1997 Taurus shifting problem

Not that the transmission on this car has ever been spectacular, but this weekend it has really started acting up.
Auto shifting into 2nd and 3rd is accompanied with a lost of power, a
"clack-clack-clack" which seems to come from the front left wheel, followed by a "clunk!" as it seemingly jams into gear. Accelerating on the highway (past 70 or so) gives the same loss of power and "clack clack clack".
It only seems to occur when torqued - if I speed up slowly it seems to shift fairly smoothly, at least after it warms up. Oh, and the fluids are fine.
It has worsened noticeably in the last 2 days - any ideas/suggestions? What does it sound like and is it worth repairing?
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i would check the axle if not the axle i take it to the shop
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How would I check the axle?
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NeverBob wrote:

I wonder if a BAD CV Joint can do this.
East-
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lift the fron end off ground and take axle and see if it got a lot of play the bearing housing wears and can cause a lot of play if you know a good trans guy take it to them and let them test drive it they usaly not chare for this
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Prognosis is in - clacking sound is the chain. The quarterback is toast.
Car shopping tomorrow. Yay.
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