You should not have to take the crossbar apart. The cracks, if there are any, will be in the areas just inside of the hulls. I am going to try to include a link to a picture of an 18 that is upside down. If you look at the picture there will be a white boat bumper cushion on the right side of the photo under the rear crossbar and brown paper bag of some sort on the left side of the photo under the rear crossbar.
It is in these areas that I have noticed cracks. Also, on the front crossbar you will see a blue bag that is also in the area prone to cracks. You can't see the other side of the front crossbar, but I would check there also.
As for the mast step, the best way to determine if it is the new style or not is check to see how many rivets are in it. If it has two, it is the old style. If it has four, it is the new style. Here is a link to where someone installed the new mast step.
http://www.thebeachcats.com/modules.php ... _album.php
I hope this helps.
And just a note to Matt, I was not trying to knock the 18. I agree, everthing can be fixed as I have two 18s myself. I love the boats and would buy one with all of the problems I have mentioned. I am just still upset that it was discontinued about eight months after I bought my first one.
I guess it is about time to move up to a FOX! Any plans on discontinuing it?