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1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:20 pm
by NVA250
Hello all,

I’ve been a lurker here for a few months now and thought I’d finally post something about my MZ restoration which might be of interest. I was a little bored earlier in the year and fancied restoring a bike so I bought a 1974 ex-NVA (East German Army) MZ TS250.

It was an Ebay purchase, bought unseen with no registration papers and probably for more than it was worth! That said the current owner said that he’d rebuilt the top end and the wiring was in good shape and that it’d probably start with a new battery…

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The bike as it arrived. The first two photos were taken by the previous owner when he bought it and the last one was as I got it.

Initially I was just going to do the basics, change the oil, flush the carb and put a battery on it and then run it in the condition it was in and properly restore it in the future. On closer inspection it was a real mess and appeared to have spent a very long time sat outside and unused. Although mostly complete there were a few bits missing or damaged beyond repair, unfortunately these were mainly the rare parts unique to the military version. I suddenly realised what a big job this was going to be!

Re: 1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:49 pm
by NVA250
The first thing I did was to check the “rebuilt” top end. The bore was rusted, the piston rings gummed up and the crank full of rusty lumps and FOD. The “rebuilt” head had been glued together with copious amounts of liquid gasket which had also dribbled into the bore.

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As I was going to have to rebuild the engine I thought that I may as well strip, check and repaint the frame and rest of the bike as well.

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Going…

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Going…

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Gone!

I checked each part as it came off and things got worse and worse…

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The shock absorbers were seized almost solid and the springs were rusted fast in the protective metal covers.

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This is the remains of the front seat. The pressed metal base is on the right and the foam is on the left. Because it has sat outside for so long the two parts had pretty much merged together. I did try to save the base but it was 80% rust and well past it.

Re: 1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:57 am
by breakwellmz
You`re starting to depress me now!

Re: 1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:45 am
by DerekR
Provided those suspension damper rods clean up well, a new pair of seals and 'O' rings (along with oil) should see them good, though getting the rods out of the lower tube can be fun. The 'O' rings solidify and seize. Put a stout rod through the eye with the lower end in a vice and use mighty Thor (with care!). Take special care with noting the order of damper washers and circlips when dismantling.

Re: 1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:54 am
by DAVID THOMPSON
i have fixed a couple FM boat Marine radio that looked that bad
show it to us in a couple years just do not show us the parts bill
we do not like to cry

Re: 1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:30 pm
by NVA250
Thanks for the replies, I'm not even thinking of how much it'll cost and not keeping track (much to the annoyance of the other half!)

Unfortunately everything about the shocks was too far gone to save. It was far simpler just to replace the complete units

Re: 1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:45 pm
by NVA250
The bike had been painted with thick green paint several times over the years. This made getting it apart difficult and cleaning it for re-spraying a very long and drawn out task.

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Soon there was a large pile of parts waiting to be cleaned up. Originally I was hoping to use a friends sand blaster to do this, but it did not prove up to the task so I reverted to the classic method of a wire drill bit, mess and noise!

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I made a copy of the serial number stencilled on the side of the airbox before grinding all off…

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It took a lot of work, but I finally got the tank stripped and dents filled in. Shame that the inside is a little on the rusty side. The plan is to fill it with vinegar until I’m ready to flush it and fit it.

Re: 1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:06 pm
by AlanJ
Hi NVA,
Sorry to hear of your problems, but looks as though you are doing a great job. Have you acquired some replacement shocks, where are you (area)?
Wish you well Take care Alan.

Re: 1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:18 pm
by NVA250
AlanJ wrote:Hi NVA,
Sorry to hear of your problems, but looks as though you are doing a great job. Have you acquired some replacement shocks, where are you (area)?
Wish you well Take care Alan.


His Alan,
I have a "new" pair of shocks of dubious quality, but the replacement metal sleeve covers are proving a little more difficult to find. The uppers on mine are OK, but the lower parts are still firmly stuck to the springs.
I'm in South London
Cheers now! T

Re: 1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:43 am
by DerekR
Soak in vinegar and leave overnight. Persistence will most likely win.

Re: 1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:11 pm
by NVA250
DerekR wrote:Soak in vinegar and leave overnight. Persistence will most likely win.


...tried that! They've been bannged, heated, cooled and soaked in diesel for the last 3 nmonths! I've finally given up and ordered some used replacements from Germany

Re: 1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:40 pm
by NVA250
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This was the scene in my garden over the summer months. I don't have a garage or a shed big enough to work on the bike so I wanted to get as much of the messy work of paint stripping done whilst the weather was good. I couldn't find any paint strippers that would do the job so it was back to the old school drill and wire wheels. There was a lot of mess and noise, and the other half got fed up with it very quickly....

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Some parts were even harder to shift than the paint; the steering lock had to be drilled out.

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Some bits were a little easier, this is the speedo stripped back to basics...

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...cleaned up and rebuilt! I rewound it to zero, I know I probably shouldn't have, but I'm going to completely rebuild the whole thing and it's not even the original speedo! (The original would have been KPH not MPH...)

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I did have a bit of an early boost to project. I found a local MZ owner who sold me a job lot of spares, which included a set of forks and front wheel with the drum brake rather than the disc that someone had fitted to the bike later on in its life.

Hopefully I’ll be able to make one decent set of forks from all the bits.

Re: 1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:25 am
by AlanJ
Hi NVA,
Good to see your getting the parts ok and what a great job on the frame, pity about the obvious problem most of us have got one of those. The trouble with MZ's is as Dave in the states has often said you might end up with a few of them. you need a BIG shed. The big advantage with Z's is the low price and good availability. I have 3 MZ's and at this moment I am doing a refurb on a Honda CB400A, the parts are not difficult to find but are a hell of a price, to be honest I am regretting starting this one. You might be lucky with the front forks, I have had to have a rechrome, and that comes to just over £200. Anyway it certainly looks as though you have it sorted. Incidently where in South London? I was born in Woolwich SE18
Wish you well Alan.

Re: 1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:28 pm
by NVA250
AlanJ wrote:Hi NVA,
Good to see your getting the parts ok and what a great job on the frame, pity about the obvious problem most of us have got one of those. The trouble with MZ's is as Dave in the states has often said you might end up with a few of them. you need a BIG shed. The big advantage with Z's is the low price and good availability. I have 3 MZ's and at this moment I am doing a refurb on a Honda CB400A, the parts are not difficult to find but are a hell of a price, to be honest I am regretting starting this one. You might be lucky with the front forks, I have had to have a rechrome, and that comes to just over £200. Anyway it certainly looks as though you have it sorted. Incidently where in South London? I was born in Woolwich SE18
Wish you well Alan.


Hi Alan, I'm a little further south west in Crystal Palace. The stanchions are good one one set and the bottoms on the other are good so I'm hoping it'll be a fairly asy job to swap the parts around...

Re: 1974 army MZ TS250 restoration project

PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:12 pm
by NVA250
Hello all, a bit of an update on the restoration…

Generally things are going pretty well. As I think I’ve already mentioned I prioritised the stripping and repainting of the frame and running gear as, without the use of a garage, I’ve had to rely on the good weather to do it.

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Lots of fiddly parts cleaned, primed and ready to spray

After hours of noise and dirt everything was returned to bare metal before spraying. I decided to do job at home myself, partly for the learning experience and partly because powder coating was going to cost too much! I bought a cheap compressor and spray gun (thanks Ebay!) and set about it. The paint is not quite the right shade as from what I’ve seen DDR army vehicles were painted a lighter shade than the olive green I chose. Again, this was to save a bit of money…

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Much to the annoyance of the fiancé (and neighbours) the spraying was done in my garden over a period of about 3 weeks. Results are pretty good, although I’m not too impressed with the durability of the paint and it chips quite easily. I’m not too fussed as I think that over time it’ll just give the bike the genuine military East German look!

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I always thought that the dining room table was for drying motorcycle parts, the other half disagrees…

During this time the forks were also stripped and rebuilt so the fun of putting it all back together could start!

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