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When I stopped using the balance shafts on my TS, I removed the pulleys. To do that the engine was removed and I used an impact wrench. I remember refitting the pulley bolts with some large repair washers instead of pulleys but I cannot remember why.

Obviously the shafts were left in the engine (to maintain oil pressure) and as they do not turn, I don't expect the front seals to leak as they haven't leaked since doing it probably over a decade ago.
 

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Did the seals leak before you stopped using the balance shafts? And why did you find it necessary to remove the pulleys? Wouldn't just removing the belt do the same thing? Did you find there was a lot more vibration?
 

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There were no leaks before removal. It was not necessary to remove pulleys but I did so purely to increase room inside the timing covers.
I cannot comment about vibration accurately as I fitted new pistons which were balanced as were the piston rods, as was the flywheel and the crankshaft before it was all balanced as an assembly.

The balance shafts are there to remove secondary vibration (caused by higher piston speeds when the crankpin is horizonal or higher than horizontal) which is caused by angular velocity of the crankpins relationship with pistons.. Primary and secondary vibrations are different. I used minimised primary vibration which is the one which places stress on the engine at high speeds. I doubt secondary vibration will shorten engine life. Anyway, my 2.0 is really as well balanced now as a 1.8 engine. The difference isn't huge between my balanced 2.0 TS and stock 2.0 JTS (running balance shafts).

The vibration will always be a subjective thing. One engine may be better or worse than another and it depends on which car (body shell and NHV damping measures) as well as one individual perhaps finding it worse than another. Not running the belt will make it slightly not as smooth and have no reliability downsides at all.

If you really like the smoothness- keep running the balance shafts.
If you want reliability or perhaps slightly better response but don't mind slight more vibration, remove the balance shaft drive belt.
 
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