Arrgh!! Look at this has been my life with a used Epson 4000. While I got this printer for free, I've put about $600 in ink in it so far and I'd say a majority of it has gone into the maintenance tank doing head cleanings. The more research I do on the web find that this is one of the 'facts of life' when living with an Epson Pigment Ink printer.
The output is wonderful when it's working. I though I could just go back to printing my work at Costco on their photographic Frontier printers but after several side by side comparisons, the output of these inkjets just really blow away the best results I got from Costco.
What to do? Well I saw an amazing printer, a HP Z3100 printer - 12 ink colors, 4 specifically for B&W prints, a miser on ink, it self-analyzes the heads for clogs, cleans only the heads that are clogged and, get this, if it can't clear the nozzle it activates backup nozzles to fill in. If things get really messed up, the heads are user replaceable. Now the bad part, The thing is $3800! Way too much for a hobbyist like me, so I'm thinking I better start a little side business to subsidize this purchase. Gonna look into it.