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There is a fourth edition of Papazian's book coming out this month. As far as the secondary fermenter goes to each his own, I occasionally use a secondary when I brew certain beers, however not due to fear of autolysis.
John 15 1-17
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. 2 He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. 3 You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. 4 Remain in me, as I remain...
If you have a full size spare swap the suspect tire with it and see if it still pulls. If you have a small spare use one of the rear tires. Hopefully this will give you a better understanding of what the problem might be.