The parts picture appears to have two anchoring holes while yours may only have one, but I would try to see if those holes lined up with some kind of plastic anchors ... and maybe look on vertical surfaces first? Maybe it bends symmetrically around the inner surface of the wheel well and those cutouts fit around some symmetrical protrusions?
@VisualReversal : This thing is fairly large. If you pulled everything out and don’t remember seeing it ... maybe it was attached to the backside of something you removed, and became detached ... making it look like a separate piece when it really isn’t?
Who fixed the leak? If it was someone else, maybe they erroneously threw that piece in there (and it’s from another vehicle)?
I find it hard to believe that, in such a small area, it isn’t obvious where that piece goes. And if it’s just a piece of felt (or even a light sponge), it shouldn’t be anywhere near the bottom where it could potentially soak up water and cause rust to form, so I’d be narrowing my search to the topmost area, or maybe it sits in there vertically so that only it’s narrow width is near the bottom (where water might collect).
Go to a Dealership or used car lot, pretend to be a buyer, and start tearing apart the spare tire area. LOL!
Oh - and don’t forget to check the air pressure on that spare tire, too, while you’re in there (I’m talking about your vehicle, not the one on the car lot). It’s starting to get cold and the pressure might be low...
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