I too had the whine noise with my 2000 SSEi with the very hard shifts after the tranny warmed up.
I installed the Thrasher shift kit (medium setting) and have driven a week now (drove in Chicago traffic yesterday) and the problem went away. I would highly recommend for anyone with the hard shift problem. I've invested about 125 dollars vs the 600-700 dollars the dealer and tranny shop wanted to change the PCS. Best part is any shadetree mechanic can do this.