1997 Mercury Tracer

Transmission problem
1997 Mercury Tracer 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 171000 miles

When I start my car is has a whining noise. When I put it in drive and accelerate it whines louder. Then I can be driving down the road and it will kick down to first or second gear and the RPMs shoot up to 5 or 6. What can cause that? I had Advanced Auto plug in the computer and it said it was a manufactuers control and the code is p1744?
January 23, 2008.

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