I did like I was told here and replaced my fuel filter with regulator built in. I have just turned 77,000 miles on my original filter, so conventional wisdom says I was overdue. Others have suggested cutting open a replaced filter to see how much glop gets filtered out of the line, so I gave it a try.
Interesting to see exactly what is inside for the $40 and up that you can pay for this combo unit. It's basically an aluminum tube packed with a pleated paper filter similar to the oil filter element. There's a tiny spring/diaphragm at one end that I guess performs any regulation that takes place.
So anyway, after my 77K miles of filling across this country at always the cheapest indy pumps you could ever find, I can tell you that I found zero accumulation of any visible sediment, glop, sludge, particulate or whatever. The paper filter was blackened, but I have no idea what color it started out as.
I'm not sure what this proves and I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions. Doesn't appear that I was in imminent need of this filter replacement, but what do I know. I had thought that the cheapest indies are supposed to have dirty tanks with horrid stuff in them, so go figure. My filter was in great shape.