When I was looking at a 00 with an auto, I asked about the trans whining in first gear. Pretty much found out they all make noise to some degree. Drove a 98 that was noisy too. Then found the 97 we bought and it too has a whine to it. The 3 speed is pretty durable from reading these forums. We have had this 97 for 4 weeks and have had no problems. Whines in first and not bad otherwise in second and third. They are not the most quiet things to drive. Is the howl you question engine RPM connected or MPH connected?