transmission whine in gear HELP

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This past week, the transmission in my explorer has started whining/groaning when in gear. It's a 5r55e auto. The noise stops completely when in neutral/park. While in gear, it gets worse with engine revs. I'm leaning to the converter but I wanted to get everybody else's opinion. The fluid level is fine and the color is clear pink like new. It's been in there for about 30k miles so I'm going to drop the pan to see if I see anything or the filter's clogged. Also, I tried to do a couple wot starts from idle and the rpm's wouldn't go past 4k like it was stuck in a higher gear or something. It used to rev to 6k then shift but now it stays around 3500-4000. I counted the gears so that's not it. It also doesn't want to downshift at wot when moving. I recorded the sound and you can hear when I put it in drive at about 9 sec. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7lwkzw7EXtLYzF3Q0FZSGh6NEk/edit?usp=sharing
 
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Either the pump isnt pumping to its max potential (wear) or there is a restriction to the pump.That sound is usually cavitation of the pump.
 
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I can play it as well. To my ears,it sounds like when a manual tranny is in reverse. I`ve never heard an auto make that sound though.
 
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It sounds like TC whine from what i can hear. It could be an over stressed front pump from a clogged filter but IIRC these use a rock catcher so its doubtful. Still check it out may be you have luck.
 
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Get a new filter, swap in a few quarts of new fluid, rule out pump cavitation as your base cause. To be honest it sounds like a pump that has bitten the dust. Does it do it in reverse, worse in reverse? Honestly cavitation should cause a whine regardless of gear, just hoping for somnething simple/cheap. Good luck.
 
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justinf89

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Well thank you for the help guys but after a fluid/filter change, the whine is still there. One thing I did notice is there is certainly a leak coming from the bell housing and it's covered everything with dirt now. I can't tell if it's oil or trans fluid since dirt has gotten in it but I'll find out. I think I'll take it to a trans shop to see if I can get some free advice on the sound. I hate to only replace the converter to have found out it was something inside the trans like a pump.
 

justinf89

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Update: Well she bit the dust this morning. Went to leave for work and had to turn around in the street so forward a little, reverse a little, put it back in drive and nothing. Would not move with plenty of gas. Guess I'm just happy it happened at home. Would you guys say now it's probably the converter?
 
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I also think it's either a clogged filter or the transmission oil pump. If it's anything like my 1995 Escort, the transmission oil pump is easy to get to. How many miles are on this transmission?
 
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