we have a 1963 safari and are under the impression that this was the year AS switched to a torsion axle...im wondering if this is true can i replace this with a straight axle w/ springs.....
According to the information that I have, the DuraTorque axle was first introduced on Airstreams in 1961
and became a standard feature in 1962
. While I have read of at least one person who has converted from DuraTorque to the Dexter equivalent on the VAL list (and several more who are pondering the possibility), I haven't heard of any converting to a straight axle with leaf springs. It should be possible, but you will want to be careful with spring rates and be sure that the axle is equipped with shock absorbers - - too much stiffness in the ride will cause a number of maladies including popped rivets.
If your concern is with cost of the DuraTorque replacement, I would suggest looking into the overall cost of the modification that you are considering. The DuraTorque replacements on a single axle coach are not terribly expensive considering the length of time one of these axles can last - - the installed price on the new DuraTorque for my Minuet was just a little over $1,000.
Good luck with your investigation!