I would like to know how I can disable the feature in nautilus which truncates long filenames in icon view? I beleive there may be a gconf key which controls this but I'm not sure which specific key, if it exists, or has to be added manually.
They gconf key you're looking for is
Basically you just need to set it to  and it won't truncate at any zoom level
Here is the full description from gconf if you're curious:
A string specifying how parts of overlong file names should be replaced by ellipses, depending on the zoom level. Each of the list entries is of the form "Zoom Level:Integer".
For each specified zoom level, if the given integer is larger than 0, the file name will not exceed the given number of lines. If the integer is 0 or smaller, no limit is imposed on the specified zoom level. A default entry of the form "Integer" without any specified zoom level is also allowed. It defines the maximum number of lines for all other zoom levels.
Examples: 0 - always display overlong file names; 3 - shorten file names if they exceed three lines; smallest:5,smaller:4,0 - shorten file names if they exceed five lines for zoom level "smallest". Shorten file names if they exceed four lines for zoom level "smaller". Do not shorten file names for other zoom levels. Available zoom levels: smallest (33%), smaller (50%), small (66%), standard (100%), large (150%), larger (200%), largest (400%)