How Do I Know When My Volvo Penta Engine Was Built?

Written by marlon trotsky
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A subsidiary of Volvo Group, Volvo Penta builds engines and power systems for leisure boats, workboats and other industrial equipment. By closely examining your engine, you can determine the approximate time period it was built in. Red engines have decals which reveal little about what year they were produced, since the production times ranged from less than one year to several years. On the other hand, charcoal engines, which went out of production in 2000, display the year of production.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Look for the sequence of numbers and letters on the decal to determine what year your engine was made. If you have an early red engine (production stopped in the late '80s), the sequence should begin with AQ, signifying that this is a sterndrive engine, BB (inboard) or MB (inboard). Later numbering sequences were based on displacement. These engines went out of production in 1993. Enter the engine type or serial number into Volvo's online engine database to determine the years of production.

  2. 2

    Make note of the engine's colour. If it is a dark, charcoal colour then you have a charcoal engine and you should be able to track down its production date without much trouble. Look for the string of numbers, and make note of the set of two letters (typically the fourth or fifth letter in the sequence) follow the letter that represents your steering system: P for power steering, M for manual, X is for exact and I is Inboard. This set of letters indicates the years of production: MD is from 1993-1994, BY 1997-1998, HU 1994-1995, WT 1998-1999, NC 1995-1996, EF 1999-2000, and LK 1996-1997.

  3. 3

    Determine if you have a current red engine (first produced in 2000). Once again, the decal gives no indication of the exact year your engine was built, only that it was after the start of the new century. You will again have to plug the number into the online database to determine when it was built.

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