Kenmore Coldspot Fridge Noises (Yipping?)

We have a 12 to 15 year old Kenmore Coldspot Model 106 (series 22) refrigerator which makes an odd sound, almost like that of a small dog yipping, which seems to come from behind the freezer area. The sound occurs while the compressor is running, and the yipps are somewhat rhythmic, but stop after a short time (after 30 seconds or a minute maybe?). The sound is moderately loud (you can hear it from most other parts of the house).
(I dont recall whether they occur early, mid or late in the compressor cycle. I also cant give very specific info as to how frequently this happens, but I dont recall it more than once per compressor cycle, and it seemed to happen everyday or so, but not necessarily every time the unit cycled on. This is a 2nd fridge stored in an out of the way place, so it is only noticed when the sound bothers us. If someone needs that info to diagnose this problem, Ill take better note of that stuff.)
It might help to know that we have been using this fridge mostly as a 2nd freezer, and so the freezer unit was stuffed very full, while the fridge unit was almost completely empty.
Does this sound like something that was probably occurring because we had the appliance loaded in such an unbalanced manner (ie too much cooling power going to a freezer unit that had no where to put the extra cold), with the freezer unit freezing up somehow? Or is this a sign of a refrigerator on its last legs. Is this a DIY repairable thing? (Or should I just try loading both units more normally and see if the noises go away?)
We are thinking of donating the fridge to one of those groups that helps disadvantaged people, but we wouldnt do that if this noise is a serious or expensive problem and/or a sign of a failing unit.
Also, if we didnt donate this away, is it OK to keep a 2nd fridge that is only plugged in and used occasionally (like for holidays)? Do they deteriorate faster when not constantly used? (Such as from seals drying out or whatever?)
Your advice and recommendations are appreciated - even if all I get are comments telling us that if I just let the poodle out of the freezer the problem will go away!
Thanks, Dan
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dan-wauwatosa


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Bet it's the fan that blows cold air into the freezer. Cheap enough to replace if you can get to it. If a shot of WD40 on the shaft/bearings fixes it, you know that's it. Better replace it though, in a few days the noise will be back...
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I heard it called "a chicken in the freezer" by appliance guys.
I went through it maybe 10 years ago. No big deal but had to take the whole freezer section apart to get to it -- just screws and racks.
New fan unit was $40 if i recall but was easy to install -- once everything was out of the way.
FACE
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If you here the noise behind the fridge next to the floor it probably is the condenser fan motor. about 35 - 40 bucks for the part. If it is it take it out for then you can get the proper rotation.
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h1ebs
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