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Hi guys.,

I need some instruction please… my neighbor passed away. And his wife just gave me a 1965 amc marlin he had sitting in the back yard. Its in fair condition but it has no motor or tranny. I have no idea what to do. But I want to keep it. And possibly fix it. What modern engine tranny combo can it wear. Even the rear end. I read jeep. But I have no idea. Please lead ?
 

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More for Less Racer
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Probably simplest and easiest complete package to swap will be a LS engine with trans and rear axle from a Colorado or full size GM truck.
4.8L, 5/3L or 6.0L LS series engine, 4L65E trans , 8.6" 10-Bolt.

A 4.8 or 5.3 powered truck will also be the lowest cost option in most cases, and have the benefit of the most aftermarket support for the swap, since the LS is the most popular swap across brand lines in the hot rod community.

Anything Chrysler is going to cost you a ton of money to adapt any sort of post 1996-ish electronics package that runs the engine and trans shifting via powertrain computer.

You may opt to keep the stock rear axle, it is the AMC 20 which is similar in strength to the 8.6" 10-bolt GM and 12-bolt 8.875" GM axles.

I will say the body style is a cool ride!. Hope you've got the time and skills to see it through to a finished ride, you don't see many of them anymore.

Here's a fabulous LS swapped example:

Home-Built Custom LS3 Powered 1965 Rambler Marlin (roadkillcustoms.com)
 

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I second what ericnova said. Spot on. Will take lots of research on your part but will end up with a sweet ride.
 

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The Marlin is such a cool and rare car, it's a shame to hit it with the LS stick. An original AMC motor bolts right in, there's no need to totally rewire the car for an LS, and frankly, it will be different and not just another of the bazillion boring LS swaps. A 390 or 401 AMC would be very cool.

 

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A 65 would have the first generation AMC/Nash engine. If the V8’s it is rather a something of borrowed designs, sort of a place where Studabaker, Packard, Ford and Pontiac come together to make an engine.

Tranny if an automatic or a stick was most likely a Borg Warner, rear end is probably a Dana of some sort.

You need to figure out if you’re doing a restoration or a modification. Restoration probably difficult to find the pieces and costly when you do as these were not too popular in their day so parts are in short supply. I’m not much into restorations nor AMC so my knowledge base is pretty limited.

The WEB can be your friend here’s some easy hunts:






Bogie
 

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There were a couple years that International Harvestor used the 401 AMC engine in the Travelall, about that same time AMC made a bunch of police cruisers that had the 401. Those would be easier to find than the original Marlin parts.
The IH version was only available in a 2bbl. carb. but was otherwise AMC. The cruisers were 4bbl and ran pretty well. Looking for a donar will be tough.
 

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Since it doesn't have the original motor etc., I'd vote for the LS.
If you don't care about it being correct or old school, the junkyard LS route seems like an affordable way to have a fun, dependable ride. Some work involved of course, but it would be cool.
 

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Pretty sure a 65 still has the enclosed torque tube rear end. That is going to make it more difficult.
 

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Pretty sure a 65 still has the enclosed torque tube rear end. That is going to make it more difficult.
I had to look it up, info around the feeble general web was "inconclusive".....but did find out that 1965 was indeed torque tube driveline. Last year for it.
So the stock rear is worthless for any swap idea, it will have to be changed to a more modern rear axle
 

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You should start with the question of what you want the thing to become and be very honest with your abilities.

Were talking about a entire drivetrain swap, as well as basic electrical, and no doubt your also upgrading the brakes.

Lets say 80 to 150 hours of work 3 to 10 hours a week. Then we get to cost. Yes you were given the car. But that does not discount the $3000 to 5000 a drivetrain swap is probally going to run. That might sound high for some people and low for some others. Of course thats not including the interior or body work which can easily add another 100 hours and another $3000 to $5000. If you have a unique ride then go into it knowing unique replacment parts may be harder to find so your going to pay more or spend more time fixing what you currently have.

The above takes determination and love. Your dedicating years and several thousand dollars into a project.

Lots of projects fail because people see something like a 45 truck with cracked glass a locked up motor and tons of rust sitting in a field and are not realistic or simply change direction mid project.

I don't know the reason or if there was a reason for you getting the car. People can be complicated when death and possessions mix. Sometimes its better not to be reminded. But before you go into a large project ask yourself what you want the car to become.


If starting this project sounds like to much. I would talk to the mans wife offering her the car back respectfully. If she wants it gone/sold then I would go as far as helping her sell it if she is unfamiliar with market place or such. If she just does not want to be reminded then I would sell the thing to someone with the dedication to finish it.

I have parted out several cars over the years. I actually bought my current home with the plan of on parting out 2+ ton trucks as well as classic rides. I have literally pulled rides out of the woods or dug them out of the dirt selling things like a 41 hood and fenders cutting up the rest and had people aggressively mad at me for not restoring the thing that had moss growing inside. This has happened several times. I save what I can when parting. I am either out to get "free" parts by selling everything except what I want to break even. Or I just see something like that 41 for $200 and know I can sell the hood for $400. But respect that not everything is worth the time to save it.

Ever see something modified you felt was done wrong? Maybe they "ruined" the thing by doing something you did not agree with?

SImple fact is they took what they had and made something useable that worked for them.
Your in the same position. If you build this, sell it as it sits, or part it out. You do what works for you.

Some people wont like you parting out such a car. But individual parts can sell for more then the complete car in most cases. Of course I don't know what "fair" condition is. The complete car may be a $1500 car.

But the "rare" trunk lid is worth $400 and clean 3/4 panels are selling for $1200 for the pair. Another $400 for the complete doors. Another $100 for the fenders, another $100 for the grill, another $100 for the gauge cluster, another $100 for the hood, another $200 for the interior, then sell the rolling rest or continue parting for another $400.
Your at $3000 by parting. And yes you needed to do some labor. But you also made a bit more cash.

The above examples are just what things may be worth to make a point not the actual fair prices.

A bit of research and knowledge goes a long way. I tend to ask my cheap butt what I would pay for "this" part and often sell parts fast as a result with everyone involved being happy.



If you do want to swap a drivetrain into this after reading all the above. Then a 5.3 LM7 mated to a th400, turning a 9" with gearing/stall that matches the cars intended use would be what I would swap in. Good amount of support as well as plenty of room to add power before you start breaking stuff at a respectable strength per dollar ratio.
 
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