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58 inches is correct , I put one in my malibu it is within a 1/4 inch of stock width.As far as strength 28 spline is not that weak it is as strong as a 8.5 10 bolt and many run well into the 10's and quicker with them.
 

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Your right, I was thinking to the end of the mounting surface. just measured it and it is 58.5".
Don't be fooled by all the bad press the 28 spline has gotten, it is still a strong axle, just not the strongest available. The thing you have to keep in mind is if your going to beef up your axles you better beef up the tranny as well. I would rather snap an axle than destroy my tranny. Well in all honesty I would rather not break anything but I am just saying, if your rear end can handle all kinds of hp but your tranny is the weak link then you've got a problem.
 
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