Premature parts breakdown in the final drive of heavy vehicle powertrains in vehicles equipped with high power retarders leads one to believe that the coasting mode gear forces may be higher than anticipated. There is limited experimental data that supports this hypothesis in the observation of high bearing load and gear bending stress in coast mode. However, without an in-depth analysis, it is unclear exactly how the high load is generated. There are several suggested causes: friction, gear geometry, and system compliance. The present study focuses on the effects of hypoid gear friction on the powertrain. Analytical expressions of the gear friction vector as a function of gear pressure, pitch and spiral angles, spiral hand and directions of rotation and applied torque were derived and examined. Attempts were made to correlate test-measured quantities and results from analytical models with and without the consideration of gear friction. Although the investigation is not entirely complete, preliminary evidence suggests that friction is not a dominant factor. Some recommendations are given on the axle design for performance enhancement.