The power seat uses DC motors. To change direction the polarity reverses from one direction to another. If you hear the motor "clicking" when you try to drive it forward, even though it is already forward, this signals the motor brushes are making contact to the commutator. So if it is "clicking" the problem is most likely the rearward seat movement switch itself or bad connection from the seat switch to the motor. If there is no "clicking" sound, this indicates no power is reaching the motor, it is most likely hair, dust or trash that has entered the motor and become lodged under the brushes, preventing failure of the electric circuit to the commutator. Unbolt the seat, remove it from the car and be careful with disassembly and cleaning of the motor, they can be difficult to reassemble as they have permanent magnets. I am not certain on your BMW, but many manufacturers use a motor with an open end that you can manually rotate the motor by hand with a piece of square key stock, this may also dislodge any debris stuck under the brushes and allow the motor to operate.
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This happens with my ram. The tilt wheel locking pin is stuck. When this happens to me i have to wiggle my steering wheel up and down and pull on the tilt release lever at the same time until the locking pin slides out of it's locked position. I have found that if i do not lock the wheel in the max up or max down position i do not have this problem.
Jan 4, 2012 - Uploaded by AutoTech USA
If your power steering wheel is no longer working; moving up and down, back and forth, and when you attempt ...
Remove the headrests (if equipped). Grip the lower seat at the front part of the seat and pull upwards to clear the clips(1), and the remove the lower seat. Fold down the armrest and remove the bolts behind the armrest. The upper seat(backrest) is then pushed up, pulled forward and then moved either left or right out of the vehicle from behind the seatbelts.
Most often, the stuck steering wheel is a result of a faulty 'tilt relay switch.' If you attempt to use the tilt switch and you can hear a clicking/whirring noise, then its your relay switch, if not, it may be the motor that is broken.