I certainly wouldn't want to be read as posting that US manufacturers get the 'dud' units from the manufacturer, that's the next best thing to posting conspiracy theories about NASA's secret spaceship hangar at Roswell and how Stanley Kubrick filmed the Apollo landings at Shepperton.....
However, I do believe that US manufacturers have had a tendency for quite a few years past, to specify inadequate parts for cost reasons, and this is the reason for Jeep's problems with the Cherokee/Liberty model. The H-D quality issues, which have been much aired lately on the HDRCGB forum, can be pretty much summarized under this heading, too.
ball joints do suddenly break with no previous symptoms, usually due to inadequate lubrication or excessive service loads. I've driven enough 4x4s offroad for enough years to have seen it many times.
for what it's worth I bought the stroker flywheels and pistons for my 45 project from T&O. This is partly because there isn't a tremendous choice for such specialised items, and partly because I had always thought that if I ever built a stroker, it would have to be T&O because of their racing pedigree. I had intended to buy the cams from KNS, but so far this hasn't come about, mainly because it seems very difficult to get a response from them. However this issue is by no means closed, so it could yet happen.