Yeah, I agree....one of the things I liked about my Suburban was being able to change the filter.
As I've stated in the past, I tend to keep vehicles a LONG time. It is one thing to have a 5 year old filter, it is quite another to have a 15 year old filter.
And while it isn't THAT big of a deal to drop a fuel tank to change the pump/filter...it is a helluva lot harder than simply changing a filter!
Do they really build cars to own a long long time? I tend to do the same thing and own them until the wheels fall off and then sometimes past that point as well. Our Honda has a "lifetime filter" in the tank that consistent of a basic strainer to keep out the big stuff! 107k on it and no problems yet but I sure like being able to change it nothing else for iece of mind.
Back when I had my Bronco II a tech told me to keep this running like a champ, change the fuel filter every 25k. Seemed knowledgible, so what changed? Bette quality gas processes - less junk? What about all the tiny metal shavings from the pump when it slides into the mechanical cap we all have now? Hmmmmmm
+1 on the Ram comment. Putting the filter on the fuel pump/filter/sending unit module makes assembly easier at the factory and the dealers parts counter more lucrative. This is in line with the lifetime lubricated ball joints and u-joints.
I would be surprised if there isn't an aftermarket in line fuel filter that could be installed between the tank and the engine. That might be an avenue to explore.