Top 10 Tools: Robert Venable, Brian Harris BMW

Feb. 13, 2017
A racing enthusiast, this Baton Rouge, La.-based technician has nearly 15 years of professional wrenching experience.

Technician: Robert Venable

Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Shop: Brian Harris BMW

Robert Venable began working at Brian Harris BMW in Baton Rouge, La. in 2004, after graduating with an associate degree from UTI's Auto + Diesel & Industrial program. Now a Level 1 BMW Tech, he also gained experience working for different organizations such as Wedge Kyes Import Specialties, and as the Head Mechanic for Team Johnstone Supply Racing (2011-2015).

"I pride myself on being able to do just about anything on any car I take on, from windshield replacements to engine rebuilds," says Venable. "I've built race cars from start to finish.

Venable has worked on Johnstone Supply Racing's cars that won The Devil in the Dark, a 12-hour endurance race, three consecutive years, and has previously won the opening season of BMWCCA Endurance racing. He has also won or placed in a number of other races.

1. Titan Gearless Micro Ratchet, No. 11200

Featuring a gearless ratchet design for smooth operation and less than a 3-degree sweep, this ratchet is designed for reaching confined areas. Veneable says this ratchet is the least expensive and one of the most useful tools he has in this toolbox. 

2. Snap-on Tools Wireless Video Scope, No. BK5500

The BK5500 includes a 8.5mm diameter imager head that fits into most spark plug holes, a 36" long obedient shaft for added reach and a 75" shaft bend radius for great flexibility. 

“I use this almost daily," Venable says of this wireless video scope. "Even if I don't need the scope, the long remote flashlight abilities help greatly.”

3. Snap-on Tools Dual View Imager for Wireless Scope, No. BK5500W-12

This imager enables users to see in two directions at the flip of a switch, and is ideal for cylinder and valve inspection applications, or for any application where a straight and side view is needed. Users can view straight ahead or at a 90-degree angle, eliminating the need for a mirror attachment.

“This allows me to see at 90 degree angles without risking dropping a mirror off the end of my scope," Venable says. 

4. Snap-on Tools 3/8” Drive Compact Head Ratchet, No. FC72

The smaller head and dual pawl mechanism of this ratchet provide users increased accessibility and flexibility. A patented sealed head provides lubrication and keeps out dirt, dust and other contaminants, leading to longer tool life. Venable uses an older version of this tool, and says he uses this "3/8" drive ratchet with 1/4" drive size when there is no room for adapters."

5. Power Probe III Master Kit, No. PPKIT03

Venable confirms this kit is "very versatile for electrical diag(nosis)." This kit allows the technician to follow and locate short and open circuits without removing molding panels and carpet just to expose wires. 

6. Mac Tools 9-pc 1/4" Hex Drive Dual-Flexhead Bit Driver Kit, No. SBW9K

Venable uses the older version of this tool (his is No. BWFQ5), which features a flex-square hinge design that provides a double offset at the hinge. With this tool, he says he has the flexibility to reach 1/4" drive bits in tight spots. 

7. Snap-on Tools 6-pc 3/8” Drive 6-Point Swivel Ball Extension Socket Set, No. 206PFSXM

The design of this tool set integrates the drive extension and socket, reducing the possibility of the socket disconnecting from the extension. Of this set, Venable says this kit includes “flexible extended length sockets for the sizes (he sees) daily.”

8. Maxxeon WorkStar 620 Technician’s Headlamp, No. MXN00620

The beam of this headlamp has adjustable focus for distance, allowing users to select the appropriate beam dimensions, either flood or spot. The light head pivots up or down to direct the light, and an adjustable head strap makes it easy to wear for extended periods of time. Venable confirms this "rechargable head light provides exceptional light for hours.” 

9. Matco Tools 8 pc. Zero Degree Flex Head Ratchet XL wrench set, No. SRFBZXL82TA

"Extra length and flexibility helps reach hard-to-get-to hardware," Veneable says of this set.

Wrenches in this set feature a zero-degree offset box end and flex ratcheting end on an extra long beam. 

10. Mac Tools 2-pc. 1/4" Drive Flex Driver set, No. SDRFL2PT

Tools in this set feature flexible ends that bend to desired position. Extra long shafts on each tool provide access to hard-to-reach areas, and feature a comfortable two-piece composite handle, according to Mac Tools.

"I use this (tool) for most hose clamps," Veneable says. "The added length really helps in tight areas."

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