away you increase your break over angle and will get much more out of your Gladiator.
A 2 Piece Drive Shaft is Better for Lifted Gladiators
Another factor you will have to consider especially if you are taking your Gladiator off-road is the added amount of stress that will be put on your driveshaft. Like most other Jeeps when you buy a Gladiator one of the first upgrades is likely a Jeep lift and bigger tires. With larger tires and a Jeep lift your stock driveshaft just won't cut it, you are going to need an upgrade. With a longer 1 piece, you will need a driveshaft with a larger diameter to help prevent vibrations that are a nightmare for a modified Jeep. When you increase that diameter you also increase your exposure to damage from obstacles you are running over. But with a 2 piece driveshaft, your Gladiator can have a smaller diameter tube and operate with a greater margin before having to worry about vibrations.
Other Jeep models come with a 1 piece rear driveline and you will want to upgrade to a stronger 1 piece to fit with the other upgrades on your Jeep. But with the Jeep Gladiator, you will have started with a 2 piece driveshaft. Some may think you can simply slap on an aftermarket 1 piece like with other Jeep models and have no issues but you will definitely want to use an upgraded 2 piece driveshaft. There is a reason the manufacturer built the Gladiator with a 2 piece driveshaft, it's wise not to ignore that. This is especially true if you are going offroad, on trails, or rock crawling. Plus with a 1 piece driveshaft on your gladiator you are much more prone to vibration issues. And we will get into one of the best explanations and solutions for those vibration issues.
A 2 Piece has a Higher Critical Speed
One thing a 2 piece also improves upon but may not have been considered is the operating RPM. The longer the tube the bigger the diameter must be in order to maintain a safe operating RPM speed on the highway. The object is the keep a driveshaft below the critical speed. Critical speed is the RPM of a driveshaft at which the natural vibrations of the shaft will cause it to resonate and possibly fail. At critical speed, the driveshaft begins to bend and whip. This can cause your driveshaft slip yoke to separate from the stub shaft and break. At critical speed, some driveshafts have had the tube explode in the middle.
A common mistake is going too long on a tube size without realizing how much that impacts your operating RPM speed. With the added stress and torque you will likely want to put on your Jeep Gladiator this is something that can be really easy to do. Though if you have a 2 piece driveshaft then you no longer have the limitations of a low critical speed. We have a great video on youtube that provides great detail in this area.
A 2 piece driveshaft is more durable and can handle more power than a stock driveshaft. It's also less likely to get damaged offroading and rock crawling, making it a safer option for off-road adventures. If you're looking to add more power to your Gladiator, a 2 piece driveshaft is the way to go. Driveshafts are not the flashiest upgrade on your Jeep, but the right upgrade will keep you out on the trail.