i have a 90 eclipse 2 liter non turbo, 230K miles (which might be my problem right there, ha), and with the a/c off it runs great, but when i turn on the a/c it immediately boggs the engine way down to a couple hundred RPM, and after a few seconds it will stabilize to normal, then every minute or so it will bog way back down for a second or two then stabilize again. So basically its like the s/c cuts the power in half, and its just a real pain to even drive with the air on
Most cars have an A/C idle adjustment; it kicks in when the compressor turns on. You should have that checked first.
The other problem could be that the compressor is starting to seize up; this happened to me on a Ford; in fact, towards the end, the engine would not restart, and we just cut the drive belt. The car ran well afterwards. The car was old and we never bothered to fix the compressor.
With your car’s age and mileage either problem is posible. A good A/C shop will tell you in minutes.
It could be an AC problem(worn out compressor) or simply well worn engine. If you need power usually flooring the accelerator beyond the obvious rush of power also disables the AC compressor load on nearly all cars.
AC systems have improved a great deal since 1990. Your AC compressor could be going bad, but perhaps the engine has lost some zip and the AC load is more of a factor if the motor is generating less power. That non turbo motor was never a very powerful one to begin with.
Is this problem getting worse, or is it about the same as over the last 2 years? In my '03 Civic I can tell I have a bit less zip when the AC is on. In older cars I’ve had dating back to the '90’s in smaller cars the AC did cut the power available to drive the wheels significantly.
Have the AC checked out if the problem seems to be increasing. If not, this may just be the way it is with your car.