The findings presented in this paper are part of a long term project aimed at raising the science of heat transfer in internal combustion engine cooling galleries. Initial work has been undertaken by the authors and an experimental facility is able to simulate different sizes of coolant passages. External heat is applied and data for the forced convective, nucleate boiling and transition or critical heat flux (CHF) regimes has been obtained.The results highlighted in this paper attempt to quantify the effects of cooling passage surface roughness on the nucleate boiling regime. Tests have been conducted using aluminium test pieces with surface finishes described as smooth, intermediate and as-cast. It has been found that the as-cast surface increases the heat flux density in the nucleate boiling region over that of the smooth and intermediate surfaces.