I need help finding a seat belt and identifying an engine

February 1, 2011 | By Richard Prince


I have not been able to locate a replacement rear seat center passenger seat belt for the 1985 Volvo 740 station wagon I just purchased. I have not yet tried the Volvo dealer but if the belt is available the price is not going to make me happy. There used to be a business that replaced belt webbing but an Internet search has turned up only one and it’s in Australia. That makes it inconvenient and also not low in cost. Any advice on this? The belt is unlikely to be used, as I’ve never carried three passengers since I started driving more than 50 years ago but I do want the car to be fully equipped.

I bought this Volvo because it is a bit unusual. It’s got a 5.0-liter fuel-injected Mustang engine and automatic overdrive transmission with all the suspension goodies and dual exhaust. It runs great but the interior needs some work. How do I identify the year of the engine? It could be anything from 1985 to possibly 10 years later. Somebody suggested checking the year of the computer but that is in a difficult location under the dash and I would not know how to identify it. The spark plugs are clean enough to be new but I doubt they can be relied on for positive identification.


I’m always baffled when readers contact us looking for the least expensive seat belts, brakes, tires, and so on. Given the purpose of the seat belts in your car, why is their cost a priority? If Volvo still sells the belt that you need, I recommend that you buy it from the company. If they don’t or if you simply won’t pay the price, consider installing a used, undamaged, mint condition OEM belt taken out of another 1985 740. It is very difficult to find someone willing to restore vintage seat belts or make new ones because of the tremendous liability associated with them. If someone makes a mistake reproducing seat upholstery, they end up with dissatisfied customers but if they make a mistake reproducing seat belts the consequences could be tragic.

The year of your Mustang engine is a rather nebulous concept to begin with. Unless the entire engine assembly or nearly the entire assembly is unmodified from its initial configuration then what really determines the year? If the block is from one year, the heads from another, the injection setup from another, and the pistons and other internals have been replaced with aftermarket parts then what year is the engine? So, with all that in mind, look for identification codes on the side of the engine block near the bottom about three inches behind the rear engine mount bolt to at least determine what year the block is from. One code tells you something about the year and application for the engine block. The first character in this code is a letter that represents the decade with C for the 1960s, D for the 1970s, E for the 1980s, and F for the 1990s; the second character is the last digit of the year, and the third character is a letter representing the car line (Mustang, truck, passenger car, etc.). Another four-character code with a number, letter, and then two numbers is a date code with the first number being the final character of the year, the letter representing the month, and the final two numbers denoting the day. So, for example, a date code of 0F16 translates to June 16, 1990.