Hi, this is my first post after a long time reading BMW forums!
Out of the blue the other day the rear passenger door of my 330i (2005 SE) wouldn't open from inside or out.
The problem was getting the door panel off while the door was shut (as I couldn't open it!) most help on this was for an open door!!
I then had to find help on removing back seat to make door panel removal easier.
I hunted round these forums and ended up putting a couple of posts together to solve the problem. I thought I would detail what I did to help others in future.
First remove base of back seat.
It's secured by two clips near the front and centre of each rear seat.
Grab the edge of the seat, one side then other, and pull up hard. You will need some force but will not break anything!
The seat should be able to be tipped up now.
Push all the seatbelt bits through the seat the pull seat out.
Now you can access bottom and rearward edge of door panel.
The door panel is secured by 3 hex screws inside door handle/rest and clips all around edge.
To access clips you first pull off the arm rest trim (brushed silver or wood etc).
You might be able to lever off with just fingers. It's held in place by 3 clips evenly spaced out. You may need to wedge a screwdriver, etc in (from bottom so any minimal bending remains unseen) to get started.
Once off you can see two hex screws. Remove these.
Then pull off the door handle trim. This is easy as bottom edge is now exposed.
There is a third and final hex screw here.
Before pulling panel off you need to do two things. Push down door lock so it's is out of way and also pull window switch up out of arm rest and disconnect wiring.
Now you need something to hook under bottom edge of door panel so you can pull door panel gently but firmly towards you.
I used a laminate floor pull bar like this:
You just need something slim that will slide between panel and door and give you something to then pull towards you.
Once you have bottom released you can pull rest of with your fingers leaving top until last.
The panel can be pulled away but only as far as inside door handle cable will allow. Unclip the cable from the door release lever and put to one side.
Now you will see the foam vapour/sound lining. It's held on by some weird black sticky gum!!!
At this point I didn't know if my outside handle cable was good so I continued to remove foam liner. You don't need to remove the liner to simply inspect door release catch.
Now you can get door open!!!
Pull door release lever fully down and door should open, unless mechanism broken I suppose but mine wasn't!!
To remove liner start at an edge and pull foam away from door. The black stuff will stretch. Carefully slice it with a Stanley knife/blade as you go. Don't worry!!! The gum will re-stick back to itself when time to put it all back together!!!
Peel foam away on top and rearward side. I left attached at bottom and front and simply folded out of way.
Now you can access the outer handle cable and back of door locking mechanism.
As it turned out my lever had just got sticky and neither handle was fully pulling it to the limit it needed to release the door.
A couple of squirts of WD40 and some vigorous yanking the lever up and down fixed it for me!!!
To put it all back together is easy and a reverse of taking it apart.
Just carefully align the clips along the windowsill first when putting panel back on and it should all slot into place nicely.
Hope this helps!