The XL Medium Frame Series Tractors were built for 17 years, from 1976 to 1993.
The "XL" Tractor is an intermediate garden tractor that was intended to eventually replace the Tube Frame tractor line. It was built with the homeowner in mind. The XL was built at a slightly lower price point than the other garden Bolens tractors to entice new buyers that wanted or needed a little more than a typical lawn tractor, without breaking the bank.
A small garden tractor... that can easily mow acres of land, plow the driveway, clear the snow or plant a small garden. The XL fit this demographic perfectly. Built with the same quality standards that Bolens owners had come to expect.
The XL is slightly smaller and lighter than the QS and QT tractors that were available at the time. It has a tighter turning radius than the Q Series tractors. Approximate shipping weight for the XL tractors ranged from 870 lbs for the G11XL, to 920 lbs for the H16XL. Definitely not a light weight, considering the Tube Frame G14 weighs in at roughly 840 lbs.
The "XL" received it's designation primarily from it's powerplant. The Tecumseh "XL" Extended Life Series Cast Iron Overhead Valve Engine that was the heart of the early machines. Many were already familiar with these engines as they were nearly a direct transplant from the late Tube Frames.
Engines are mounted in a suspended cradle with rubber isolating mounts at all four corners for a smooth, quiet operation.
The XL Series can be most easily identified by it's front axle assembly. It has a welded tube steel front axle with no built in front PTO pulley and shaft. All other Bolens garden tractors employ a cast iron front axle and PTO shaft. In it's place is a simple, detachable mule belt drive system. The mule drive is operated by an engine mounted electric PTO brake clutch.
The mule drive is required to run the available 42" or 48" mower deck attachments.
The mule drive can be removed and replaced with the optional 18309 or later 18318 front PTO kit that is required to operate the available snow thrower or tiller attachment.
1976-1978 Tractors - White, Black, Red FMC theme
1976. The first tractor in the series was the model 1460 GT14. The GT14 was unique, as it was the only tractor with a Bolens built 5 speed manual transmission. It was only produced for one year as it unfortunately suffered from several problems. This transmission was never used in another Bolens tractor. It was quickly scrapped and re-tooled for the following year.
(this was the only 1460 image I could find. If you own this tractor please let me know)
1977. The H14XL (model 1458) is born! Using the same engine from the GT14, the tractor was slightly revamped and the Eaton 11 hydrostatic trans was installed. Using the same single foot control "treadle" pedal for forward and reverse travel that Bolens owners love.
1978. Now there are 3 models to chose from. The entry level (and mostly underpowered) G11XL and H11XL are available, as well as the more powerful H16XL. The G11XL introduced the new Peerless 4 speed manual trans to the series.
1979-1981 Tractors - White, Light Green, Dark Green - FMC Bolens Logo Still used.
1979. The paint scheme is upated to the new Bolens green and white. Six models are now available, giving consumers several options. The H11XL, G11XL, H14XL, G14XL, H16XL, G16XL.
1980. Continuing on success from the prior year, even more models are offered, as the G12XL and H12XL is now available as the G11XL and H11XL's are slowly being phased out of production.
1981. Bigger is better. H18XL is introduced with the OHH180 Tecumseh Engine. Bolens also now offers the H16XT and G16XT which utilize the powerful Briggs & Stratton 16HP L Head Twin Cylinder engine. With the new Briggs engine in place, Bolens opted for a heavy duty, automotive style drive shaft assembly to transfer power to the hydro trans (or right angle gearbox on the 4 speed manual). Older and single cylinder models used bonded flex couplers at the engine and trans.
1982 -1983. The G16X1 and H16X1. The odd balls. Mechanically indentical to its XL predecessor, the new H16X1 had the "hockey" stripe decals that was seen only on the legendary HDT1000 Large Frame and very few HT23 tractors. All other XL models from 1982 had the decal scheme from the prior year.
1983. The "Eliminator" - The 1400G (1463-01), 1600G (1667-01) and 1600H (1668-01) are introduced.
Note the new decals. (Only 3 stripes for 1983 models)
So this means my tractor is an "Eliminator"? Well, technically yes, but ulitmately no. The "Eliminator" term is placed on nearly all Bolens equipment to coincide with their current advertising campaign "Eliminate the hard work from yard work". Even the QT17 and HT23 are considered "Eliminator" during this time.
The "Eliminator" campaign ran for several years and finally ended in 1988.
1984 - 1987.
Decals now have 4 stripes. (Thank you Paulgo for the picture!)
From 1984 - 1987, not much changed within the series. Models offered are the 1400G (1463-02) in 1984 and (1463-03) in 1985 which used the last of the Tecumseh OHH140 engines. The 1600G (1667-02 thru 1667-03), 1600H (1668-02 thru 1668-04) are still available with few minor changes. The 1402G (1467-01) is introduced to replace the 1400G. It now uses the Briggs L Head Twin cylinder 14HP engine.
1988. Only two models are offered. The 1402G (1467-02) and 1600H (1668-05)
Paulgo's 1668-05 with 18311 Snow Thrower
1989. All that remains is the 1600H. The 1668-06 (manual lift) and 1668L-01 (hydraulic lift). Cruise control is standard equipment on both models now. (optional on prior years)
The decal style has been completely updated and the "Eliminator" tag is gone.
(This is my daily driver)
1990 - 1993. The 1468, 1669 and 1669L. After so many long years of production of the XL Medium Frame Series, there comes perfection. The 1669 is the smoothest of all of them. The new Briggs & Stratton Vangard V-Twin 14 and 16HP power plant is as good as it gets. All of the prior years shakes and vibrations are virtually gone. Fuel efficiency is at an all time high. It just doesn't get any better than this. All the power you need and the tractor to do the work.
Unfortunately, the XL Series was killed off in 1993. An end of an era. 17 years of well built, American Made - Genuine Bolens engineering.
XL Medium Frame Attachments
The following attachments fit only the XL Medium Frame Tractors:
18300 42" SD, 18301 48" SD, 18335 42" RD, 18336 48" RD, 18338 48" SD (made by Gilson),
14023 42" SD and 14024 48" SD (newer spindle style, Troybilt/Gardenway models)
Mower deck can be dropped or installed in just a few minutes as it is connected by only 3 pins.
Snow / Plow Blade: 18305 42" Mechanical Angle
Snow Thrower: 18311 38" Single Stage, 50146 46" 2 Stage (requires 18346 mounting kit).
Front PTO Kit model 18309 or 18318 is required to operate snow thrower attachment.
Tiller Attachment: 18315 33" or 18322 33". Requires 18309 or 18318 Front PTO kit to operate tiller attachment. Proper drive shaft length + tiller model + PTO Kit model is essential for proper installation. It can be confusing. Ask for help if needed ( feel free to PM me).
None of these attachments fit any other series of tractor, nor will any attacments from other Bolens series fit the XL Medium Frame. The mounting system is unique to the XL series only.
Bolens also offered many other attachments for the XL Medium Frames.
Grass Collection System
Grass Reduction System or GRS (mulcher)
Blade angling kit model 19222
Hard top cab model 50930
Soft Side Cab model 19708
Cruise Control Kit - model 18326
Sleeve Hitch - model 18330
Hydraulic lift Kit - model 18327
Electric lift kit - 18325
Hourmeter - 18096
Chrome Hub Caps - 16999
Dump Cart - 16466 7.5cu ft. or 16465 10 cu. ft.
12 volt string trimmer.....
Hope this sums up a great Bolens Tractor. They are often overlooked, but truly a well built and well received machine.
Be sure to check out the attached pdf spec sheet for more info.
XL-MEDIUM FRAME SERIES.pdf 827.69KB
Edited by ClassicBolens, May 05, 2016 - 11:44 PM.